Heartaches and Christmas Cakes by Amy Miller #BlogTour @Bookouture @AmyBratley1

Firstly I wish to thank Kim Nash of Bookouture for inviting me to be part of this Blog Tour for HEARTACHES AND CHRISTMAS CAKES by Amy Miller.

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Heartaches and Christmas Cakes: A wartime family saga perfect for cold winter nights (Wartime Bakery Book 1)

December, 1940: All that Audrey Barton wants is her family together for Christmas. But the war changes everything… 

The Barton family bakery in Bournemouth has been at the heart of the town for generations: Audrey and Charlie Barton have never been rich, but their bread and cakes – and their love and advice – have enriched the lives of others in the town for many years.

When war breaks out, it doesn’t take long for trouble to arrive on the bakery doorstep. Audrey’s brother William has joined up to fight, and William’s fiancé Elsie fears she may lose him before their life together has even begun. Audrey’s stepsister Lily comes to stay, but Lily is clearly hiding a dark secret.

And a silent and strange little girl is evacuated to the town – will Audrey get to the heart of what is ailing her?

Audrey battles to keep hope and love alive in tumultuous times. But when disaster strikes at Christmas, will her efforts be in vain?

This is the first book in a heartwarming and romantic new saga series, perfect for fans of The Gingerbread Girl, Nadine Dorries and Ellie Dean. 


Set in war-time Bournemouth this story centres round one of the town’s bakery’s, Charlie and Audrey Barton their families and friends. The Barton’s have been town bakers for generations and even war doesn’t stop Charlie and Audrey being inventive to create new ways to provide goods for their customers. Audrey is the rock in the story, the glue that keeps everyone together.

This is how the people back home dealt with not knowing if loved ones serving were even still alive, as weeks turned into months without even a letter from them. The only conciliation was that everyone was the same.  The sons and husbands of Bournemouth lost their lives like everywhere else in the country and mothers and wives supported each other when ever they could, even if it was only extra bread.

What makes the whole story so endearing is that this is the day in day out lives of ordinary people. The guilt of not going to war to fight when the job you do makes you a valuable home commodity. The poor girls caught out with false promises and the heartache of missing family and bows that are away fighting while temptation is waiting at every turn. This isn’t just one story but a web of stories that all come back to the central character Audrey. The lady with a heart of gold.

There are so many lovely characters in this story, one in particular stands out for me though, little Mary, she had so many hardships but the love of Audrey was always there for her. The story of the Bakery and the people connected to the Barton’s is to continue in a series.

Thank you to NetGalley and Bookouture for this ARC which I have reviewed honestly.




Amy Miller is the pseudonym of Amy Bratley, who started her writing life working on magazines and newspapers. She has previously written three women’s fiction novels published by Pan Macmillan, the first of which was a bestseller in Italy. Her day job is being a freelance managing editor of both a vintage interiors magazine and a food magazine, two subjects she’s passionate about. Amy lives in Dorset with her husband and two children.

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Snare by Lilja Sigurdardottir #BlogTour @OrendaBooks @lilja1972 #(Reykjavik Noir)

Firstly I wish to thank Anne Cater and Orenda Books for inviting me on this Blog Tour  for SNARE by Lilja Sigurdardottir



After a messy divorce, attractive young mother Sonia is struggling to provide for herself and keep custody of her son. With her back to the wall, she resorts to smuggling cocaine into Iceland, and finds herself caught up in a ruthless criminal world. As she desperately looks for a way out of trouble, she must pit her wits against her nemesis, Bragi, a customs officer, whose years of experience frustrate her new and evermore daring strategies. Things become even more complicated when Sonia embarks on a relationship with a woman, Agla. Once a high-level bank executive, Agla is currently being prosecuted in the aftermath of the Icelandic financial crash. Set in a Reykjavík still covered in the dust of the Eyjafjallajökull volcanic eruption, and with a dark, fast-paced and chilling plot and intriguing characters, Snare is an outstandingly original and sexy Nordic crime thriller, from one of the most exciting new names in crime fiction.



Sonja is a very convincing liar. Everything about her, from the successful business woman who her documents say she is, to the classy way she looks, it is all lies. Sonja is a high-class drug smuggler and to be honest she is bloody good at what she does. At just a phone call Sonja can be jetting off anywhere in the world to smuggle cocaine back into her home country of Iceland. Talk about crafty, phew I won’t even glance at a stranger in an airport ever again never mind talk to one! This is one very determined lady and boy is she ingenious in the ways she works. I think that it is impossible not to like Sonja especially as the story unfolds.

