Authors Showcase features the thrillers of James Gary Vineyard and I. C. Camilleri
July 9, 2013
The Book: The Grave on Peckerwood Hill
The Author: James Gary Vineyard
The Story: Two teenage boys from drastically different backgrounds sneak out of their homes after midnight during an ice storm and unwittingly video their own murders. Lacking clues, a sheriff begs the help of Charlie Eastman, a retired corruption investigator for the governor’s office. But Eastman declines, citing a recent mental breakdown.
Unfortunately, Eastman has an auto accident that traumatizes Austin Blackie, a champion stud bull owned by the wealthy widow of Red Pirtle, a simple plumber who launched the do-it-yourself store craze in the fifties. After convincing Eastman that he rendered the bull impotent, the old woman and a mysterious tattoo artist hoodwink Eastman into searching for her brother whom she hasn’t seen in seventy years.
The case—the most bizarre of his career—partners Eastman with Doc Page, the red-haired town doctor whose terrible swift tongue and smell of Noxzema cleansing cream drives him wild. A statue of three enormous peanuts on the town square that locals call Gooberhenge and a mysterious creature spotted by the village idiot leads Eastman, Doc, and the tattooist to the missing brother who is protected by Central American mercenaries. Then things get strange and dangerous.
About the Author:
James Gary Vineyard is a fifth-generation Texan. He began a career in law enforcement in the Dallas-Fort Worth area as an investigator in the Criminal Intelligence Division of the Department of Public Safety at DFW Airport. He was assigned to the Dallas Organized Crime Task Force (Metro Squad) in1981 and spent approximately nine years there. From 1990 until 2007, he was assigned to the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Dallas Field Division Office, Enforcement Group 2 (a smuggling unit).
Over the years, he accumulated numerous awards from law enforcement agencies and was an instructor at several area police academies including the Dallas Sheriff’s Department, Dallas Police Department, Regional Police Academy in Arlington, Texas, and DEA’s training programs. During that time, he also taught courses in international smuggling at the American Airlines academy. He holds a Master Peace Officers certificate and is a graduate of DEA’s Drug Unit Commanders Academy in Quantico, Virginia. He retired as DEA’s D-FW Task Force Sergeant.
From the other side of his brain, he has written a full-length stage play comedy called “Moby and Dick,” and a one-act play, “Tap the Brakes, Elvis!” He is currently working on a sequel to The Grave on Peckerwood Hill.
Vineyard is a member of Mystery Writers of America, The Fort Bend Writers Guild, Friends of the Dallas Public Library, Perot Museum of Nature and Science, The Dallas Historical Society, The Texas Police Association, The Texas Association of Authors, Western Writers of America.
Review by Harry “From Texas:” I bought this book for my Kindle and I couldn’t put it down because every time I thought I knew where the story was going, it took off in another direction. It is an absorbing mystery that starts with the murder of two young boys in west Texas, but that’s only one of the plots. There is so much more. The characters are amazingly believable and the dialogue is dead-on and full of black humor. You will find yourself re-reading chapters because you don’t want it to end. There’s a bizarre art collection, Nazi criminals, drug dealing, and it’s all intertwined with some forgotten disasters that are a real part of Texas’ history. This book has it all. It is fast-paced, absorbing, lethal, and above all, creative. Well done, Mr. Vineyard. Bring on the sequel!
The Book: The Blake Curse
The Author: I. C. Camilleri
The Story: Ben Blake, an eighteen year old British Intelligence agent brimming with gifts; intellectual genius, striking appearance, impeccable acting skills and a heightened sixth sense… gifts that all guarantee the success of his first undercover assignment. He effortlessly infiltrates university life in Cambridge and befriends Cathy, the daughter of billionaire Edward Carter, one of the most influential and politically secure titans of the time.
Samantha Black, known as the elusive and exquisitely petite Sam. She rises from the ashes and battles her dark legacy. Her cryptic past and deep secrets become firmly intertwined with Ben’s investigations, shredding his carefully thought out plan to bits.
Jake Snell, the young rugged Earl of Yorkley, the enigma, the rogue full of vices….but possessing abundant resourcefulness, creativity and determination. He is Ben’s only lifeline in this treacherous game.
The Blake Curse is all about heartrending choices, fast paced suspense and that faith in the thread of human goodness.
About the Author:
IC Camilleri is a medical doctor living in the UK. Fictional writing has always been her passion, relieving her from the everyday stress of her demanding medical job. Her medical background gives her insight into the way different people think and react, thereby giving depth to all her fictional characters in her novels. The Blake series, The Blake Soul, The Blake Curse and The Blake Mistake, is her first published work. Each book in the trilogy could be read as a stand-alone.
THE BLAKE CURSE was nominated for THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE UK. Public vote now open to all nationalities.
Review by ReaderorWriter: I will tell you that I read The Blake Soul first and thought it was amazing . I loved it and was glad I read it first. The Blake Curse captivated me from the very start, I cannot recommend these books highly enough they grip you and don`t let go – 6 hours straight without the loo!!!!!!! Sorry serious head back on again.
I have no idea how to classify this book, it is a romance following two different stories, it is also a thrilling drama that is relentless from the start. I loved the family connection as well; the bond between the father and son just melts my heart. Anyway I am getting ahead of myself; let me set you the scene.
We meet up with Ben, the young son we met in The Blake Soul ( I will add you do not have to have read The Blake Soul to read this book, but I would recommend to) Ben is an intelligent, attractive man who has proven himself invaluable to the British Intelligence agency. He will do anything to protect his family and fulfil his duty, that is until his assignment crosses paths with Cathy and Sam. Ben must interact with both women to obtain vital information but both women change his world right until the end. But it is not just these characters that the book focuses on, Jake is a deeply traumatised man fighting his own demons, he too must battle Ben as he is focussed on succeeding.
The twists and turns in this story had me questioning each characters motive throughout, the vicious and dramatic storyline had my heart in my mouth. The characters are so well written you immediately bond and take the journey with them. A journey that, trust me, I would not like to take alone. I do not want to give any of the story away so it is difficult to explain the raw emotions that the author provokes as each character has to choose to accept their destiny or change it.
5 Stars is not enough, a fantastic, fast, thrilling, romantic, scary at times, journey. I dare not even think where the author will take us in the final instalment.