Expired Listings

Expired Listings by D.M. Barr

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Stories of the Indebted

Stories of the Indebted by Jorge P. Newbery

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First Kill

First Kill: An Eli Quinn Mystery by Robert Roy Britt

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5 Days to Landfall

5 Days to Landfall by Robert Roy Britt

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Tropical Liaison

Tropical Liaison by Richard S. Hillman

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Strong Cold Dead

Strong Cold Dead: A Caitlin Strong Novel by Jon Land

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Drone: An Eli Quinn Mystery by Robert Roy Britt

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Hmmm? – A Tale of Mysterious Murr-Derr and a Girl by Simon Plaster

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Closure: An Eli Quinn Mystery by Robert Roy Britt

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

ClosureAn overall thriller, Robert Roy Britt’s Closure, book one in his Eli Quinn detective series, catapults the series off to a great start as it entertains readers with an intriguing introduction to his hard-punching yet sentimental, tough-guy detective. As the premiere book in this hard-boiled detective series, readers will find their curiosity roused by its emotional richness, fascinating characters, hard-edged action and web-like intrigue.

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Expired Listings by D.M. Barr

Reviewed by Chris Phillips

Expired ListingsThis is advertised as an erotic suspense thriller. In all possible ways this definitely qualifies on all counts.

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Dana Black is the main character of the work. She is a troubled adult working in real estate in the same company as her sister and in the same town as her mother did as well.

The only caveat is that this is erotica of a specific nature. There is no graphic sex, but there are adult situations throughout the book. From the beginning, where the murderer is dealing with a victim in their dungeon killing floor area, Barr spends a lot of time filling in the backstory until in the final chapter the surprise ending blasts into reality.

Stories of the Indebted by Jorge P. Newbery

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

Stories of the IndebtedThe lives of too many Americans are absorbed by debt, becoming prisoners of a vicious cycle from which breaking free is difficult. However, Jorge P. Newbery offers an escape plan in the form of a book, Stories of the Indebted.

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The book is comprised of seven chapters, each revolving around how to handle specific types of debt. Jorge P. Newbery finds an engaging way to present information which can easily be perceived as boring or overly technical for those who are not versed in economics; he uses the art of storytelling to compel and teach the reader. With the help of his characters who seem as real as you and I, he shares their problems and also the solutions to each case. However, do not expect to read any classic success stories; as the author himself realized, these are not as efficient in grabbing the attention as stories about failures. The focus falls on how to rise once you have fallen and how to learn from your (and other people’s) mistakes.

First Kill: An Eli Quinn Mystery by Robert Roy Britt

Reviewed by Suzanne Odom

First KillFirst Kill is Robert Roy Britt’s latest Eli Quinn mystery. Quinn is a former investigative reporter turned private investigator with a knack for solving crimes. His faithful dog Solo “the world’s greatest K-9 private eye” is always by his side. Quinn’s latest case involves a missing real estate agent, Joe Mack, in the small town of Pleasant, Arizona. Quinn is contacted by the realtor’s daughter who hasn’t heard from him since he arrived at a conference the previous day. Quinn takes the case and begins his search into the missing man’s disappearance.

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While delving into the mystery, he learns that Mack and his wife, Joanne are into the local swinging scene. Could some of the other swingers be suspects? Quinn does some sleuthing and learns of a swinger party. He crashes the party and discovers several other real estate agents attending. His suspect list is growing quickly. Along the way he has help from his friend, Beach, a former lawman and from his new love interest, Samantha Marcos, a reporter. He can also count on his German Shepard, Solo, to help out with the bad guys.

5 Days to Landfall by Robert Roy Britt

Reviewed by Teri Davis

5 Days to LandfallLiving along the Atlantic Ocean in South Carolina, most people know how to prepare for hurricanes. Their communities understand the potential disaster and work well to minimize the amount of damage to the communities. They know that nature always wins. These communities almost can write a book about storm preparedness including evacuations.

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Hmmm? – A Tale of Mysterious Murr-Derr and a Girl by Simon Plaster (Review #2)

Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

HmmmHmmm? by Simon Plaster is the latest brilliant satirical novel the author has written featuring small-town reporter, Henrietta, who lives in Henryetta, Oklahoma. In Hmmm?, Henrietta looks for love in all the wrong places, instead finding intrigue. She also finds many things that make her, and the reader, go “Hmmm?” in a novel that has many LOL passages, along with….a murder investigation, or, at any rate, a facsimile of one, conducted by one of the many humorous and larger-than-life characters in the novel.