Now the story is told through three people, another being Bragi, a very wise old Customs Officer with a feel for travellers that just aren’t right. Sonja is like a beacon to him that flashes come and get me. Bragi becomes quite a determined fellow to catch this lady traveller out before he retires. It all makes for super reading.

Agla is the third cog in this wheel, the lady Sonja’s husband Adam found in bed with her and the final straw why Sonja and Adam’s marriage ended which resulted in him winning custody of their son. Agla also works at the bank where Adam works.

What a fabulous story. My heart raced at every airport arrival, every heart wrenching visit Sonja had with her son and every time she met the man she worked for. Loved the tenderness of Bragi, the uncertainty of Alga and the strength of Sonja. All caught in their own snares.

I really think I came face to face with what evil looks like in this book and it took my breath. Just Brilliant. This is all I want in a book. I am also ecstatic that this is the first of three books.





Icelandic crime-writer Lilja Sigurdardóttir was born in the town of Akranes in 1972 and raised in Mexico, Sweden, Spain and Iceland. An award-winning playwright, Lilja has written four crime novels, with Snare, the first in a new series, hitting bestseller lists worldwide. Translation rights have been sold in eight countries to date, and film rights have been bought by Palomar Pictures in California. Lilja has a background in education and has worked in evaluation and quality control for preschools in recent years. She lives in Reykjavík with her partner.




Christmas at Hope Cottage by Lily Graham #BlogTour @Bookouture

Firstly I wish to thank Kim Nash and Bookouture for inviting me to take part on this Blog Tour for CHRISTMAS AT HOPE COTTAGE by Lily Graham



In the little village of Whistling, with its butterscotch cottages and rolling green hills, snow is beginning to fall. Christmas is coming, and Emma Halloway is on her way home.

When twenty-eight-year-old food writer Emma Halloway gets dumped then knocked off her bike, she’s broken in more ways than one, and returns to her family’s cosy cottage in the Yorkshire Dales. Emma hasn’t been back in some time, running from her crazy relatives and her childhood sweetheart, Jack Allen.

Emma’s grandmother is determined to bake her back to health and happiness, as the Halloways have done for generations. Surrounded by old friends and warm cinnamon buns, Emma starts to believe in her family’s special talents for healing again. But then in walks Jack with his sparkling hazel eyes, stirring up the family feud between them. 

As the twinkly lights are strung between the streetlamps, Emma remembers just why she fell for Jack in the first place… and why a Halloway should never date an Allen.

The infuriating new lodger, Sandro, doesn’t believe anyone should have to choose between love and family. With a little bit of Christmas magic, can Emma and Jack find a way to be together, or will Emma find herself heartbroken once more?

An utterly gorgeous Christmas romance about the importance of family, freshly baked biscuits, and learning to trust your heart. Perfect for fans of Phillipa Ashley, Debbie Johnson and Debbie Macomber.

 This is far more than a good feel book, this is a never give up believing because dreams can come true sort of book. I want to see this into a film because it is already playing round in the head  days after I have finished reading. Sigh……..
I just loved Emma from the moment I met her and thought oh poor girl this must be as bad as it gets being dumped so heartlessly but no, I think getting run over definitely topped that one! After a stint in hospital she had no choice but to leave her city job and home and return to Evie, her very unusual gran and Yorkshire to be cared for. A broken leg and arm not to the mention the loss of the talent she relied on for your job as a food writer made it impossible to care for herself.
Now when you live in a small village there are somethings that are never forgotten, including feuds between families, rumours of tales of the unexpected and of course falling in love for the first time. It is all so mystical and magical. What a super story. I loved the relationships, I could close my eyes and smell the cooking and baking and I could wish along for the outcomes I wanted so much for the brilliant characters I had come to know so well. Emma has a family like no other, all batty, loopy and simply wonderful.
This is the first book that I have read of Lily Thomas and I am still glowing inside. It is one of those books that you wish you could touch just a part of it for real because it has that special essence that we hope to experience sometime in our life. I do love a good story about forbidden love, done that one myself as a teenager. Emma isn’t a young girl anymore when she returns but, normally when not injured, an independent woman, so is there still a spark of romance in the air?
 I wish to thank Bookouture and NetGalley for this ARC which I have reviewed honestly
Lily grew up in dusty Johannesburg, which gave her a longing for the sea that has never quite gone away; so much so that sometimes she’ll find sand grouting the teaspoons, and an ocean in a teacup. She lives now in the English countryside with her husband and her sweet, slobbering bulldog Fudge, and brings her love for the sea and country-living to her fiction.

