Thursday, January 29, 2015

Memories and Matchsticks, A Sam McNamee Mystery by N. Gemini Sasson, Now Available at a Special Price

Omnimystery News is always searching for newly discounted mystery, suspense, thriller and crime novels for our readers to enjoy.

Today, we're pleased to present the following title, now available at a special price courtesy of the publisher, Cader Idris Press …

Memories and Matchsticks by N. Gemini Sasson

Memories and Matchsticks by N. Gemini Sasson

A Sam McNamee Mystery (1st in series)

Publisher: Cader Idris Press

Price: $0.99 (as of 01/29/2015 at 1:00 PM ET).

Memories and Matchsticks by N. Gemini Sasson, Amazon Kindle format

There's an arsonist on the loose in rural Wilton, Indiana — and he'll do whatever it takes to keep from being found out. Even murder …

Out of work, accident prone, and dateless, Sam McNamee packs up her belongings and her daughter to move to the Florida Keys, where she can pen love stories as S.A. Mack to ease the lingering pain of her husband's death. First, though, she has to help her dad sell his home of forty-plus years. It just might be the hardest job she's ever tackled. He's a hoarder; she's a neat freak.

The night she returns to Wilton, Sam plows into a mangy mutt on a rain-slicked country road. Bump, the dog she rescues, has a history that drags Sam and her family into a web of danger, making her father a prime suspect.

Feuds and secrets run deep in Humboldt County. Sam can't leave until the arsonist is uncovered. Not that she'd want to anymore, since veterinarian Clint Chastain has stolen her heart.

Memories and Matchsticks by N. Gemini Sasson

Find more discounted mystery, suspense and thriller titles on the Omnimystery News Facebook page.

Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

New This Week: Lock It Down, A Cady and Blue Mystery by Susan James

Omnimystery News is pleased to present a mystery, suspense, or thriller ebook that we recently found by sleuthing (as it were) through new or recently reissued titles from independent publishers during January 2015 and priced $4.99 or less …

Lock It Down by Susan James

Lock It Down by Susan James

A Cady and Blue Mystery (1st in series)

Publisher: BookBaby

Price: $4.99 (as of 01/29/2015 at 12:30 PM ET).

Lock It Down by Susan James, Amazon Kindle format

Cady Colette has learned to structure her days in the ordered stacks of the smallest library in Upstate New York. Living in the heart of the serene Finger Lakes, she has downshifted more each year since the disappearance of her husband six years ago — without a trace.

Just as her life is regaining a hard-won equilibrium, and she starts to open up to Eric and a bit of romance, tragedy strikes her small-town American life again. Can she handle another unsolved mystery? Will it leave her locked permanently in the void of the unknown? Will Blue, the investigator who never found her husband, have more answers this time? Will their efforts to team up end in a cold case again?

Lock It Down by Susan James

Find more newly released mystery, suspense and thriller titles on the Omnimystery News Facebook page.

Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

Please Welcome Psychologist and Mystery Author Christopher J. Ferguson

Omnimystery News: Guest Post by Christopher J. Ferguson
with Christopher J. Ferguson

We are delighted to welcome author Christopher J. Ferguson to Omnimystery News.

We asked Christopher, the department chair of psychology at a university in Florida and the author of a historical mystery novel, Suicide Kings (February 2014 trade paperback and ebook formats) set in 15th century Florence, to pick a topic of interest to him to share with us today, and he titles his guest post, "Violence in Literature".

— ♦ —

Christopher J. Ferguson
Photo provided courtesy of
Christopher J. Ferguson

From Gilgamesh to Shakespeare to Stephen King, violence has been a common feature of the stories we like to hear and the books we like to read. There are two parallel questions that are interesting. Why are we so attracted to violence in literature? And is this a bad thing? Back in 2011 Wall Street Journal book reviewer Meghan Gurdon opined that the dark themes in a lot of young adult literature could have a bad influence on youth which, in turn, prompted criticisms by authors that she did not fully appreciate the purpose of darker themes in literature. What is the truth? As both a psychologist who researches media effects and an author myself, I've been able to look at this issue from multiple perspectives.

There's little doubt that, historically, violence has been a part of literature as long as there has been literature. One of the earliest known examples of written storytelling, Gilgamesh is a remarkably sordid affair, and considerable violence can be found in many religious texts including the Judeo-Christian Bible and the Hindu Ramayana. From fairy tales to morality tales it is difficult to find an epoch or culture that eschewed violence as entertainment.

There's an odd duality when it comes to violence in literature and violence in real life. Very few people would doubt that violence in real life is traumatic. Witnessing violence in the family is well known as a risk factor for psychosocial problems in childhood for instance. But, despite decades of trying (and hyperbole among some politicians, advocates and scholars), little evidence has emerged that violent entertainment is a public health concern. Most of that research has been done with television or video games, not books. There's certainly still debate in the scholarly community, but my own research and that of other scholars has questioned whether media violence influences viewers in the same way as real life violence exposure would.

