Spotlight & Excerpt: Preston Noir + Giveaway

2x finished copy of PRESTON NOIR (int)

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the PRESTON NOIR by Sean O’Leary Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

 

Title: PRESTON NOIR

Author: Sean O’Leary

Pub. Date: June 10, 2023

Publisher: Sean O’Leary

Formats: Paperback, eBook

Pages: 204

Find it: Goodreadshttps://books2read.com/PRESTON-NOIR

Read for FREE with a Kindle Unlimited membership!

 

Preston Noir follows Private Investigator Rufus Warhol as he tries to find a missing teenage girl while attempting to balance the consequences of having an unpaid debt to a local crime boss, a drug-dealing brother, and a drug addicted sister.

This is a page-turning, fast-moving crime novel in the style of Peter Corris or Peter Temple’s Jack Irish thrillers.

The deadline for the unpaid debt sets the cracking pace as Rufus tries to navigate through all his problems and get some clean air. His sister is causing him problems and his ex-girlfriend is sick of lending him money. His brother is done with him and all Rufus really wants to do is get wasted and go see Died Pretty at the Croxton Park Hotel.

But he and his brother put their differences aside when their sister is used as a pawn to get the debt paid. They race furiously against time to find her and put an end to all their problems once and for all.


Excerpt:

Chapter One

Rufus Warhol opens his beautiful blue, now bloodshot eyes. Lifts his head gently off the pillow and sighs softly. His breathing is slightly laboured. Head lifts higher and his back comes with it but he falls back down smiling. Not yet. He tries again, succeeds. Pushes his back against the wall, sits up straight. Reaches for his cigarettes on top of the chest-of-drawers, the red lighter. Puts the ciggie in his mouth, lights it. Blows smoke straight ahead.

He reaches for the mirror, steadily brings it onto his lap. Finds a twenty note on the same chest-of-drawers. Rolls it up, sticks it up to his nose, lifts the mirror and snorts, not a line, but randomly across the mirror hitting his target at will. He jerks back and drops the whole operation, lighted ciggie too, onto his lap. Jumps up holding his cock.

‘Nearly burnt my fucken dick,’ he says snorting laughter while stomping the cigarette into the parquetry floor.

He gets off the bed, pulls on a pair of black Levi’s, sans underwear, walks into the kitchen, turns the kettle on. Goes to the fridge and gets the milk. Reaches into the cupboard for his bag of ganja and rollie papers. Sits down at the Formica table, covered in used coffee mugs, a saucer used as an ashtray, a crumpled-up piece of paper, Sunday’s form guide from the Herald-Sun and a Coles brochure he brought in from the letterbox.

Gets back up, goes into the bedroom to grab his ciggies and lighter. Mixes the ganja with a cigarette and rolls it up and lights it. Takes a huge toke on the joint and his eyes roll back a bit in his head, ‘fuck’. He gets up and turns the kettle off. The mighty Rufus. Unstoppable. Puts three lumped teaspoons of coffee in a small mug, pours the hot water and adds just a dob of milk, one sugar. He had a Nespresso machine but it fucked up and he can’t afford a new one until some new cases roll in. He sits down and takes another toke on the joint. That piece of paper, the reason for the early morning snort, to prepare. He reaches for it, unfolds it. Jersey McManus 11 am Preston Society.

Fucken Scottish cunt.

 

***

 

A few suburbs away in Brunswick, Nic Warhol looks at his body in the full-length mirror in his bedroom. He wears white Tommy Hilfiger boxer shorts. Admires his long, strong, lithe athletic torso. He’s a marathoner, not a sprinter. He’ll kick your arse slowly, make it hurt. He does his stretches. Basic stuff for his core. He’s old-fashioned. He does squats with his back flat against the bedroom wall. He does fifty, slowly, so it hurts, so it’s good for him. He stops. Does another fifty. Does some breathing exercises with his hand held across his chest, inhaling deeply then counting out, one and two and three and four while exhaling, his chest rising and falling. His breathing is now under control. He puts on a black silk dressing gown and walks down the hall to the kitchen. Reaches for Weet-bix and bran and puts them in a bowl. Goes to the fridge and removes a carton of skim milk, pours it over the cereal. Goes to the cupboard, takes out a packet of green tea. Turns on the kettle and eats his cereal while waiting for the kettle to boil.