Bongo Fury 2 Holiday for Skins by Simon Maltman #Novella #Northern Irish Crime @simonmaltman



Sequel to the bestselling ‘Bongo Fury’ novella. Follow Jimmy as he gets into much deeper trouble in this black humoured, Northern Irish noir. Previous Press: “The mood is cynical, the wisecracks are plentiful, and the alcohol pours generously… an engaging and unique tale of crime and corruption.” The High Window “A mystery noir with a twist ending worthy of Dennis Lehane.” The Big Thrill


I was so looking forward to reading more of Jimmy. He is a family man living in Northern Ireland that has a music shop and side business of selling a few drugs just to top up the house keeping money. He is one hell of a character that is for sure. In the first Novella I got to know a little about his family life but this story centres more round life on the streets.

There is a killer emerging and although in most stories I would think straight away hey up a serial killer is about, I didn’t. My first thought was bloody hell a gang has jarred off someone higher up the chain of darn right frighten you to death ladder. There is definitely a pecking order in Northern Ireland where people who would scare the socks off me and leave me hiding in a corner wouldn’t be classed worthy enough of being  on the bottom of someone else’s shoe.

Well after a few bodies turn up with the same killing mode it does catch Jimmy’s attention, well enough to mention it to his Missus Pav, but things start to get very personal for Jimmy when someone he knows is added to the list of victims and he gets a knock on the door.

Simon Maltman has again written a belting Novella where these characters feel like they come to life. Loved that Jimmy’s brother was back in the story too.

Is there violence in these stories.  Yes most definitely.

Is there swearing? Tons of it.

Would I recommend it? 100% a brilliant story line!

So looking forward to the next in the series!


Simon Maltman

Simon Maltman is a Best-selling crime fiction author from Northern Ireland.

@simonmaltman on twitter




A new novella series from the bestselling author of ‘A Chaser on the Rocks’ and ‘More Faces.’ A gritty black noir from Northern Ireland.






The Watcher by Monika Jephcott Thomas #Blog Tour @AuthorightUKPR

Firstly I wish to thank Rachel Gilbey and Authoright for inviting me to be part of this Blog Tour for THE WATCHER by Monika Jephcott Thomas



It’s 1949 when Netta’s father Max is released from a Siberian POW camp and returns to his home in occupied Germany. But he is not the man the little girl is expecting – the brave, handsome doctor her mother Erika told her stories of. Erika too struggles to reconcile this withdrawn, volatile figure with the husband she knew and loved before, and, as she strives to break through the wall Max has built around himself, Netta is both frightened and jealous of this interloper in the previously cosy household she shared with her mother and doting grandparents. Now, if family life isn’t tough enough, it is about to get even tougher, when a murder sparks a police investigation, which begins to unearth dark secrets they all hoped had been forgotten.

Amazon UK –


This is a story about the after effects of WW2 on a family living in occupied Germany in 1949. I had to keep reminding myself that the story was about a German family because what it does do is make you realise that we are all people, not two different sides. Just ordinary people who were expected to fight for their country. The devastating physical and emotional damage on these men and woman was the same no matter which side they fought on.

This story tells of the struggles of a family coming back together when it is all over and how much it is like trying to fit a round peg into a square hole. War changed everyone and everything. Max a confident doctor and loving husband before he went to war had returned a broken man after being a POW in a camp run by the Russians in Siberia. He couldn’t speak of the horrors he had witnessed or how he believed it was a punishment for what his own country had done in the war. Not only that, there was a stranger in his house, in fact a stranger sleeping in his bedroom that he shared with his wife. Netta was his little daughter that he hadn’t seen growing up.

Netta didn’t really like this strange man that she was told was her father. He had made her life change so much since he had come to live with them. Netta under nourished because of an eating disorder is sent away to help improve her health. I must admit I see her as a tiny little thing but boy has she got some guts about her. She stands up to what she believes is just but suffers the consequences of her actions. I really liked this feisty little girl who took notice of more than she was given credit for.

