Category Archives: Erica Spindler

[REVIEW] The Final Seven – Erica Spindler

Erica Spindler
The Final Seven (The Lightkeepers, Book 1)
Hachette Sphere (AU: 9th February 2016; UK: 11th February 2016); Double Shot Press (US: 11th February 2016)
Buy (US Kindle Edition) Buy (US Paperback) Buy (UK Kindle Edition) Buy (UK Paperback) Buy (CA Kindle Edition) Buy (CA Paperback) Buy (Worldwide Hardcover) Buy (Worldwide Paperback)

Erica Spindler is one of the few crime writers I still read regularly. The Final Seven is a departure from her usual fare, in content AND in publication. (It’s self-published only in the US. Otherwise, Hachette’s the publisher in the UK and Australia.) While it has good things in common with the author’s thrillers, this first book in the Lightkeepers series has a paranormal bent.

And herein is the problem, because I don’t connect with the concept. The FBI has launched a special division for paranormal crime investigation training. Only it’s top-secret, and its graduates are now integrated into regular police forces. And thus New Orleans Detective Micki Dare is paired with Zach Harris. Not only that, but he’s also given the rank of Detective. WHICH HE DIDN’T EARN. Micki is rightfully furious about this, and the situation is so frustrating.

Anyway, Zach turns out to be handy at finding evidence even though he keeps breaking rules, such as abandoning a crime scene. He and Micki go undercover, and pash on, and she’s attracted to him, and I JUST DON’T SHIP IT. Mind you, the first time the two meet Zach harasses Micki with inappropriate comments, so I disliked him from the start.

I’ll continue with this series, but I can’t recommend it like I would the author’s other novels.

[GUEST BLOGGER] Erica Spindler on Self-Publishing Her New Series

This guest post is part of the official blog tour for Erica Spindler’s The Final Seven. Below, you’ll find the author’s links, information about her books, as well as the guest post. TEZ’S NOTE: While the book is self-published in US/Canada, Hachette is publishing it in UK/Australia. Check your favourite local bookseller for details.

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TEZ’S REVIEWS
Shocking Pink
Fortune
The First Wife

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[REVIEW] The First Wife – Erica Spindler

Erica Spindler
The First Wife
Macmillan St. Martin’s (US: 10th February 2015); Hachette Little, Brown Sphere (UK & AU: 10th February 2015)
Buy (US Kindle Edition) Buy (US Hardcover) Buy (UK Kindle Edition) Buy (UK Hardcover) Buy (UK Paperback) Buy (CA Kindle Edition) Buy (CA Hardcover) Buy (Worldwide Hardcover) Buy (Worldwide Paperback)

I’ve only managed to stay up-to-date with a few crime authors, and Erica Spindler is one of them. Her books are mostly standalones (though some have the odd recurring character), so readers can jump in any time, without having to catch up.

The First Wife is another gem. It may be marketed as mystery/suspense/thriller, but it feels Gothic: a fish out of water learns that her new husband and his family have a LOT of secrets. The author’s no stranger to Gothics (check out her novel Fortune), and she again does it well here.

However, usually the author’s heroines have more back-story, so except for the fact that Bailey’s only family member was her mother, she comes without baggage. And it’s in her grief-stricken and distraught state that she meets Logan Abbott, extends her holiday…and they marry not long after.

Logan’s ten years older, and he’s been married before. It definitely feels like he rushes Bailey into marriage, and with her mother dead she’s not really leaving anyone or anything behind when she moves interstate. So she’s rather alone when she first arrives at Abbott Farm, but makes friends with the staff easily.

Logan, meanwhile, is bloody annoying. He’s the king of emotional manipulation, shutting down and playing the victim when Bailey tries to get him to open up about his past – namely all the things she should’ve found out BEFORE they were married, but she’s vulnerable with grief when they first meet, and Logan pounces on that.

He knows when Bailey’s been using his laptop, so he takes it away from the house every day. Whenever Bailey asks questions, he’s all “now you’re against me, too,” when she wouldn’t even HAVE questions had Logan been more honest and upfront from the start. His reasons for keeping secrets are the usual bollocks of “I’m trying to protect you” and “I didn’t want to upset you.” WE ARE NOT AMUSED.

