A Scandal in Brooklyn by Lauren Wilkinson

I had the pleasure recently of reading Lauren Wilkinson’s short story “A Scandal in Brooklyn”, and it was such a fun story! Lauren Wilkinson has come up with a completely unique take on the stories of Arthur Conan Doyle, and Sherlock Holmes fans (and any mystery fans for that matter) will really enjoy this.  I’m delighted to be able to share an interview with the author, an excerpt from the story, and a giveaway here today.

Interview with Author Lauren Wilkinson

Your newest story, A Scandal in Brooklyn, is about a complex murder with a plethora of distrustful suspects — a clear homage to classic Holmesian tales. What elements of Arthur Conan Doyle’s original work most inspired you?

Arthur Conan Doyle’s Sherlock Holmes stories and novels are a lot of fun! And it was important to me that this story was fun, so I’d say that was the element of Doyle’s work that most inspired me.  We’ve all had a hard few years, so I didn’t want to write anything that was too heavy.  

What made you decide to omit Sherlock from your story and instead focus entirely on Irene Adler? 

Honestly, I just think that Irene Adler is the more interesting character. For one, in A Scandal in Bohemia, she outwits Holmes (and I’m glad she does because Sherlock Holmes is working for Irene’s toxic ex, who’s a huge hater that just won’t let be great). The other reason I think she’s the more interesting character is that there’s been far less written about her than there has been about Sherlock Holmes, so I felt like there was room to make up more stuff with her. And as a writer, that’s a more interesting place to hang out. 

Irene has been interpreted many ways in the last hundred years, but you offer a brand-new take on The Woman by making her a person of color. How does her background and culture change the narrative of this iconic female? 

Well, the fact that she’s a Black woman certainly informs her worldview. But for me, re-imagining Irene Adler as a modern character (and putting her in modern circumstances) was the choice that led to the most germane changes in the narrative. 

Irene has an eidetic memory which she has learned to use to her advantage – for example, in solving crimes. But this skill can also be a curse. What do memories mean to your characters and what do they mean to you? 

Memory is such an interesting thing to me! Our memories are so fallible, and yet a person’s collection of memories is the cornerstone of their identity.  What a strange internal conflict that is, and stranger still that it’s built into our nature.  The Mandela Effect is a good example of how this conflict plays: isn’t it interesting that — for some people anyway — it’s more agreeable to believe that objective reality is wrong than that they simply misremembered something?

Tommy Diaz, Irene’s old friend, recounts the story’s events including a murder as well as efforts to solve the crime. Why did you choose to show the story through his eyes? 

The character of Tommy Diaz is based on one of my oldest friends, Tommy Pico (who is a poet, screenwriter and now an occasional actor)! Honestly, it was just more fun for me to try to write a story from “his perspective” than from my own. I’m starting to get a little bored with my own perspective, if I’m being totally honest.     

How do you think modern technology is changing the mystery genre? What are some positive and negative aspects of these changes? 

I think that modern technology has the potential to give the genre new plot devices and twists. But ironically that has always been the case—apparently A Study in Scarlet was the first story to use the magnifying glass in a crime investigation. So, I think the question of how modern technology changes the mystery genre is a good example of how the more things change, the more they stay the same. 

In 2019 you released your debut novel American Spy to an avalanche of critical acclaim which included being named on President Obama’s summer reading list. What effect did this experience have on your career?

I continue to be extremely grateful to President Obama for putting my novel on his summer reading list!  The exposure had a profound effect on my career, in the sense that it allowed me to pursue television writing, which is what I spend most of my time on these days. 

What’s next for you?

Well, in my personal life, I’ve recently gotten married and we’re renovating our house together, which is an exciting project (that’s also been pretty time-consuming).  And professionally—well I’m not too sure! I’d really like to write another novel one day. I’d also like to keep writing for television, and maybe a movie one day too.

***

A Scandal in Brooklyn Excerpt

 

We went inside, and into what looked like a clearing in the woods. It took me a moment to realize that the floor, walls and ceiling were all covered in LED panels that were projecting a three-dimensional image. Victor lay in a patch of grass in one corner of the room beside a tree whose branches stretched outward into the simulated sky. A cloud of bees was buzzing around the hive dangling from one of the branches. 