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Hmmm? has a large cast of characters, revisiting many from past novels in the series, like Henrietta’s overly-dramatic mom, Wynona Sue, who works at the Best Little Hair House. She is looking for the love of her life, but she has an unrealistic set of expectations and instead has a series of flings with men like Professor Alexander Lehough, who is an expert on insects, was a star witness in a trial in a previous novel in the series, Tick, and has a split personality. His other personality is Zander, and Lehough often has conversations with him.

Alexander keeps Zander subdued by drinking something from a “brown bottle of powerful potion that would put the nagging pest to sleep,” but Wynona Sue overhears her lover talking to “Zander,” or at least someone she mistakes as being “Zander.” The person is really Charlene Lehough, Alexander’s estranged wife, who left him for a new lover, Virgil Carter. She heard that Alexander won a Nobel Prize, however, so left Virgil knocked out and duct taped in Texas to return and try to get her hands on some of money that comes with winning a Nobel Prize.

Alexander does not want anything to do with Charlene, anymore, and would much rather be with Wynona Sue. Wynona Sue convinces herself that Charlene must be the “Zander” Alexander has been having conversations with, though at times, she thinks that maybe “Zander” is a male who Alexander has been having a homosexual relationship with.

Wynona Sue hires a local resident, Max Morgan, who fancies himself to be a private detective, to find out more information about who Zander is, so she will know, once and for all, the truth. “Maximo,” a big fan of novels involving private detectives, decides to become one, himself, and his exploits and misadventures adds even more humor to this highly entertaining novel..

Hmmm? by Simon Plaster is subtitled “A Tale of Mysterious Murrr-Derrr and a Girl.” It is a novel that is, in part, slapstick comedy and in part, it draws from film noir movies and hardboiled detective novels. Hmmm? is a novel that can be enjoyed as a stand-alone book, though I highly recommend reading the other novels in the series, as well, because they are all gems that are well worth reading.

Tropical Liaison by Richard S. Hillman

Reviewed by Suzanne Odom

Tropical LiaisonRichard Hillman’s book opens in a state of political unrest. Thirteen-year old Rafael is hiding in the attic of his parent’s home after the Security Polic arrive. He hears loud, horrible noises before the quiet. Going downstairs to investigate, he finds his parents’ bodies covered in blood. He escapes and goes to the Freedom Front’s encampment. Twenty-four years later, an election was held in the small fictional island of Guarida . Claudio Sanchez comes to power.

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Emmanuel White Vidal, Manny to his friends, is called to a meeting at the State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research. He is asked to go down to the University of Guarida for a couple of years and is told that there is a strong possibility his cousin Rafael, who’s been presumed to have died in a house fire along with his parents many years ago, is still alive. Manny agrees to go to Guarida and makes plans to search for his cousin.

Strong Cold Dead: A Caitlin Strong Novel by Jon Land

Reviewed by Russell Ilg

Strong Cold Dead“Nobody goes beyond this point, ma’am,” is the first thing Caitlin Strong is told in Jon Land’s superb and sensational Strong Cold Dead. And I probably don’t have to tell you what she does next in the eighth book featuring the stalwart fifth generation Texas Ranger.

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A gunfighter and loner hero in the frontier sense bred of the classic Western, Caitlin is no stranger to breaking the rules or gunning down bad guys. Strong Cold Dead features a weighty mixture of both, as she finds herself battling none other than forces of ISIS on Texas soil. It’s a long-buried secret on a mysterious Indian reservation that’s drawn the terrorist group here, thanks to a social outcast reaching out to them on social media.

Drone: An Eli Quinn Mystery by Robert Roy Britt

Reviewed by Lisa Brown-Gilbert

DroneImmediately absorbing and thoroughly entertaining, Robert Roy Britt’s Drone, the second book in his Eli Quinn detective series, capably resumes the series with the hard-boiled but well-intentioned private detective this time looking to solve a bold attempted murder of a public official.