But it’s okay – we’re SUPPOSED to think Logan’s shifty; we’re meant to suspect him of serial killing. That’s the story’s premise: Did Logan kill his first wife, and what about these other missing women from the area?

As a result of traumatic brain injury (via a physical blow – or is it psychological?), Bailey has retrograde amnesia. The author deals with it well: Bailey has several headaches, particularly when she tries to remember, and her memory doesn’t return all at once – just little clues along the way.

But really the drawcard here is the messed-up family and their MANY secrets. Also, the side characters are great for some snide comments – Raine and August are particularly fabulous during the wonderful soap opera-style dinner.

Even though I peeked at the last page, there were still plenty of surprises in store. I’ve always enjoyed Erica Spindler’s thrillers, and she’s in even better form with this Gothic suspense. The First Wife is totally binge-read-worthy, and goes down a treat. Now eagerly waiting whatever the author has in store next.

[REVIEW] Fortune – Erica Spindler

Erica Spindler
Fortune
Harlequin Mira (US: 1st September 2005; UK: 1st July 2010; CA: Date; AU: 1st December 2011)

After writing category romance but before writing thrillers, Erica Spindler wrote romantic suspense novels. Shocking Pink is the best, and Cause for Alarm and Bone Cold aren’t far behind. Fortune is like a Gothic saga, page-turner crack for the sheer amount of weird shit. You’d be forgiven for mistaking this for a V. C. Andrews novel. (Am I showing my age?)

The Monarchs are a jeweller family who think they’re up with Tiffany’s. At any one time, a brother-sister duo is in charge – he the businessman and she the creative. The gifted one. Currently the grandfather and his sister are leading the company, though they’re getting on years. The father’s generation is being skipped because he’s deemed not up to the task, and there’s no gifted woman. So now to take over is Griffin Monarch…and his half-sister Grace.

Once Grace’s mother Madeline catches young Griffin molesting the even younger Grace, she runs away with her daughter, changing their identities. Grace is gifted, so Madeline worries the Monarchs will keep her at any cost – not just for the business, but for Griffin’s incestuous interest.

Now mother and daughter are Claire and Skye Dearborn, the latter’s name sounding horrendously like a soap opera character or celebrity spawn, or wannabe-celebrity spawn. Way to fly under the radar. Anyway, they join a travelling circus, where Claire works as a fortune-teller. She’s gifted; not artistically, but she can sense the future.

Skye is creatively gifted, and such an annoying shit that even though you’ll feel sorry for her, you won’t like her. Such a pestering pain in the arse, and I’m not the only one who thinks so. Chance McCord escapes from his Amish life to work any job, and schemes his way into the travelling circus. He’s a little older than Skye, who desperately wants him to be her friend, even though she pisses him off relentlessly. He gives into her eventually because he feels sorry for her. That doesn’t stop Skye from being an annoying git, though.

Meanwhile, the Monarchs have sent a private investigator after Claire and Skye. Claire figures that the only way to keep Skye safe is to separate from her. Oh yes, Skye has abandonment issues. Claire plans to send the PI off-track, then sneak back to retrieve her daughter. Only Skye and Chance run off from the circus.

The pair has managed to score a trailer, a car, and a job for Chance. He works whilst Skye stays in the trailer – to be seen in public would endanger her. Skye’s abandonment issues, jealousy, hormones, and irritating personality came into play, and she falls in love with Chance, who’s not keen on that because Skye is jailbait and Chance is practically raising her. So while not technically incestuous, it still seems a lot like it. Consider that Skye is so beautiful and talented that she could snag any guy, and the two guys she ends up with as an adult are her half-brother and her guardian. (I told you Fortune has weird shit.)

Anyhoo, after Skye’s sort-of boyfriend – a homeless squatter who rooms with other homeless squatters – tries to date-rape her (Chance intervenes), Skye and Chance move away. They find a home, work, and school with a childless couple, and Chance decides to get his life back. Yeah, the themes of this novel aren’t subtle – more abandonment issues for Skye.

So she becomes a talented jeweller, and Chance a public relations guru. Meanwhile, Griffin Monarch has discovered that Grace Monarch and Skye Dearborn are one and the same, and offers her a job (but doesn’t tell her she’s a Monarch). Griffin also hires Chance for PR, just to mess with them both. And here’s where the weird shit really comes into play – the Monarchs not only know that Skye is one of them, but they shut their mouths whilst Griffin courts Skye. And she wonders why she vomits after they shag.