His mobile rests on the wooden kitchen table, it starts to vibrate and he checks the caller ID. Jersey McManus. He ignores it. His girlfriend Ly walks into the kitchen straight from the shower, her long, straight black hair, shining wet, a towel around her, she reaches around Nic’s chest, drops her head in front of him, her wet hair falling across his face, the towel drops away as she kisses him wetly on the mouth.

 

***

 

Rufus walks back into his bedroom, goes to the corner of the room and picks up his cheap K-Mart stick vacuum and vacuums up the cigarette he crushed out earlier. He hasn’t had a good high paying client for a while. Jersey keeps him in ganja and speed and, on rare occasions, some H on a kind of retainer for his services as a private investigator but even that’s running thin. He lives alone in a one-bedroom apartment above Back to the Futon on High Street, Preston South. They’re good digs. Good not great. He’s barely making the monthly rent. Living not far from where he grew up on Cooma Street.

Rufus gets in the shower and wishes he could get some straightforward infidelity cases but these days any dickwad with a mobile can do it. Rufus has a great rep for being discreet but he also sometimes ends up fucking the client. Women like him. He is tall and raffish, a wiry, muscular, strong body. He had fought as an amateur boxer and turned pro but quit because his girlfriend at the time couldn’t stand it. His father said his straight right hand was a thing of beauty. Rufus is preppy looking, floppy light brown hair, killer smile. Everyone likes him on first greeting, it’s what happens after that that sets him apart. He disappoints people, lets them down, gradually.

He gets out of the shower, dresses in blue jeans, white t-shirt under a dark blue cotton shirt with a brown suede jacket. Puts on black suede shoes. Walks down the stairs from his apartment and onto High Street. He starts walking north.

Everything is changing he thinks as he looks around, they’re going to gentrify his old suburb of Preston. He can feel the hipsters and young families coming. There’s already a barber with a hipster beard working out of a container on High Street, Preston South. He walks across High Street where they’re building a huge apartment complex. He can almost feel the food trucks idling behind him, waiting to cross Bell Street into Preston. He wonders what they’ll think of the two-dollar shops, cheap bakeries, Cash Converters and the market.

Rufus knows Preston. He knows every café, every cheap Vietnamese restaurant, the Asian nail joints with the girls wearing their little masks, the beautiful, shiny black girls in the African hair extension place, the eyebrow threading place, the town hall with names of the war dead chipped into the concrete memorial, the library, yes, the two-dollar shops and the smell of hot bread from the warm bakeries. The protection money paid over steaming bowls of Pho. The gambling dens at the back of cafés and other small businesses. The massage places and the ones which give their male customers a happy ending. He knows the markets where his father had a stall for half-a-century. The Aboriginal legal service. The job networks. The paint warehouses, the buildings and shops that constantly change tenants. Tobacconists, chemists. The shutdown curtain factory. All of it. The private schools that somehow seem out of place. All of it. He goes into the tobacconist and buys a pack of Peter Jackson 20’s. He buys these cheaper cigarettes because they still give you the hit at the back of your throat when you draw in the smoke.

High Street narrows when you cross Bell Street, it somehow becomes darker, something unspoken, something unknown, something perhaps criminal lies beneath the surface. Rufus, the private investigator looking at all the angles. The drifter; the grifter. Walks into Preston Society.

Jersey sits at a table for two on the right-hand-side. There are a few occupied tables further back in the dark. A guy reading the paper on a stool at the front of the shop while occasionally looking at the street life through the window. The tall blonde girl smiles willingly at Rufus and he smiles back and says,

‘Get me a latte, strong. Thanks, babe’

Jersey with a black and white cloth cap on his head. Andy Cap Rufus thinks, remembering the old English cartoon about the drunk little man that his father likes. Jersey always wears a hat of some description, hates the fact he went bald. He has a black leather jacket on over a black shirt, both expensive looking and shiny. Rufus pulls out a chair opposite him, says,

‘Jersey.’

‘Rufus.’

‘Why the need to speak to me?’

‘Your brother owes me forty large.’

‘Oh, shit, Jersey, not that ridiculous cheap criminal talk. He owes you forty-thousand-dollars, forty grand. Large, what the fuck is that?’

Rufus smiles broadly.

‘I lent him, one year ago, forty grand, to get him started in his little entrepreneurial business.’

‘His drug dealing, yes. He paid you back in less than two months and he set it up with Madam Phan behind him too.’

‘I want my commission.’

