Lou and JonBenét by John Wesley Anderson

I missed getting this one to review in advance, so I purchased a kindle copy on my own since I am still haunted by the death of this little girl. This was an interesting read – almost a memoir of this author’s work life with Lou Smit and then his taking up the work of solving the Ramsey murder. While some of the information about the case was disturbing, it was interesting to read of their efforts to find JonBenét’s murderer and to avert suspicion from the family. I’ve always felt so sad for that family – to lose a child in such a horrific way and then to be accused of doing it. The author comes down pretty hard on the Boulder police as well. Anyhow – if you are a true crime follower and want a solid read on the Ramsey murder, then don’t miss this new release.

LOU & JONBENÉT by John Wesley Anderson

About LOU AND JONBENÉT: A Legendary Lawman’s Quest To Solve A Child Beauty Queen’s Murder 

On Christmas Night 1996, six-year-old JonBenét Ramsey was murdered in her family’s home in Boulder, Colorado. A ransom note was found in the home, but it was hours before her father, John, found her body in the basement. She had been strangled with a garrote and her skull was fractured.The media sensationalized the tragic death of the “child beauty queen” and public speculation and rumors ran rampant. What followed was one of the most notorious unsolved murder investigations in American history.Boulder police fixated on JonBenét’s parents as suspects. Needing investigative help, the Boulder DA brought in legendary homicide detective Lou Smit. However, he was soon disenchanted with law enforcement’s obsession with the Ramsey family as the primary suspects, excluding other possibilities. Smit resigned but continued to work on his own time, and at his own expense, determined to find justice for JonBenét. He determined the Ramsey family was not involved in her death but died in 2010 before he could identify the killer. Thousands of people attended his funeral service, including John Ramsey, and the detective’s lifelong friend and colleague, John Anderson. Along with a handful of retired detectives, Anderson and Smit’s family continue to pursue justice based on Smit’s work. Now, for the first time in LOU AND JONBENET, Anderson tells the story of Smit’s investigation and why the Smit family team now believes that the killer can be identified.

John Wesley Anderson, MBA, is a published author, storyteller, and TEDx speaker. He enjoyed a 30-year law enforcement career and was twice elected Sheriff for El Paso County, Colorado (1995-2003). Prior to serving as Sheriff, John was employed with the Colorado Springs Police Department and retired at the rank of sergeant (1972-1995).  John has traveled around the world yet  remains most fascinated by the rich history and art discovered in his own backyard in the American Southwest.

How I’ll Kill You by Ren DeStefano

So I’m in the middle of reading this novel now and it’s crazy twisted and I’m having a hard time putting it down!! It’s well-written and fast-moving, but it’s also one of those books that once you start reading it, you just can’t stop thinking about it!

A big thanks to Berkeley Books for sending this my way!


Your next stay-up-all-night thriller, about identical triplets who have a nasty habit of killing their boyfriends, and what happens when the youngest commits their worst crime yet: falling in love with her mark.

Make him want you.
Make him love you.
Make him dead.

Sissy has an…interesting family. Always the careful one, always the cautious one, she has handled the cleanup while her serial killer sisters have carved a path of carnage across the U.S. Now, as they arrive in the Arizona heat, Sissy must step up and embrace the family pastime of making a man fall in love and then murdering him. Her first target? A young widower named Edison—and their mutual attraction is instant. While their relationship progresses, and most couples would be thinking about picking out china patterns and moving in together, Sissy’s family is reminding her to think about picking out burial sites and moving on. 

But then something happens that Sissy never anticipated: She begins to feel protective of Edison, and then, before she can help it, she’s fallen in love. But the clock is ticking, and her sisters are growing restless. It becomes clear that the gravesite she chooses will hide a body no matter what happens; but if she betrays her family, will it be hers?


Ren DeStefano lives in Connecticut, where she was born and raised. When she’s not writing thrillers, she’s listening to true crime podcasts and crocheting way too many blankets. Learn more at: https://laurendestefano.com.

