Monday, May 27, 2019

The American Crusade NBtM

A power-hungry vice president, a bad batch of shady intelligence, and a sinister plot to destroy Western civilization.

Just another day in America.

On May 1, 2001, a group of radical Islamic terrorists crash a Boeing 737 jet airliner into the Mall of America—and Vice President Robert Hornsby knows his moment is coming.

The attack kills three thousand American citizens and throws an entire nation into a panic, but all Hornsby sees is an opportunity, a chance to imprint his fanatical values on the soul of the country he loves and become the most powerful vice president in American history.

With the aid of his affable but ineffectual president; the reluctant, conscience-stricken secretary of defense; and a preening, foppish faith leader with more than a few skeletons in his closet; Hornsby declares war on terror—and anyone who stands in his way. But as media scrutiny of the administration’s actions overseas intensifies, Hornby’s one-man campaign against evil begins to unravel—with striking parallels to the thirteenth century’s doomed Fourth Crusade—and sends the nation spiraling toward another deadly tragedy.

The American Crusade paints a grim and often cynical picture of America’s recent past, reflecting the attitudes, politics, and fears that shaped our nation in the new millennium. By sampling the contemporaneous French text on the Fourth Crusade, On the Conquest of Constantinople, author Mark Spivak reminds us of that ever-vital adage: “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”

Fans of The Castle by Jack Pinter, The President Is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson, House of Cards by Michael Dobbs, The Whistler by John Grisham, and the Aaron Sorkin–penned TV drama The West Wing will love this book.

To President George Cane, the assembled group represented “the full force and moral authority of the United States of America.”

To the Reverend Sanford J. Bayer, head of the White House Office of Faith and Reconciliation (known internally as the Woofers), they symbolized “the lawful arm of God’s righteous Kingdom … preparing to strike at the heart of our enemy.”

To Salman Al-Akbar, leader of the worldwide terrorist organization Husam al Din and the reason the dignitaries were gathered at this press conference, they were “the cancerous core of modern civilization, bleeding like an ulcer that must be removed.”

They included the heads of both houses of Congress, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Directors of the FBI and CIA, most of the Cabinet, and the Chief Justice of the United States.

And to the Vice President, who had assembled this improbable group, they were the usual suspects.


If you spend any time at all on social media, you know that politics is the subject of the moment. For better or worse, the current climate is super-heated and divisive. The silver lining is that more people are interested in the working of government and are expressing their opinions.

During the 15 years I spent in Washington, D.C., I became a political junkie simply by breathing the air. I weaved much of that fascination into my new political thriller, The American Crusade.

The year is 2001. George Cane, the affable and ineffective nephew of former President Herbert Cane, is in the White House. The power behind the throne is Robert Barton Hornsby, vice president and former CIA director—a man once characterized by The New Yorker as “the spy who refused to come in from the cold.” Hornsby was initially selected to run as vice president on the Cane ticket to provide legitimacy and guidance to the young governor.

On May 1, a group of terrorists hijack a jetliner and fly it into the Mall of America. Later that day, no fewer than six suicide attacks are carried out around the country, bringing the death toll to 3,000. America is at war with an amorphous and unknown enemy. Robert Hornsby seizes control of the U.S. government, and will not let go.

In the novel, the Middle East was carved up after World War II into three super-states: Kabulistan, Sumeristan and Persepostan. Initial intelligence reports link the terrorists to the Kabulistan border, where they are operating in the mountains with assistance from local warlords. President Cane announces that the U.S. will invade Kabulistan, topple the government and destroy the terrorist network. Suddenly and inexplicably, however, he changes his mind and informs the country that the dictator of Sumeristan, Hussein Ghazi, is the true culprit.

Both the Democratic Congress and the media are skeptical of this about-face, since they feel that Cane is trying to vindicate his uncle, who also invaded Sumeristan but failed to get a successful long-term outcome. Their objections are drowned out by the wave of patriotism that follows the attacks, and the invasion goes forward. During the U.S. occupation that follows, the situation begins to unravel, and the country spirals downward toward a massive foreign policy failure.

The modern story of the Sumeristan invasion is interspersed with excerpts from an eyewitness account of the Fourth Crusade. As the story develops, the parallels between the two events become strikingly and eerily similar.