Erika, mum had found comfort with someone else as the war had gone on but when she ended things he didn’t go quietly  which left her exposed and a bitter taste with the in-laws she lived with.  When he began to court their house keeper, it stirred emotions in a lot of the house hold. The house keeper is subsequently found murdered and an investigating begins to find out who is responsible.

This is a cracking story with everyone playing their cards close their chests a lot of the time. Flash backs by them all tell of how life had been for them through the war years. This little family faced so many tragic moments, I really wanted everything to work out for them. I loved Monika’s writing that switched naturally between all the people in the story. A very memorable book that I really loved.



About the author: Monika Jephcott Thomas grew up in Dortmund Mengede, north-west Germany. She moved to the UK in 1966, enjoying a thirty year career in education before retraining as a therapist. Along with her partner Jeff she established the Academy of Play & Child Psychotherapy in order to support the twenty per cent of children who have emotional, behavioural, social and mental health problems by using play and the creative Arts. A founder member of Play Therapy UK, Jephcott Thomas was elected President of Play Therapy International in 2002. In 2016 her first book Fifteen Words was published.

Website –




The Giants Look Down by Sonja Price @PriceSonja



At the age of 10, Jaya Vaidya decides she wants to follow in the footsteps of her beloved father and become a doctor, much to the chagrin of her mother and her local community. It is the late 1960s and the family enjoy an idyllic life in the Vale of Kashmir, despite the area being riddled with conflict and poverty. But after a devastating earthquake wipes out her entire family, Jaya is taken into the care of relatives in Delhi, who attempt to marry her off and keep secret from her the possibility that Tahir, her younger brother, has survived the earthquake. After escaping from the arranged marriage Jaya is put through medical training in Scotland, as she had always dreamed, and where she develops feelings for her foster family’s eldest son, Alastair, who is engaged to someone else. In the meantime, Tahir has been abducted by a band of Kashmiri freedom fighters, who have made him one of their own. Jaya finally returns to her troubled homeland to find him and come to terms with the loss of her family.


This is a story of how one determined little girl followed her dream no matter what obstacles were put in front of her. Set in the Vale of Kashmir in the 1960’s some of the younger generations are starting to be a pull away from tradition as a whole new world is opening up to be explored. Jaya Vaidya is only 10 years old when the story begins but after watching life and death situations in her father’s hands as a doctor she wants to follow in his foot steps. The family of course are horrified as young girls are expected to marry, after an appropriate man has been chosen by her parents, settle down and have his children, preferably male children.

After a disaster hits the village and wipes out her family she is sent to Delhi were the same fate of marriage is expected again. She flees and ends up in Scotland with an amazing family where they encourage her to follow her heart. Jaya works hard to become a doctor but falls in love with the man that she was brought up with as her brother. He is already engaged with causes Jaya to flee and find work as a doctor in her homeland.

This is a fascinating journey of Jaya. I loved what a strong character she was to stand up for what she wanted in life. She was a very courageous young woman. There is so much depth to this story and once she returns home and sees the people she is treating your heart breaks. The life of a woman, in some areas, and the traditions that some of the old customs follow are at times horrific.

Sonja Price besides capturing the different cultures also vividly describes the vast differences of Scotland and Jaya’s homeland. The lack of such basics like clean water and a full stomach and although beautiful in places the country holds so many dangers, especial where radicals and bandits are concerned. The bandits are ever watchful and hold an answer to something she needs to know. She thought they were dangerous before but nothing like the horrors to come.

A story of hope and tragedy.


Teaching English and Creative Writing at University in Germany feeds into my writing and vice versa.
Back in England I let my imagination take flight in the mystical surrounding of the Isle of Avalon. I love walking the dog beneath Glastonbury Tor and thinking of the next twist in my story.


The Giants Look Down

Published by Robert Hale, 2016

The Giants Look Down was shortlisted by the Romantic Novelists’ Association for the Joan Hessayon New Writers’ Scheme Award.

Read more about it in my post From mountains to seas: writing about different cultures on the Robert Hale Book Blog!

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Stories for Homes

Inside These Tangles, Beauty Lies is now available – an anthology of winning stories from the 2014 flash fiction and short story competition featuring my story The Sign. All sales profits go to the Beanstalk charity, which helps school children that struggle with reading.

