On a school camping trip, fifth graders experiment with a dangerous new hallucinogen and die in a horrific accident, their deaths shattering the quiet town.
Welcome to the September 26th stop on the blog tour for Cruel Lessons by Randy Overbeck with Goddess Fish Promotions. Be sure to follow the rest of the tour for spotlights, reviews, more guest posts, and a giveaway! More on that at the end of this post.
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Author Guest Post
In my bestselling Haunted Shores Mysteries series, the tales are as much about the location as the murder mystery. For example, I chose the Eastern Shore for the first entry, Blood on the Chesapeake, because the location itself evokes the split personality of the area, on the one hand current and modern and on the other stuck in the past of racial injustice. Likewise for Scarlet at Crystal River, I selected a quaint small town on Florida’s Gulf coast because of its charm and manatees, of course. Readers of the series have shared how much they felt my settings enhanced the tales and have even written to say they have added the locations to their “must travel” list.
These earlier choices then beg the question: why did I decide to make the setting of my newest work, Cruel Lessons, an anonymous, fictional midwestern town?
Cruel Lesson is an atmospheric, amateur sleuth mystery,the first in a new series set in schools called “Lessons in Peril.” The story involves a rogue, hallucinogenic drug being pushed in a middle school and, after it results in the death of four students, the rush to stop the drug pusher before more children die.
According to early reviewers, Cruel Lessons is “Brilliant from start to finish…Impressive storytelling left me with a racing heart and shivers. One of the best thrillers I’ve ever read.” ★★★★★+++—N.N. Light’s Bookheaven.
ReaderViews called the novel “a thrilling murder mystery…with an immersive plot, steady pace and stellar character development…one of the best mysteries of 2023.” ★★★★★
Literary Titan wrote “Cruel Lessons is “masterfully written…Each new revelation adds to the suspense and keeps the reader on edge, eagerly anticipating what further secrets the story holds…a gripping crime thriller and amateur sleuth mystery.”
But the novel is far more than a gripping mystery and thriller. The underlying theme of the story confronts the plague of drug abuse by children. Although the narrative takes place in fall, 1994, the central story about children experimenting with drugs—however fictional in my tale—is hauntingly close to what’s happening in small towns across the country right now. In fact, this plague of drug experimentation by students is so widespread, I could have chosen most any small town, midwestern or not. Most schools and school districts have dealt with this problem on some scale, whether or not they’ve chosen to acknowledge it.
But the story of Cruel Lessons is so damning of a place and a school, I did not wish to level even a fictional accusation at any particular town or school system. I chose to keep the setting anonymous, so readers could picture their own town—or city—in the place of Foster Middle School in Shakerville. What I hope is readers of my novel will gain a new insight into this problem and will ask the pertinent question: could this happen here?
Cruel Lessons will be released October 11 by the Wild Rose Press and will be available everywhere you buy your books. But you don’t have to wait. You can preorder my newest—and I think—best work right now. Check out all the details on my website.
About the Book
Lessons in Peril Book One
by Randy Overbeck
Publishing 11 October 2023
The Wild Rose Press, Inc.
Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mystery
Add it to your Goodreads TBR!
On a school camping trip, fifth graders experiment with a dangerous new hallucinogen and die in a horrific accident, their deaths shattering the quiet town. Assistant Superintendent Ken Parks, hoping to redeem a fatal mistake from his past, grasps the opportunity to conduct the district investigation of how students are getting the drugs. Almost before he begins, the cops make a stunning arrest. But Parks battles on, convinced the real pusher is still out there, poisoning more kids until he receives an anonymous threat: if he continues, those close to him will pay. Is Parks willing to risk those he loves for a chance at redemption?
Struggling desperately to force her mind to think, Amanda tried to consider her options. It was all happening too quickly. The next treacherous turn came at her fast. She had no way to slow down. White knuckles gripped the steering wheel.
The bend ahead showed a hard curve to the right, not quite as tight as the last one, but steeper. And she felt the car accelerating, though she hadn’t touched the gas pedal. Right before the car hit the curve, Amanda spun the steering wheel. The car lurched around the bend. The driver side of the car lifted up. Halfway through the long bend, Amanda watched the hood tilt in the turn until it was almost vertical. No seat belt on, she was catapulted down the leather seat, crashing into the passenger door.
“Hell!” she cried, reaching to grab her bruised shoulder.
She froze as the two wheels still on the ground shuddered in the gravel, sliding off the small road. Slammed against the side door, she heard the tall weeds and low branches whip against the body. But the car didn’t slow. Blood streamed from a gash on her forehead. For an instant she lay there stretched across the passenger door, holding her breath.
Then she sensed the car teetering. The front tire bumped something hard. Amanda stared, unbelieving, as the car began to flip. As the Regal made the first revolution, she screamed.
About the Author
Dr. Randy Overbeck is a best-selling author of the award-winning series, The Haunted Shores Mysteries, the three entries earning such national awards as the Gold Award from Literary Titan, Mystery of the Year from ReaderViews, Best Book from Chanticleer and Crowned Heart of Excellence from InD’tale Magazine. He hosts a new podcast, “Great Stories about Great Storytellers,” which reveals the unusual backstories of famous authors, directors and poets. He is also a speaker in much demand, sharing his multi-media presentations, “Thanks Still Go Bump in the Night” and “A Few Favorite Haunts” with audiences all over the country. More info about his novels, programs and podcast can be found at his website.
Randy Overbeck will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.a Rafflecopter giveaway
|Sept 25||Hope. Dreams. Life… Love||Sept 25||Literary Gold|
|Sept 26||Westveil Publishing||Sept 27||Kit ‘n Kabookle|
|Sept 27||Readers Roost||Sept 28||Lisa Haselton’s Reviews and Interviews|
|Sept 29||Read Your Writes Book Reviews||Oct 2||Archaeolibrarian – I Dig Good Books!|
|Oct 3||The Mystery Section||Oct 4||Gina Rae Mitchell|
|Oct 5||Fabulous and Brunette||Oct 6||Two Ends of the Pen|
|Oct 9||travel the ages||Oct 10||It’s Raining Books|
|Oct 11||The Avid Reader||Oct 12||Our Town Book Reviews|
|Oct 13||Novels Alive||Oct 13||Sandra’s Book Club|
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