This is not a 9/11 story: It is a meditation on the follies of history. Does history repeat itself, or are we the ones who keep repeating it? Read The American Crusade and form your own conclusions.

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Author Bio and Links:
In the realm of non-fiction, award-winning author Mark Spivak focuses on wine, spirits, food, restaurants and culinary travel. His first book, Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History, was published by Lyons Press in 2012. He followed this with Moonshine Nation (Lyons Press, 2014), hailed as the definitive book on illegal corn whiskey in America. From 1994-1999 he was the wine writer for the Palm Beach Post, and was honored for excellence in wine criticism “in a graceful and approachable style.” Since 2001 he has been the Wine & Spirits Editor for the Palm Beach Media Group, and contributes to a number of national magazines. He is also the holder of the Certificate and Advanced Diplomas from the Court of Master Sommeliers.

Mark’s first novel, Friend of the Devil, was published by Black Opal Books in May 2016. Set in Palm Beach in 1990, it tells the story of America’s most famous chef, who has sold his soul to the Devil for fame and fortune.

Mark also has an endless fascination with the American political system and is an avid follower of Washington politics. His second novel, The American Crusade (a gripping political thriller set during the invasion of Iraq, which dips into the shadowy world of government conspiracy and political sabotage), will be released by TCK Publishing on April 4. He is currently at work on Impeachment, the sequel to The American Crusade.

Visit Mark's website at, and sign up for his free newsletter and political

Thursday, May 23, 2019

That Guy and That Girl VBT

Olivia Meadows is excited to finish her senior year of college as a volleyball national champion beside her teammates and best friends. A complication arrives in the form of John Hunter, that guy, her brother’s best friend whom she has had a secret crush on since she was eleven years old. Effortlessly charming and handsome, with a body honed by years of playing football, John initiates his charm offensive and Olivia finds herself unable to resist him.

John Hunter is pumped to finish his senior year of college as a football national champion beside his teammate and best friend. The only thing missing is that girl, Olivia Meadows, his best friend’s little sister. He needed to sow some wild oats before settling down with Olivia but now he is ready for something serious with the girl he has always admired.

Be careful what you wish for. John and Olivia find themselves dealing with adult consequences very quickly and wondering if their young love can endure the pressures of adulthood. Will they find deeper love or implode from the pressures of their own making?

It feels like a secret magical place. No one else is around and I can’t even hear the usual sounds of campus from here. I jump in, “Can I go first?”

I’m really proud of what I’ve written and knowing how great Olivia is with words, I don’t want to follow her. “Of course,” she answers. I face her, take out my folded paper, and grab one of her hands. I take a moment to look at her. No rush. Everything else has been so fast that I’ve barely gotten to take it in. This, I want to remember and feel.

She squeezes my hand which reassures me that I’m not alone here. We are in this together. I take a deep breath and begin. “Olivia Meadows, I didn’t know it at the time but I’ve loved you since I was sixteen years old. You generously helped me with an English paper about The Age of Innocence and that was it for me.”

She jumps in, “I remember that.” I smile back.

“My turn here,” I remind her with a grin. She holds up her hands in surrender. We hold one hand again and I return to my paper, “As I was saying…what that study session did was create a need in me that could only be filled by you. I saw the book’s world through your eyes and realized that I had been missing so much. It also showed me that, through your eyes, everything is brighter, deeper, and more. I was a little too wild then to want to slow down but I’m not now.”

Natalia, thanks so much for stopping by. So how did you get started writing?
I’ve been writing my whole life but I never really considered it “real writing.” I would make little mini books and I’ve always been a mega journaler. So in some ways, I’ve always been a writer. But if you mean, how did I get started in this form, I started in the summer of 2018 when I needed to give myself a break from screenwriting. I wanted something fun that I’d never tried to do before so a romance novel it was! I’m a lifelong fan of the genre.

What was the inspiration for your book?
I realized after I started writing it that I was inspired to write the book I would have happily binged when I was twenty-two and confused about what came next. I have a LOT in common with my main character, Olivia. When I was a senior in college I had no idea what I wanted to do and I really didn’t want to make decisions about it. Olivia faces very different other obstacles than I did though.

