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The Question Is Murder by Mark Willen #Review


The Question Is Murder
Mystery
Setting – Washington D.C.
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Pen-L Publishing (May 14, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 322 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1683132246
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1683132240
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B091RNCRQ7

Washington D.C. newspaper columnist Sam Turner, known to his readers as Mr. Ethics, faces his toughest moral dilemma yet: Can murder ever be justified?

That’s the question posed to him by a mysterious young woman who says she is being stalked and harassed by an ex-lover too powerful to be stopped any other way. Sam knows that journalists should never get personally involved in a story, but he finds he is being drawn deeper and deeper into this one whether he wants it or not.

So when Senator Wade Morgan turns up murdered, Sam fears the worst. Worried about his own involvement, the man who normally has all the answers is now the one making questionable decisions.

As his investigation into the Senator’s death begins to spin out of control, Sam finds he can’t let go—even as the case grows more complicated and the threats against his life become more immediate. With the fate of a young woman at stake and his own life in jeopardy, Sam can’t back down until the killer—whoever that may be—is brought to justice.

But this is D.C., and justice can be in short supply.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Can murder ever be justified? That is the question Sam Turner aka Mr. Ethics, a Washington D.C. newspaper columnist is asked in an email from “Truly Desperate”. He feels compelled to learn the mystery woman’s story even though he shouldn’t get personally involved. She tells him the man harassing her is a powerful Washington insider and she believes the only way to stop him is to kill him. No names are revealed but when Senator Wade Morgan is murdered he has a bad feeling that he was the man referred to in the email and his involvement may come back to bite him big time. Instead of backing off, he jumps all in on his own investigation putting his job, his life, and the mysterious woman’s life in danger.


Sam Turner receives many emails for his Mr. Ethics newspaper column but this one draws him in and he makes some terrible decisions which he tries to justify throughout the entire story. Told from multiple points of view the author takes the reader on quite a journey as Sam gets deeper and deeper into the case. The suspect’s first-person accounts really give the story depth but there is some repetition that messed with the flow.

The author brings many ethical questions to light as his characters try to validate what was done. All the characters have flaws and I did have sympathy for their plight. Sam really is at a crossroads in his life and the email plus the suspects are a challenge to him.  Truly Desperate is also struggling but is she guilty?  Is the Senator’s wife involved? What other enemies did the Senator have? I did enjoy the chase. Sam involves his co-workers and other contacts to try to find answers but the entire investigation was a little fuzzy. For that reason, I felt the ending was a little abrupt. Questions were answered but after the ride we had been taken on I just expected more. I felt like the author noticed his word/page count and felt like he just needed to wrap things up.

The theme of The Question is Murder is fantastic, ethics in D.C. is always a slippery slope. I was just very disappointed in the ending. I am open to reading more by this author because this story had a great start but the author seems to have lost his way heading into the conclusion. For me, this is a 3-Star book which is a conundrum because my rating system states those are a Satisfactory Excursion but I was not satisfied with the way the story played out at all.



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About the Author

Mark Willen has been a reporter, editor, producer, columnist, and blogger at The Voice of America, National Public Radio, Congressional Quarterly, Bloomberg News, and Kiplinger. He has published and broadcast hundreds of nonfiction articles from datelines as varied as New York, Concord, N.H., Moscow, Jerusalem, Cairo, Beijing, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, and Cape Town, South Africa.

Mark retired from full-time journalism in December 2010 to devote his energies to writing fiction. His short stories have been published in The Rusty Nail, Corner Club Press, and The Boiler Review. The Question Is Murder is his fourth novel.

Mark also leads a writer’s workshop for teenagers and serves as a volunteer tax preparer for elderly and low-income clients. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife, Janet.

Visit Mark’s Website here.


