Angel of Ambition by Glenn Kaplan

New Thriller by NYT Bestselling Author About a Woman Who Dares To Break The Rules

Glenn Kaplan, author of the New York Times bestseller Evil Inc., and Poison Pill, returns with an international thriller, Angel of Ambition (Woodhall Press; October 2022; 978-1954907348; Price), which tells the story of a fascinating young woman hell-bent on escaping poverty and getting to the very top.

Angela was invisible to the rich women she waited on in the menial jobs open to a girl from her background.  But she learned from them, mastering their uptown accents and manners and, most importantly, their ice-cold arts of winning at any cost.

When Angela gets her first professional break in an ad agency, she snags herself a mentor (and soon, a lover) in the big boss, Jack.  But Jack has no intention of getting serious.  As soon as the relationship becomes a liability, he dumps her.  With a hardened heart, Angela realizes  she must be ruthless to climb the ladder and wait to get her revenge.  She vows never again to let her emotions drive her decisions.

Jack “The Drunken Cheater”
London to New York: In a few short years, Angela rockets up to an executive position with power.  When she meets with her bosses in London, a cabal of powerful, wealthy men,  she is tasked with slashing costs at the ad agency where Jack works.  To crush Jack and make a tidy million in the process, Angela executes Phase One of her plan, leaving Jack in a pile of drunken rubble.

Charlotte “The Spoiled Little Rich Girl”
New York to Antigua: Angela and Charlie are confidantes and designer shopping buddies.  But while Charlie should be paying attention to what her bestie Angela is up to, she obsesses over social climbing on her Daddy’s (Cliff) fortune.  Crafty Angela has her own plan for Cliff which will put Charlie in her place and drive the aging billionaire right into her dangerous web.

Angel of Ambition is an international thriller that captures attention from the first page with a complex heroine for whom you can’t help but cheer, even though some of her actions may be unconventional.  Readers who love the stories behind people like fake heiress Anna Delvey, and characters like Amy Dunne in Gone Girl, will love watching Angela’s clever work get her and everyone around her, everything they deserve.

About the Author:

Glenn Kaplan is the NY Times bestselling author of Evil Inc. and Poison Pill. He worked in the international art world and as creative director in global advertising agencies and a Fortune 500 company. He is married and lives in New York City.

By Glenn Kaplan
Woodhall Press
Publication Date: October 2022
ISBN: 978-1-954907-34-8
Original Trade Paperback
Price: $18.95
Page Count: 377

Blood on the Bayou by Douglas J. Wood

“Another body was found in the French Quarter, throat slit. The report was void of much detail except for one fact that made Broussard’s stomach turn. The victim held a crude wooden cross in his hand and had “XXX” carved in his forehead. The reporter wrote that it was the mark of the so-called Bayou Slasher, New Orleans’s name for its latest serial killer.”

When a third murder in the French Quarter forces New Orleans police to confront the fact that they have a serial killer on their hands, Captain Raleigh Broussard puts his top detective on the case. The last two murders have led to dead ends, without any DNA evidence and only a loose connection to Voodoo to work from. While Detective Rebecca Simone and her team are investigating the third murder the killer strikes again, this time killing two victims at once. With DNA evidence finally found at the newest scene, all signs point to a local man who quickly becomes their top suspect. Between the forensic data and Voodoo trinkets found at his apartment, Simone is certain they have the right guy.

Farther north, however, it seems the FBI has been keeping close tabs on this case from their offices in Washington D.C. Enter Special Agent Christopher DiMeglio. Fearing Simone and her team have arrested an innocent man, he packs his bags and heads for uncharted territory.

What DiMeglio lacks in familiarity with the culture of New Orleans, he makes up for in knowledge of serial killers. Combined with Simone’s local expertise, the two form a tentative rapport under the common goal of keeping the city safe. With doubt about their initial suspect’s guilt mounting, it’s a race against time to either prove his guilt or find the real killer. After all, if they do have the wrong man, the Bayou Slasher can, and will, strike again.