What’s a genre you haven’t written in yet that you’d like to?
I think if I could dream up a really cool writing scenario it would be to find someone to collaborate with who would be interested in building a post-apocalyptic or alternative history world. I’d love someone to bounce ideas off of and then we could co-write a series based in that world of ours. I wouldn’t even mind if they weren’t strictly romance as long as there was some romance in the background at least.

Are there any genres you won’t read or write in? Why?
I don’t think it’s so much that I “won’t” read or write in any genres as much as there are some genres that I haven’t really made friends with. I don’t seem to gravitate to fantasy or paranormal but with a good solid recommendation I’d give just about anything a try. My brain is pretty grounded in reality (which isn’t always good) so for me it takes a lot to make me willingly suspend my disbelief.

What are you up to now? Do you have any releases planned, or are you still writing?
I’m in the outlining stage of a prequel novella to That Guy and That Girl. In the book we meet Kate, John’s older sister, and I decided I wanted to write her story. I also decided I wanted to try my hand at a novella. There’s something appealing to me about the length of a novella so I want to give it a try.

Alright, now for some random, fun questions. Favorite color?
Gold but that can change at any time.

Favorite movie?
Coal Miner’s Daughter—classic Sissy Spacek and so quotable.   

Book that inspired you to become an author?
This changes honestly but for today, I’d say Are You There God? It’s Me Margaret.

You have one superpower. What is it?
 I’d love to be invisible because I’m nosy and I’d love to eavesdrop without consequences.

You can have dinner with any 3 people, dead, alive, fictitious, etc. Who are they?
Wow. Hmm. Queen Oprah, my father’s mother who has passed, and Ava DuVernay

Last question: Which of your characters are you most like and how/why?
Olivia Meadows in That Guy and That Girl: we’re both biracial, struggle with perfectionism, twenty-two in 1992, and love handsome athletes.

That’s all from me, thanks for taking the time to stop by!
Thanks for having me, what a privilege!

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Author Bio and Links:
Natalia is a lifelong reader and lover of romance novels. Before finally tapping away at her keyboard to create her own stories, she tried all sorts of professions: elementary school teacher, barista, seller of make-up, baker, and the list goes on. When she isn't pursuing the arts, she's hanging out with her husband, two wacky children, and full-figured Corgi.

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Monday, May 20, 2019

Murder by Munchausen Book Blast

A police procedural sci fi thriller ripped from future headlines!

After Jake shoots and kills a murder suspect who turns out to be the son of a powerful city councilman, he finds himself demoted to the Artificial Crimes Unit, tracking down androids hacked and programmed to be hit men.

When his case of an “extra-judicial” divorce settlement takes a nasty turn with DNA from a hundred-year-old murder in Boston and a signature that harkens back to the very first serial killer ever in London, Jake finds himself tangled up in the brutal slayings of prostitutes being investigated by his former Robbery/Homicide partner, Maddie–who is now his lover.

But a madman, The Baron, is just getting started with his AI recreations of Jack the Ripper's brutal crimes. And Maddie and Jake are teamed up again to stop the carnage as the Baron's army of human replicants imitate history's most notorious serial killers.

"It might not make sense, but the beloved Media tags it 'Murder by Munchausen.' For a price, there are hackers out there who will reprogram a synthoid to do your dirty work. The bad news: no fingerprints or DNA left at the crime scene. The good news—at least for us—is that they’re like missiles: once they hit their target, they’re usually as harmless as empty brass. The trick is to get them before they melt down their core OS data, so you can get the unit into forensics for analysis and, hopefully, an arrest." [excerpt from Murder by Munchausen]

Artificial Intelligence? Fuhgeddaboudit!

Artificial Evil has a name…Munchausen.

The Three Laws

1. A civilian-owned and operated synthetic humanoid entity may not act in any manner so as to engage in or cause any harmful or offensive contact against a human being or, through inaction, allow a human being to come to harm.

2. A civilian-owned and operated synthetic humanoid entity must obey the directives and orders given it by human beings except in those instances where such directives and orders would conflict with the First Law.

3. A civilian-owned and operated synthetic humanoid entity may protect its own existence as long as such protection does not conflict with the First or Second Laws.