Spotlight on: The Walk-On by Richard Podkowski

Synopsis (from Amazon):

In the twilight of his NFL career as a middle linebacker for the Chicago Storm, Mike “the Steelman” Stalowski masks his physical pain and mental anguish with alcohol and painkillers. The fan favorite has a rebel image and a notorious reputation, and he plays a violent gridiron game fueled by inner rage.

While estranged from his wife and living in the fishbowl environment of professional sports, he unexpectedly meets the fresh-out-of-college Kim Richardson. She sees through Mike’s star persona to who he really is—a kind guy from the Southeast Side of Chicago who has never forgotten his humble blue-collar roots. The lives of the star-crossed, seemingly mismatched couple collide during a whirlwind romance that culminates in a tragic series of events.

The Walk-On is a timeless tale of love and loss that explores the consequences of personal decisions and the rewards of faith, redemption, and hope.

Author Bio:

Richard Podkowski, a native of Chicago’s South Side, began writing fiction while studying criminal justice at Loyola University Chicago.

As a United States Secret Service special agent, Richard protected U.S. presidents and foreign dignitaries and investigated major domestic and international financial crimes until he retired in 2003.

Richard’s projects include a Christmas romantic comedy screenplay and a crime story, both currently in the works. In his free time, Richard enjoys riding his road bike, working out, and making Christmas ornaments. He currently resides with his wife in Los Angeles.

Website: https://richardpodkowski.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/richard.podkowski

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/richard_podkowski

Death by Talons by Tiddy Smith

If you know me, you know I love true crime. This book was an interesting take on a death ruled murder – however, the author suggests the murderer was an owl. I will say that we have owls in the trees outside our house and, since reading this book, I am no longer carefree when I’m outside at night! Interesting read that moves quickly and is intriguing with a compelling theory. A great read for true crime aficionados!

Thanks for my review e-copy from Wild Blue Press!

book cover

On December 9, 2001, Kathleen Peterson was found dead at the bottom of a staircase in her Durham, NC home. Kathleen’s scalp was laced with deep incisions and her blood strewn from outside to inside the house. The sinister truth of that night turned her murder into North Carolina’s most enigmatic criminal case, capturing media attention across the globe.

While police zeroed in on Michael Peterson, the husband, and charged him with murder, a neighbor, Larry Pollard, claimed an owl had attacked Kathleen outside her house. He said it sliced her scalp with its fierce talons and caused her to run inside, collapsing at the stairwell, bleeding to death.

It was an outrageous theory.

Larry was mocked and Michael imprisoned. Now, twenty years after the unusual death, questions remain.

Did an owl kill Kathleen? How much do North Carolina’s authorities actually know?

About the Author

Author Tiddy Smith

Tiddy Smith is a philosopher of religion, who gained his PhD from the University of Otago in 2017. He has taught at various universities in New Zealand and Indonesia. He is the author of The Methods of Science and Religion (Lexington Books, 2019) and editor of Animism and Philosophy of Religion (Palgrave Macmillan, 2023).

Harper-Collins Blog Tour for Julie Gerstenblatt’s DAUGHTERS OF NANTUCKET

If you read by blog regularly, you know I LOVE historical fiction. I also live in Massachusetts, so when the two things combine I am always interested in the story. Daughters of Nantucket is a beautifully written, wonderful story centering on three women in Nantucket in the mid-1800’s: Eliza, the wife of a whaling ship captain; Meg, the wife of a Black shop owner; and Maria Mitchell, the real-life astronomer. This is a fantastic read and I was amply impressed by the fact that this Julie Gerstenblatt’s first novel! I look forward to her next one.

Highly recommended! Thank you for my digital preview copy and for having me as part of the tour!

