Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Today's Special - - Carolyn Crane Behind the Mask Tour

It's my pleasure to host Carolyn Crane's Behind the Mask book tour today. Carolyn Crane is a RITA-winning author of romantic suspense, urban fantasy, and other tales of love and adventure, including erotic and dark romance as New York Times bestselling author Annika Martin. (Carolyn's book, Off the Edge won the 2014 RITA for Best Romantic Suspense and Into the Shadows is a finalist for the 2015 RITA, also in the Romantic Suspense category). Her books have been published by Random House, Samhain, and independently. Crane is also a marketing writer who loves to read in bed and run and is passionate about helping animals. She makes her home in Minnesota with her husband and two cats. 

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Behind the Mask

By Carolyn Crane
Associates #4
May 19, 2015


When her estranged sister is won in a card game by a brutal drug cartel, Zelda knows what she has to do: take her place. Save her. Focus on infiltrating the shadowy group--and try not to think about why she left the spying game years ago. She’s slept with dangerous criminals before; she can do it again.

Hugo Martinez is one of South America’s most lethal and wanted men, a legendary mercenary living on a windswept mountain. Even at the height of the war he wasn’t in the habit of taking women captive, but the American whore has seen his face. And he and the orphan boy need a cook. He shouldn’t want this woman, but there’s something so unusual about her…

Meanwhile, Zelda finds herself falling for her captor…but is he the killer she’s been hunting all these years?

Behind the Mask is my first book by Carolyn Crane but, after reading it, it's easy to see why she won the 2014 RITA and is a finalist again this year. This book isn't my typical reading choice. The violence is graphic, the sex is scorching and occasionally rough, and f-bombs litter the pages like confetti, and yet it works. I was hooked within the first ten pages and am still thinking about the characters more than a week after reading their story. Why? Because the writing is exquisite, with multi-layered, complex, flawed characters within a world that is painted in such perfect detail that I felt as if I was right there with them every step of their non-stop, action-packed, emotional journey. The language and actions of the characters aren't gratuitous. They are part of the fiber of these people, a result of their experiences and influences, and intrinsic to who they are. And that's what makes it work. 

I can't stop thinking about Hugo and Zelda and their story. I credit Crane for that. There's no black or white with her characters. Rather, they are imbued with many shades of gray, encouraging a range of emotions in this reader. There were times during this story when I was repelled by the actions of both Hugo and Zelda, times when they fascinated me, and times when I just wanted to gather them both in my arms and hug them. It's as if Crane's words reached into my chest, grabbed hold of my heart and said, "Fasten your seat belt. I'm about to take you on the ride of your life."  And you know what? I can't wait to take that ride again.

I've downloaded Carolyn Crane's back list and am looking forward to more action-packed, emotionally turbulent journeys with this superbly skilled author. And I won't be one bit surprised to see her name on next year's list of RITA finalists because, yes, Behind the Mask really is that good. 

While Behind the Mask is the fourth book in the Associates series, it is not necessary to have read the other books before you start this one. However, if you enjoy Behind the Mask as much as I did, I predict you'll be running to get the previous books, Against the Dark, Off the Edge, and Into the Shadows


Readers, are you a fan of romantic suspense?

Have you read any of Carolyn Crane's books?

Have you taken a chance on a book outside your comfort zone and fallen in love with the story and characters?

Do you enjoy stories set in unusual or exotic locations?

Giveaway Information

(1) $75.00 gift card to Amazon or Barnes & Noble (winner’s choice & open internationally)

(32)  Digital Copies of either Against the Dark, Off the Edge or Into the Shadows (winner’s choice & open internationally)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour Stops

Monday, May 18, 2015

Straight Shooting Book Reviews (Excerpt): http://www.straightshootinbookreviews.com
Romance Junkies (Excerpt): http://www.romancejunkies.com/rjblog
Ramblings From This Chick (Guest Post): http://ramblingsfromthischick.com
Under the Covers Book Blog (Guest Post): http://www.underthecoversbookblog.com
Lush Book Reviews (Excerpt): http://www.lushbookreviewss.blogspot.com
Badass Book Reviews (Review): http://www.badassbookreviews.com
Urban Girl Reader (Excerpt): http://www.urbangirlreader.com

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Happiness is a book (Review): https://happinessbook.wordpress.com
Reading by the Book (Excerpt): http://www.readingbythebook.com
That's What I'm Talking About (Review): http://twimom227.com
Cricket's Chirps (Review): http://www.cricketschirps.com/
The Romance Dish (Review): http://theromancedish.com
The Book Review (Review): http://www.cluereview.blogspot.com

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Em & M Books (Excerpt): http://www.emandmbooks.com
Ex Libris (Guest Post): http://www.stella.exlibris.com
Herding Cats & Burning Soup (Interview): http://www.herdingcats-burningsoup.com
The Book Nympho (Review): http://thebooknympho.com/
Long and Short Reviews (Excerpt): http://www.longandshortreviews.com
Love Affair with an E-Reader (Review): www.loveaffairwithanereader.blogspot.com