Federal Technology Administration Regulations

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About the Author:
M.T. Bass is a scribbler of fiction who holds fast to the notion that while victors may get to write history, novelists get to write/right reality. He lives, writes, flies and makes music in Mudcat Falls, USA.

Born in Athens, Ohio, M.T. Bass grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. He graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University, majoring in English and Philosophy, then worked in the private sector (where they expect “results”) mainly in the Aerospace & Defense manufacturing market. During those years, Bass continued to write fiction. He is the author of eight novels: My Brother’s Keeper, Crossroads, In the Black, Somethin’ for Nothin’, Murder by Munchausen, The Darknet (Murder by Munchausen Mystery #2), The Invisible Mind (Murder by Munchausen Mystery #3) and Article 15. His writing spans various genres, including Mystery, Adventure, Romance, Black Comedy and TechnoThrillers. A Commercial Pilot and Certified Flight Instructor, airplanes and pilots are featured in many of his stories. Bass currently lives on the shores of Lake Erie near Lorain, Ohio.

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Murder by Munchausen Trilogy Buy Links:
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Sunday, May 12, 2019

Fresh off the Starship VBT

Love to laugh? You'll enjoy this feel-good tale.

A starbeing skyrockets to Earth from the other side of forever with a specific assignment: to help steer humanity away from the collision course it's on. But we all know how travel can get drastically diverted--instead of landing in Washington, D.C., where she could assist on a grand geopolitical scale, she ends up in...Kansas!

Wrong place, right time? Join our shero on this whimsical journey as she pursues her purpose as well as discovers the beauty of life and love on Earth.

Ohhhhhhhh—what a strange place this is! Loud noises, awful smells, strange beings looking at me.

The woman struggles to lift her hand just a few inches off the bed, clearly shocked to see it. Oh. Right. I’m one of those strange beings now.

She stares up at the group staring down at her.

This is odd. Do humans just stare at each other?

“Well, you’ve had a very, very long journey back here,” the doctor says. 

You’re not kidding.

“We should give you some time,” the doctor continues.

When can I go back in the other direction?

“Don’t push her,” the doctor emphasizes to the other three humanoids. “Give her lots of time and space.”

Time and space. Oh, you have no idea.

“Where am I?”

The group, obviously ecstatic that she can talk but dismayed by her question, turns to the doctor.

“Missy, yer in a hospital room. You had a terrible accident a few months ago, and we thought we lost you at one point. But yer a tough survivor and fought yer way back here.”

That’s truer than you know.

“Perhaps we should just let her sleep some more,” the doctor tells them. “That’s when most of the body’s healing takes place.” She ushers them out of the room. “Amnesia can be a strange, strange thing,” the doctor starts to say. “The brain—” But she shuts the door and the voices are muffled.

Ohhhhhhh, I have a feeling I’m not in the Andromeda galaxy anymore.

Thank you so much for this opportunity. Here’s just a little about me and then about my book……I’m an award-winning documentary filmmaker and the author of six books, all on Amazon. I live with my husband in Colorado with my two adult step-children nearby. I’ve traveled the world extensively (70 countries and all 50 states), including two complete circumnavigations of the globe. Our showtune-belting parrot (who would’ve taught him those?!) keeps us smiling.

I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil, but really writing—as in books—since my mid-twenties, so that’s been 30 years. My mother was very sick and wanted to be writer; soon after she died I went off to college, and in my grief I tried to shut that part of me down. I ended up studying business, trying to go in another direction. But writing patiently waited until I could return to it.

Book ideas just come to me and don’t leave me alone until I write them down. The characters knock on my door, visit me in the shower, sit with me in the car as I’m driving, wake me up in the middle of the night because they want to talk, and basically hang out until their story is in print. I just start where the book wants me to start it and fill in the story – forward, backward, beginning, end – as it comes.

Fresh off the Starship was soooooooo much fun to write. Taking a starbeing and having her wake up in a human body – as a fully grown, aware adult – and learning how wonderful it is to be human and experience all the beautiful things of this world…well, I was in Heaven writing this book. Write what a number of firsts would be like – taking a sip of water, slipping into a bath, watching a sunset, making love – well, that was so enjoyable for me.