 

“I . . . can’t breathe. Help me,” Victor said without turning to face us. His voice was ragged. 

 

“Where did those bees come from?” The kid with the buzz cut sounded confused. He had a Russian accent, and couldn’t have been more than twenty-five. 

 

“There are more over there,” Tyler said and pointed to the LED panels on the opposite wall. 

 

“Victor must’ve been stung. But how—” 

 

“He’s allergic to bees,” Priya shouted. “He’ll die!” 

 

“He’s going into anaphylaxis,” Tyler said. “There’s epinephrine in the first aid kit.” He ran out into the hall to retrieve it, and when he returned, he shouted, “Someone call 911!” 

 

I tried to but the call was rerouted. As an automated voice thanked me for contacting Avisa’s private emergency number, I watched Tyler poke a needle into a vial of epinephrine and draw the clear liquid up into it. He plunged the needle into Victor’s thigh. 

 

A woman with a soothing voice came on the line, and after I explained what was going on, she told me she’d send emergency personnel to Avisa House. The alarm stopped suddenly, and I hung up and glanced over at Irene. She was observing everything, doing her best to commit the moment to memory. 

 

I’d assumed that the shot would’ve immediately revived Victor, like in the movies. Instead, his eyes rolled up into his head and his body went limp. 

 

“He passed out,” Priya said. “Do something, please!” 

 

Tyler started CPR. A blonde woman with a magazine tucked underneath her arm came through the open door. My best guess was that this was the chef, Carol. “What the hell is going on? What was that alarm?” 

 

Victor was still unconscious. He must’ve had a serious allergic reaction—his cheeks had ballooned to grotesque proportions, his eyes were swollen shut, and a bright-red rash had broken out on his neck and chin. Tyler stopped pumping his heart and put two fingers to Victor’s wrist to check his pulse. After a moment, he said, “He’s dead. I’m so sorry.” 

 

Priya dropped to her knees beside him. She started to sob. I was too stunned to say anything. We all were. The room was so quiet that I could hear the distant sound of rain drumming on the roof. A couple of EMTs showed up a few minutes later—looking back, I wonder if they really were EMTs. They had both the air of authority and the equipment of medical professionals, but I can’t say for certain. 

 

“I don’t understand this.” Priya had gotten up and was standing with Irene, Shinwell, and me. Her eyes darted back and forth between Irene’s face and Victor’s body as it was loaded onto a gurney. “He was fine just a few minutes ago.” 

 

“Was he stung by digital bees?” I asked in a low voice. 

 

“I think someone wanted it to look that way,” Irene said. “But I don’t buy it.”

 

***

 

About the Story

 

Title: A Scandal in Brooklyn

Author: Lauren Wilkinson

Pub Date: June 30, 2022

Format: Short Story

 

Summary

A Scandal in Brooklyn

A top-secret experiment at a restricted virtual-reality compound pulls attorney Tommy Diaz back into the orbit of Irene Adler, an old friend with an eidetic memory, a love of true-crime podcasts, and a knack for solving the unsolvable. But this? At a remote warehouse, a VR trial goes awry when a willing test subject, alone in the observation room, drops dead of anaphylaxis—from the sting of a virtual bee. Though the tech titan behind the research believes in the power of the outrageous, Irene relies on clues, hard facts, and a level head. However, in a case this peculiar, how elementary can it be?

 

Author Biography

Lauren Wilkinson’s debut novel, American Spy, was a Washington Post bestseller; was nominated for the NAACP Image Award, Anthony Award, and Edgar Award; and was included on Barack Obama’s 2019 Recommended Reading List. Her writing has appeared in New York Magazine and the New York Times, among other publications.

 

Social Media Links

 

Website: https://www.lauren-wilkinson.com/ 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thrillkinson/ 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17287509.Lauren_Wilkinson 

 

Enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway for your chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card and a digital copy of A Scandal in Brooklyn by Lauren Wilkinson.

The Ice Coven by Max Seeck

The Ice Coven (Jessica Niemi, #2)Synopsis:

Investigator Jessica Niemi is in a race against time to find the link between a body with strange markings that has washed up on a frigid shore in Finland and two mysterious disappearances in this terrifying new novel from the New York Times bestselling author of the Witch Hunter.