‘Wasn’t part of the deal from what I…’

‘Forget what you heard. He owes me forty grand and I want you to get it or I call in your marker plus the forty grand.’

‘Jersey, I work for you as an investigator, that’s why you supply me my er, my goods, my…’

‘It’s over Rufus. You haven’t done anything useful for me for a while now. I want you to become useful again.’

‘You must know he hates my guts. My brother and I we…’

‘Family Rufus, the things we do for our family.’

‘And if I say no.’

You know. I don’t have to spell it out. There’ll be some violence and then you’ll work for me, dealing or wiping down tables or something else until you pay it all back. I’ve been running a tab on you for years. I know what you owe me, right down to the last little line of speed, the last joint you smoked in that dump you live in.’

‘I worked for you, gave you information and…’

‘Useless information. Truth is you haven’t done anything useful for me for a long time. You’re not so shmick anymore, Rufus. The fancy jeans and shirts and jackets, they’re fraying at the edges, the soles of your shoes are wearing thin. The famous constitution not holding up like it used to. Getting the cold sweats for the first time in your life. Hangovers, previously unheard of. Time to pay up, son.’

‘Can’t do it. Won’t do it.’

‘You’ve got fifteen days. The forty grand your brother owes me plus twenty-grand you owe me. Fifteen days Rufus or I act, boyo.’

Rufus stands up pushing the chair back and leans down into Jersey’s face, says,

‘You fucken Scottish…’

Jersey raises his hand in the air. Two big men, dressed identically in black puffy jackets, stand up and begin walking from the dark at the rear of the café. Rufus sits down. Jersey waves the hand. The men return to their seats.

‘Forty thousand in fifteen days,’ Rufus says.

‘Your brother, with the help of that Vietnamese goddess, Madam Phan, has turned into a major player. He’s got the money, you just have to get it.’

Rufus pushes the chair back, the waitress brings his latte, he says,

‘Sorry babe, won’t be needing it. This gentleman will pay. Won’t you Jersey.’

Jersey squints his eyes, tightens his mouth but Rufus turns and walks out.


 

About Sean O’Leary:

Sean O’Leary has published five short story collections, My Town, Walking, Wonderland, Tokyo Jazz and Other Stories and This is Not a Love Song. His novella Drifting was the winner of the ‘Great Novella Search 2016’ and was published in September 2017. He has published over forty short stories in literary and crime fiction journals. His crime novella The Heat, set in Darwin and Bangkok was published in August 2019. His interviews with crime writers appear online in Crime Time magazine. His crime novel Going All the Way is out now and his crime series featuring Indigenous investigator, Carter Thompson includes, City of Sin and City of Fear. The third book, City of Vice drops in late 2023.

He has worked in a variety of jobs including motel receptionist, rubbish removalist/tree lopper, farm hand and night manager in various hotels in Sydney’s notorious, Kings Cross. He has lived all over the bloody place but now resides in Melbourne, thinks that test cricket is the greatest game of all and supports Melbourne Football Club (a life sentence). He writes like a demon, loves travelling, is mad about photography, does some AI art and tries to walk everywhere.

Website | Twitter | FacebookInstagram | Goodreads | Amazon | BookBub


Giveaway Details:

2 winners will receive a finished copy of PRESTON NOIR, International.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ends July 11th, midnight EST.


Tour Schedule:

Week One:

6/26/2023

#BRVL Book Review Virginia Lee Blog

Excerpt

6/26/2023

The Momma Spot

Excerpt

6/27/2023

A Dream Within A Dream

Excerpt

6/28/2023

Two Chicks on Books

Excerpt/IG Post

6/28/2023

@jaimerockstarbooktours

IG Post

6/29/2023

Cara North

Excerpt/IG Post

6/30/2023

Books and Zebras

IG Review

6/30/2023

Sadie’s Spotlight

Excerpt/IG Post

Week Two:

7/3/2023

Country Mamas With Kids

Review/IG Post

7/4/2023

Fire and Ice

Review/IG Post

7/5/2023

Nerdophiles

Review

7/6/2023

Rajiv’s Reviews

Review/IG Post

7/5/2023

Brandi Danielle Davis

IG Review/TikTok Post

7/6/2023

A Blue Box Full of Books

IG Review/TikTok Post

7/7/2023

@allyluvsbooksalatte

IG Review/TikTok Post

 

Spotlight & Excerpt: I Promise You Pain, by Bart Baker

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“Not your daddy’s Jack Reacher, Cordon Finn is a different breed…”

