#BookPromo – Forbidden Chronicles of a Roman Centurion by John Chaplick

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About the Book

An archaeological dig under the streets of London unearths a Roman Centurion’s 2000-year-old letter which throws doubt on and threatens the foundations of Christian doctrine and modern society. Is it possible the New Testament is a forgery promulgated by the Roman Catholic Church? In a desperate effort to assess the validity of the letter’s contents, a team of scholars including Dr. Peter Clemens, a devout Christian, and Sam Wykoff, an avowed atheist, track the First Century itinerary of Roman Legion XX through England and the Near East travels of Apostle Paul upon whose writings the centurion’s letter was based. In the process, the team encounters danger and subterfuge at every turn. An antichrist group anxious to discredit the Bible, and religious zealots eager to protect the status quo by attempting to stop or kill them are just a few of the obstacles they must overcome.

Genre(s): Genre Fiction, Religious/Spiritual, International Mystery/Crime, Thriller

To Purchase: Author’s Website | Amazon


Excerpts from A Critical Review of Forbidden Chronicles of a Roman Centurion by Jim Booth

A bit like a mystery, a bit like a thriller, John Chaplick’s Forbidden Chronicles of a Roman Centurion explores some profound ideas while it seeks to accomplish an elusive and difficult task. A Roman centurion who knew the apostle Paul sends his son a letter which is discovered twenty centuries later in an archaeological dig under the streets of London. The discovery challenges the validity of the New Testament and sends a team of scholars across England and Asia Minor in search of the truth.

In its Da Vinci Code like narrative Chaplick’s novel challenges the reader with at times almost dauntingly philosophical and theological discussions among its main characters, including a theologian and an avowed atheist. There is action, danger, mystery, and even a little romance as the team encounters both hard core zealots who fear opposition to the Bible, and evil cultists who eager to discredit it.

The reader will find him/herself both entertained and enlightened by John Chaplick’s novel. One can ask for no more.


About the Author

5702261110072.JPGA former auditor and partner in an international CPA firm, John Chaplick is an instructor in the field of forensic and investigative accounting. His experience includes a specialty in fraud, embezzlement, and money laundering. He was the founder and president of his own business for eighteen years before he retired and made his home in Lutz, Florida.

He has published technical articles in various professional journals, and his mystery and romance novels are based upon his extensive corporate and professional experience. An Elder in the Presbyterian Church, John’s biblical studies have included research on the life of the apostle Paul. John holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Economics from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut and a Master’s Degree in Business Administration from the University of Michigan. He is a leader in the Florida Writers Association.

John also teaches writing classes at the Life Enrichment Center in Tampa, and at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at USF.

Titles by John Chaplick can be found on his website @ EngagingBooksBlog.com:

  • The Pandora Files
  • An Enduring Conspiracy
  • The Rivergrass Legacy (Award-winner)
  • Bridge of the Paper Tiger
  • Forbidden Chronicles of a Roman Centurion (Award-winner)

John Chaplick’s Website | LinkedIn

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Book Review – The Murder of Manny Grimes by Angela Kay

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The Murder of Manny Grimes by Angela Kay is much more than a murder mystery. It is a story about love, hope and redemption with a paranormal and Christian slant. When three young boys enter the Columbia County Sheriff’s Department to report a murder at the Columbia County Elementary School, Lieutenant Jim DeLong’s life and those around him will be forever changed. A fifteen-year mystery, the death of Manny Grimes, and a suspected murder/suicide are all tangled together in this thrilling novel.

Manny Grimes had information that linked the murder/suicide and the mystery from fifteen years ago together, and he paid for it with his life. As DeLong, his mentor Russ Calhoun, and the CSI team of Newman and Elliot set out to solve this murder, life becomes complicated for all of them. DeLong is driven by the voice of Manny Grimes to help him and he cannot let him down.He also discovers that his wife and Calhoun had an affair and it drags him down a spiraling dark hole of alcoholism and rage. His personal life is as twisted and mixed-up as the case before him is. The team soon discover that the murder/suicide might have been staged and that one of the victims’ spouses could be involved in the cover-up, but the case is much deeper than that. It involves a murder fifteen years in the past that was also covered-up. Somehow through this tangled mystery, Kay ties all of the ends together in a shocking conclusion.