Six months have passed since Jessica’s encounter with the mysterious serial-killing coven of witches and the death of her mentor Erne. Her nightmares about her mother and the witchcraft that undid her have only gotten worse, but she’s doing what she can to stay focused. Her homicide squad, now under new leadership, has been given a murder case and a new series of disappearances to investigate. A young woman’s corpse has washed up on an icy beach, and two famous Instagram influencers have gone missing at the same time.

The missing influencers and the murdered woman all have ties to a sinister cult. Jessica finds an eerie painting–of a lighthouse on a frigid island–as she investigates and under the picture is a gruesome poem detailing a murder. The nightmares about her dead mother have intensified and seem all too real, making Jessica wonder if the woman might be trying to tell her something about the killings. And as Jessica works frantically to solve her latest case, her terrifying past and the coven of witches that almost killed her shockingly reemerge and threaten to destroy her. 

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The Vines by Shelley Nolden – Guest Post and Blog Tour

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SYNOPSIS

In the shadows of New York City’s North Brother Island stand the remains of a shuttered hospital and the haunting memories of quarantines and human experiments. The ruins conceal the scarred and beautiful Cora, imprisoned there by contagions and the doctors who torment her. When Finn, a young urban explorer, arrives on the island and glimpses the enigmatic woman through the foliage, intrigue turns to obsession as he seeks to uncover her past–and his own family’s dark secrets.  Nolden skillfully intertwines North Brother Island’s horrific and elusive history with a captivating tale of love, betrayal, survival, and loss. 

Purchase LinksAmazon | IndieBound

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She Lies Close by Sharon Doering – Blog Tour & Excerpt

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She Lies Close

Synopsis:

A compulsive debut thriller about motherhood, obsession and how far we’d go to protect the ones we love.

Five-year-old Ava Boone has been missing for six months. There have been no leads, no arrests, no witnesses. The only suspect was quiet, middle-aged Leland Ernest.

And Grace Wright has just bought the house next door. Recently divorced, Grace uprooted her two small children to start again and hopes the move will reset her crippling insomnia. But now she understands bargain-price for her beautiful new house.

With whispered neighbourhood gossip and increasingly sleepless nights, Grace develops a fierce obsession with Leland and the safety of her children. Could she really be living next door to a child-kidnapper? A murderer?

With reality and dream blurring more each day, Grace desperately pursues the truth – following Ava’s family, demanding answers from the police – and then a body is discovered…

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Book Blast & Giveaway – When It’s Time for Leaving by Ang Pompano

Book Blast – When It’s Time for Leaving
by Ang Pompano

About When It’s Time For Leaving


When It’s Time for Leaving
Traditional Mystery
1st in Series
Encircle Publications, LLC (October 1, 2019)
Paperback: 274 pages
ISBN-10: 1948338920
ISBN-13: 978-1948338929
Digital ASIN: B07TYQ8PDL

When his girlfriend dumps him and a dealer nearly rams him off a bridge, Al DeSantis quits the New Haven Police Department. Just as he plans to head for LA, he finds out the father who left when he was a kid has deeded him the Blue PalmettoDetective Agency in Georgia.

Al goes down to Savannah intending to sell fast and go west, but before he can, he discovers a strong, attractive detective named Maxine, a dead body on the dock—and his father, alive, suffering from dementia, and determined to help his “new partner Al” solve the crime. Al has a lot of adjusting to do when his traditional ideas are challenged as he has to act as his father’s caretaker, and finds that Maxine is his superior in the agency that he “owns.” When his father goes missing, Al and Max must team up to save his father–and capture the murderer.