Welcome to the book tour for I Promise You Pain by Bart Baker. Read on for more details!

bookcover I Promise You Pain

I Promise you Pain
(The Cordon Finn Vengeance Series #1)
by Bart Baker
Genre: Crime Fiction/ Action Thriller/ LGBTQ2+ Books
Publication Date: May 11, 2023

Hired by a Chicago billionaire to pluck his runaway son from the Palm Springs compound of a wealthy pedophile, former military extraction and information specialist, Cordon Finn, believes it will be a simple snatch-and-go job with a big payday. But Cordon discovers that his quarry isn’t the billionaire’s underage son, but rather his trans-daughter, Lucious, whose father wants her dead. After fighting off assassins, Cordon vows to keep Lucious alive. But when the billionaire kidnaps Cordon’s girlfriend and comes after his family and friends, Cordon takes the fight back to the billionaire’s door. With the help of Lucious and his sister, Annie, Cordon craves vengeance, even if the cost is his own life.

I PROMISE YOU PAIN contains brutal violence as well as raw language, consensual and nonconsensual sex. There are trans and gay characters. Not your daddy’s Jack Reacher, Cordon Finn is a different breed. Fascinating, faceted, damaged but relatable, Cordon seeks vengeance for those who can’t.

Add to Goodreads


Excerpt

“I got money,” Lucious says. “Whatever you’re getting paid for, whatever you’re doing, I can get you more.”

“Shut up,” Cordon demands, pushing Lucious behind him as Cordon plots their escape. As he calculates the route out, Cordon is snapped back to the moment when he hears Luscious behind him.

“I’m at Wayne’s! This fucking lunatic is kidnapping me! He about killed Way—” Lucious barks into his phone as Cordon whips around. Yanking the cell phone from Lucious’s hand, Cordon smashes it against the wall. Dropping the pieces to the floor, Cordon stomps on it.

“What the hell!? That’s a brand-new iPhone!”

“Hear me and hear me good, knucklefuck. You pull any bullshit, you call for help, try to signal someone, anything I don’t like, I will rip that little swimsuit off your ass and gag you with it. Understand?”

“Yeah, but—”

Cordon slaps his hand over Lucious’s mouth. “Shut! Up! You talk, you die. You keep your mouth shut, do as I say, you will come out of this alive, Lucas,” Cordon warns in a harsh whisper as he takes his hand away from Lucious’s mouth.

“Lucious! My name is Lucious! She! Her!”

Again, Cordon slaps his hand over Lucious’s mouth again, his face getting close to hers.

“Don’t! Care!” Cordon snaps back.

Lucious glares into Cordon’s eyes, fighting her rage. She carefully reaches up and pulls Cordon’s hand away from her face. “Why are you kidnapping me?”

Cordon’s finger gets right in Lucious’s face, ignoring her question. “We’re going down those stairs together, our arms around each other, and right out the front door. Remember, you try to alert anyone, I will punch you in the head so hard you will wake up in the hospital if you wake up at all. If I’m clear, nod.”

Lucious defiantly does as asked. As Cordon turns back to the door, Lucious seizes the moment and grabs Cordon’s hand, putting a lock on Cordon’s thumb, slamming her elbow into a pressure point in Cordon’s neck. More startled than injured, Cordon’s free hand comes up fast, right into Lucious’s solar plexus, the air blasting from Lucious’s lungs.

Staggering back, Lucious recovers quickly, jumping into the air and surprising Cordon with a kick that connects with his head. Cordon wobbles a step, his fist coming up defensively. Lucious strikes, pummeling Cordon with kicks and punches, her skill as a fighter remarkable but not

unexpected. Cordon knew the kid was a champion and prepared himself for Lucious to fight back.

Blocking Lucious’s attack, Cordon finds his back against the wall. He drops to the floor and sweeps out Lucious’s legs. Lucious hits the floor hard but startling Cordon, Lucious kips back to her feet, ducks under Cordon’s meaty swing, pile-drives a few punches into Cordon’s rib while screaming for help, hoping someone can hear her over the blasting music.

Cordon shoves Lucious back hard into the dresser, but Lucious comes back swinging and kicking. Cordon continues to block most of Lucious’s blows as Lucious continues to scream for help with each swing and kick. The music continues to drown out her pleas.

“I. Should. Be. The. One. Calling. For. Help!” Cordon barks, as he blocks the flurry of Lucious’s punches from doing any damage.