Then Skye falls in love with Chance again, and Griffin becomes murderously jealous. He decides to get rid of those who are keeping Skye from him – her best friend, Griffin and Skye’s grandmother, Chance McCord, etc. Then when he still can’t get Skye to love him, Griffin figures that if he can’t have her, no one will. So he tries to kill her, too.

P.S. As a child, Griffin tortured Skye’s kitten to death and made her watch. He also drowned his other half-sister (a non-gifted Monarch). The Monarchs really are an effed-up bunch if they never suspect that Griffin’s been psychotic all his life and they still let him shag his half-sister. Rich people, eh? Never want their name besmirched, even if it could save lives.

“But, Tez,” you say. “You’ve just summarised the novel. Where’s the review?” Well, now you know the nitty-gritty details, you know whether Fortune is for you. Despite its over-the-top batshittedness, it’s still quite a page-turner. If nothing else, it’s good snark-fodder. Enjoy.

December 2011 Releases

Done with November 2011 Releases? Here are December 2011 Releases. To see future titles, check Reading Wishlist.

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9 New Deals (Bickle, Harrison, Hayes, Jones, Pettersson, Silver, Spindler, Stiefvater, Tracey)

Laura Bickle‘s The Hallowed Ones & a sequel to Graphia (NA). Pitched as Witness meets 28 Days Later in which an Amish girl must protect her family from a violent contagion, even as fear and denial threaten to erode her community from within.

Kim Harrison‘s The Hollows series has been optioned for small screen production through the CW network.

Erica Hayes‘s new dark paranormal romance series in a 2-book deal to Berkley (World). Book 1, Revelation, is set in a decadent, near-future Manhattan, in which a young medical examiner who’s lost her faith must team up with a fallen angel warrior to stop a gang of demons hijacking the Apocalypse & creating hell on earth.

Darynda Jones‘s next 2 books in the Charley Davidson series to St. Martin’s (NA). Features a private investigator by day & grim reaper by night.

Vicki Pettersson‘s new supernatural noir mystery series to Harper Voyager (World rights) in a 3-book deal. The Taken is scheduled for June 2012.

Eve Silver‘s Respawn to Katherine Tegen Books (NA) in a 3-book deal. 1st in a teen series about a girl who finds herself inside a “game” where she must hunt aliens, or be hunted by them.

Erica Spindler‘s Don’t Look Back in a 2-book deal to St. Martin’s (World).

Maggie Stiefvater‘s The Scorpio Races to Warner Brothers, for David Katzenberg & Seth Grahame-Smith’s KatzSmith Productions to produce. About the craggy island of Thisby, where the savage & beautiful water horses emerge from the waves, & 2 teens risk everything – love & life – in the violent, glorious Scorpio Races.

Scott Tracey‘s Phantom Eyes to Flux (World English).

[REVIEW] Shocking Pink – Erica Spindler

Erica Spindler
Shocking Pink
Harlequin Mills & Boon Mira (AU: 1st June 2011; UK: 1st September 2011)
Buy (UK) Buy (Worldwide)

Wow! One of Erica Spindler’s oldest novels just so happens to be her best. With subject matter such as BDSM and voyeurism, you know you’re in for an intriguing read. Throw in some murders, childhood secrets, jealousy, control, and loyalty – boom! Five-star novel. I really, really loved this one. It may be out-of-print, but it’s well worth tracking down.

The Future is Bright

I suddenly realised today that futuristics are becoming my new favourite genre. We’re talking 5-star books. I still like urban fantasy, of course, but it’s just not wowing me enough to be 5-star. 4-star, yes. Maybe it’s because futuristics are new and exciting to me, and I’ve simply read too much UF. I’m not sure. Maybe it’s because futuristics are more believable, so I connect with them more.

I was going to do this at the end June, but what the hell, I’ll do it now.

5-Star Books Tezzy’s Read in 2008
Elizabeth Flock’s But Inside I’m Screaming (women’s fiction)
Erica Spindler’s Dead Run (thriller)
Mary E. Pearson’s The Adoration of Jenna Fox (young adult, futuristic)
Stephenie Meyer’s The Host (futuristic)
Rachel Cohn’s You Know Where to Find Me (young adult)
Michelle Maddox’s Countdown (futuristic)

I highly recommend all of these books. And as you can tell by their genres, three out of those six books are futuristics.