The latest thriller from Douglas J. Wood, Blood on the Bayou (Plum Bay Publishing, March 2022, ISBN: 9781734884869, Trade Paperback), showcases his ability to build a suspenseful and thought-provoking story. With a mix of complicated characters and insightful commentary on the state of policing, Wood brings the reader right into the difficult world that public servants must navigate. Dealing with pressure from the public, internal corruption and racism, and the constraints of the legal system, Wood allows for a glimpse into the frustrating conditions police often find themselves working under. Rather than shying away from difficult topics, Wood fully and rightfully explores them through the narrative of a gripping murder mystery that will leave readers dying to know what happens next.

“And how do you do that? How would you take care of the racists?’

“Another good question that haunts us every day. Education is one way. But dealing with racists under our laws is a challenge, including those among our fellow officers. Look at Guidry. He’s as racist as they come and he’s the top cop. We all too often give him and others like him embedded in society rights beyond what they deserve, even electing them to office.”

“You sound frustrated.”

“Find me a cop who isn’t.”

About the Author

Douglas J. Wood is the award-winning author of many books, both fiction and non-fiction. Blood on the Bayou is his sixth novel.  He lives in North Carolina with Carol Ann, his wife of 48 years.  They are blessed with three grown children and four adorable grandchildren.

Blood on the Bayou
By Douglas J. Wood
Plum Bay Publishing
ISBN: 9781734884869
Publication Date: March 2022

Review: Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn

SharpObjectsGF“I just think some women aren’t made to be mothers. And some women aren’t made to be daughters.”

-Sharp Objects

There are a fair share of books that use a narcissistic mother character, where the daughter feels misunderstood and unloved by her egotistical mother. Usually when I read books with this sort of mother-daughter relationship I don’t feel much sympathy for the female protagonist because it feels like I just read a book with the same exact relationship except the characters had different names. For instance, the last book I read with a bad mother-daughter relationship was Still Missing by Chevy Stevens. And even though the alcoholic, youth-obsessed mother had her adult daughter kidnapped, I couldn’t feel sorry for either character because I’ve become immune to this dynamic in books.

Gillian Flynn’s book Sharp Objects is an exception. Flynn writes the narcissistic, insane, manipulative mother so well that every time Camille, the protagonist, has any sort of reaction with her mother I not only get nervous for her, but with her. Her disassociation with her mother, Adora, dips and weaves through the entire book, with a sick, twisted ending that you’re expecting, but also sincerely hoping won’t happen. When you finish Sharp Objects you will shudder, and never look at milk or doll houses the same way again.

Camille Preaker hasn’t been home to Wind Gap, Missouri, in eight years, having set up a new life after spending time in a psych hospital for her cutting issues. Instead of cutting lines, though, Camille was cutting words into her skin, the scars of which were still etched into her body: “Richard let out a burp of a laugh, a shocked croak. Unworthy flared up my leg.”  Her sister Marian had died in her teens, something Camille-and the rest of her family-never got over.

Never wanting to set foot in the town she left behind, Camille reluctantly heads back to Wind Gap when her employer, the Chicago Daily Post, hears a rumor about a murder mystery involving two strangled and and deliberately “de-toothed” 13-year-old girls occurring in the same year.  If the paper gets the story, its sales will boom.

While in Wind Gap Camille realizes not much has changed-her mother is still a nervous, self-absorbed woman who has always had everything she wanted delivered on a silver platter. And Camille’s half-sister Amma is the most popular girl in school–a beautiful 13-year-old girl who Camille notices is developing-or already has- psychopathic tendencies: “’Sometimes if you let people do things to you, you’re really doing it to them,’ Amma said, pulling another Blow Pop from her pocket. Cherry. ‘Know what I mean? If someone wants to do fucked-up things to you, and you let them, you’re making them more fucked up. Then you have the control.’” There’s only one thing, however, that the arrogant Amma can’t control: she’ll never live up to her dead sister Marian or the two dead girls, and her overwhelming jealousy makes Amma an even creepier character.

Sharp Objects is a dysfunctional, sickening thriller that engulfs you in its first sentence. I’ll definitely be picking up Flynn’s novels Gone Girl and Dark Places in the near future, and you should be reading Sharp Objects.