Praise

Ang Pompano’s debut novel, WHEN IT’S TIME FOR LEAVING, is a corker. Thoroughly likable former cop, Al DeSantis, wants to get out of the crime business but inherits one that, fortunately for readers, won’t let him go. — Hallie Ephron, New York Times bestselling author CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR

In When It’s Time for Leaving, debut mystery author Ang Pompano has created the most unusual and appealing duo of detectives since Holmes and Watson. —Lucy Burdette, national bestselling author of A DEADLY FEAST

Author Ang Pompano serves up the PI for the double 20s. Al DeSantis is a classic, damaged gumshoe but with a youthful energy that pulls you through the pages. —Barbara Ross, author of the Maine Clambake Mysteries and winner 2019 Maine Literary Award for Crime Fiction

Crime fiction has boasted some famous fathers and sons, from Inspector Richard Queen and his son Ellery to Jim Rockford and his dad Rocky. Add to that list the unforgettable duo of Al DeSantis and Big Al—building on that tradition but with some provocative twists. Ang Pompano’s first novel proves tough-minded and warm-hearted in equal measure. A fine, multi-layered debut.—Art Taylor 2019 Edgar, Anthony, Agatha, Macavity, and Derringer Award winner

When it’s Time for Leaving is a crime thriller that delivers an atmospheric tale packed with action, suspense and some surprising twists. Pompano is a skilled storyteller who offers readers a complex mystery of chases, confrontation and introspection. The tale he weaves is, indeed a well-crafted murder mystery, set in a turbulent sea of emotions and populated with multifaceted characters. ­­­ —James Terry reviewer The Paladin Project

I like mystery/thrillers. This one is heavy on the mystery and very little thriller aspect. It is an enjoyable sometimes snarky read that made me smile. The main characters were so well written I felt like I knew them. The mystery itself was wrapped in mystery as we got to know the individuals and the hidden nuances of small towns. It was almost like watching (albeit reading) a 50/60 movie. I personally wanted the ending to share with everyone who was guilty. Have to leave it there, no spoilers. Thank you for the arc! All thoughts and opinions are my own and were unsolicited. —Cheryl M, Net Galley Reviewer

A really good and surprising mystery. The characters are great and feel like friends. I loved the snarky humor. I will definitely read more by this author. —Leah H, Net Galley Reviewer

Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours Praise

. . . a compelling detective mystery, with a bit of romance and lots of action and suspense. It is very well written, the plot is well intertwined and the pace is flowing.
~LibriAmoriMiei

This was a good mystery, with rough around edges characters . . . I really enjoyed this mystery . . .
~eBook Addicts

Pompano’s flawed detective is fun to watch. He’s tough with the bad guys, but when dealing with his father and the gal next store, he’s totally lost. There are moments of humor; others of sadness.
~Here’s How It Happened

When It’s Time for Leaving by Ang Pompano is a traditional PI mystery that had me intrigued from the first page . . . I enjoyed the mystery and thought it was a good debut novel.
~Brooke Blogs

 

About Ang Pompano

Ang Pompano has been writing mysteries for more than twenty years. His mystery novel, WHEN IT’S TIME FOR LEAVING will be published on October 1, 2019, by Encircle Publications. His short stories have been published in many award-winning anthologies, including the 2019 Malice Domestic Anthology, PARNELL HALL PRESENTS MALICE DOMESTIC: MURDER MOST EDIBLE. His newest story, “Stringer” will appear in SEASCAPE: THE BEST NEW ENGLAND CRIME STORIES 2019. In addition, he has written many academic pieces including one on teaching detective fiction. A member of Mystery Writers of America, he is a past recipient of the Helen McCloy/Mystery Writers of America Scholarship for a novel in progress. He has been on the New England Crime Bake Planning Committee for fourteen years and is a long-time board member of Sisters in Crime New England. He lives in Connecticut with his wife, Annette, an artist, and his two rescue dogs, Quincy and Dexter.

 

Author Links:

Website – http://angpompano.com
Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/A.J.Pompano/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/AngPompano
Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/angpompano/

Purchase Links

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Be sure to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win a digital copy of When It’s Time for Leaving

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CROSS HER HEART by Melinda Leigh – Blog Tour, Excerpt & Giveaway

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Cover Synopsis:

A homicide detective’s violent family history repeats itself in #1 Amazon Charts and Wall Street Journal bestselling author Melinda Leigh’s novel of murder, secrets, and retribution.

For more than twenty-five years, Philadelphia homicide detective Bree Taggert has tucked away the nightmarish childhood memories of her parents’ murder-suicide…Until her younger sister, Erin, is killed in a crime that echoes that tragic night: innocent witnesses and a stormy marriage that ended in gunfire. There’s just one chilling difference. Erin’s husband, Justin, has vanished.