This is pretty evident in the way we approach violence in these two scenarios. Most of us would work hard to avoid violence in real life while happily consuming (and for some authors producing) violence in literature and other entertainment. Obviously people do vary in the level of violence that interests them, but it's difficult to argue that violent entertainment doesn't have broad appeal. Why do we seek to expose ourselves to something in literature that we'd want to avoid in real life?

On a very basic level, even as we live mainly peaceful lives, violence and aggression seem to be woven into our genetic fabric as a species. Our history is a violent one and human violence has transcended culture and history. Fortunately, in the modern era, despite the technological innovations we have made in killing, our species has learned to become more peaceful. As Steven Pinker notes in his excellent book The Better Angels of Our Nature we are, in fact, living in the least violent epoch in human history, no matter what you may be seeing on television news. This is true for both war and criminal violence. Yet, even as our lives become more peaceful, for most of us at least, that genetic fabric seems to draw us back to something that is a basic facet of our nature. Indeed, our success as a species arguably owes less to eradicating aggression, but learning to harness it in positive ways. Being driven to success, willingness to defend oneself and others, debate for our personal views, seek accomplishments and advancement, are all likely positive features of this element of our nature. When it gets out of control it becomes destructively violent, but harnessed carefully can propel us toward greater achievements.

This is all a fing-fangled way of saying what people already know: we like to read violence in books because it is in our nature to do so. Some more than others, granted, but there's just nothing particularly unusual about it. So what does all of this violent literature do to us, particularly the younger readers?

As I mentioned before, there have been startling few actual studies of books. Some evidence does suggest that, indeed, books including those for young adults are becoming edgier with more profanity, violence, etc. This would seem to support Gurdon's perceptions. But evidence that this change in recent literature is "bad" for youth is lacking. I conducted one of very few direct examinations for a relationship between reading edgy (or "banned") books and problem behavior in youth. Interestingly reading "banned" books (books that are frequently challenged in libraries due to material offensive to some) was associated with more civic and volunteering behavior among youth. Such books had no influence on aggression. However, there were a very small number of youth, mainly girls, who both consumed a heavy amount of banned books, and also had more mental health issues as reported by their parents. Whether the books had asserted an influence on these youth, or whether youth with mental health issues seek out books they can relate to remains unclear from correlational evidence. But even this was only for a small percentage of youth. Otherwise no linear relationship between consuming banned books and mental health issues existed. Or, put simply, books even edgy ones don't appear to be associated with problems among most youth. The other interesting finding from this study was that reading for pleasure but NOT assigned school readings was associated with higher GPA. So discouraging kids from reading what interests them may not be such a good idea overall.

Violence in literature is not going away anytime soon. And such content appears to be a reflection of our natures, not a cause of it. Authors of darker material can likely take some comfort in this: you're not ruining the world. Critics of such material are certainly welcome to still be critical, but such criticism will likely be more effective when it eschews dramatic claims of "harm" that can't be supported by data. When it comes to youth, it is probably most crucial to get them reading, whatever they may be interested in reading. So let the darker tendrils of your imagination hold sway … it's only natural.

— ♦ —

Christopher J. Ferguson is the department chair of psychology at Stetson University in DeLand, FL. He has published numerous scholarly articles on media effects, including violence in video games, television, movies and books. In addition to his first novel, Suicide Kings, he is also the author of published short fiction. He lives near Orlando with his wife and son.

For more information about the author, please visit his website at ChristopherJFerguson.com, or find him on Facebook and Twitter.

— ♦ —

Suicide Kings by Christopher J. Ferguson

Suicide Kings
Christopher J. Ferguson
A Historical Mystery

Four fateful words, "Your mother was murdered." These words whispered by a nun in Diana Savrano's ear set Diana on the path to avenge her mother's death. The sister passes Diana a note in her mother's hand implicating her mother's involvement with a Luciferian cult. Will a young noblewoman accustomed to the indolent luxuries of 15th century Florence succeed in identifying her mother's killers?

While Diana's inquisition cuts to the heart of tensions between the Republic of Florence, the Papacy in Rome, and the Satanic sect, she soon finds a price has been made for her own head. When clues begin to suggest the murderer is her own father, the strain on Diana pushes her to the edge of self-destruction. Only in recovering from a failed suicide attempt is Diana able to bring vengeance to her mother's assassins.

Amazon.com Print/Kindle Format(s)  BN.com Print/Nook Format(s)  iTunes iBook Format  Kobo eBook Format

Mr. Standfast by John Buchan is Today's Third Featured Free MystereBook

Omnimystery News is pleased to feature one of today's Free MystereBooks …

Mr. Standfast by John Buchan

Mr. Standfast by John Buchan

A Richard Hannay Spy Thriller

Publisher: Open Road

Mr. Standfast by John Buchan, Amazon Kindle format

This title was listed for free as of January 29, 2015 at 7:20 AM ET.