Also by Mark Willen

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup A -Z Author Edition Challenge Flashback Friday Giveaways Literary Escapes Read The Printed Word Challenge TBR Pile Challenge The Backlist Reader Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

#FlashbackFriday – Eighteen Acres: A Novel by Nicolle Wallace #Review / #Giveaway

On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

After our recent move, I took a hard look at my To-Be-Read bookshelves and moved this book way up. It is a book I have wanted to read for a long time. 


Eighteen Acres: A Novel
Political Fiction
1st in Series
Setting – Washinton D.C./Afghanistan
Atria Book (October 19, 2010)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1439194823
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1439194829
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 336 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1439195935
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1439195932
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B003VPWYNC

From the former Communications Director for the White House and current political media strategist comes a suspenseful and smart commercial novel about the first female president and all dramas and deceptions she faces both in politics and in love.

Eighteen Acresa description used by political insiders when referring to the White House complex, follows the first female President of the United States, Charlotte Kramer, and her staff as they take on dangerous threats from abroad and within her very own cabinet.

Charlotte Kramer, the 45th US President, Melanie Kingston, the White House chief of staff, and Dale Smith, a White House correspondent for one of the networks are all working tirelessly on Charlotte’s campaign for re-election. At the very moment when they should have been securing success, though, Kramer’s White House implodes under rumors of her husband’s infidelity and grave errors of judgment on the part of her closest national security advisor.  In an upheaval that threatens not only the presidency but the safety of the American people, Charlotte must fight to regain her footing and protect the country she has given her life to serving.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

The 45th President of The United States, Charlotte Kramer, the first woman to hold the office is dealing with many issues while campaigning for reelection. Her Chief-of-Staff, Melanie Kingston, has worked a long time in D.C. and knows all the ins and outs to keep the office of the President running smoothly. When she receives a tip that the press is going to run a story about infidelity she knows she has to squash the rumor. At the same time, President Kramer travels to visit the Afghan region with her closest national security advisor. At a time of crisis that advisor makes a decision that could have been deadly and could cost Kramer the presidency. Melanie is juggling all the events to try to assure her boss’s success while protecting the country and its people. It just may be more than she can handle.


Written by a former White House insider, this story focuses on three women, Charlotte Kramer, the President of the United States, Melanie Kingston, the White House Chief of Staff, and Dale Smith, a White House Correspondent for one of the networks. Each chapter is from a different women’s point of view with a behind-the-scenes look at each of their jobs. All three are ambitious and put their jobs first above anything which means they either have no personal life to speak of or their personal lives are in trouble. These characters are very well developed and continue to grow over the course of the story.

The story is very well written with a very probable pretense. Written years before the 45th President was elected we did almost have a woman elected to that office. I felt the story depicted this part of Charlotte Kramer’s presidency realistically. Wallace’s history enabled her to give readers a true look at what can happen in The White House. The short chapters gave the book a comfortable flow and kept the focus on the character’s lives more than the political climate around them. This is not a heavy political novel, although there are some tense moments. It does shine a light on some of the double standards women face in a fictional and entertaining way. Written more than ten years ago it still stands up over time. I will say the Republican Party in this book is totally different than the Republican Party today and I loved the choice and decisions President Kramer made when it came to her reelection and her campaign. It was refreshing and civil and something we may never see in real life.

With the shakeups and the way this book ended I am very interested in book 2, It’s Classified. I hope I get a chance to read it soon.

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https://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/confidential/nicolle-wallace-write-stuff-women-white-house-article-1.2201105
Daily News

About Nicolle Wallace 

Nicolle Wallace is an American television host and author. She is known for her work as the anchor of the MSNBC news and politics program Deadline: White House and a former co-host of the ABC daytime talk show The View. As a political analyst for MSNBC and NBC News, she is a frequent on-air contributor to the programs TodayThe 11th Hour with Brian Williams, and Morning Joe.

In her former political career, Wallace served as the White House Communications Director during the presidency of George W. Bush and in his 2004 re-election campaign. Wallace also served as a senior advisor for John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign. In addition, she is the author of the contemporary political novels Eighteen AcresIt’s Classified, and Madam President.

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*This book was from my private collection.