This week in Free & Cheap Reads, we bring you white collar crime, murder and intrigue, a single mother who returns home and discovers romance, a new take on the story of Guinevere, and techno shamans.
The Art Forger by B. A. Shapiro. $1.99
Almost twenty-five years after the infamous art heist at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum—still the largest unsolved art theft in history—one of the stolen Degas paintings is delivered to the Boston studio of a young artist. Claire Roth has entered into a Faustian bargain with a powerful gallery owner by agreeing to forge the Degas in exchange for a one-woman show in his renowned gallery. But as she begins her work, she starts to suspect that this long-missing masterpiece—the very one that had been hanging at the Gardner for one hundred years—may itself be a forgery. The Art Forger is a thrilling novel about seeing—and not seeing—the secrets that lie beneath the canvas.
Wanted (A Private Investigator Series of Crime and Suspense Thrillers, Book 1) by Nick Stephenson. FREE
What should have been a relaxing vacation in Paris turns into another unwinnable situation for expert criminology consultant Leopold Blake. Caught in the cross hairs of a ruthless assassin and on the run from the police for a murder he didn’t commit, Blake and his team must fight to clear his name before it’s too late.
As enemies close in from all sides, Blake is about to learn who he can trust – and who is determined to destroy him – as The City of Light becomes a new hunting ground. Wanted is another exhilarating instalment in the Leopold Blake series of thrillers, which can be read and enjoyed in any order.
Shore Lights (Paradise Point NJ – Book 1) by Barbara Bretton. FREE
Maddy Bainbridge left her Jersey Shore home town right after high school, determined to put as many miles as possible between herself and her many meddling relatives.
Now she’s back in Paradise Point — an unemployed single mother whose only option is to accept her mother Rose’s offer of a job and a place to live.
But it doesn’t take Maddy long to discover that the things about your mother that made you crazy at 17 make you even crazier at 32. Rose’s critical comments bring out Maddy’s inner teenager and by the beginning of December, the end is in sight. Maddy would stay there at the Candlelight Inn, her mother’s popular B&B, through Christmas for her daughter Hannah’s sake, but once the New Year rolled around, she’d be out of there.
And then fate, in the form of an online auction battle over a Russian samovar that looks like Aladdin’s lamp, brings home-town hero Aidan O’Malley into her life and suddenly Maddy begins to believe anything is possible.
A child’s dreams, an old woman’s memories, the joys and heartaches that come with being part of a family, the thrill of new love and the deep comfort of love that stood the test of time — it all comes together that one special holiday season when even the most battered hearts open just wide enough to let a miracle or two slip through.
THE WARRIOR QUEEN (The Guinevere Trilogy Book 1) by Lavinia Collins. FREE
From reviewer Anne Elliot:
“Lavinia Collins has created a Guinevere unlike any I can recall encountering before: vivid, psychologically compelling, and as forceful a personality in her own right as any of the men with whom she interacts. This is no Lerner and Loewe ingenue, existing as much as a prize over whom two men struggle — Collins’ Guinevere is a force unto herself, and contradictory (and aware of her contradictions) in a way that renders her very human in a role that has often been made mystical or passive.
I particularly appreciated Ms Collins’ treatment of what we would call PTSD — all too often, particularly in historical fiction, the psychological wounds of war are passed over, and Guinevere’s observations of what the constant war has done to Arthur and Kay are compelling even as they make the foster-brothers feel that much more authentic.
Above all, The Warrior Queen is gloriously woman-centric in a way that so few works of Arthuriana are. The subject matter, and some of the spiritual and mystical themes that flow through the book, are reminiscent of Marion Zimmer Bradley, though Collins’ authorial voice creates a very different, more earthy and direct and present, feel than Bradley’s writing does.”
Shaman, Healer, Heretic: An Urban Fantasy Thriller (Olivia Lawson Techno-Shaman Book 1) by M. Terry Green. FREE
Even for a techno-shaman, a kachina in the bedroom isn’t exactly part of the drill. When Olivia Lawson wakes to find one towering over her, she panics. A Hopi god visiting the real world isn’t just wrong–it’s impossible.
Or is it?
Soon Olivia learns that the kachina is the least of her worries. As she struggles to save her clients, clashes with other shamans, and fends off the attacks of real-world vigilantes, Olivia finds herself in the destructive path of a malevolent ancient force intent on leaving the spiritual realm to conquer this one.
Left with few options, Olivia is forced to defy centuries of shaman prohibitions. As she and her allies risk everything in their bid for survival, Olivia ultimately learns that the rules are there for a reason and that breaking them has a terrible cost.