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Paranormal Haven (Interview): http://paranormalhaven.com/
Becky on Books (Review): http://beckymmoe.com
So Many Reads (Excerpt): http://www.somanyreads.com
Angela Quarles Blog (Excerpt): http://www.angelaquarles.com/blog
Goldilox and the Three Weres (Review): http://goldiloxandthethreeweres.blogspot.com

Friday, May 22, 2015

Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell (Review): http://books-forlife.blogspot.com
Blogging by Liza (Excerpt): http://lizasblog-liza.blogspot.com/
Bring Your Own Book Club (BYOB) (Review): https://www.facebook.com/byobclub1.0
Peaces of Me (Interview): http://www.suespeaces.blogspot.ca/
Ariesgrl Book Reviews (Excerpt): http://www.ariesgrlreview.com
C. K. Crouch (Review): http://ckcrouch.com/


  1. Great review PJ!

    I enjoy thrillers and do love having a romantic thread to lighten the darkness and sometimes enhance the agony, especially when set in exotic locations .... always regretted that James Bond didn't really find a lasting soul mate LOL

    Carolyne Crane is new to me but I was delighted to see that she has several books on offer at present, including the first in the 'undercover associates' series for which 'Behind the Mask' is book 4.... does it work as a stand alone?

    I downloaded the 3 free books (including one by Annika Martin) to give her a good trial .... some of the audio versions are also greatly reduced when you download the free kindle version so I may buy those if I like what I read ..... great marketing!

    I reckon I shall have my nose in a book for a few days now!

  2. I know what you mean, Q. I always wanted 007 to find a lasting mate too though I suppose that would have put an end to the franchise. The fantasy of all those women, you know. ;-)

    Thanks for asking about whether Behind the Mask works as a stand alone. It does, and I've amended my review to reflect that.

    Hope you enjoy those free books!

  3. PJ, thank you so, so much for hosting me on this special day on your fabulous blog * Hi Romance Dish readers!* And also, I hugely appreciate your taking a chance on my book, spending the time to read it and review it. It means a lot to me.

    Quantum: You make a good point! Bond really could've used a strong woman by his side. There were so many great temporary heroines in that series.

  4. women on the run is my favorite plot in romantic suspense

    alysap AT yahoo DOT com

    1. I've read several good ones with that plot...usually while on the edge of my seat!

  5. My favorite type of romantic suspense has main characters who each bring something special and necessary to the resolution of the plot. Carolyn's RITA-winning Off the Edge is a perfect example of this. I also want the suspense to be as strong as the romance--no easily solved minor mysteries. Thanks for the post and giveaway. I'm looking forward to Carolyn's newest.

    1. LSUReader, I can't wait to read the first three books in the Associates series. It's easy to see why Crane won last year's RITA and is a finalist again this year. She brought everything to the page that I love in romantic suspense...and more. I'm looking forward to hearing what you think of Behind the Mask!

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  7. I enjoy reading romantic suspense, but I haven't read this author. It's a fine balancing act when you have separate genres in one book. I just finished a romantic suspense where the killer/villain was obvious on page 1. That tends to eliminate the suspense part of the story. :)

    1. I highly recommend Behind the Mask, Kim. Crane kept me glued to the pages until the very end.

  8. I don't usually read books that have graphic violence and rough sex, but based on your review I may give it a try. I am kind of chicken when it comes to stepping out of my comfort zone! LOL!

    1. Aaack! I didn't answer your question! My favorite type of suspense novel is usually light on suspense but heavy on romance. I have enjoyed several of Nora Roberts' books.

    2. Cheryl, I know how you feel. I'm kind of a wimp too but if you're going to step out of your box, I highly recommend Carolyn Crane.

  9. I like the kind of romance suspense that makes my heart beat fast...like yelling out loud "get the H out of there"...

  10. Romance with depth, in other words, family trials and tribulations.

  11. Doesn't sound like a book I'd pick up but after reading your review I might just give it a chance ;)

    1. It's not a book I'd normally pick up either but as I said in my review, I couldn't put it down!

  12. Romantic suspense is one of my favorite genres of books. I really like a balance of suspense and romance, and I like lovers on the run.

  13. I love this thriving blog community and all of these great comments! There are so many different flavors of RS, for sure! It's part of why I love the genre - it can be anything.

  14. I haven't yet read one of Carolyn's books, but I do enjoy finding new authors and reading "outside my comfort zone." :) I probably read least in romantic suspense, but I do tend to watch a lot of movies that could be classified that way...so I do like it!

  15. I do like some romantic suspense: Linda Howard, Cindy Gerard, Sandra Brown, Catherine Coulter, HelenKay Dimon, Loreth Ann White and Ann Voss Peterson.
    I have not read any of Ms Crane's books.
    I read the Twilight and Hunger Games series. They are a bit outside my comfort zone.
    I do like to visit exotic places through the eyes of the author's vision.