One of the things I wanted to say with this book is that each person is so much more magnificent and powerful than she or he probably realizes, and this life we have is such a miracle, such a gift.

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Author Bio and Links:
I'm a fun-loving, world-traveling, high-flying, deep-diving, and living-to-the-max author of eight books. When I'm not flying planes, scuba diving, climbing every mountain (on the back of my husband’s motorcycle) or riding the world’s fastest roller coasters, you can find me in my writing nest with a view of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains out the window. I've lived all over--from both oceans white with foam, to the prairie, and now to the mountain. Yes, a little backwards, but what the hey.

My bestselling and award-winning novels go as high and deep as I do—they’re profound yet funny; playful although poignant; heart-opening and heart-lifting; thought-provoking and inspiring; and edgy while universal. I'm also a screenwriter and award-winning filmmaker and humanitarian.

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Friday, May 10, 2019

The Hierophant's Daughter VBT

By 4042 CE, the Hierophant and his Church have risen to political dominance with his cannibalistic army of genetically modified humans: martyrs. In an era when mankind's intergenerational cold wars against their long-lived predators seem close to running hot, the Holy Family is poised on the verge of complete planetary control. It will take a miracle to save humanity from extinction.

It will also take a miracle to resurrect the wife of 331-year-old General Dominia di Mephitoli, who defects during martyr year 1997 AL in search of Lazarus, the one man rumored to bring life to the dead. With the Hierophant's Project Black Sun looming over her head, she has little choice but to believe this Lazarus is really all her new friends say he is--assuming he exists at all--and that these companions of hers are really able to help her. From the foulmouthed Japanese prostitute with a few secrets of her own to the outright sapient dog who seems to judge every move, they don't inspire a lot of confidence, but the General has to take the help she can get.

After all, Dominia is no ordinary martyr. She is THE HIEROPHANT'S DAUGHTER, and her Father won't let her switch sides without a fight. Not when she still has so much to learn.

The dystopic first entry of an epic cyberpunk trilogy, THE HIEROPHANT’S DAUGHTER is a horror/sci-fi adventure sure to delight and inspire adult readers of all stripes.


Miki Soto

What couldn’t a person access from the Japanese Internet? The question inspired Dominia to get out of the bathtub for another look at the card. There was no address, whether web or physical, as there hadn’t been an address on the ad floating across that billboard; instead, when she studied the lotus embossed upon the card, the DIOX-I highlighted it as though it were a link. How fascinating, this augmented reality! After fixing the device’s settings back to manual control, she “clicked” on the link with an unsteady wink, and her right field of vision was covered by the floating window of a browser. Had she cochlear implants, she would have heard some sort of music, or even a voice accompanying the woman’s writhing in and out of the browser’s dark: less a whole person, and more a disembodied assortment of lips, fingers, lower backs, and thighs. At last, the vision disappeared to present her with the crimson words, “WELCOME TO THE RED MARKET.”

A button appeared: “Connect Your Halcyon for Age Verification.” The idea of giving the women of the international and highly loathed illegal organization any information might have stopped her in a simpler time, as it surely stopped 70 percent of potential Red Market customers—the ones able to access the site, anyway, inaccessible from Europa and the Front through traditional routes. That had been all the Hierophant could do to combat in any meaningful way the world’s oldest profession-cum-cult. Far trickier than hampering Internet access was controlling in-person transactions in gold or silver, or the off-brand cryptocurrency, Redcoin; and because there were almost no freelance prostitutes left in the world, catching a working girl was difficult.

Any weird things you do when you’re alone?
Do psychedelics count?  No, really, I’m a very responsible citizen. Probably the weirdest thing I do is dabble in the esoteric arts, but that, like all things, is an extension of my writing.

What is your favorite quote and why?
Too hard! I don’t think I have one particular favorite quote—at least, it shifts all the time. But if I had to pick one it’s usually “A paranoid is someone who knows a little of what's going on.” William S. Burroughs.

Who is your favorite author and why?
If you had asked me six months ago I would have still said Nabokov, but this past year I’ve read Gene Wolfe’s Book of the New Sun and about 10 Philip K. Dick novels. I’m going to have to give it to either one of those fine fellows—Wolfe because his prose is just stunning, and his stories elevate me to another plane of existence. His prose had a really positive impact on The Disgraced Martyr Trilogy, because I read it while in the early phases of the editing process. But PKD was a visionary genius whose echoes are felt in all sci-fi to this day, whether literature or film.

