Dead Like Me by Kelly Miller

Narrator: Angel Clark

Publisher: Kelly Miller (2017)

Length: 7 hours 34 minutes

Series: Book 1 A Detective Kate Springer Mystery

Author’s Page

Set in Tampa, Florida, Homicide Detective Kate Springer has just returned to the job. She and her partner catch the next murder case, a teen-aged girl, Kimberly Callahan, who shares an unexpected connection with Kate. As they dig into the murder, several suspects catch their eye. However, Kate is distracted by one in particular and that distraction may be her downfall.

There was a lot I enjoyed about this book. It was mostly Kate Springer who held my interest. I believe she will be a great main character for the series. She’s got this dark past that haunts her a bit even though she is well into her 30s. Throughout the book, she’s seeing the department psychologist off and on and that’s where we learn the most about her past. I also like that Kate knows she has certain behaviors for deflecting people which keep her from having close friendships and meaningful romances.

This book does deal with child sexual abuse. While none of it is revealed in detail, the author does a good job of focusing on how that abuse affects not only the child but the adult that child turns into. The story also brings non-sexual abuse and just plain neglect into the story as well.

Some aspects of the book were a bit formulaic. For instance, the killer was easy to identify. In fact, from the moment they strolled onto the page, I was pretty sure. Also, I didn’t ever really worry about whether or not Kate would live through this investigation, since we all know this is Book 1 in a series.

I really liked Kate’s work partner, fellow Detective Patrick Jessup. The two have a good rapport going with their jokes and random fact bets. I also liked the crime scene tech and her knowledge of etymology; for instance, she knows where the phrase ‘humble pie’ comes from.

There were a handful of things that felt a little rushed or slanted in a certain way for convenience. When Kate is doing her sessions with the psychologist, she’s asked to discuss her triggers and Kate doesn’t know what that means. Yet I was pretty sure that Kate had spent some time working with a psychologist or two in the past and also reading up on her own, so I don’t know why she wouldn’t know this basic term. I felt that was put there to give the psychologist the chance to explain it to the reader, not to Kate. Also, there is a fat, bullying cop who Kate is always trading insults with, though Kate’s insults are nearly always about his weight (which I felt was immature). My biggest complaint is that Kate’s past and her connections to the case remain unknown to the homicide department at the end of the story. I didn’t think this was realistic at all.

With that said, this book still gripped my attention. I really wanted to see how things would unfold, even though I had already guessed the killer. Kate is a fascinating character in many ways. She has issues but her focus on her work keeps her centered. The trusting relationship between her and Patrick, who is a happily married man with kids, leads me to wonder if things might get complicated for Kate in the future. Kate is slow to discover who the killer is, or rather, accept what her subconscious is already pretty sure about. I felt this was realistic and I enjoyed the cat and mouse game as Kate finds evidence to support the case. I look forward to Book 2 and seeing where Kate goes from here now that she can lay part of her past to rest.

I received a free copy of this book.

Narration: Angel Clark was a great Kate Springer. I really liked her voice for Kate, especially the more emotional scenes. Clark also went the extra mile and included special effects to mimic speaker phone, PA system, and cell phone calls. Sometimes I did find a few of her voices for minor characters to be a little cartoony, but that is my only little complaint. 

What I Liked: A tough case involving a teen; Kate’s difficult past; her rapport with Patrick; the random facts stuck into the story; the cat and mouse wind up to catching the killer; how the killer is finally brought to justice.

What I Disliked: Sometimes Kate’s insults are a bit immature; it’s unlikely that her past would remain a secret from the department after this case; sometimes the narration was a little cartoony.

What Others Think:

Illiterarty

Giveaway & Interview: Marc Johnson, Author of The Passage of Hellsfire Series

JohnsonCatalystFolks, please welcome Marc Johnson, author of The Passage of Hellsfire series, to the blog today. We chat about young kid Marc, Leonardo’s Flying Maching, actress Laura Harris, and plenty more. Also, thanks to Marc, we have two GIVEAWAYS below – print books (for US shipping) and ebooks (for International)! Don’t miss those at the bottom of the post.

Reality in my fiction: how important is it? Lengthy travel, cussing, and bathroom breaks happen in real life. How do you address these mundane occurrences in your writings?

I don’t believe that reality is that important in fiction. Every day and every second, people experience reality and its mundane trappings and extreme boredom. Fiction is a nice escape from it. That said, I do sprinkle in realty in my own work. Adds a sense of realism to it and keeps it grounded. It’s also something that people can relate to if they can’t relate to the magic, adventure, and life or death situations.

What has been your worst or most difficult job? How does it compare to writing?

I’ve had a lot of jobs over the years and they’ve not been particularly difficult. I choose not to have to have difficult jobs, which for me would be mentally challenging jobs not physically challenging ones. That way, while I’m working I can think about my writing or any other thing I’m interested in that challenges me. If I wrote for my day job or actually had a challenging job, it’d probably make my writing suffer.

JohnsonWhatOnceWasOneWhich ancient or historical works have you not read and periodically kick yourself for not having made time for them yet?

Can’t say that there is. There’s plenty of books I’ve not read yet that I wish I had. Slowly making my way through some of those. Just wish they were cheaper on my Kindle.

