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Mortom by Erik Therme #Recommendation #MTW2018

Andy Crowl barely knew his recently deceased cousin, Craig Moore, so he’s especially surprised to be named as the sole beneficiary in Craig’s will. Not that there’s much to inherit: just an empty bank account and a run-down house.

Once Andy arrives in the town of Mortom, however, he’s drawn into his puzzle-obsessed cousin’s true legacy: a twisted and ominous treasure hunt. Beckoned by macabre clues of dead rats and cemetery keys, Andy jumps into the game, hoping to discover untold wealth. But unsavory secrets—and unanswered questions about Craig’s untimely demise—arise at every turn, leading Andy to wonder if he’s playing the game…or if the game is playing him.

Something’s rotten in Mortom. And this dead man’s game might not be all that Andy is doomed to lose.


It’s around that time of the year again for Mystery Thriller Week #MTW2018. Every year the MTW blog creates a buzz for Thriller/Mystery books and lets readers and authors congregate to celebrate the genre. I had the pleasure of reviewing Michael Smorenburg’s LifeGames Corporation the last time. This time I will be reviewing Mortom, which I have received from Erike Therme author of the book.

Find out more about Mystery Thriller Week.

Erik Therme has thrashed in garage bands, inadvertently harbored runaways, and met Darth Vader. When he’s not at his computer, he can be found cheering for his youngest daughter’s volleyball team, or watching horror movies with his seventeen-year-old. He currently resides in Iowa City, Iowa—one of only twenty places in the world UNESCO has certified as a City of Literature.

Join Erik’s mailing list to be notified of new releases and author giveaways: http://eepurl.com/cD1F8L

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Mystery Thriller Week: Book Review – LifeGames Corporation

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Title: LifeGames Corporation

Author: Michael Smorenburg

Genre: Thriller

Book procurement: Received from the author for an honest review, and also for Mystery Thriller Week.

Synopsis:

Da Vinci Code—meets Paranormal Activity—meets The Matrix.

Ad-agency boss Catherine Kaplan is a danger junkie. Bold and brave, she’s cornered the juiciest prize in the global arena, a LifeGames Corporation contract. But now it’s time to pay the price—a dare to cross the forbidden line. There’s a deal sweetener of course—give a little… and enjoy some intriguing secrets.

The first… Artificial Intelligence runs the LifeGames operation. Key to the success is an automated hypnosis sequence that suppresses each subject’s mind, convincing them that the immersive Virtual Reality crisis they’re about to experience is reality. The training technique has been fabulously profitable, allowing company founder Kenneth Torrington to indulge his every perverse fantasy.

Governments, militaries and business are so reliant on LifeGames that it is said to control mankind’s future. Yet, nobody has realized—a door has opened and a character of unfathomable capacity and unknown motives is looking back, pondering the next move.

Review:

First Thoughts

Michael and I have sort of a history after I reviewed his novel The S.K.A at Carnarvon – A Trojan Affair. It was a great novel that touched on the very personal topic of religion. So here I was, reading LifeGames with that backdrop, and to my shock and awe the story spins in a completely different direction. Well almost haha, there is still a couple of shots to religion but this isn’t about that. Also, a couple of things from the previous novel that had been of a minor annoyance were addressed in how LifeGames was written and all in all, made for a really great thriller. Michael Smorenburg is climbing up my list of favourite authors.

Story

Virtual Reality is an amazing technology. One which has been on the forefront of human development and hopeful expectancy – to be fully immersed in a different world that looks and feels real is something we all want to exprience. We see it in the anime Sword Art Online, .Hack/Sign, Log Horizon, in movies like Surrogates, Total Recall, Gamer, and of course current technology is getting closer with the Playstation VR, Occulus, Samsung Gear and others. What Michael Smorenburg wrote in LifeGames, and the virtual reality system built is just next level stuff.

We follow Kenneth Torrington, founder and CEO of LifeGames Corporation. He is a pig, a male chauvinist, a manipulative, self-entitled man who only has money and power at the forefront of his ambitions. He has built LifeGames from a number of shady dealings and has wrought immense success. The governments of the world use the Virtual Reality simulation to train individuals. Lawyers, Doctors, Military personnel, and all sorts of people in power are fully immersed in a simulation of real life events that is so realistic, it actually helps prepare them for their job roles. Years of training condescened into mere days or weeks. The technology is brilliant, but of course with great power comes great responsibility.