Daughters of Nantucket

Author: Julie Gerstenblatt 

Publication Date: March 14, 2023

ISBN: 9780778333425

Paperback Original 

Publisher: MIRA

Price $19.99

Buy Links: NOT affiliated with BBNB

BookShop.org: https://bookshop.org/p/books/daughters-of-nantucket-julie-gerstenblatt/18536154?ean=9780778333425

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/daughters-of-nantucket-julie-gerstenblatt/1141439250 

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0778333426/keywords=historical%20fiction  

IndieBound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780778333425 

Social Links:

Author Website: https://www.juliegerstenblatt.com/ 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Juliegerstenblattauthor 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/juliegerstenblatt/ 

Author Bios: 

Julie Gerstenblatt holds a doctorate in education in Curriculum and Instruction from Teachers College, Columbia University. Her essays have appeared in The Huffington Post, Grown & Flown, and Cognoscenti, among others. When not writing, Julie is a college essay coach, as well as a producer and on-air host for A Mighty Blaze. A native New Yorker, Julie now lives in coastal Rhode Island with her family and one very smart shichon poo. Daughters of Nantucket is her first novel.

Book Summary: 

“Gerstenblatt’s distinctive tale, a triumph in storytelling, celebrates the courage and tenacity of women.” Booklist, starred review

Set against Nantucket’s Great Fire of 1846, this sweeping, emotional novel brings together three courageous women battling to save everything they hold dear.

Nantucket in 1846 is an island set apart not just by its geography but by its unique circumstances. With their menfolk away at sea, often for years at a time, women here know a rare independence—and the challenges that go with it.

Eliza Macy is struggling to conceal her financial trouble as she waits for her whaling captain husband to return from a voyage. In desperation, she turns against her progressive ideals and targets Meg Wright, a pregnant free Black woman trying to relocate her store to Main Street. Meanwhile, astronomer Maria Mitchell loves running Nantucket’s Atheneum and spending her nights observing the stars, yet she fears revealing the secret wishes of her heart.

On a sweltering July night, a massive fire breaks out in town, quickly kindled by the densely packed wooden buildings. With everything they possess now threatened, these three very different women are forced to reevaluate their priorities and decide what to save, what to let go and what kind of life to rebuild from the ashes of the past.

Spotlight on VELMA GONE AWRY by Matt Cost

Step back into the 20s with Zelda and F. Scott Fitzgerald, Dorothy Parker, and many more legendary figures of the time with prolific mystery writer and former bookseller Matt Cost. With over 10 mystery/historical fiction books under his belt, his fast-paced historical mystery, “Velma Gone Awry: A Brooklyn 8 Ballo Mystery” (April 13, 2023, Encircle Publications), is sure to please fans as it follows PI 8 Ballo on a peculiar case with fascinating people.

In the new book: As the 8th child in his family, Ballo’s mother simply named him 8. Now in his mid-thirties, the jilted, college-educated, Great War veteran has his own private investigator business and is on a jarring journey to discover why Velma, the flapper daughter of a wealthy businessman,  has gone awry.

Reviewers have called his previous work “especially vivid” storytelling that “mystery and thriller genre readers alike will find involving on many different levels” (Midwest Book Review), “chillingly prescient, insightfully nuanced and disturbingly evocative” (booklymatters, 5-stars) and “powerful and gritty (The Reading Cafe).

Thank you for the opportunity to showcase this title!

Spotlight and Giveaway for ON THE SLY by Wendy L. Koenig

Synopsis (from Amazon):

Sylvia Wilson, a bar owner in St. Louis, Missouri, arrives at work to discover the body of an ex-police officer in her locked bar. The police focus on her as their primary suspect, so she decides to launch her own investigation into the dead man and his accomplices. But when the killer sends her clear messages that she and her loved ones are on his radar, she knows it’s just a matter of time before someone ends up dead.

Author Bio:

Wendy Koenig is a published author living in New Brunswick, Canada. Her first piece to be printed was a short children’s fiction, Jet’s Stormy Adventure, serialized in The Illinois Horse Network. She attended University of Iowa, honing her craft in their famed summer workshops and writing programs. Since that time, she has published and co-authored numerous books and has won several international awards.