Get the e-book from Amazon.









Stories for Homes

Stories for Homes now available – an anthology of short stories including my story Dreamtime’s Legacy. It’s available as a paperback or e-book and all proceeds go to Shelter.

See the promo video, book launch photo, get the e-book or order the paperback edition.











Political Justice by Dennis Carstens #MarkKadellaMystery @SmithPublicity

Firstly I wish to thank Andrea Kiliany Thatcher | Marketing Manager and Book Publicist at Smith’s Publicity for inviting me to read and review this book.



A politically-driven couple — he a charming governor and she the brains behind their meteoric rise — is poised to blow any preconceived notions you have about politics and power out of the water. Tom and Darla Carver certainly have revolutionary ideas on how to improve America. But improving their own political position and influence is always the underlying objective. Forget the headlines, but have fun guessing who’s who while devouring this delectable thriller. Political Justice: A Marc Kadella Legal Mystery by Dennis Carstens [October 3, 2017] is the seventh outing for the charismatic defense lawyer burning up Amazon best-seller lists. When one of now-president Tom Carver’s dalliances gets more than a polite brush off (she gets a death certificate!) the spin machine grinds into action as Darla resorts to bribes and leaks to preserve her own political legacy. She will even go so far as to frame an innocent, honorable soldier for treason to get what she craves. Kadella defends the man and as a legal defense is crafted, the lawyer is pulled further and further into the trial’s twists and turns. “I try to create a story that is entertaining, interesting and, most importantly, thought provoking,” Carstens says. “I want to create something that gives the reader a legal, moral or ethical dilemma to think about. In doing so, as in real life, every little detail may not be wrapped up in a nice, neat bow at the end. But the reading experience is well worth the ride.” A compelling mystery that readers can’t help but compare to political controversies current and historical, Political Justice is poised to be the most celebrated Marc Kadella mystery yet.