Catherine Kaplan is a PR who has landed LifeGames as her biggest client ever. She’s a strong woman, bold and daring, but unaware of the dark secrets behind LifeGames and the sweet-talking Ken Torrington. She’s unaware of how close she is to the fire until it’s too late and she’s psychologically, and spiritually, thrown into the deep end. Something sinister lies deep within the system. No one knows what (or whom), and the truth of it will send a chill up your spine.

It’s more than just a story about the repercussions of technology, but perhaps a delve into horror?

Writing

The writing is good. Slightly disjointed at times when switching between the different characters but otherwise it flows really well. A few shocking moments keep the story engaging. The characters are written amazingly well, with unique quirks of their own. I had an enjoyable time reading through the novel.

Final Thoughts

Okay so I wasn’t expecting that end. It seemed to be hinting at one thing, then knocking it out for something else, then twisting it to something else again, then a cliffhanger ending to wrap it all up. I was completely thrown.

As a side note, my previous discussions with author Michael Smorenburg allowed me to glean insights that perhaps someone else would have missed. For example, the heavy skepticism is continuously bashing against the very idea of the supernatural, and the concept of God and how religion is borne, is given logical reasoning while there’s quite a bit of decent Christian philosophy too. I found it quite interesting.

Rating: A solid 4 out of 5


Michael Smorenbug

Michael Smorenburg (b. 1964) grew up in Cape Town, South Africa. An entrepreneur with a passion for marketing, in 1995 Michael moved to California where he founded a business consultancy and online media and marketing engine. In 2003 he returned to South Africa where he launched then sold a security company. He now operates a property management company and writes full time.

Michael’s greatest love is for the ocean and the environment. His passion is science, understanding the cosmos, and communicating the urgent need for reason to prevail over superstition.

Website: MichaelSmorenburg.com

Goodreads: Michael Smorenburg

Twitter: @SmorieTheWriter

Amazon: Michael Smorenburg

Mystery Thriller Week: Author Interview with Barbara Venkataraman

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Mystery Thriller Week is an amazing initiative to recognize the Mystery and Thriller genres. A number of authors, bloggers, book reviewers and more have come together for book reviews, guest posts, articles, giveaways and more. Today I interview Barbara Venkataraman, author of the Jamie Quinn Mysteries.


NM: Hi Barbara, thank you once again for agreeing to this interview. So first things first, tell us little about yourself.

BV: Thanks for having me!  I wish I could tell you I live a life of adventure and excitement, of death-defying heroic acts, and mind-boggling feats of strength and agility, but, alas, I’m just a writer who lives in her imagination and likes to take a walk in the park and a swim in the summer, someone who loves to read, write and share a laugh with a friend–as well as a glass of wine!

NM: So how did you get into writing? What inspired and continues to inspire you to this day?

BV: My first published work was a poem about ducks that my second grade teacher enlarged and posted on the wall. I was so proud! I must have been since it’s my only memory of second grade. Since then, I’ve written short stories and poems but I was inspired to write a children’s book, starring my own children, when they were little and refused to stop playing video games.  In the book, they are sucked into their video game and have to solve riddles to escape. My inspiration is different these days. First, I love to write and find it more creatively stimulating that anything else and, second, my readers inspire me. They are so wonderful and encouraging. Knowing that they’re waiting for me to finish the next book spurs me on.

NM: So you’ve been writing for a long time then (haha). How long have you  been writing professionally for and what was your first foray into the world of writing?

BV: After I wrote “The Fight for Magicallus” (with the help of my children) I began writing humorous essays about my life experiences. I’m a big fan of Erma Bombeck and Dave Barry and love humorous writing. When I had written a number of essays, I compiled them into a book called “Quirky Essays for Quirky People” and self-published it on Kindle. I’m happy to report that it won the” Indie Book of the Day” award and has been well-received.

NM: That is fantastic. So what do you enjoy about writing, and what do you hate about it?

BV: I enjoy the creative process, the fact that ideas seem to come out of nowhere, the joy of bringing characters to life. I hate that I am so easily distracted and feel the need to look for a snack or a drink every 15 minutes, right after checking e-mail, Facebook, my blog, my ratings, and all the news of the day. I love when I start a book and I love when I finish it.

NM: I can relate to the first two parts of that (haha). Tell us about your Jamie Quinn Mysteries – as a different take on the whole Thriller genre. What challenges and joys did you experience through the process?