Needing to batter Cordon back long enough to escape, Lucious leaps in the air, her hips jerking hard as she comes around with a furious spin kick to Cordon’s head. But Cordon catches Lucious by the calf and slams her leg into the wall, holding her there, the leg up around Lucious’s face as the barrel of Cordon’s gun jams into Lucious’s balls.

“Hit me again, I’ll open you up like a can of fish,” Cordon snarls into Lucious’s face.

Slowly letting Lucious’s leg drop, Cordon grabs hold of the dozens of necklaces Lucious wears, many appearing homemade, dangling with a charm or amulet, tightening his grip until the necklaces dig into Lucious’s skin, choking her.

“Turn around,” Cordon orders, spinning Lucious towards the wall.

In the small black bag over his shoulder, Cordon pulls out a two zip ties. “I didn’t want to do this,” Cordon says as he binds Lucious’s hands together with the ties, and then grabs the necklaces again to maintain complete control over the kid. Yanking Lucious’s body against his, Cordon holds her tightly, sliding the gun barrel up to Lucious’s cheek. “This is how serious I am about this. I want to get out of here. And unless you want half your pretty face blown off, you’re going to do what I say. I feel you so much as tense a muscle, I’m going to send you home to your family in a plastic trash bag.”

“My father would like that.”

“Let’s not find out, Bruce Lee.”

Available on Amazon


About the Author

Bart Baker headshot (2)

With seven novels, two seasons of a Kindle Vella story, SCRAPS, eight plays, and 19 produced film and TV credits, Bart has been writing for over 40 years. Starting in the theater, the film rights to Bart’s play, RELAY, were bought by Warner Bros., which led him into screenwriting. Bart has had two feature films produced (LIVE WIRE and SUPERCROSS,) eleven produced movies for television for CBS, ABC, USA, Family Channel, and Hallmark as well as work on four television series including DIRT, starring Courtney Cox. Bart’s novel, HONEYMOON WITH HARRY was a critical and commercial success with the movie rights purchased by New Line/Warner Bros when the book was in galleys.

Bart lives in St. Louis, Missouri, with his husband, Joe Elvis, and two children, Isaiah and Emmanuel. Besides writing, Bart is a lifelong swimmer and gym rat. Follow Bart on Facebook, on Twitter at @firstBartBaker, on Instagram @thefirstBartBaker, IMDB as Bart Baker, or his website www.bartvbaker.com.


Book Tour Organized By:

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Spotlight: The Voice, by John Reid

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Welcome to the book tour for The Voice by John Reid! Read on for more details!

The Voice Front Cover

The Voice
by John Reid
Publication Date: March 31, 2022
Genre: Mystery/ Suspense/ Crime Fiction/ Police Procedural

The world of warfare is changing, and a new weapons delivery system developed secretly in the UK is targeted by an international terrorist gang who set out to steal it on instructions from “The Voice”. “The Voice” is a mysterious mastermind who uses an electronic device to disguise his voice and keep his identity hidden.

DCI Steve Burt is asked by his old Army Commander to search for his son, a serving Army officer who is missing. This unofficial inquiry becomes part of an official investigation and takes the DCI into a world of international intrigue, terrorism, murder and corruption at the highest level of government and the Metropolitan Police. The evidence always leads back to “The Voice” but who is he? Unearthing a phantom is a difficult task even for DCI Burt.

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Voice Post 11.04

Available on Amazon


About the Author

JRreading

John Reid is the creator of the DCI Steve Burt series of thriller and suspense crime fiction at its very best.

Retirement has given John the time to fulfil his passion for writing, creating the mystery series through his unique creative process. Each main character is fully developed at the beginning of the writing process, with the part they play in each journey evolving organically within the confines of the underlying plot line. This freedom and flexibility creates inventive and compelling story telling that keeps the reader intrigued throughout.

John was born in Scotland and, after serving in the Army, embarked on a career in industry. He has worked in several different sectors in senior roles and was latterly CEO of a large international data capture company. He retired for the first time in 1995 to take on a consultancy designed to help new businesses become established. In 2018 he finally retired from business life to become a full-time author. John lives in Scotland and Portugal with his wife, and they have two grown-up sons.

DCI Steve Burt Mysteries | Twitter | Instagram

YouTube | TikTok | Facebook | DCI Steve Burt IG


 Book Tour Organized By:

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