New Five-Star Review makes my day

A mystery solved though clues!, February 15, 2017


Ian J. Miller

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This review is from: Double Fake, Double Murder (A Carlos McCrary, Private Investigator, Mystery Thriller Series Book 2) (Kindle Edition)

Chuck McCrary is ex-police and now a private investigator and he gets a case – an old friend, Jorge, from his police days has been charged with murder. The problem is, the evidence seems to be overwhelming. He was patrolling in the crime area just after midnight, the victim was a known drug dealer that all the police hated, Jorge had previously admitted that his gun had never left his possession, and the bullet that killed the victim came from Jorge’s gun. I must confess when I got this far I was feeling somewhat depressed. There was no reasonable way for Jorge not to be found guilty, short of some deus ex machina type solution. But Chuck soldiers on, and does some normal police work that seems to get nowhere with his real case, then he gets accused of murdering one of the suspects. Hidden in amongst all this is the odd clue, for those who really appreciate mysteries. Meanwhile, Chuck has also found a witness, except that in the dark he did not see much, and worse, he is a run-away kid for whom the system has failed. Jorge’s lawyer merely wants to plea bargain; being a public defender, she is overworked. Thus the public defence and the social services for children who are more or less abandoned by their parents are examined, and found wanting. Then, as you might guess, Chuck solves the crime, but to my pleasant surprise, the whole thing ended up quite reasonable, the crime was solved in an orthodox way without silly confessions but by putting together clues. Not only that, but it is well written. As mysteries go, this is way up with the best, and, as I noted, there is a social commentary relating to those for whom life has not been kind as an added extra. Highly recommended.


Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition

McCrary’s Justice, the 6th book in the Carlos McCrary series is a hard-hitting, soul-crushing, fast-paced novel that grabs you with the first sentence: “Liz lay still as a corpse in the dim light…,” and doesn’t let you go until justice has been exacted. The five stars are for the riveting pacing and heart-stopping horror of the victims in the story. But even McCrary’s justice comes at a very steep price. I longed for a different ending, one that didn’t hurt my reality-scarred spirit a second time, but then Carlos McCrary apparently isn’t destined for happy endings, at least not yet. If the idea of vigilante justice appeals to you and throwing away the rules is entirely justifiable under some circumstances, you are going to love Carlos McCrary and this series.

Ann Livi Andrews just posted this review on

She made my day. Here it is:

Quarterback Trap – Dallas Gorham

This is a great suspenseful and thrilling mystery that, while geared towards men with the football theme, will keep everyone on the edge of their seats.

To be clear, I am not a football fan, and I very much enjoyed this book. I read it all in one sitting, completely unable to put it down until the plot was resolved.

Gorham’s writing style is easy to follow and he doesn’t bog the reader down with statistics or football-speak that might alienate readers who don’t really follow the sport.

I loved all the characters and thought they were excellently written. Chuck is great as the main character and I can see him starring in future novels, such as Alex Delaware for Jonathan Kellerman, etc.

Even if you’re not a football fan, if you enjoy a good mystery/thriller, then I can definitely recommend this one to you.

It’s been said that you can’t tell a book by its cover. That’s hogwash. (I would have used an earthier expression starting with a B, but this is a family blog.) In the real world of real buyers, most people form their first opinion about a book by its cover. While I enjoy the creative process of writing a book and telling a compelling story, I also try to make a good living doing it. Sales in the marketplace are a good measure of how much people like my work. So I want to sell books—lots of books, thousands of books.

My book covers and titles send important messages to potential buyers who are considering my books. You, the reader, may invest five or ten hours to read a book. Your time has a value, and you’re gambling more than the purchase price when you buy my books.

One of the challenging aspects of marketing any book is to choose a title that people will click on. I want my titles to say, “Yes! That looks interesting. I want to learn more about this book.” My books are only available on the internet. On the internet, people don’t read; they scan. I can’t afford to make you, the buyer, work to figure out the meaning of my title. I have to grab you quickly, or you’ll move on to some other writer.

I want my titles to be short, but I want you to instantly understand what my books are about.

For example, I wrote my first novel using the working title of The Accidental Heiress. Bad idea: Too many friends told me that it sounded like a romance novel. One of my sisters-in-law reads a couple of #romance novels a week. Now I would love to tap into a market that deep and rich, but I prefer to write #mysteries and #thrillers. I went back to the drawing board and brainstormed new titles. I even surveyed a few of my fellow writers and readers (including my sister-in-law).Six_Murders-smallWeb I selected Six Murders Too Many. That tells the reader that this is a #mystery. It also says that it has lots of action. And the cover design with the burning house is a real attention-grabber. If I had gone with my original title, it would probably have been a dud seller.





My second novel, Double Fake, Double Murder 2016-03-11 DoubleFake-smallWebwas originally going to be titled just Double Fake. A title search on Amazon revealed that there were two other books with “double fake” in the title. They were both about soccer. So I added “double murder” to the title. Now anybody can tell that this is a mystery, not a soccer guide. And I love the double outline of two bodies on the cover. Mike Butler, my cover designer, came up with that one. Great idea, Mike!