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This was an entertaining narrative from the beginning, with Eli Quinn, private eye, officially opening his detective agency in the town of Pleasant, Arizona. Pleasant is a small town with seemingly not much going on. But across Arizona a growing population of illegal immigrants become targets of the Sheriff Horace Otto and other unhappy folks. Consequently, morality is thrown aside when the sheriff promotes a program to round up illegal immigrants and an evil element festers in the background.

Voodoo Child, Book One: Zombie Uprising by William Burke

Reviewed by Chris Phillips

Voodoo ChildAround the globe and then landing in a small Caribbean island, this story traverses the world and more.

The action starts on the small island of Isle De Fantomas. It moves to the deserts of the Middle East and then back again. The plot is an interesting mix of horror, mystery and voodoo. The most intriguing part of this to this reviewer is the author’s respect for a small religion, voodoo, in this case.

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Yes, there are demons, devils, voodoo priestesses and hordes of the undead. They fill the pages and bring out a very mixed bag of horror and yet detailed practice of a little known religion. There are soldiers, military and mercenary troops and wickedly charming scientists and others not nearly so charming.

The Five Paths to Happiness: The Keys to Living a Happy Life According to Your Personality by Javier Ramon Brito

Reviewed by Timea Barabas

The Five Paths to HappinessThe search for happiness is a central theme in our life paths; it seems to be the goal of mankind. Although many view it as a destination some, like Javier Ramon Brito, are here to remind us that it is in fact all about the road. In his book, The Five Paths to Happiness, he describes several means of materializing such an elusive concept.

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Unlike other self-help books which usually put forward a single universal solution, this one presents five ways, adding a layer of complexity to the approach. The author combines different disciplines and thought systems based on a common denominator (the number five) to outline his personal system. From psychology he takes the character structures, the five elements that govern everything (ether, air, fire, water, earth) from Eastern philosophy, also studying the interaction of these elements with the human body from the perspective of traditional Chinese medicine.

When The Dragon Roars (The Starks Trilogy Book 2) by Nesly Clerge

Reviewed by Veronica Alvarado

When the Dragon RoarsBrimming with twists, turns, and non-stop drama, When The Dragon Roars by Nesly Clerge is a thriller ideal for any fan of prison-noir.

When The Dragon Roars opens with the protagonist, Frederick Stark, a.k.a The Dragon, at the nadir of his life. Having been betrayed by his ex-wife Kayla, a life one fraught with opportunities is now exceedingly limited. He is in jail, serving an extended sentence for placing the man who cuckholded him in a coma. But Starks is not one to let life get him down that easily—using the acumen that he had acquired as a CEO, he boldly, yet subtly, begins an attempt at ascension of the prison hierarchy. But things start to look hairy when the prison COs suspect him of the two inside job murderers—which he did have a heavy hand in executing.

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World Saver by Neal Goldstein

Reviewed by Douglas R. Cobb

World SaverMeet Cy “LUVTR41N” Orbick, a teen hooked on the World Saver computer game, and the hero of talented author Neal Goldstein’s debut sci-fi novel. Cy’s father died while flight testing a plane in New Mexico, and his mother remarried her late husband’s best friend—Captain Trent, who happened to be manning the radar when Cy’s dad’s plane crashed. Cy aspires to solve the puzzle clues of the World Saver game, and to get hired at World Saver headquarters. Little does he realize his gaming chops will be put to use helping to save real worlds.

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All the Little Liars An Aurora Teagarden Mystery (Aurora Teagarden Mysteries) by Charlaine Harris

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

All the Little LiarsIt has been 13 years since we last visited Aurora Teagarden and if anything she’s even better with the passing of time. Lots of changes have come Aurora’s life. She’s newly married, pregnant and her half brother is living with her.

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Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies by Ross King

Reviewed by Caryn St. Clair

Mad EnchantmentThe Impressionists are among the most recognized and beloved of artists world wide. Among them, Monet is perhaps the best known in part because of his series of paintings of the waterlilies. Add to that, Monet was an interesting person and led quite a life. Unlike many artists who only became well known or appreciated after death, Monet was hugely popular while living and as a result amassed a fairly large fortune. His home in Giverny was large, comfortable and ever changing. His gardens were extensive. This book briefly covers Monet’s life story up to when his paintings became focused on his garden, but from that point forward is a much more detailed accounting.

