Welcome to the first day of February. Not only do we have Valentine’s Day this month, but we also have these fantastic releases by my cohorts over at Backspace. Curl up by the fire and enjoy one of these puppies on those long cold winter nights!

T. J. Forrester – MIRACLES, INC. (Simon & Schuster, February 1, 2011)

 The rise and fall of a ne’er-do-well–turned–preacher fuels Forrester’s promising debut. Waiting to be executed in a Florida prison, Vernon Oliver reluctantly agrees to write his autobiography at the request of his attorney, who hopes to sell it to cover Vernon’s legal fees. His story begins 11 years earlier, in 1997, living in an RV park and working for Tabernacle Carnival, a shady Holy Roller church. His girlfriend, Rickie, sells Bibles, and the two are content to mostly get high and play Scrabble until carnival owner Miriam MacKenzie sees epic televangelist potential in Vernon and packs him off to religious boot camp where Vernon meets the actors who will receive his “healing” touch. Soon he’s taking the stage in pyrotechnic displays of Jesus-loving fervor, amid cries of blasphemy from other Pentecostal leaders and a crumbling relationship with Rickie. While alternating between Vernon’s autobiography leading up to the act that lands him on death row and his life in prison is a structural choice that mostly pays off, the depiction of life in prison suffers compared to the inventiveness of Vernon’s life as a sham faith healer. 

Lisa McMann – CRYER’S CROSS (February 8, 2011);

 The small town of Cryer’s Cross is rocked by tragedy when an unassuming freshman disappears without a trace. Kendall Fletcher wasn’t that friendly with the missing girl, but the angst wreaks havoc on her OCD-addled brain.

 When a second student goes missing—someone close to Kendall’s heart—the community is in an uproar. Caught in a downward spiral of fear and anxiety, Kendall’s not sure she can hold it together. When she starts hearing the voices of the missing, calling out to her and pleading for help, she fears she’s losing her grip on reality. But when she finds messages scratched in a desk at school—messages that could only be from the missing student who used to sit there—Kendall decides that crazy or not, she’d never forgive herself if she didn’t act on her suspicions.

 Something’s not right in Cryer’s Cross—and Kendall’s about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.

J.E. Taylor – END GAME (eXcessica February 14, 2011)

 Chris Ryan has everything he’s ever dreamed of: the love of a beautiful woman, two amazing children, an obscene amount of money and mystical powers beyond his wildest dreams.

 His perfectly planned Valentine’s Day proposal hits a speed bump when Jessica receives a call from her ex-husband and agrees to attend the premier of his movie in New York City. A movie Chris isn’t so sure he wants to see, especially on the same night as his wedding.

 Sharing the spotlight with her ex becomes the least of his concerns when three thousand miles away on the sunny coast of California, a scorned woman activates a contract on Jessica.

 He lands in the cross hairs between an endless trail of assassins and his wife, fending them off and vowing revenge on the crazy bitch that set them loose. But his valiant efforts crumble in a near fatal hit leaving him on the brink.

 In the dark plane between life and death, Chris is given a choice: Save his family or save his soul.

Sara J. Henry – LEARNING TO SWIM (Shaye Areheart Books February 22, 2011)

 The opening lines of Sara J. Henry’s moving and disturbing novel plunge us directly into the action, along with our narrator, Troy Chance. It is a child she’s seen thrown overboard. Harrowing minutes later, Troy and a terrified little boy emerge shivering from the spring chill of Vermont’s Lake Champlain.

 Troy is a freelance writer living in Lake Placid, New York, with no responsibilities to speak of and just a few close friends. Suddenly, little Paul is in her life. Her fierce protective feelings stun her. Who could even think of doing such a thing to a child? She’s repulsed and determined to find out in equal measure. Her search will take her into a world of great wealth—a world in which horrible things are all too imaginable, a world in which she’ll either sink or swim. And along the way, she’ll come to discover that it is amazing what you can do if you don’t stop to think.

J.A. Konrath – SHAKEN (February 22, 2011);

 Since her debut in Whiskey Sour, Lieutenant Jacqueline “Jack” Daniels has dealt with her fair share of criminals. But she may have finally met her match in “Mr. K,” the brutal serial killer who has eluded Jack not once, but twice, over the years. Mr. K is the essence of evil, credited with more than two hundred horrific homicides. Now, on a hot August night, Jack finally gets the chance to face the maniac—unfortunately, she must do so while bound and gagged in a storage locker, primed to be his next victim. As she awaits her fate, Jack looks back on her career, from her first homicide case to her recent retirement. The twenty-five years in between saw Jack’s attitude toward justice, the law, her job, and her personal life shift drastically. She is a different woman now…but is she good enough to stop a madman? Novelist J. A. Konrath’s trademark blend of suspense and wry humor are on full display in this tense thriller, a gripping tale that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.

The rest of this month is packed with guest interviews starting with a very special guest – A.S. King award winning author of Dust of 100 Dogs and Please Ignore Vera Dietz. On the 11th, I have romantic suspense author Betty Ann Harris and then on the 18th, we have Betty Sullivan LaPierre. 

 Until Friday…

 Ciao,

JET

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