What I enjoyed most about this novel is that Kay does an excellent job of weaving so many story angles together to form a cohesive, well-written mystery. She also does an excellent job with the personal angles of the story – between DeLong and his wife, the affair his wife had with Calhoun, the interwoven angle of all the families involved in Manny Grimes’ murder and the budding romance between Calhoun and Elliot. These characters are rich, and humanly flawed, making them believable. The police procedural is also well done in this novel.

The only angle of the story that would have normally warded me off is the Christian slant. As a rule, I do not read Christian novels. Not because they are Christian, but because they are normally preachy and not my thing. However, in this novel, it made sense. DeLong’s life was spiraling out of control and a few nuances of scripture gave him the hope and determination to get his life back under control. It was well done in this novel and not at all preachy.

The only flaw I discovered was a minor one – DeLong was checked into a motel when he left his wife Samantha, but in once instance, it became a hotel. With such a minor flaw, there is no way I am allowing it to detract points from my review. This is a solid novel and deserves to be read and praised.

Note: I was given a free copy of this novel for a fair and honest review.

Rating: 5 stars

Genre(s): Mystery, Police Procedural, Christian, Paranormal

To Purchase: Amazon

Book Review – Who Watcheth by Helene Tursten

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Who Watcheth is a mystery/thriller by the Swedish author, Helene Tursten. A serial killer is on the loose in and around Goteborg, Sweden. He watches his prey, building up a fantasy in his mind that he is in a relationship with the women, and then when they commit what he considers a sin, he kills them. He also leaves photos he’s taken of them committing the sin, a white chrysanthemum, and a note with a Bible verse on it days before he kills them. His M.O. is specific, he always uses a cord with knots in them to strangle his victims and leaves behind some telling clues. The one victim who got away recalled that he had an abhorrent odor about him. Irene Huss is a detective on the Goteborg police department and along with her colleagues, she sets out to find the killer. During the course of the story, Irene has some problems of her own with a woman who wants vengeance for the deaths of her children. She directly blames the police department and Irene in particular, adding an additional round of suspense to the story.

What I enjoyed most about the novel is the interactions that Irene has with both her husband and her colleagues. Her character is well-rounded and well-developed. The other characters are well-developed too. The story unfolds at a nice pace – not too slow or quick, just right. I also enjoyed the police procedural. The suspense keeps you on the edge of your seat throughout and the attack scenes are well-written.

Unfortunately, I guessed who the killer would be long before it unfolded in the story because it was just so blatantly stereotypical, and he didn’t appear to be as sophisticated as I had assumed he would be. I won’t say more so as not to spoil it for other readers. I will let them make their own determination.

All in all, this is a well-written novel with a good plot, great characters and a suspenseful conclusion. I just wish the killer had lived up to my expectations so I could have given it a higher rating.

Note: I won a copy of this novel on Goodreads Giveaway for a fair and honest review.

Rating: 3.5 stars

Genre(s): Thriller, Mystery, Police Procedrual

To Purchase: Amazon

Book Review – Social Engineer by Ian Sutherland

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Social Engineer by Ian Sutherland is a novella and an introduction to the white hat hacking world of Brody Taylor. Taylor is a social engineer who hacks into companies’ systems in order to find flaws that can be manipulated by black hat hackers. He then teaches these companies how to plug up the holes in their security systems. This is how Taylor normally operates; however, he meets Mel via an internet dating site and his focus changes. Mel is an animal rights activist and the next company that Taylor will hack uses animals in their testings. What is Taylor’s true motivation and how does it affect his job and the relationship with Mel?

Sutherland has created a unique story here which is told in a disjointed timeline from the recent past to the present, switching back and forth. Along the way, the reader learns how Taylor hacks HTL, a pharmaceutical company, his relationship with Mel and her friends, and his motivations. Although this is an introduction novella, Sutherland creates believable, well-crafted characters, a plot that keeps you guessing until the last sentence, and an interesting concept that makes you want to read more about this character, Brody Taylor.

