Friday, June 14, 2013

Review, Interview & Giveaway! - The Fallen Angels Book Club by R. Franklin James

The Fallen Angels Book Club by R Franklin James on Tour June 1st - July 31st 2013

Book Details Genre: Mystery / Amateur Dectective Published by: Camel Press Publication Date: May 1, 2013 Number of Pages: 264 ISBN: 1603819177 / 978-1603819176 Purchase Links: 
Synopsis:  The Fallen Angels Book Club has only two requirements: the members must love books and have a white-collar criminal record. Hollis Morgan fits the bill. Left holding the bag in an insurance fraud scheme concocted by her now ex-husband, she served her time and is trying to rebuild her life. All she wants is for the court to pardon her conviction so she can return to law school. After one of her fellow members is murdered in a scenario straight out of a club selection, Hollis is once again the subject of police scrutiny. Refusing to get stuck with another bad rap, she sets out to investigate her fellow club members. Is one of them really blackmailing the others? As a second member dies in yet another book-inspired murder, Hollis realizes that time is running out. Everything rides on her finding the killer--not just her career aspirations. She must identify the killer before she herself becomes the next victim. Everyone is convinced she knows more than she lets on. But what is it, exactly, that is she supposed to know?

My Thoughts:
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book and thought the whole concept of a book club created purely for white-collar criminals an intriguing idea. To me it's a great way for people to become active in a safe social setting again without being too harshly criticized or looked down upon because everyone else is in the same boat, has the same common interest and is something that I think would work really well in real life.
The main character and one of the Fallen Angels, Hollis Morgan, was very likeable to me as she seems to be a highly realistic and tough character because of everything she has been through in her life. It is because of the events of her past that Hollis is a bit of a loner and what you would call anti-social, but there is still an obvious caring side to her which is shown by the visits she likes to do to a local seniors home and the help she gives them.
This novel is a very fast and enjoyable read and a real page turner. I was constantly wanting to know what was going to happen next and it managed to keep me guessing a lot of the time as well. I have to admit that I did hazard a guess at who the killer was about three quarters of the way through reading which ended up being correct, but that's only because I have a habit of always trying to guess these things when I read mystery books like this and not because it was blaringly obvious.
If you love a mystery novel that doesn't bog you down with unnecessary details but still has enough of a background and storyline to keep everything flowing, then I highly recommend giving this one a try.

Read an excerpt:
Tonight it was my turn to come early and set up the space for our book club meeting. Our monthly gatherings were held in a small windowless conference room adjacent to the San Isidro Library’s main reading area. The Fallen Angels Book Club was an exclusive group, not only a love of books was required. You also had to be a white collar ex-felon. I rubbed my hands together and peeled off gloves. My fingers felt like icicles. Thank goodness someone remembered to turn on the heat. The door opened and a gush of wind blew a cluster of leaves into the room along with Gene Donovan who tossed his hoodie and a small brown leather “man purse” onto one of the folding chairs. “Hollis, let me help you with that.” His tousled blond hair was more askew than usual. Placing his book on the floor, he came over to where I struggled to roll out the meeting table. “Appreciate it.” I straightened my back and allowed him to carry the bulk of the table’s weight. Fortunately, when I was with Gene, we didn’t have to speak. I caught a glance at his manicured nails and tucked mine into my palms. I liked Gene. He wasn’t afraid to show his feminine side. We took special care not to drag the metal chair legs across the glowing veneer of the hardwood floor. Its beauty came from the handiwork of the night cleaning crew who waited for us to leave so they could begin their labor. We settled into our chairs when Rory Norris strode in, let the door slam and dumped his books on the table. His hazel eyes did a sweep across the room as if expecting an ambush. A few more pounds had crept onto his already thickening frame. Rory patted his black leather jacket as he laid it over the chair. “Hey, people, did you notice if they lock the gates to the parking lot? My Beemer just got detailed and I don’t want some neighborhood juvenile mistaking it for a marker board.” “Nice touch, Norris, letting us know you got a new BMW.” Richard Kleh came in pulled off his knitted skull cap, revealing an emerging bald crown. He nodded toward the door. “Go check for yourself. Hey, Hollis, did you finish the read?” “Of course. You’re the one who never finishes a book.” “Well, I finished this one. It had me going until the end. The characters were realistic and…and…” “Memorable?” I could tell from his frown he wasn't kidding.


Author Bio: 

R. Franklin James was born and raised in the San Francisco East Bay Area. She graduated from the University of California at Berkeley and completed the masters program in Public Policy at California State University East Bay. She has also received her paralegal certification. She and her husband live in northern California with their English Springer Spaniel, Bailey.



Catch Up With Ms. James:

Author Interview:

What was your inspiration behind writing The Fallen Angels Book Club?

The idea for the Fallen Angels Book Club came from participating in an online writers course. Participants were spread out all over the globe. Class was underway when somewhere around week three the response comments of one member started to become more and more disgruntled moving quickly to agitation and hostility.  Finally, he (or she) threatened violence on us all. 
Well, for a mystery writer this material was gold.  My imagination took off. Suppose our unhappy student was a sociopath? Suppose instead of a writer he was a reader and a member of a book club? I wanted to push it further suppose this wasn’t just an ordinary book club—it was a book club of society’s fringe element, ex-felons.
My heroine was a little trickier to develop.  I wanted her to be likable but clearly imperfect and she had to be an ex-felon with the determination to turn her life around. 
And Hollis Morgan was born.

Would you like to share one piece of advice you would give to other aspiring authors?

If you want to be published, never, never, never, ever, never give up. Keep writing and perfecting your craft.  I guess that’s more than one piece of advice.

If you weren't a writer, what else do you think you would you be doing instead?

I can’t imagine not writing.  Before finding my publisher, I was frustrated with the rejections I had been getting and decided to stop the torture. I told myself I would stop writing – I lasted a half day.

Do you have one particular special ‘writing place’ or are you fortunate enough to be able to write anywhere?

Because I work and have an active family I have learned to write anywhere and anytime I can.

Are there any authors that have inspired you along the way?

F Scott Fitzgerald, is my one of my favourite authors. Agatha Christie is the mystery author who provided the greatest inspiration.

Do you have a favourite scene in The Fallen Angels Book Club (without giving the story away too much)?

I have several favourite scenes, but I think the climax when Hollis realizes that the walls she has put up around herself have kept her in, as much as keeping people out.

Do you have any pets?

We have an English Springer Spaniel, Bailey.

What’s your favourite way to spend your spare time?

Reading a good mystery.

What’s one thing that most people wouldn’t know about you?

That I love jazz as well as chamber music.

What’s one of the most surprising things you’ve learnt about yourself since writing?

How easy it is for me to become obsessed with writing stories.

Do you have any new works in the pipeline which you care to share any details about?

I am working on Sticks & Stones, the second in the three book series to the Fallen Angels Book Club.  In it Hollis Morgan is waiting to get her California Bar scores when she is approached by her best friend a freelancer for a tabloid, to help her defend against a libel suit.  But Hollis soon finds herself pursuing a killer who had plenty of reason to make sure that the truth doesn’t come to light.

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  1. Very nice review! So glad you enjoyed this book. Thank you for sharing.

  2. Thank you for the encouraging words. Hollis will be back in book two: Sticks and Stones in 2013/2104.



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