What, in your opinion, are the most important elements of good writing?
There’s a balance of linguistic flow and plot pacing which must be delicately struck. I don’t have patience for writers who wander off for ten paragraphs telling me about a field of flowers, but I also lack patience for authors who hasten through all their descriptions and give barren, staggered sentences. I love Chuck Palahniuk but I think he has a lot of imitators in the adult fiction world right now, and they’re not all as good as he is.

Where did you get the idea for this book?
My biggest goal with this story was to give the vampire back its fangs. The archetype has been one linked to romance and sexuality since before Stoker, but I feel from a social standpoint we’ve neglected the horrific aspects of the figures for about a decade now. Is that healthy for us? I don’t really know. I’ve talked about it elsewhere so I won’t ramble here, but the first thing I wanted to do was to push vampires, or something like vampires, back into the arena of actual horror. And what’s more horrific than outright cannibalism? One step beyond the romantic blood-drinking of Dracula—but, at the same time, the horrific aspects of the martyr race in The Disgraced Martyr Trilogy are still couched in this psychosexual atmosphere, and, when it comes to the Holy Martyr Church, a religious atmosphere. I guess I wanted to explore our Western cultural tendency toward fetishization—of celebrity heroes and villains, of violence, of religion, of even our monsters—and how important it is that we examine our urge to that.

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Author Bio and Links:
M.F. Sullivan is the author of Delilah, My Woman, The Lightning Stenography Device, and a slew of plays in addition to the Trilogy. She lives in Ashland, Oregon with her boyfriend and her cat, where she attends the local Shakespeare Festival and experiments with the occult. Find more information about her work (and plenty of free essays) at!

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Thursday, May 9, 2019

Where the Night Never Ends Review Tour

A chance encounter between a penniless young woman in search of her missing brother and a hobo burdened with a big secret takes both on a journey to Chicago's glamorous yet crime-ridden 1920s, where prostitution, bootlegging, and corruption rule. Separated by fate and reunited by chance, WHERE THE NIGHT NEVER ENDS is an unforgettable tale of courage and perseverance, a tribute to the triumph of hope and love against all odds.

When feisty and headstrong Samantha Bruno loses her mother in a freak accident, she decides to search for her brother, Angelo, who didn't return from a business trip to Chicago seven months earlier. It is the year 1924, the height of prohibition, and the city of Cincinnati is in the midst of a deep recession. Narrowly escaping a band of thugs, Sam meets Paul, a mysterious hobo with a big secret. Together they embark on a harrowing journey to Chicago, where Al Capone is building an empire.

Just when it seems their friendship is blossoming into something more, a raid tears Sam and Paul apart. Sam is sold into a brothel while Paul is arrested. Trapped without money and desperate to escape her new profession, Sam realizes she is on her own. Not only to free herself and search for her brother among Chicago's three million residents, but also to do the impossible--find Paul.

During his hearing, Paul learns that his father, a wealthy Chicago inventor, is on his deathbed. The judge, an old family friend, gives Paul an ultimatum. See your father or go to jail. Reluctantly, Paul returns home, where he finds that his decision to run away seven years earlier was based on a terrible mistake.

Narrated in alternating chapters by Sam and Paul, with rich historical detail, complex characters, and stunning prose, award-winning author Annette Oppenlander once again delivers a touching novel that lets us imagine what it was like to live and love during the roaring 1920s.


I awoke in the early morning, my bones chilled as if they could fracture. I stomped back and forth in the abandoned lot until an inkling of warmth returned to my feet and hands. Remembering the sack from yesterday, I pinched my nose and took a drink from the whiskey. I shook myself as the liquid edged a fiery trail down my throat and gathered heat in my middle.

I’d made up my mind to leave.

What about Papa’s favorite cooking pot made from cast-iron? And his knife used for cutting ingredients, Mamma’s quilt that carried her scent? Should I return and check? Visit my girlfriend, Helen, who lived on the same block? We’d gone to school together, but Helen worked in a canning factory six days a week because her father worked there too.

