Wednesday, December 28, 2016

The Diamond Head Deception by James Blakley (Spotllight, review, and GIVEAWAY) GFT






The Diamond Head Deception

by James Blakley

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GENRE: Mystery/Thriller

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BLURB:

After putting Iowa crop insurance cheats out to pasture, independent insurance fraud investigator Luna Nightcrow heads to Hawaii, but not for a vacation. The Shilpa, an Indian ocean liner, sinks and Luna is hired to determine if it still carries "Pacific Splendor" (a rare diamond insured for $15 million). The trouble is that Luna's not the only one looking for the diamond. Secessionists, sportsmen, and other suspects might sink to any depths to recover or smother Pacific Splendor.

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EXCERPT

When dispatch confirmed, Valerosa hit the brakes and twirled a U-turn. The squad car took off in the opposite direction and didn’t stop, until it reached a small, red-and-white colored light house state park off the highway. And parked on the road that led to the historic marker and small picnic area was a battered, gray cargo van with a blown back tire.

Valerosa brought the squad car to a screeching halt. She drew her Smith & Wesson 9 MM pistol and got out. Luna followed, but Valerosa signaled for her to stay back. The Detective Sergeant moved swiftly toward the van. Once there, she peeked through the driver’s side window. No one was inside. Then, Valerosa proceeded to search around and below the van.

Meanwhile, Luna decided to try the light house. She crept down the narrow dirt path to the cliff on which the old structure stood. Once there, she noticed the door was ajar. The insurance investigator drew the Browning semi-automatic handgun from her back pocket. She pushed the door open and stepped inside.



Amazon
Inkwater Press



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AUTHOR Bio and Links:

James Blakley was educated at Missouri Western State College and Washburn University. While at MWSC, he was a local and national award-winning columnist and section editor of "The Griffon-News." Blakley worked 10 1/2 years as a page and as an Assistant Librarian for the River Bluffs Regional Libraries of St. Joseph, MO. He currently lives in Topeka, KS where he worked for The Topeka and Shawnee County Public Library and several years in clerical and customer support capacities for international computer companies, such as EDS and HP.

Goodreads


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GIVEAWAY

a Rafflecopter giveaway

The tour dates can be found here

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My review:


3.25 stars

The Diamond Head Deception by James Blakley features insurance investigator Luna Nightcrow as she deals with a couple of cases in vastly different circumstances. Using her intuition and analytical abilities, plus a variety of allies and assistants, Luna does her best to bring her cases to a successful close, hopefully while remaining alive.

This mystery story has elements of suspense and gives an interesting view of the lengths an investigator might go to in order to make sure a claim is legitimate. The unconventional solutions she comes up with are vividly depicted in the initial case described, and then the action shifts to more exotic climes. There are multiple secondary characters who act both as intriguing foils and red herrings as the mystery unfolds. I am dismayed by the frequent shifts in points of view which detract from the story as it unfolds but I enjoyed the glimpses of the Hawaiian Islands as experienced by Luna and her associates.

There are intriguing nuggets of information scattered throughout the story, and a delightfully diverse cast of characters although some of the connections didn’t quite ring true for me and I wasn’t completely convinced by way some things turned out. I like capable heroines, and Luna was a fun character to read about, and, although the action got a little fantastical, this will probably be enjoyed by those in search of an entertaining light mystery.


A copy of this title was provided to me for review.

21 comments:

  1. Congrats on the tour and thanks for the chance to win :)

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    1. You're welcome, Lisa. And thanks for your compliment.

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  2. Thank you, E.L.F., for not only hosting "The Diamond Head Deception", but for also writing a fair and balanced review of it. I value reviews (good or bad) because while it's nice to bask in their glow, they can also provide helpful feedback on how I can grow as a writer going forward.

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    1. Happy to host, thank you for visiting and good luck with the tour!

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  3. Thanks for sharing your review and for the awesome giveaway :)

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    1. E.L.F.'s review is good because it provides prospective readers of "The Diamond Head Deception" with not only the book's strengths, but its weaknesses. And it even gives an idea of who might best enjoy reading it which, to many writers, is a bonus because you hope for new readers, but always want to draw your intended (target) audience.

      And as for the giveaway, Victoria, you're welcome.

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    2. Great to see you, Victoria! Thank you for the compliment, James!