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There is a sad irony in Monet’s work. He created his gardens as a kind of shelter from the stress of the outside world-a nature retreat you might say. Certainly his work gives people that sense of peace through the beauty of the water and flowers. Sadly, the paintings themselves caused the artist all sorts stress. Ever the perfectionist, Monet struggled to get the feel of the water the way he wanted and actually destroyed several canvases. Also, by the time Money was fully engaged with the painting of the waterlilies, he had lost his beloved wife and oldest son and his eyes were bothering him. Monet suffering from cataracts. He had treatments but was not satisfied with the outcome.

The Promise: An Elvis Cole and Joe Pike Novel (An Elvis Cole Novel) by Robert Crais

Reviewed by Allen Hott

The PromiseAnother very interesting read by Crais. He is one of the best in building stories that seem to be entirely possible in our lives. The only problem is that as usual he has about twenty gazillion characters in this one again. Always does he seem to overpopulate his stories with characters that do play fairly important roles in the story. Sometimes I feel like I need a scorecard by my side as I read.

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Elvis Cole, one of his favorites, is a private investigator who has been hired to find a missing woman. She is a federal employee with not only the ability to get to weapons but she is also still very distraught over losing her son in the fighting in the Middle East. She wants to get some sort of revenge.

Poisonfeather by Matthew FitzSimmons (Book Excerpt)

Poisonfeather“Excuse me, Mr. Vaughn. May I have a word?”

A slight man in an open-collared pink polo shirt and khakis stepped into Gibson’s line of sight. One of those men who had somehow gone through life without developing a single muscle and looked like he’d been made on a taffy puller. Gibson looked him over. Boat shoes— check. Whale belt—check. Requisite pair of Ray-Bans hanging from the V-neck of his shirt—check. Half man, half preppie flamingo. Gibson took a step to his left to keep the restroom in view.

“Can I help you with something?” Gibson said, making no effort to mask his irritation.

“Mr. Vaughn, my name is Christopher Birk. I was hoping for a minute.” The Flamingo looked to be in his early thirties, although his thinning blond hair had mostly surrendered the fight and retired to the barbershop floor.

“Are you serious right now with this? I’m at a game with my kid.”

“I’m aware, and I sincerely apologize for the intrusion. It couldn’t wait.”

“Maybe you’ve heard of e-mail? It’s pretty snappy these days. Faster than following a guy to a baseball game.”

“We’d prefer to keep this off the record.”

Gibson gave the man a sidelong glance. “Now I’m really not interested. Enjoy the game.”

A second man stepped aggressively into the conversation. Gibson had seen him earlier but hadn’t connected the two men on the busy concourse because, apart from both being white, they could not have been more different. The second man was an inch or two shorter but looked hard where the Flamingo was soft, contemptuous where the Flamingo was conciliatory. He looked quick and wiry strong—a fighter. His DNA was missing the gene for growing an actual beard, but, undeterred, he had let a patchwork scruff grow in that gave him a trashy, feral look. A swirling tattoo emerged from his black T-shirt, ran up his neck, and disappeared behind his left ear. He looked like a broken shard from a shattered glass, the one you missed after sweeping up and found only with your bare feet in the dark on the way to somewhere else. Not a man that Gibson wanted around Ellie, and he hoped to be done with these two before she finished her business in the restroom.

“Just give this prick the envelope,” the Shard said.

“Let me handle it.”

“So handle it.”

“I would if you’d let me.”

The Shard shook his head and rolled his eyes but held his tongue. The Flamingo pretended not to notice and turned back to Gibson.

“Would you take a look? I think it will clarify things.”

Gibson looked at the envelope in the Flamingo’s hand. “What is it?”

“A request—”

“Not interested.”

“Just read the damn thing,” the Shard said.

“Who are you exactly? His secretary?” The Shard locked eyes with him, head cocked to the right, arms hanging away from his sides, as he inflated the way small men did before a fight. “Yeah, I’m his secretary, bitch. Now read it before I feed it to you.”

Gibson would lay money that the man had done time. Not for anything major. Enough to get thrown in with the hard cases but not enough to earn their respect. He’d had to fight to earn that. Gibson knew the type, had known them in jail and in the Marines. Man-boys with the simmering fury of someone with nothing to prove except how few fucks they gave about anything. As if not caring itself were an accomplishment.

“Cool it,” the Flamingo told his partner.

“Where’d you do your bid?” Gibson asked the Shard.