Quarterback Trap, the third Carlos McCrary novel, was so obvious that the title almost selected itself. QB_Trap-smallWebThe star quarterback of the upcoming Super Bowl game has his fiancée kidnapped by mobsters who have a huge bet on the game. The star quarterback felt trapped. Duh… The title was a piece of cake. And the cover of a gun over-shadowing a football stadium tells a great story by itself.






Dangerous Friends was a tough choice. DF-smallWebI’m still not crazy about the title, but at least the word “danger” tells the buyer that this is a #thriller. The “dangerous friends” are eco-terrorists that dupe an idealistic college student into committing a #terrorist act. If you think of better title, let me know. The cover image shows a key scene from early in the book that starts the whole thriller on its whirlwind roller-coaster ride to the finish.

In my next blog I’ll cover my latest book, Day of the Tiger.

A fast-paced action thriller about ecoterrorism, political corruption, and felony murder.

Chuck McCrary is a wisecracking former Green Beret turned private investigator with a special genius for helping people in trouble—especially if they can pay him for his efforts.
Michelle Babcock, the granddaughter of South Florida’s legendary restaurateur and Chuck’s friend, Hank Hickham, has disappeared. She wakes Chuck with a 4:30 a.m. phone call, desperate foDF_Cover_kindler help. James Ponder, her drug addicted boyfriend, has involved her in a double murder that could put her in prison for life unless Chuck can find her a way out.
Michelle only expected free tutoring in college chemistry when she slept with James Ponder, a graduate student obsessed with global warming protests, who has a talent for ecoterrorism. Instead, she is sucked into an unhealthy circle of friendships surrounding an amoral professor whose secret agenda has yielded him millions of dollars with more loot to come. Michelle is swept up in a nightmare of political corruption, terrorism, and mega-million-dollar crimes.
Chuck uncovers a conspiracy involving arson, murder, and the Chicago mob. A mysterious millionaire has masterminded a string of mega-million-dollar stock market scams that reach back for five years. The mastermind intends to cut his losses by murdering anyone who can lead the cops back to him. That includes Michelle, Chuck, and the conscienceless professor, who becomes Chuck’s unwilling ally.


One reason we keep turning pages in Dangerous Friends is to watch the gripping character of Chuck McCrary. The skill with which he handles clients, police detectives, mob assassins, and FBI agents—all while controlling the outcomes of the case—is as remarkable as the clues he uncovers. Chuck seeks justice without regard for the legalities involved and tries to leave the world just a little better than he found it.

It’s free for Kindle Unlimited members. Buy the electronic edition or the paperback at Buy It Now!

end of sidewalk croppedDon’t overlook the obvious.



I just finished reading Invisible by James Patterson and David Ellis. Wow! What a ride.

One thing that made Invisible so special was that my copy was a gift from James Patterson himself. Now I can’t get a big head over this because Mr. Patterson also gave copies to about 300 of my fellow members of Mystery Writers of America who attended Sleuthfest 2015, the annual convention of the MWA, last February. Patterson was scheduled to give the keynote address. At the last minute, he had a family emergency which required him to cancel. So he sent 300 copies of his latest book to those of us who missed him, along with a letter which said, in part, “Your support means the world to me, and I would be thrilled to say thank you in person one day soon. Until then, I hope you’ll accept this book, Invisible, as a small token of my apology. Yours, J. Patterson”

Now, that’s a class act. Anyway, on to the book.

The opening paragraph grabbed me. “This time I know it. I know it with a certainty that chokes my throat with panic, that grips and twists my heart until it’s ripped from its mooring. This time, I’m too late.” Then, Invisible goes on for 397 more pages of murders, clues, mysteries, and thrills, culminating with an edge-of-your-seat climax and an “Ohmigawd!” plot twist at the very end.

The story is told in first person by Emmy Dockery, who took leave from her job as an FBI researcher to solve her own sister’s murder. The only problem is that the authorities insist that her sister’s death by fire was an accident.

One of the many things I enjoyed about the book is the feminine voice of the narrator. Patterson and Ellis did a great job of writing from a woman’s point of view. From the catty remarks about another woman Emmy was jealous of, to describing her break-up with another of the main characters, I felt like a woman was narrating. My own books are written from the viewpoint of a male private investigator and former Special Forces soldier. I don’t think I could write from a woman’s viewpoint like that. But Patterson and Ellis succeed. Maybe that’s one reason Patterson has sold over 280 million books.

About three chapters into the book I noticed another subtle feature that I hadn’t seen before—Invisible is written in the present tense. Emmy Dockery’s narration occurs as she studies the evidence, investigates the clues, and interacts with the other characters. The present tense gives the immediacy of solving the mystery alongside the heroine. Take this pivotal scene where Emmy proves that the fire was no accident:

Lia Janus [FBI forensic pathologist] looks around the room and releases a heavy sigh…

“I’ve conducted more than a thousand autopsies…,” she says. “I’ve… seen everything, guys. It’s impossible to surprise me.”

And? And?

“After examining the bodies of [two other victims], you can put me down as surprised,” she says.

I won’t give you the rest, because I don’t want to spoil the story.

Patterson and Ellis have another big winner in Invisible.