In the last of his World War I adventures, Richard Hannay undertakes his most dangerous assignment yet …

When England calls, Richard Hannay answers. Not yet forty and already a brigadier general, he has led the charge into some of the fiercest fighting of World War I: Loos, the Somme, Arras. There is no telling how far up the ranks he might climb if only the Foreign Office would stop taking him off the front lines for cloak and dagger work. Adding insult to injury, Hannay's latest clandestine mission requires him to commit the most shameful of sins in a country under siege: pacifism.

In the idyllic Cotswolds, a circle of conscientious objectors has been infiltrated by a masterful German spy. To unmask the enemy, Hannay must disavow everything he holds dear. Fortunately, his old American friend John Blenkiron is also on the case, as is Mary Lamington, a brave and beautiful girl with the rare ability to turn Hannay from thoughts of war. First things first, though — before love comes duty, and the trail of treachery runs all the way from the south of England, to a pink chalet high in the Swiss mountains, to Parisian streets echoing with the roar of German guns.

Mr. Standfast by John Buchan

For a summary of all of today's featured titles, plus any that may have appeared before and are repeat freebies, visit our Free MystereBooks page. This page is updated daily, typically by 8 AM ET.

Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. The price displayed on the vendor website at the time of the purchase will be the price paid for the book. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.

Rise of the Black Hand by C. J. Fella is Today's Second Featured Free MystereBook

Omnimystery News is pleased to feature one of today's Free MystereBooks …

Rise of the Black Hand by C. J. Fella

Rise of the Black Hand by C. J. Fella

The Case Files of Thomas Morelli

Publisher: C. J. Fella

Rise of the Black Hand by C. J. Fella, Amazon Kindle format

This title was listed for free as of January 29, 2015 at 7:10 AM ET.

In this business it pays to be smooth, hard as nails and tough as they come. Unfortunately for me — I'm not. Luckily, I can wield sarcasm as well as any weapon, and I'm not afraid to use either of them. When that fails — and it usually does — there's no substitute for a sucker-punch. So sit back and let me tell you how this nightmare came about and made me one of the most infamous agents to ever put on a badge.

But let me warn you right up front. I'm not suave enough to get a woman out of her clothes just by smiling at her. If that's what you're after, Ian's Bond has got you covered. I'm not smooth enough to pull off most of these capers without having to fire a shot. There are guys out there good enough, like Spade and Marlowe, but that's not me either. And I'm not one of those guys that's so damn tough that even when he gets his ass kicked you just know — you know — he's gonna be back to finish off the bastards that did it. If that's what you're after, then nobody — but nobody — drops the hammer, like Hammer.

I'm the guy that has to get in there and get his hands dirty — filthy. The one that has to bust his ass and use everything he can to come out of it alive. It ain't always pretty, but I get the job done. And don't worry, I'm going to give you a little something in return, because I can promise you one thing — you'll be laughing on the first page — in the first paragraph. If you're not, then put it down and never pick it up again. Oh — and have a couple of aspirin handy, because my fights are so damn brutal that just reading about them is going to make your ribs hurt. You've been warned. Don't come crying to me about it later. Now, where was I?

It was the year 2229, and the world was still recovering from the Planetary Civil War, which ended just a few years earlier. We'd made computers and androids so smart that it was time to ask ourselves the big questions — are they life forms? The answer was yes — but it didn't come so easy — enter the war. But that's another story. The war was over, and I was one guy that sure wasn't going to miss it. The economy was booming around the galaxy and the future looked bright, at least for most of us. As a soldier returning to my hometown of Seattle, Washington, and with a shiny badge that said, Special Agent Thomas Morelli, I found myself running a small satellite office right in my own neighborhood with my lifelong friends, Eddie Shannon, and Champ, the most cantankerous, ornery android to ever roll off the assembly line. Our beat was on level one, hundreds of stories beneath the glittering lights of the skyscrapers that reach to the heavens.

On a day that started off like any other, I got my ass kicked by some local gangsters on my way to the office. But my day picked up as Eddie and I were hired by a neighborhood friend, Lisa Riker, to locate her father, Paul. He was a worker at one of the nearby dock warehouses, and he'd vanished a week earlier without a trace. An after-hours stroll by the warehouse landed us in a fire-fight as we tried to dig up Paul's location. The only clue lead us to suspect the involvement of one of the most dangerous criminal organizations in history — The Black Hand. That's right, the same gang that assassinated Archduke Ferdinand and started World War One. Now they were back, centuries later. But this time it was different — this was my town — and they just stuck their hand in the wrong cookie jar.

Rise of the Black Hand by C. J. Fella

For a summary of all of today's featured titles, plus any that may have appeared before and are repeat freebies, visit our Free MystereBooks page. This page is updated daily, typically by 8 AM ET.

Important Note: Price(s) verified as of the date and time shown. Price(s) are subject to change at any time. The price displayed on the vendor website at the time of the purchase will be the price paid for the book. Please confirm the price of the book before purchasing it.