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  4. Thanks for the giveaway; I like the excerpt. :)

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    1. You're welcome, Cali.

      About the excerpt: It's one of the many action sequences in "The Diamond Head Deception", made in hopes of creating a dynamic character whose job skirts the edge of fact and fiction.

      In keeping with reality, Luna Nightcrow does what most insurance investigators do: Read various reports, interview or surveil a variety of people, and come to a conclusion about the case. And thus far, I've kept the Luna Nightcrow series of books fairly plausible. The opening crop fraud case is a common occurrence here in the Midwest. By comparison, the main premise of "The Diamond Head Deception" (that of locating a "Hawaiian" diamond) seems far-fetched. But without giving too much away, diamonds do owe a great deal of their development to volcanoes; and Hawaii is a volcanically active state. Hence the story's main plot: Finding and securing the islands' first hunk of ice.

      Since, however, "The Diamond Head Deception" is fiction, in order to make Luna Nightcrow a rather unique and up-tempo character I veered off course and made her a "freelance" investigator. That is, she's hired to crack cases--expensive and dangerous frauds--that most insurance companies' employees can't. As such, Luna works on and off the clock and often bends the rules--sort of the 007 of insurance sleuths (lol). She jets to often exotic or far-flung locales, is armed with a cell phone encased in a Yellow Jacket stun gun, and is quite the clotheshorse. And beaming with middle-aged beauty, brains, and confidence, Luna Nightcrow ain't your typical 8-5 p.m. (Central) insurance sleuth!

      Later, I'll post more about my inspiration for creating Luna Nightcrow.

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    2. I loved that it showed what an intrepid agent she is, Cali! Thanks fr the additional insight, James. I suspect there are more exciting cases percolating in your mind, lol.

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    3. Yes, E.L.F...

      LUNA NIGHTCROW WILL RETURN

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  5. Now, as previously advertised, here is more about my inspiration for creating Luna Nightcrow.

    “The Diamond Head Deception’s” leading lady is a Cherokee Indian insurance investigator named Luna Nightcrow, and solving offbeat insurance frauds is her métier. The idea to make Luna non-white came from the stylish, often groundbreaking, TV crime fighters of my youth. Whether it was “Get Christie Love,” “Hawaii Five-O,” or “Miami Vice,” a lot of minority sleuths cropped up in the 1970’s and early 80’s. Also prevalent were then-exotic locations and professions for these crime fighters. Honolulu, Hawaii and Des Moines, Iowa serve as two rather unusual settings for “The Diamond Head Deception”: Made so by the fact that neither has a historic connection to diamonds.

    As for why I made Luna an insurance investigator rather than a policewoman or P.I.? I liked the old NBC Wednesday mystery series “Banacek”, starring George Peppard as the titular Boston bon vivant who handled high-end, hard to solve insurance frauds. Though white, his Boston base and jet-setting sleuthing were refreshing changes from the usually hardboiled, urban gumshoe image. Thematically, Luna is more in the vein of “Banacek” than your average 8 a.m. til 5 p.m. (Central) insurance agent. Despite not having Banacek’s Polish proverbs and doting chauffeur, she is witty and charming, but equally determined, daring, and even caring.

    Luna also draws conceivable inspiration from the then avant-garde TV show “Charlie’s Angels.” You might say that she exhibits Sabrina Duncan’s brains, Kelly Garrett’s penchant for dressing to impress, and Jill Munroe’s…well, everything else. (lol) Coupled with Nani Nyoko (a jewelry appraiser) and Narmata Buddhiman (an Indian interpreter) and you have a nice multicultural trio of female crime fighters for “The Diamond Head Deception.” This also allows more glamor and even romance to creep into this Nightcrow outing, thus appealing to a broader range of readers.

    So while I dubbed her "the 007 of insurance sleuths", Luna Nightcrow's roots are inspired more by the small screen than its silver counterpart.

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    1. Great background info, James, thanks for sharing. I love the opportunity to learn about other cultures in such an enjoyable fashion.

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  6. This sounds great! I've added it to my TBR on GR. Thanks for the giveaway! :)

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    1. I hope you get a chance to enjoy it, Desiree. Thanks for popping in!

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  7. I really enjoyed the excerpt! Sounds like a great story.

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    1. It's a fun tale, amy. Thanks for visiting!

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