So now’s the time for you to bring out the A+ books you’ve read so far this year. What are their genres? Are you surprised? Have you learned anything new about your favourite kind of books?

OnePlusYou Quizzes and WidgetsThis rating was determined based on the presence of the following words:
* hell (13x)
* dead (9x)
* death (6x)
* sexy (4x)
* dangerous (2x)
* zombie (1x)
Mind you, they don’t count “feck” as a swear, but I do. Also, they didn’t count “secksy”.

The 9 Books I Read in February

Tanya Huff, Smoke and Ashes I read so much stuff set in the U.S. that reading something set elsewhere almost feels rare. Thanks to this author, I have Canada to read about…and in this case, Vancouver. It’s a hotspot for television filming where wizard Tony Foster works on the set of Darkest Night, about a vampire detective. And it just so happens that a stuntwoman’s tummy is marked with runes to keep a mega-demon named Ryne Cyratane away. I think. Okay, I found the plot confusing, but the novel is nonetheless a good time, with humour that’s actually funny (which is more than I can say for some of the authors I’ve had the misfortune of reading). I’d read the first book in this trilogy beforehand, but the second doesn’t seem available in my neck of the woods. And I still haven’t got my hands on the author’s Vicki Nelson books yet. I demand more readily available Canadian fiction!

Erica Spindler, Dead Run Now this is a true thriller! Flawed (which means realistic) characters, religion, teens up to no good, corruption, pervy old men…Key West has it all. The twists, turns and tension are common features of an Erica Spindler novel, and this one keeps the trend. Thought-provoking, it kept me past midnight reading. Now’s a good time to jump on the bandwagon if you haven’t done so already. Simply a great book.

Rachel Caine, Heat Stroke My unintelligence stopped me from enjoying this novel. I didn’t really understand these terms: Djinn, Ifrit, aetheric and coldlight. And because I didn’t get it, my concentration faded. I’ll give the author another chance, but my spirit’s broken.

Jackie Kessler, Hell’s Belles Living in New York should be a snap for a former succubus who’s gone undercover as a human – and an exotic dancer – to escape people Jezebel pissed off in Hell. But as well as adjusting to bodily functions and finding an apartment, she has to deal with icky emotions…and the demons who are possessing people at work. Actually, Jez seems quite enamoured of Daunuan, but Lillith is another matter. But what really makes this novel stand out is the setting of Hell. New York is common as muck in fiction, so Hell was truly a new – and most welcome – location for me. More hell, please!

Kristopher Reisz, Unleashed Kids, don’t do drugs. A group of teens in Birmingham, Alabama, encounter magic mushrooms that allow them to be werewolves. But rather than a tale of drug addiction, the author takes another route: the corruption that comes with the power the teens now feel. A dark tale that tracks how people can lose their way, and not for the better, though they could redeem themselves if they give up the thing they love most. A good psychological read.

Mark Henry, Happy Hour of the Damned Read it and weep: Amanda Feral is the kind of character I wish I’d created, a character with so much personality that so-called ‘edgy heroines with attitude’ just seem lame. Zombies, binge-eating, cosmetics and bad sex: the author has created a version of Seattle that we can all relate to in one way or another. Less urban fantasy than chick lit to the max, Amanda’s life is one unforgettable ride.

Anton Strout, Dead to Me I read somewhere that Anton Strout has written (or wants to write) a novel about a made-up band. Now that sounds like fun! Alas, it does not yet exist in the published world. Dead to Me, however, is not so much an urban fantasy as it is a light mystery. It’s perfectly adequate, and the idea of Ghostsniffing is absolutely fabulous, but the novel didn’t have the zing I was expecting. Still, I shall continue to read more of Simon Canderous…even though I’m not-so-secretly hoping the author’s band novel finds a good home – mine 😉

Mary E. Pearson, The Adoration of Jenna Fox The less you know about this book before reading, the more powerful it is. I’ll keep it simple: if you only read one young adult novel this year, make it this one. Unforgettable.

M. J. Rose, The Reincarnationist Ancient Rome, the nineteenth century, death, murder, archaeological dogs, Memory Stones, reincarnation and past-life regressions – the author tackles them all in an ambitious work that’s big on ideas.