||May 3, 2012
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This is the first three novels in the Sloane Monroe series and includes three complete novels: Black Diamond Death, Sinnerman, and I Have a Secret.
BLACK DIAMOND DEATH:
Enter the world of Sloane Monroe in Black Diamond Death...
On the slopes of Park City, Utah’s newest ski resort a woman is found dead. At first glance, it has all the makings of an accident. But what if she was murdered? Although skeptical, PI Sloane Monroe takes the case and learns not everyone is who they seem, and some will go to any lengths to protect their identity.
PI Sloane Monroe has solved every case that’s come across her desk with the exception of one—the brutal murder of her sister Gabrielle. Three years have passed without a trace of the serial killer until today, when a young woman’s body is discovered on a patch of dirt in front of the local supermarket. Will Sloane exact her revenge before Sinnerman slays his next victim, or will she be too late?
I HAVE A SECRET:
It’s been twenty years since PI Sloane Monroe has returned to her hometown of Tehachapi, California, but when a former classmate is stabbed and tossed overboard during the high school reunion cruise, Sloane isn’t about to allow a murderer to run free in her own backyard. But in a town where everyone is harboring secrets, how many more men will die before she discovers the truth?
Cheryl Bradshaw is an Amazon Kindle Best-Selling Author in Mystery: Hard-Boiled and Thriller: Spy Stories & Tales of Intrigue.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Born and raised in Southern California, Cheryl Bradshaw became interested in writing at a young age, but it was almost two decades before she put pen to paper. In 2009 Cheryl wrote her first novel, Black Diamond Death (Sloane Monroe Series, Book 1). Within six weeks of its release it was in the top #100 in two different mystery categories on the Kindle and has been a top ranked novel since April 2011 averaging 4.8 out of 5 stars from reviewers.
For information and updates about Cheryl Bradshaw, visit her at cherylbradshawbooks.blogspot.com, cherylbradshaw.com, find her on Facebook on her Cheryl Bradshaw Author Page and follow her on Twitter .cherylbradshaw.
From Sinnerman, Sloane Monroe Series #2:
Sam Reids reclined back into the seat of his black 1970 Oldsmobile Cutlass Supreme and examined the women that shuffled in and out of the supermarket like predictable herds of cattle. It had been three long years since he felt the steady churn of butterflies in his stomach, but the anticipation of the nights soon to be events made it all worthwhile. The wait hadn’t been easy, and whenever he felt he couldn’t control his urges any longer he walked down the steep series of steps that led to the basement and gazed at the trinkets he’d collected. They were all spaced two inches apart in single-file formation on a shelf. In total, there were fifteen glass bottles. Each container had a white label about the size of a post-it note affixed to the front with the date and a name written in thick black marker.
Over the past few years Sam visited them often and took special care to dust and polish their exteriors, but he never opened them once they’d been sealed. He didn’t want to take a chance that one of his precious mementos could get spoiled. Sometimes he took one to his room and deposited it on the stand next to him while he slept. When he woke during the night to the illuminated glow that shone through the glass from the lamp above, he felt a sensation of peace, like a child that watched the constant spin of the mobile over their crib. It wasn’t the same thrill he’d experienced when he secured the object within the bottle, but it helped him pass the time.
Through his binoculars, Sam observed two women walk out of the store together; one carried a brown paper sack in her hand and the other, a gallon of milk. The one with the sack showed promise. Her long espresso-colored hair flickered in the wind. It reminded him of flames from a forest fire fighting its way across acres of trees. He waited for her to say goodbye to her friend and then placed his binoculars on the seat next to him. His palms expelled an oily substance that spread until they were both drenched with sweat. The time had come.
Sam grabbed an unused diaper from the passenger seat and pushed his car door open. At the same time, the woman unlocked her passenger side door and bent down and placed the sack of groceries on the seat of her car. She was too preoccupied to hear him approach.
“Excuse me,” he said.
The woman retracted out of the car and turned and faced him.
“Do I know you?”
“I’m sorry to bother you,” he said with a crooked smile, “but do you know how to change a diaper?”
She looked at the diaper in his hand and then back at him.
“Who do you ask?”
“My sister asked me to watch my nephew for a few hours, and I can’t seem to get the darn thing on right.”
He angled the diaper in the direction of his car.
“My car’s right over there,” he said. “Do you think you could help me?”
The woman hesitated and studied the man’s car for a moment and then shrugged her shoulders.
“I really need to get home.”
The man smiled, but not just any smile. It was one he’d practiced in the mirror over and over again until it conveyed what he needed it to—trust me.
“It will only take a minute,” he said.
They walked over to Sam’s car, and he was careful to remain a few paces behind her. He glanced over his left shoulder and then his right. All was still, and since the store closed in five minutes, he was certain it would remain that way.
He watched the woman peek through the window of his car and relished the startled look on her face when she didn’t see a baby. With a perplexed look, she turned and faced him.
The man reached into the front pocket of his hoodie with all the calmness of a drug addict who’d just smoked a bag of weed and pulled out a needle and inserted it into her shoulder. In an instant her body went limp and she sagged into him.
Happy anniversary, he thought to himself.
When he arrived home, Sam pulled the woman out of the trunk of his car and placed his hands in the small of her back and tossed her over his right shoulder. Her exposed thigh pressed against the flesh on his face and he felt her body quiver. It made him feel alive again. The way she looked at him when he opened the trunk and gazed down on her reminded him of a fawn, but she didn’t move or make a sound. He was a little disappointed by this and expected more of a challenge.