If you could own a famous or historical art work, what would it be? Would you put it on public display or keep it privately?

If I could own something, it would be Leonardo DaVinci’s Flying Machine. I’ve always wanted to fly and it just looks cool. Plus, it would remind me of my favorite Voyager episode.

What reboots (or retellings) of classics have you enjoyed? Are there ones that haven’t worked for you?

When it comes to movies, I would say reboots in the 80s were fantastic. If we’re talking about words on a page, I would say today I don’t much care for them. It’s not because they don’t have interesting ideas, but more because everyone tries to make the retelling “dark” and “edgy,” not to mention violent and graphic.

That said, I did enjoy Wicked. But those stories that retell or reboot the classics without making them dark, edgy, gritty, or sexualizing them are rare. Not that I’m a prude, but doing that doesn’t add to the story and makes it lose focus of what the story was about.

JohnsonReawakeningIf everyone came with warning labels, what would yours say?

Warning: An extreme case of pride.

What were you like as a kid? Did your kid-self see you being a writer?

As a kid, I was a pain in the ass. I had quite the mouth on me and an extremely sharp mind. Those parts of me haven’t changed. I was also very hopeful for the world and for people. That part’s long gone.

In any case, I did envision myself being a writer, among other things. I have a lot of stories I want to get out and plan on everything from books to short stories to film to comics to television. I want to do it all!

Care to share an awkward fangirl/fanboy moment, either one where someone was gushing over your work…..or one where you were gushing over another author’s work?

I once met Laura Harris as I was getting meat from my local butcher. She was my butcher, in fact, and I told her that she once looked like the actress from 24, Dead Like Me, and The Faculty. She told me she was! Never expected to meet an actor as I was buying meat. She was pretty low key and cool, and far more attractive in person.

Sadly, no one has ever gushed over my work to me. That’s all right. It would be extremely awkward if it ever did happened.

JohnsonCatalystCatalyst book blurb:

For centuries, the kingdom of Alexandria has protected Northern Shala from the monstrous creatures lurking in the Wastelands. Now, a dark force threatens that fragile peace.

Far from home, Alexandria’s princess is abducted. When a young villager named Hellsfire stumbles upon her and her captors, he rushes in to rescue her, alone and unarmed. His fear and fury unleash an uncontrollable magical force that grants him the power to save the princess—and change the world.

Hellsfire has never craved nor dreamed of power. But such magic as he now possesses has not been seen in Northern Shala for a thousand years, since the devastation of the War of the Wizards and the creation of the Wastelands.

Now Hellsfire must leave all he’s ever known, and make a dangerous journey to learn to master this wild, ferocious power—power he knows he is not ready to wield. More difficult still, he needs to master his emotions. If he can’t, the power will consume him, Alexandria will fall, and darkness will eclipse the land, destroying everyone he loves.

In the dead of cold, the spark shall burn…

JohnsonWhatOnceWasOneWhat Once Was One book blurb: 

Lead by the dark wizard, Premier, the kingdom of Alexandria was almost overrun by the foul creatures from the Wastelands. With the help of his friends and neighboring kingdoms, Hellsfire was able to defeat him, but only at the cost of his mentor.

Hellsfire is now a wizard, but he must finish what he started by hunting down Premier and retrieving the Book of Shazul. He must venture deep into the Wastelands, bypassing his way through thousands of creatures bent on killing him.

Beating in the heart of the Wastelands, is something far more dangerous than Premier or his beasts waiting for Hellsfire. It will force Hellsfire to make a devastating choice—a choice that will have repercussions not only for the Wastelands and Northern Shala, but for the entire land and the one he loves the most.

What once was one, will then be two, and never again be as whole…

JohnsonReawakeningReawakening book blurb:

To undo a mistake made a thousand years in the past, the wizard Hellsfire used his magic to bring down the Great Barrier that once divided the northern and southern lands. In doing so, he nearly brought war to his own homeland, and he afflicted the love of his life, Princess Krystal of Alexandria, with a potent and deadly curse.

Since then, Hellsfire has been working in Tyree with its Elemental Council, to rebuild its war-torn land and find a way to break Krystal’s curse. Now Krystal’s time is running out. As the princess fights for her life, Hellsfire learns that the wizard responsible for the curse—his old enemy Premier—is heading to the Burning Sands to steal the mysterious Jewel of Dakara.

If Hellsfire can capture Premier and learn the secret of the curse, he can save Krystal. But the Jewel of Dakara holds its own deadly secrets, and the hunt will take Hellsfire farther than he ever imagined, and cost him more than he bargained for.

The past is never gone nor buried…

Places to Find Marc Johnson

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GIVEAWAY!!!

Folks, Marc has generously offered up two giveaways. 1) Open to US only consisting of both Catalyst and What Once Was One in print and Reawakening in ebook, as it’s only available as that for now. 2) Open internationally, winner will receive all 3 books in ebook format via email. To enter, do the Rafflecopter thing below or answer the following in the comments: 1) Are you USA or international? 2) What piece of art would you like to own? 3) Leave a way to contact you (email preferred). Contest ends October 27th, 2015, midnight.

Rafflecopter for USA Shipping Address (Print books)

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Rafflecopter for International (ebooks)

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