I’ve read some critics who’ve said that the back and forth timeline of this story confused them. I didn’t have the same difficulty. I actually enjoyed this aspect of the novella as it gave me a chance to really get to know Brody Taylor more. There was also criticism that the ending was unsatisfactory, but that didn’t bother me either, especially since I know there are other books in this series. I found this an enjoyable, thrilling read and highly recommend it for anyone interested in thrillers and hacking.

Note: I was given a free copy of this novella by the author for an honest and fair review.

Rating: 5 Star

Genre(s): Mystery/Thriller/Suspense/Technothriller

To Purchase: Amazon 

Raised Stakes – Part One

Raised Stakes – Part One

Jack gulped down the bourbon and sat the glass back on the bar. It’d been hell the past few days. Captain Morgan had called him with two pieces of bad news – Ella had committed suicide in prison and Victor wanted to see him. Bad news comes in threes, they say. The third bit came with a call from Bobby. He hadn’t come up with anything for the latest case. Jack tossed a few bills on the bar and nodded at the bartender.

“See you around, Frank.”

“Sure thing, Mr. Diamond.”

When The Wild Card closed after Victor’s imprisonment, an Irishman from New York named O’Malley purchased the place and turned it into a proper Irish pub. He kept Frank on as bartender to keep the regulars coming back. The drinkers returned, but the businessmen who were accustomed to the singers and dancers of the nightclub slowly drifted away. Jack preferred the nightclub scene too, but he appreciated any place he could sit and have a bourbon or two.

He grabbed his coat and fedora and headed out of the bar. The drive to the prison did little to improve his mood. Rain fell upon the city in long sheets. The grey clouds blocked the sun for the third day in a row. Even the office was gloomy. Dani had gone to New York to visit her sister. By the time he pulled up at the docks, Jack was a wretched mess.

“Hey, Gessum,” Jack said to the prison guard who would ferry him across to Alcatraz.

“Evening, Mr. Diamond. Miserable day, isn’t it?”

Jack nodded. “Miserable day and a miserable reason to be here.”

Jack followed the young guard onto the ferry. He couldn’t imagine why Victor wanted to talk to him. He hadn’t seen him since the trial a year earlier. As far as Jack was concerned, they had nothing to say to one another. Victor was scum and exactly where he deserved to be. He pulled the collar of his coat up around his neck and pushed the fedora down over his eyes. The rain still soaked through to his already chilled bones.

When he arrived at Alcatraz, Jack was ushered in to see the Warden. He was a man of about fifty, grey-haired and with dark creases under his eyes. He motioned for Jack to sit down while he finished up a telephone call.

“Sorry about that, Mr. Diamond,” the Warden said as he hung up the phone. “I appreciate you taking the time to come here. Mr. Angelo has asked to see you for the past six months.”

“Any clue why?”

The Warden shook his head. “None. He got more insistent though when his half-sister committed suicide day before yesterday. Shall we?” he said as he stood up and moved around the desk to the door. Jack followed the Warden into the belly of the prison and toward the mail room.

“I’ve put you in here. I didn’t want to drag you through the general population,” the Warden stated as he opened the door.

Victor Angelo sat shackled at a table. Two guards stood on either side of him. He grinned up at Jack.

“You look like hell, Jack, but then you always look like hell,” Victor gloated.

Jack sat down across from Victor. He didn’t want to waste time with pleasantries. “What do you want, Victor?”

“Straight forward as always, I see. You know,” Victor paused as he leaned across the table and stared at Jack for a moment. “We aren’t so different, you and I,” he finally replied.

Jack sighed. Victor was up to his old tricks. “I’ll ask one more time… What do you want?”

“Not even curious why I said that?”

Jack crossed his arms and glared back at Victor. “If it will get you to the point of this visit, then sure. Tell me.”

Victor grinned. “We both have one serious flaw. Beautiful women.”

“I still don’t see your point.”

“Such a tragedy about Ella? Don’t you think?”

Jack’s patience was wearing thin. He let out a deep sigh. “Is that why you asked to see me? To talk about Ella?”

“No, I just wanted to see your reaction, but you are as cold as I am about the news. After all, she did betray both of us.”