Sam opened the door to the basement, hauled the woman downstairs and walked past his bottle collection. For the first time since she regained consciousness, the woman tried to scream, but it was muffled by the tape he’d secured over her mouth. He stopped for a moment and turned toward the shelves and patted the side of her leg.
“They’re beautiful, aren’t they?” he said. “Do you see that row there at the bottom? There’s nothing on it now, but in a week or two, it will be all filled up.”
The woman twisted her body and thrashed from side to side and tried to release herself from the tight grip he had on her.
Sam just snickered and said, “That’s more like it.”
He entered a side room that was adorned with a single motif in mind—plastic, and he laid her body across a white padded board in the center of the room. He secured her into the wrist and ankle restraints and then removed the duct tape from her lips.
“There now,” he said, “that’s better.”
A tear trickled down the side of her face and he took his finger and brushed it away.
“Now, now. There’s no need for that,” he said.
“Are you going to kill me?”
He smiled and ran his hand through her hair.
“You have beautiful hair,” he said. “It’s so soft. So well taken care of; I admire that in a woman.”
“Please don’t hurt me,” she said. “I’ll do whatever you want. If you want money, it’s yours, and I won’t say anything to anyone, I promise.”
It was the same plea he’d heard time and time again. A last ditch effort from a terrified woman who’d pledge anything to save herself. He lifted his pointer finger and placed it in the center of her lips.
“Shhh,” he said. “I need you to hold still for me. Nod if you understand.”
She didn’t move.
“I asked you to nod if you understand,” he said. “It isn’t polite of you not to respond, especially since you’re a guest in my house.”
She bobbed her head up and down and another tear escaped from her eyelid.
“This next part is going to hurt for a moment,” he said, “but I find it’s best to get it over with.”
Black Diamond Death (Sloane Monroe Series #1)
For an author's first book, Black Diamond Death (A Sloane Monroe Novel), is one that drew me in with the prologue. The murder victim, a real estate agent in Park City, Utah, is skiing and as she slowly dies by some unknown method, she describes how she feels before she goes down before a tree, dying an unpleasant death. Investigators and the police wrap it up and declare it an accidental death. There is one problem, though. Charlotte Halliwell was an expert skier with medals to prove it.
Charlotte's sister, Audrey, comes to Sloane Monroe, who is a private investigator, to ask her to look into her sister's death, because she thinks it was no accident that took her sister away from her. She thinks it's murder. Sloane takes on the case, and thinks about her own sister who was murdered not that long ago, and the killer is still free.
I like Sloane. She's independent and not afraid to take on a dangerous situation by herself if she thinks it will help someone else. The other characters in the book are interesting and original, and sometimes bring a break of humor to the search for a murderer. Sloane's friend, Maddie, is a great character, always giving advice to Sloane. The other character who adds a nice little sidekick for Sloane is Lord Berkeley, better known as Boo, her dog.
The theme of this novel surrounds the real estate business in Park City, and most of the characters who pop in and out of scenes in the story are involved in real estate or else they're the police. I had no idea who the perpetrator was until the end of the book when it was revealed.
Black Diamond Death moves at a steady pace, but not a frantic one. It's a comfortable pace and there are a lot of tense situations in the book. I've downloaded the next one in the Sloane Monroe series, Sinnerman, because I enjoyed the first book and I have the feeling I'm going to find an even better novel with the second one. Four stars for Black Diamond Death! Recommended for mystery fans.
Sinnerman (Sloane Monroe Series #2)
Sinnerman was my first introduction to both the author, Cheryl Bradshaw, and her wonderful character, Sloane Monroe. The similarities to the Stephanie Plum series make it a fun read, though the character of P.I. Sloane Monroe is a little more pulled together than Ms. Plum.
Three years ago, Monroe's twin sister was brutally murdered by a serial killer who calls himself Sinnerman. He's wickedly evil, preying on attractive brunettes, which Monroe is, and suddenly he's surfaced again, grabbing a young mother at a supermarket, and dumping her body 24 hours later nearby. Monroe had no intentions of letting the man who killed her sister get a way this time as she sets out after him.
Complicating her life is her relationship with a macho detective who wants to keep Monroe 'safe' by controlling her life. Entering her life again after 2 years, is a handsome Giovanni, who may or may not have mob ties, but he does seem to intimidate even the police chief when Monroe uses Giovanni to get her way.
Monroe's best friend Maddie, a medical examiner who dresses like an exotic dancer, gives the reader good insight into how a crime scene is handled. But what I liked best about Sinnerman, was delving into the mind of a serial killer, into why he kills and the figures in his life who helped shape him.
Bradshaw writes a great thriller, with likeable characters, and a taunt timeline that keeps you reading way past lights-out.
I Have a Secret (Sloane Monroe Series #3)
I can't really add a lot more to what has already been reviewed about this story for the Sloane Munroe series. Briefly, the story takes place in Sloane's hometown when during a class reunion cruise, one of her classmates is murdered. Sloane returns to her khometown to investigate and finds much more than she expected.
I have become a HUGE fan of Ms. Bradshaw and this series mainly because of the characters Sloane and Maddie. They are both strong women with tender sides as well. This story allowed the reader to see the best of both these characteristics in Sloane.
She is certainly tough and independent when dealing with unsavory people like Jesse but also very gentle and caring. Her interactions with the daughter of the first murderer victim reveal this side of Sloane. Alexa is shaken by her father Doug's death and Sloane realizes this.
I also loved the twists and turns in this story. There were so many of them, yet they were easy to follow, did not distract from the story and just flowed smoothly. This has a constant in all three stories of this series and I am eagerly anticipating the next one.
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