Bree knows how explosive the line between love and hate can be, yet the evidence against her troubled brother-in-law isn’t adding up. Teaming up with Justin’s old friend, former sheriff’s investigator and K-9 handler Matt Flynn, Bree vows to uncover the secrets of her sister’s life and death, as she promised Erin’s children. But as her investigation unfolds, the danger hits close to home. Once again, Bree’s family is caught in a death grip. And this time, it could be fatal for her.

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The Last Sister by Kendra Elliot – Blog Tour

 

 

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Synopsis:

Three sisters’ secrets collide in a shocking novel of suspense by the Wall Street Journal and Amazon Charts bestselling author of the Mercy Kilpatrick series.

Twenty years ago Emily Mills’s father was murdered, and she found his body hanging in the backyard. Her younger sister, Madison, claims she was asleep in her room. Her older sister, Tara, claims she was out with friends. The tragedy drove their mother to suicide and Tara to leave town forever. The killer was caught. The case closed.

Ever since, Emily and Madison have tried to forget what happened that night—until an eerily similar murder brings it all back. It also brings FBI special agent Zander Wells to the Oregon logging town. As eager as he is to solve the brutal double slaying, he is just as intrigued with the mystery of Emily’s and her sisters’ past.

When more blood is shed, Zander suspects there’s a secret buried in this town no one wants unearthed. Is it something Emily and Madison don’t know? Or aren’t telling? And Tara? Maybe Emily can’t bear to find her. Because when Tara disappeared, she took a secret of her own with her.

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Review – In the Dark by Loreth Anne White

In the Dark Synopsis:

A secluded mountain lodge. The perfect getaway. So remote no one will ever find you.

The promise of a luxury vacation at a secluded wilderness spa has brought together eight lucky guests. But nothing is what they were led to believe. As a fierce storm barrels down and all contact with the outside is cut off, the guests fear that it’s not a getaway. It’s a trap.

Each one has a secret. Each one has something to hide. And now, as darkness closes in, they all have something to fear—including one another.

Alerted to the vanished party of strangers, homicide cop Mason Deniaud and search and rescue expert Callie Sutton must brave the brutal elements of the mountains to find them. But even Mason and Callie have no idea how precious time is. Because the clock is ticking, and one by one, the guests of Forest Shadow Lodge are being hunted. For them, surviving becomes part of a diabolical game. 

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After the Eclipse by Fran Dorricott – Blog Tour / Excerpt

AftertheEclipse_USSynopsis: A stunning psychological thriller about loss, sisterhood, and the evil that men do, for readers of Ruth Ware and S.K. Tremeyne 

Two solar eclipses. Two missing girls.

Sixteen years ago a little girl was abducted during the darkness of a solar eclipse while her older sister Cassie was supposed to be watching her. She was never seen again. When a local girl goes missing just before the next big eclipse, Cassie – who has returned to her home town to care for her ailing grandmother – suspects the disappearance is connected to her sister: that whoever took Olive is still out there. But she needs to find a way to prove it, and time is running out.

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Little Darlings by Melanie Golding – Blog Tour

Little Darlings “Mother knows best” takes on a sinister new meaning in this unsettling thriller perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman and Grimms’ Fairy Tales.

Everyone says Lauren Tranter is exhausted, that she needs rest. And they’re right; with newborn twins, Morgan and Riley, she’s never been more tired in her life. But she knows what she saw: that night, in her hospital room, a woman tried to take her babies and replace them with her own…creatures. Yet when the police arrived, they saw no one. Everyone, from her doctor to her husband, thinks she’s imagining things.

A month passes. And one bright summer morning, the babies disappear from Lauren’s side in a park. But when they’re found, something is different about them. The infants look like Morgan and Riley―to everyone else. But to Lauren, something is off. As everyone around her celebrates their return, Lauren begins to scream, These are not my babies.

Determined to bring her true infant sons home, Lauren will risk the unthinkable. But if she’s wrong about what she saw…she’ll be making the biggest mistake of her life.

Compulsive, creepy, and inspired by some of our darkest fairy tales, Little Darlings will have you checking―and rechecking―your own little ones. Just to be sure. Just to be safe.

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