Dennis Carstens Q&A

1.       How long have you been writing? What genres have you written?
I actually wrote my first book The Key to Justice in 1999 – 2000. I tried to go the traditional route to get it published and was met with total disinterest and rejection. Discouraged, I did not take it up again until 2011. My son encouraged me to self-publish on Amazon. The response surprised me with its success which encouraged me to continue.
The legal world, murder mystery/courtroom drama is the only genre I have written so far. I am extremely interested and well read in history and I have in mind a couple of historical novels based on actual events that I will eventually do.
2.      What has been the greatest influence to your writing?
I am a retired lawyer who always enjoyed a good legal genre novel. What got me interested in doing one is most of the books in the genre left me wondering if the author had ever seen the inside of a courtroom. Ever represented a live, human client with a real legal problem or tried to make a living practicing law. Some do such as Scott Turow and Steve Martini who are very experienced and very good. Then others such as John Grisham, James Patterson and Michael Connelly who clearly have no clue. I wanted to write more realistically about what it is like.
3.      Are you currently writing anything now?
I am about to start, and by the time you read this will have started, the eighth of the Marc Kadella legal mystery series. No, I am not going to tell you about it. Buy it, you’ll like it.
4.      How do you typically begin your projects?
To me the main thing I need to have mostly figured out before I start writing is the ending. I think it is very important to know where you are going so as not to wander off too far as can happen. Writing a book is almost like building a house. You build the story one step at a time. And just as building a house you better have a pretty good idea of what it is supposed to look like when you are finished.
I do not use a written outline. I know what my beginning is going to be, my ending and the middle. I keep a lot of notebooks around the house, especially by my bed, for when ideas pop into my head so I can make notes of it.
As for characters, this is the main thing I am trying to accomplish. I want to create an emotional tie between the reader and the characters (good or bad, favorable or unfavorable) to keep the reader engaged to find out how they all make out in the end. Several of my characters are in all of my books and I do keep a written profile of each to be consistent. I also do that with non-recurring characters for the same reason.
I normally focus on one book at a time but things come to me about future books. When this happens I write up notes about it so as not to forget. Makin notes is extremely important. I once had a dream and I awoke in the middle of the night thinking about it. It was a great idea for a book. I laid in bed for at least twenty minutes thinking it through and was quite pleased about it. Instead of getting up and writing it down I was certain I would remember it in the morning. When I woke up I remembered having a dream, waking up and thinking about it but could not remember one thing about the dream itself. Still have not. Take notes. Do not rely strictly on your memory.
5.      What aspect of your writing do you consider your strength? Your weakness?
I prefer to have my characters tell my story with their actions and interactions and their dialogue. I do not use a lot of third party narration for this. I think it helps with character development, creates the reader-character bond and makes the story flow along better. When reading I can get a little bored with page after page of third party narration.
I am a lawyer, not a grammar expert. Apparently there are people out there who believe they are. I have used the internet to check on grammar usage all the time and have found there are differing opinions on proper usage. If you think you are a grammar expert, you probably are not. At least others will disagree with you. Plus, I use dialogue the way people actually speak not the way your sixth grade English teacher tried to get you to speak.
6.      What are the next steps after publishing a book?
At first I did nothing much except publish on Amazon and let them do the marketing. There are services out there who will work with you for a fee or commission to use Amazon and other book promo organizations to promote your book. I am just now starting to use them and it has worked for me. But, I was fortunate to do well right away which, from what I understand, is quite unusual.
7.      What advice would you give a writer who is starting out?
First of all, be disciplined. Writing a 300 plus page fiction novel is very difficult. It is a lot of work. There are millions of partially written manuscripts sitting in desk drawers in this country from people who found this out. They wanted to try it, and good for them, then got part way into it and ran out of ideas.
I treat writing like a job. I am retired but I get up every morning around 6:30 and am at the desk by 8:00 every day. I have a daily goal of what I want to accomplish and I get at it and work until I have it. If you are employed, make a schedule every week of times when you are going to write and stick to it. If you can’t be that disciplined, odds are pretty good you are going to fail. Know that going in.
So as not to be overly negative, it is also very rewarding. I am fortunate enough to have had some success and am making a pretty good living at it. I also like the creative side of it. Apparently I have a fairly active imagination and creative streak. Not to brag but I have received more Five Star reviews from readers than all other reviews combined. Each time you get one of those it feels very gratifying to know that all of the work you put into the book was not a waste of time.
Write about what you know. If you are a doctor don’t write science fiction about interstellar space travel. You can do that but it will not seem factual.
Be realistic about your target market. I happen to have worked in a genre that is very popular with the reading public. My audience was quite large going in. Children’s books are enormously popular. For some reason people keep having babies and buying books for them to teach them to read. Apparently no one tells them about dealing with teenagers. Books about the exciting life of a plumber, not so much.


Thomas Jefferson Carver has Hollywood film star looks and the charisma to charm the pants off almost any woman that he desires. He also has a wife that is power obsessed and will let nothing get in her way or stop them getting into the Whitehouse, with herself being First Lady and her husband of course President of the United States.

When the campaign is in full swing an accidental over dose of a young woman in Carver’s bed threatens to end the dream and turn it into a political nightmare. The thought of this being a young woman who has lost her life is the last thing on Darla Bunton Carver’s mind, her only thought is to get this body removed from her husband’s bed and shift blame onto an innocent young man who has been talked into being the fall guy.

From the first meeting with Darla she left such a bitter taste and what begins as a cover up rapidly evolves into so much more, especially after Thomas Carver is successful and elected as President. The loose ends of the past have to be tied off permanently. I was totally engrossed in this story, the corruption, blackmail, murder and almost cult like following that surrounded the President and his First Lady, with those closest to the pair carrying out orders without question.

Darla has a much bigger goal, this First Lady wants to become the first female President of the US. Just when you think that this woman has surely done her worst she manages to go a step further.

This was a totally gripping read for me on a subject that I knew little about. Part of the story does surround a court case of yet another fall guy of the Carver dynasty. One of my favourite characters of this story has to be Lawyer Marc Kadella. What a guy! It wasn’t until after I had read this story that I discovered that a series is based round him, this book being one of them. The story reads superb as a stand alone novel but I sure do want to read more about him.

The story began as intriguing political story and ended up as a fast paced thriller, just loved it!


Dennis Carstens was born in Worthington, MN, and has lived most of his life in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. He received a BA from the University of Minnesota and his J.D. from a highly respected private law school, William Mitchell, in St. Paul. A veteran of the U.S. Air Force and a retired trial lawyer, Carstens brings these life experiences to his fiction for a dose of realism and accuracy missing from much of the legal thriller genre today.