Website: http://www.wendylkoenig.com

Facebook: http://facebook.com/WendyLKoenig

Twitter: http://twitter.com/wlkoenig

Instagram: http://instagram.com/wendylkoenig

Twitter: @Bookgal

Instagram: @therealbookgal

Buy links NOT affiliated with BBNB:

Amazon link: https://amzn.to/3Eu39SZ

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/75689995-on-the-sly

But wait- there’s more!

You can win a free digital copy of this novel from the author!

To enter, leave a comment here or via Facebook (Beth’s book-nook blog) or twitter (@BethsBookBlog). I will add up the comments and then select a numbered winner via random.org. I will contact you for your email at that time. (Obviously, I will not save/share/sell your email afterwards!).

Good luck!

Spotlight on DEATH WATCH by Stona Fitch

Consumer culture is so deeply ingrained into our society. DEATH WATCH (March 7, 2023; Arrow Editions; Trade Paperback; $18.95) by acclaimed author Stona Fitch is the perfect novel to get a glimpse into the world of the capitalist machine that runs our day-to-day lives.

Fitch’s writing is reminiscent of Mad Men and American Psycho. This dark comedy is centered around a luxurious watch, the Cassius Seven rebranded as “The Death Watch,” that is advertised to many unsuspecting customers. It seems too good to be true and it is; the catch is this very object may kill them. 

The luxury accessory draws a wide variety of people, from those who think too highly of themselves to believe they are exempt from any harm to those who want to feel that harm. Coe Vessel, the son of a legendary adman, is convinced the watch is just a high-art hoax, however, he soon realizes his error once the watch starts murdering people. Now, Coe must find a way to stop the campaign before it’s too late, all while juggling the moral dilemma of how far people will go for luxury. 

What are DEATH WATCH’s influences?

* Catch-22 by Joseph Heller, because it shows how war is absurd and dangerous—like a deadly watch

* American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis, because it’s a dark satire of American consumerism run amok

* Mad Men, because it captures the dark art of advertising (DEATH WATCH Mad Men for the End-time)

* Fight Club, because it explores nihilistic youth (the ultimate buyers of Death Watch)

Praise for Stona Fitch 

“A terrific writer who knows how to spin a yarn with grit and confidence.” –Dennis Lehane 

“A suspense writer to watch.” –Jess Walter 

“As stylish as Parker, as tough as Lehane.” –Hank Phillippi Ryan 

“Startling in conception and disturbing in what it says about our times.” –J. M. Coetzee (on Senseless)    

About the Author 

Stona Fitch is the founder of Concord Free Pressa non-profit publisher that has been called a grand experiment in subversive altruism. His seven novels, which include Give + Take and Senseless, have been praised by critics and readers, published widely throughout the world, and produced as feature films. He lives with his family in Concord, Massachusetts.

About Arrow Editions and Concord Free Press

Concord Free Press is a non-profit, all-volunteer press that publishes original fiction and distributes its books for free, asking only that readers give to a cause they believe in or a person in need—then pass their book on so that others can give. They have published more than a dozen books and inspired more than

$5 million in generosity around the world, establishing a new publishing model and proving that readers tend to be empathetic and kind.  

Writers who have published their work with Concord Free Press include Russell Banks, Madison Smartt Bell, Melissa Broder, Wesley Brown, Charles Coe, Castle Freeman, Jr., Woody Haut, Gabino Iglesias, Yiyun Li, Alan Lightman, Gregory Maguire, Joyce Carol Oates, Ann Patchett, and Elizabeth Spires. 

 As the slightly more commercial sister-ship of the Concord Free Press, Arrow Editions will publish books in trade paperback and ebook editions, sold online and via a select network of independent bookstores. The Arrow Editions model is simple. Half the proceeds of each book go directly to the author, the other half supports the mission of the Concord Free Press. By expanding the publishing model, Concord Free Press can publish more books—and keep inspiring generosity.