It was true, but Ella had betrayed Jack long before she testified against Victor. She’d told lie after lie to save her own skin, leading Jack to believe that Victor or Tito had killed Jessica Daley when she’d been the one who pulled the trigger all along. But the worst betrayal was that Ella honestly believed that Jack would overlook all of her crimes and still want to be with her. She was so adamant about it that she tried to kill Angelina in a jealous rage. Sure, Jack was just a two-bit private eye and a drunk most of the time, but he’d been a police officer once and a damn good one. In the end, justice won out.

“Just get to the point, Victor.”

“That beauty you are with these days… Dani, isn’t it? You have to admit, beautiful women always get you into trouble. Or perhaps trouble has a way of finding your beautiful women.”

Jack narrowed his eyes and glared at Victor. “Is that a threat?”

Victor laughed. “How can I threaten anyone? I am stuck on this rock. Isolated for 23 hours a day. No, Jack. It isn’t me you have to worry about. But you may want to keep an eye on your girlfriend. New York is such a dangerous place.”

“What have you heard, Victor?” Jack growled at his nemesis.

Victor lifted his hands up and shrugged his shoulders. “Just bits and pieces. The grapevine in a prison can be so unreliable.”

Jack reached across the table, grabbed Victor by his jumpsuit and shook him. “Tell me!”

One of the guards loosened Jack’s grip and pushed him back into his seat. Victor laughed again, amusement dancing in his eyes.

“When you locked me up, you merely cut off one head of the hydra. And I was such a small head too. There’s an even bigger monster out there and it has its sights on your lovely girlfriend.”

“Why are you telling me this? You aren’t one to divulge information unless it gets you something in return.”

Victor leaned across the table and stared Jack in the eyes. “That’s true. I want off of this rock. You and Captain Morgan will see that it happens. That,” he said with a grin, “or I keep the information I know to myself.” Victor leaned back in his seat. “Your choice, Jack. I’d really hate to see you a broken man again.”

 

The ferry ride back to the mainland was a somber one, not to mention it felt like it took an eternity. As soon as he came ashore, Jack raced to the 5th Precinct. He ignored all of the officers at his old precinct and climbed the stairs two at a time up to the Captain’s office. Without even knocking on the door, Jack hurried inside. Just like with the Warden earlier, Captain Morgan was on the phone. He motioned for Jack to sit down and kept talking. Jack sighed and took a seat. He bounced his legs as he waited. Finally, he removed his fedora and lit a cigarette, taking several quick drawls. He flicked the ashes in his hand and leaned back in the chair.

After several more minutes, Morgan hung up the phone and handed an ashtray to Jack. “What did Victor have to say?”

Jack took the ashtray, rested it on his knee and dusted the ashes off his hand. “Nothing good. Have you heard from Dani?”

“Not since yesterday. Seriously? Victor didn’t have anything worthwhile to say?”

Jack took a long drag off of his cigarette and stumped it out in the ashtray. He looked up at the Captain and wrinkled his brow. “I think Dani’s in trouble. If not now, then she will be. Victor says he has information, but he won’t give it up unless we get him transferred out of Alcatraz.”

Morgan pushed his chair back and stood up, his face reddening with anger. “I swear if that bastard harms Dani in any way, I will kill him!”


Raised Stakes is the second novella in the Jack Diamond Noir-style Mystery series. If you missed the first novella, The Stacked Deck, you can read it here. New additions to this story will appear on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

Raised Stakes ©2016 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved. Permission must be granted to distribute or copy this serial (unless reblogging). Thank you.

 

The Stacked Deck -Part 31

Jack was in a foul mood by the time he returned to his office. He still couldn’t believe that Ella murdered those people, but she’d confessed. Ballistics on the gun would seal her fate. He’d stopped by the hospital and check on Frank and Angelina. Both were doing well. Frank and Angelina had agreed to testify against Victor and had given statements to the cops and the DA. Now all they needed was Victor. He couldn’t run forever. Angelina had wanted Jack to stay, but he couldn’t bring himself to encourage her ideas of a reunion between the two of them. That was never going to happen. She’d been right about one thing, Jack only loved one woman and it wasn’t Angelina or Ella.

When he walked into the reception room, Dani stood with her back to the desk. A box sat on the chair, and she busily wrapped and packed items into it. She didn’t acknowledge Jack’s presence. His heart sank. Had he pushed her to leave him completely? He couldn’t blame her. No decent woman deserved a cad like him. He walked into his office and hung his fedora on the coat rack and returned to the reception room. Finally, Dani turned around and smiled at him.