No, I couldn’t risk it. Talbott had no doubt taken over my apartment and everything in it. Or he was lying in wait. There was no telling what he’d do if he caught me.

Straightening my achy knees, I stumbled onto the street and turned south. Frost covered the muddy trail and puddles. I filled my lungs because the air was almost bearable this morning, not yet soiled with manure from the daily herding of pigs to slaughter and the neglected dirty skin of men out of work.

I’d go search for my brother. He was bound to be in Chicago and he had to be alive. I was sure of it. Why else had there been that mysterious Chicago Tribune newspaper in the mailbox? It had only happened once—it couldn’t be a coincidence. But for some reason Angelo had chosen not to return, not even write. Something big had to have happened, something that had scared Angelo into abandoning mighty George Remus, abandoning Mamma and me. If there was any chance he was still there, I had to find him.

Only when the rail yard came into view did I realize I knew nothing about traveling on trains. In my cluttered brain, I’d figured to catch a free train north. How else was I going to get there without money? Buses required tickets. Walking took weeks and provisions I didn’t have.

Hundreds of cargo wagons stretched in every direction, seemingly parked helter-skelter along miles of rails. Where they went was anybody’s guess. There was a chill in the air, a frigid wind whistling along the tracks. It carried none of the filthy odor I knew from my neighborhood, but something unfamiliar and hostile. I tucked my coat around me, the shotgun a comfortable weight beneath my armpit. I’d fashioned a loop into the lining, the butt of the gun resting in the inner seam of my coat.

Angelo’s blue eyes, so much like my own, appeared in my vision. I angrily wiped a sleeve across my face and climbed over the first rails.

I’d heard of hobos, men crisscrossing the country in search of jobs. Surely one of them knew how to find Chicago. I’d simply ask directions.

“Look what we gots here,” a voice snickered.

“Is the girly lost?” another chimed in.

“She needs a fella to help her out,” a third voice said as the man attached to it stepped into my way. “Where to, doll?” His grin exposed a graveyard of foul teeth. There was no telling how old the man was, his face hidden behind a jungle of beard and month’s worth of grime.

I stopped abruptly, hugging the sack with my remaining supplies to my chest. Unless I threw everything down and had space and time to wrestle out my shotgun, I didn’t stand a chance.

My Review:
4 stars

While everyone talks about the glamour of the roarin’ 20s, it’s easy to overlook the grittier, darker side of that time. Not here though. Where the Night Ends perfectly captures the 20s as a whole, and the level of detail, from real-life historical figures accurately woven in to beautifully detailed scenery, is phenomenal. I can’t even imagine how much research the author put into this book, but it definitely shows.

I enjoyed the chemistry between Sam and Paul, as it felt realistic and drove the story along. Add that and plenty of action and adventure with a little mystery thrown in, and you’re on one heck of a ride. The only downside I had with the story was that Sam irritated me at times because I felt that some of her actions didn’t match the time period or her own abilities. For example, constantly rushing into situations she was not equipped to handle. It felt a little forced to move the story along, which seemed a bit odd to me considering how detailed and accurate other characters and situations were.

Even with that, I still enjoyed the story, and would recommend it to anyone looking for a well-researched historical fiction.

*I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.*

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Author Bio and Links:
Annette Oppenlander is an award-winning writer, literary coach and educator. As a bestselling historical novelist, Oppenlander is known for her authentic characters and stories based on true events, coming alive in well-researched settings. Having lived in Germany the first half of her life and the second half in various parts in the U.S., Oppenlander inspires readers by illuminating story questions as relevant today as they were in the past.

Oppenlander’s bestselling true WWII story, Surviving the Fatherland, won multiple awards, including the 2017 U.S. National Indie Excellence Award. Her historical time-travel trilogy, Escape from the Past, takes readers to the German Middle Ages and the Wild West. Uniquely, Oppenlander weaves actual historical figures and events into her plots, giving readers a flavor of true history while enjoying a good story. Oppenlander shares her knowledge through writing workshops at colleges, libraries, festivals and schools. She also offers vivid presentations and author visits. The mother of fraternal twins and a son, she recently returned to her home, Solingen, Germany where she lives with her husband and old mutt, Mocha.

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