“Buckingham,” he replied with the same pride that another man might announce his alma mater.

Gibson’s eyes went to the bathroom door, but Ellie still hadn’t emerged. Good.

Buckingham was a level-three prison west of Richmond. Not a nice place, and now he really didn’t want his daughter anywhere near these men. When it had looked like his trial would end in a conviction, Gibson had passed the time educating himself about Virginia state prisons. To give a name to the nightmares that plagued him at night in his jail cell. It hadn’t helped.

The Flamingo held out the envelope to Gibson. “Please.”

Gibson looked each man in the eyes before snatching it away. Not because he cared what it said; they had followed him to a baseball game, and he wanted to know why. He glanced down at the pale-blue envelope and felt a jot. He had a stack just like it bound with a thick rubber band back at his apartment. It had been seven or eight years since the last one had arrived, but he would’ve recognized the monogram anywhere: “HBD”—the B twice the size of the other letters. Gibson slipped a single sheet of stationery from the envelope and read the familiar, ornate handwriting. It was signed Hammond Birk.

Gibson glanced up at the two men. “What did you say your name was?”

“Christopher Birk,” said the Flamingo.


The Shard smirked at the question.

“Nephew,” the Flamingo answered.

Ellie ran up and grabbed his hand. “Daddy, I’m hungry.”

“Just a minute, El. Go pick out a hat, okay?” He pointed to a nearby stand. “I’ll be right there.” Gibson turned to Christopher Birk. “Where?”

“Back of the letter.”

Gibson flipped it over. It was an address near Charlottesville.

“Can you come tomorrow?” asked Birk. “It’s time sensitive.”

Gibson shook his head. “I have a thing tomorrow.”

“What thing?” the Shard demanded.

“A none-of-your-damn-business thing.”

The Shard stepped forward, but Birk put a cautioning hand on his shoulder. “The judge would be very grateful,” he said to Gibson.

Gibson knew he should say no—everything about this felt wrong— but he also knew no wasn’t an option. Some debts you paid when they came due. He’d have a few days after he passed the polygraph before work started; he’d drive down to Charlottesville and talk to Hammond Birk. See what he wanted. It was the least that he owed the man.

“Maybe I can come out on Tuesday?” Gibson said, making it a question, not a promise, although that was exactly what it was.

“That would be terrific. Thank you.”


“Cute kid,” the Shard said. It was Gibson’s turn to lock eyes with him. “Don’t. I’m only going to tell you the once.”

The Shard laughed. “What? You gonna start something here in front of all these nice people?”

“Yeah. Right here in front of them if you talk about my kid again.”

The Shard moved his jaw soundlessly, testing a reply, but smiled instead. “Relax, Pops. Just saying.”

“Get him away from me,” Gibson said to Birk.

“Of course. Thank you for your time.” Birk tried to lead his companion away, but the Shard twisted back to Gibson.

“See you Tuesday.”

Excerpted from POISONFEATHER © Copyright 2016 by Matthew FitzSimmons. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

    About Poisonfeather

Gibson Vaughn, hero of the bestselling novel The Short Drop, returns in a smoldering thriller.

When jailed billionaire Charles Merrick hints publicly that he has stashed a fortune in an offshore cache, a school of sharks converges upon his release from federal prison.

Among his swindled victims is Judge Hammond Birk, the man who saved Gibson Vaughn’s life when he was a troubled teenager. Now Gibson intends to repay that debt by recovering Merrick’s victims’ money.

But Gibson isn’t the only one on the trail of the hidden fortune.

The promise of billions has drawn a horde of ruthless treasure hunters, including an edgy ex-con, a female bartender with a mysterious history, a Chinese spy with a passion for fly-fishing, and a veritable army of hardened mercenaries. To stay ahead of the sharks and win justice for his mentor, Gibson will need all his formidable skills. But at the end of the road, he’ll still have to face “Poisonfeather”—a geopolitical secret that just might get Gibson killed…or worse.

    About the author

matthewfitzsimmonsMatthew FitzSimmons is the author of the bestselling first novel in the Gibson Vaughn series, The Short Drop. Born in Illinois and raised in London, England, he now lives in Washington, DC, where he taught English literature and theater at a private high school for over a decade. Poisonfeather is his second novel.


Twitter: @MatthewFitz_1