“Hey Jack, I wasn’t expecting you back until later,” she said as she placed another wrapped bundle into the box.

Jack sat down in the chair on the opposite side of the desk. “We wrapped up the case,” he informed her. “Well, except for Victor. He’s still on the lam.”

Dani moved the box to the floor and sat down. She crossed her leg and leaned over the desk. “Don’t worry, Jack. They will get him. Are you hungry? I could go fetch some carry-out.”

Jack didn’t get it. If she was packing to leave, why was she acting so calm? Jacked nodded toward the box. “You going somewhere?”

Dani glanced down at the box and then back at Jack. She laughed lightly. “That’s just some things…” her voice trailed off and her eyes widened. “Oh Jack! You didn’t think that I was packing it in, did you?”

Jack sighed. “Honestly, Dani, I wouldn’t blame you if you did.”

Dani grinned, stood up and walked around the desk toward Jack. “We’ve weathered worse than this. Haven’t we?” she asked as she reclined against the desk in front of him.

Jack leaned forward, wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her toward him. He buried his head in her stomach. “I don’t deserve you, Dani,” he whispered.

Dani cradled his head in her hands. She bent down and rested her head on top of his. “Who else would put up with you, Jack?”

Jack eased himself up, sliding his body along hers. He crushed her against his chest, tilted her head upward and gazed into her green eyes. He hadn’t completely realized it when Angelina said it, but it was true. He did love Dani. He’d always loved her. Chasing dames had just become a pastime because he couldn’t have her. Jack brushed her lips with his. When she didn’t protest, he kissed her with all of the passion he’d held back for so long. Dani wrapped one arm around his neck and the other around his waist. She returned his kiss, teasing him with her tongue. After a long moment, Jack released her lips and smiled down at her.

“I’ve wanted to do that for so long,” he muttered as he pressed his cheek against hers.

Dani sighed blissfully. “Why did you wait?”

Jack lifted his head. His eyes searched her face and rested upon her eyes once more. “I didn’t think… after Mason… God, Dani! I’ve been such a fool. You deserve someone better than me,” he declared as he pulled away from her and walked over toward his office door.

“Jack, I will admit it. You are probably the last man I should ever get involved with, but you are who I ache for every day. Don’t make me regret kissing you,” she said as she walked toward him.

Jack turned around and wrapped his arms around her once more. “What if I hurt you?” he pleaded. “I couldn’t live with myself if I did, Dani.”

Dani smiled up at him and whispered, “If you hurt me, I will tell Daddy.”

Jack knew she would too. She was the Captain’s daughter after all. Jack laughed and pulled her into a hug. He leaned down to kiss her again when the door opened. Bobby walked in and stood there gawking at them.

“Girlfriend material,” Bobby said with a chuckle.

Jack grinned at him and released Dani. She smoothed back her hair and flashed Bobby a cynical smile. The three walked into Jack’s office. Jack sat down behind his desk, while Booby took a seat across from him and Dani sat down on the edge of the desk.

“Good news, boss,” Bobby said.

“Oh?”

“They got Victor.”

Dani clapped her hands and grinned at Jack. “It’s about time!”

“I hope they send that guy to Alcatraz!” Jack exclaimed. He pulled out his bourbon bottle and three glasses from the bottom drawer. He poured the amber liquid into each glass and handed one to Dani and Bobby. He held his up and shouted, “Cheers!” The three downed their drinks and laughed.

The phone rang and Dani picked it up. She took a notepad from Jack’s desk and wrote down some information. “I’ll have him call you, Mr. Clarke,” she said and hung the phone up. “Looks like we’ve got another case.”

THE END


The Stacked Deck is a noir-style WhoDunIt serial which has appeared as 31 parts, told every day in March. I hope you enjoyed the story.

The Stacked Deck ©2016 Lori Carlson. All rights reserved. Permission must be granted to distribute or copy this serial (unless reblogging). Thank you.

Click the link to catch up on the other parts of this story:

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23. Part 24, Part 25, Part 26, Part 27, Part 28, Part 29, Part 30