BV: My Jamie Quinn Mysteries are cozy mysteries, so there’s no sex or on-screen violence. Also, I’m a big proponent for gun safety and sensible gun laws, so none of my books include murder by gun. Turns out that getting clonked in the head with a didgeridoo is also hazardous to your health! Writing a mystery is very different than simply telling a story in that the author is creating a puzzle and leaving clues for the reader. Those clues must be strategically placed and can’t be too easy or too obscure. Then, there are also fake clues, a/k/a red herrings, to throw the reader off the trail. It’s tricky–like weaving a cloth with invisible thread. I love when I think of a particularly good clue and I like to imagine the reader’s reaction to it.

NM: I’m sensing that humour is a big part of your life and writing?

BV:  I wish humour were an even bigger part of my life. We all need a good laugh. Sometimes I make myself laugh when I write. I was working on my new Jamie Quinn mystery, “Jeopardy in July”, trying to write a serious scene where Jamie is having a crisis and I end up with a ridiculous typo that just “cracked” me up. I also invented a new article of clothing! Check it out. 😛

Being a drama queen was so much easier than I’d thought. All those years, I’d assumed my clients had to work at it. The recipe was simple–take one mundane life, turn it upside down, shake vigorously. But, unlike my client who had chained herself to the flagpole in front of the courthouse, or the one who had smashed her husband’s prize guitar in his workplace lobby, I wasn’t into performance art. I was more brooding, angsty. When my mother had succumbed to cancer four years earlier, I’d found myself in a rut and for six months had hardly left the house. Butt hat wasn’t me anymore. Since then, I’d been through so much and faked it so often that even I thought I had my act together.

NM: Ha! I love it. Now, Jamie Quinn is a family law attorney as you are too. Are you secretly Jamie Quinn?

BV: Shh, I am Jamie Quinn… just without the crimes to investigate. Or the sleazy P.I. And I don’t have a tree-hugging, nature-loving boyfriend named Kip, but I do have a husband with those qualities.

NM: Your next instalment in the series, Jeopardy in July, what can you share with us about it and are we going to see Jamie Quinn and P.I. Duke Broussard together again?

BV: Yes! Jamie needs Duke Broussard’s help in a number of ways in the next book. With my dad living in an assisted living facility these days, I decided that would make an interesting setting. Here is the blurb:

JEOPARDY IN JULY

 Old people were dying at an alarming rate at La Vida Boca, a posh assisted living facility in Boca Raton, Florida. With its sterling reputation, dedicated staff, and top-notch medical care, none of the deaths are considered suspicious, but when her friend Jessie’s great-uncle dies under strange circumstances, attorney Jamie Quinn finds herself once again embroiled in a mystery. With help from her BFF, Grace Anderson, and her favorite P.I., Duke Broussard, Jamie uncovers a crime that took place forty years earlier. Can she stop the killer in time? Or is she in danger of becoming the next victim?

 

barbara

Barbara Venkataraman is an attorney and mediator specializing in family law. She is the author of “The Fight for Magicallus,” a children’s fantasy, “If you’d Just Listened to Me in the First Place,” a humorous short story and two books of humorous essays: “I’m Not Talking about You, Of Course,” and “A Trip to the Hardware Store & Other Calamities,” which are part of an ongoing series entitled “Quirky Essays for Quirky People.”

Her Jamie Quinn cozy mystery series includes: “Death by Didgeridoo,” “The Case of the Killer Divorce,” “Peril in the Park,” and “Engaged in Danger”. Coming out in 2016, “Jeopardy in July”. All of her books are available on Amazon Kindle.


Thank you to Barbara Venkataraman for this fun interview. To find out more about Barbara, and her not-so-secret identity as Jamie Quinn, check out links below:

Website: Barbar Venkataraman.blogpsot

Goodreads: Barbara Venkataraman | Jamie Quinn Collection on Goodreads

Mystery Thriller Week: Book Cover Reveal – The Reading Buddy

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author-photo

Bryce Gibson writes Southern fiction that takes readers to charming and oftentimes sinister areas of The South. He has a degree in Media Arts from the University of South Carolina, works full time as a farmer, and lives in South Carolina with his wife and their dog. Bryce is the author of the Young Adult thriller Perennials and the Southern mystery Unclaimed Acre. His next book The Reading Buddy will be available in 2017.

Website: Bryce Gibson Writer.com

Amazon: amazon.com/author/Bryce Gibson

Facebook: facebook.comBryce-Gibson-Author

Twitter: @BGibsonWriter

Instagram: instagram.com/bgibsonwriter

Pinterest: pinterest.com/bgibsonwriter

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