Tuesday, March 20, 2018
The Blood of a Rose by Todd M.Thiede
Date Published: February 2018
Jesse Fairlane is missing. Max Larkin and Special Agent Michaels are unsure if this is related to a recent case involving human trafficking or something else. On top of trying to locate his partner, Max has to make a decision as to whether he leaves Rockton to work with the FBI or stays to become captain at the local police department. As Larkin, Michaels, and the other detectives work furiously to find Jesse before it's too late, Max finds himself despairing they'll find her alive. He struggles to maintain his relationship with Veronica and trying to be a friend to Jesse's girlfriend, Melissa, all while following a maze of clues to Jesse.
The door made no sound as it opened, and it was only when the light hit her face, burning orange through her eyelids, that Fiona knew someone was coming. It was the police, she thought, her pulse quickening. Police flashlights—that must be it. For a brief millisecond, she held onto the thought of rescue, the fantasy that anyone knew where she was, and then steeled herself as she opened her eyes.
A figure was moving, certainly not the police. Average build, slim, the figure moved with grace, but not with authority. She blinked, her eyes adjusting to the dim light. There was crackling and rustling, and now she knew why. Everything was covered in industrial plastic, huge thick sheets covering the furniture, walls, and ceiling in a layer that looked almost like water. She screamed again, but this time there was only a gurgle from her raw, scratched throat.
The figure was fiddling with something just out of sight. Fiona couldn't identify the strange scratching noise until the record began to play on the old gramophone. Her eyes wide with fear, she followed the figure as it swayed to the music, an old nursery rhyme, a song she barely remembered from childhood.
“Mary, Mary, quite contrary, how does your garden grow?” croaked the voice from the speaker.
Suddenly there was light, real light, and Fiona slammed her eyes closed.
“Open your eyes.”
She shook her head.
“Open your eyes.”
The voice was pleasant, a deep alto or a high tenor. Male or female, she couldn't tell. Not disguised, but neutral. Fiona swallowed. Face things head on, she thought; that was the only chance of her getting out here. Open her eyes, be obedient, do as she was told, and perhaps, maybe, there would be a chance of escape. Be compliant. Blinking, she managed to squint her eyes open, then open them fully.
“. . . and pretty maids all in a row,” sang the gramophone.
The figure was in front of her now. All dressed in black, a black hood, a black balaclava. Close enough that Fiona could smell the comforting scent of wet, fertile earth.
She was sitting in a circle of light. The figure stretched out a gloved hand and stroked her cheek. Fiona forced herself not to flinch.
“So beautiful. So beautiful.”
She fought against the desire to close her eyes again, to move instinctively away from the hand.
“But not as beautiful as you'll be when I'm done with you.”
Her eyes flickered away, anything not to look at the figure in front of her. She caught sight of the glint of something just outside her circle of light. Metal. A lot of metal. Tools maybe? She analyzed what she was seeing, hoping to figure out what was going on. She could come up with only one theory. Her eyes closed again against her will, a scream ripping from her throat but making no sound.
Why Book Covers are So Important
Regardless of the old saying, “Don’t judge a book by it’s cover”, we all still do. This is true especially today when digital books outsell paperback and hardcover. The only thing that people actually see on sites like Amazon and Barnes and Noble are the covers.
One of the hardest things to do in this digital age is set yourself apart and having a creative cover is of the utmost importance. If you have a plain old cover that looks like everything else in your genre nobody’s going to give you a second look. Sure, the Patterson’s and the Grisham’s of the world don’t have to set themselves apart anymore by book covers because they already have a solid following. I firmly believe if they just published a book with nothing but the books name and their name to go a long with a black cover that had pink polka dots it would still sell one hundred thousand copies.
My book covers set me apart because they are unique and the cover actually depicts a scene from the book. These scene for “The Blood of a Rose” was pretty simple. However, in my third book, “Miss Me?” I had to really find the right photo for the cover. Believe it or not, it wasn’t easy finding a woman wearing a wedding dress holding a bloody knife.
As an author you need to understand who your readers are and if your book cover doesn’t look like something that your readers would want it won’t get off the virtual shelves. Let alone the brick and mortar book shelves. It may not even make it those stores if it isn’t appealing to the eye.
About the Author
Perhaps you wouldn't characterize the Finance Manager of your local automobile dealership as an Amazon best-selling author--until you get to know Todd Thiede. He has worked for the past decade at Elmhurst Toyota, but Thiede is in the driver's seat as the writer of a murder mystery series featuring his hero Detective, Max Larkin. "Time Killer," which Kirkus Reviews deemed "a fast-paced thriller" that will "keep crime and thriller fans wrapped up in its twisting plot, fast pace and memorable detective,", "Lies To Die For" (which reached No. 1 on Amazon in the "Serial Killer" category), Miss Me? (3rd in the series) and Slashtag (4th in the series) are available via Amazon Kindle.
Go to www.toddthiede.com for more info on Todd and his books.
According to Kirkus reviews (the toughest book reviewer in the business):
A fast-paced thriller centered on a brutal, time-obsessed serial killer.
The expression "killing time" rarely means murder, but here, the victims of a serial killer must pay for the time they've wasted, often with both their money and their lives. In a brutal scene from the opening chapter, an entire family is murdered after a stranger invades the family's home and accuses the patriarch of wasting his time. Veteran cop Max Larkin is on the case. Unfortunately, he's also been assigned a new partner; though she's green in the field--she has "very sad eyes" and prays upon arriving at the first crime scene--she gives the hardened old detective a new perspective he never knew he needed. But as the serial killer claims more victims, a pattern emerges that neither Max nor his new partner can ignore. With brisk pacing, Thiede's debut brims with action, violence and, occasionally, emotion. Though the book takes a while to find its heart, procedural fans will feel right at home. Larkin feels like a guy worth rooting for, despite filling the shoes of the beaten-down, grizzled, old loner cop trope a little too well. His interactions with his new partner, plus the twists and revelations regarding his past, give him enough of a pass to get readers invested in the story
and looking forward to his next outing. Larkin's story doesn't break any boundaries, but it'll keep crime and thriller fans wrapped up in its twisting plot, fast pace and memorable detective. Plenty of shock value and a charismatic, if formulaic, male lead.