Tuesday, June 25, 2013

On the Collateral Damage blog tour

Collateral Damage is the third thriller in the best-selling Annie Ogden series by Frederick Lee Brooke, fellow member of the BestSelling Reads group. I'm proud to participate in the blog tour launching this exciting title.
How good is Fred Brooke's Annie Ogden series? You could read my review of the first book in the series, the gripping and hilarious Doing Max Vinyl. You could follow the blog tour, starting with Chapter 1 on Shannon Mayer's blog, continuing with the Chapter 2 excerpt below, and then follow the tour according to the schedule, at the bottom of this page.

Or the best way: buy the books!
What's Collateral Damage about?
A love story.

When Annie Ogden’s ex-boyfriend Michael Garcia reappears, she has to confront a lie dating back to her time in Iraq. Will she go back to hot, passionate Michael, who has developed a disturbing interest in meth, or will she stick with her pudgy PI partner and fiancĂ©, Salvatore?

A murder.

The calculus changes when Michael is arrested for murder. When Salvatore refuses to help investigate, Annie is forced to try to find the killer herself. Meanwhile her sister’s creepy husband, Todd, is making more of an ass of himself than usual.

An obsession.

Annie's problems with three obsessive men suddenly pale in significance when she realizes the killer has set his sights on her. 
Follow the blog tour every day, and leave a comment on each participating blog to win a $25 Amazon gift card AND a free signed paperback copy of any of Fred Brooke's books.
Now, get into it with this excerpt from

Chapter 2—Annie

I worked it up to a sprint for the last five blocks, rising onto the balls of my feet. Various people with toddlers and old people with canes moved aside. My attacker was watching. He could have ditched the mask. I wouldn’t even know which man he was. He knew where I lived, who I was.

I opened the door with the brass nameplate engraved with D’Angelo/Ogden. Salvatore had affixed the nameplate within three weeks of my moving in. At first, it bothered me. Was I some kind of territorial prize for him to mark on his door? Alison said I should be happy it was my own name. People wrote Mrs. John Ogden on letters to my mother. My mother left her last name and her first name at the altar.

Coffee perfumed the kitchen. I peeled off my training jacket, looking for signs of my man, but the only sound was the clicking of the steam radiators. I saw the bedroom door standing ajar at the angle I’d left it. Salvatore cherished his morning sleep.

I brought my mug in the bathroom and cranked the shower. How many times in Iraq, all I wished for was a shower. We’d be out on patrol somewhere, all night and then into the morning. We’d set up and wait all day for nightfall. You’d watch and wait for hours at a time. At a certain point, you started to itch. You’d be thinking a shower would feel pretty good about now.

I could make a list of the things I will never again in my life take for granted. Showers would definitely be on the list. Maybe not at the top of the list.

Salvatore stood there in boxers when I came out of the shower, all cheerful and hangdog at the same time, blocking my way to the towel. Normally I hang it on the peg by the shower door, but with the events of this morning, I’d forgotten. I stood there offering a full frontal, dripping clean.

“Happy anniversary,” I said.

“Don’t bother getting dressed.” Salvatore handed me the towel, showing the dimples under his three-day beard.

“Listen, I really can’t right now.”

“Okay. I was just thinking.”

“I was attacked.”

“No way.”

That got his attention.

Dressed in my towel, sitting on the bed, I described the Romney mask, the heavy arm, and my aggressive response. Salvatore is a former cop. He was on the Oak Park force for seven years, and he’s been a private investigator since he quit. He wanted to know details, as if we were going to go after my attacker.

“What about the shoes? Did you notice the color? The brand?”


“Think, Annie. Close your eyes. Picture him in your mind.”

I did what he said. I saw the dude backing away after I kicked him. I saw him taunting me as I prayed for the bus to send him to kingdom come.

“I didn’t focus on the shoes. Some dark color, like gray. Not white or orange or anything.”

“Did you recognize the voice?”

I shook my head. He was trying to put together enough detail for a police report. He asked about rings, tattoos, scars, or piercings. He didn’t lose patience at my negative answers. He didn’t, but I did.

“It happened too fast. I just reacted. He hit me, I hit harder. I think I got him in the nose. You know, through the mask.

“So we’re looking for a guy with a broken nose?” We sat on the edge of the bed. Salvatore’s hands provided bookends to my face. He looked into my eyes. “How’s Annie Ogden, after this? Ready to take on the world?”

“It makes me furious,” I said.

“I can imagine.”

“No you can’t. You always say that, but you really can’t imagine what it’s like to be a woman and be attacked. To be stared at just because you have blond hair. You can’t imagine what it’s like to wonder if every stranger would be a rapist if you gave him the chance.”

“I’ve got no hair.”

“You know what I mean.”

He wanted to joke around. I can’t stand it when people are always cheerful. I put on my clothes while Salvatore took his shower. Later we had another cup of coffee in the kitchen.

“I’ve got something for you,” he said.

We sat at the kitchen table, and I picked up the little box. It looked like jewelry. The kind of jewelry spelled R-I-N-G. Not on the day when I am attacked, I thought. I wanted to postpone our half-anniversary. I wanted to postpone this box.

He was asking me to marry him. When you decide to marry someone, you go a long way toward defining the principal arc of your life with that one decision. With that one word. Fine, I thought, but I was attacked. When are we going to talk about that? How could I think about getting married when I had adrenaline gushing out of my eyes? How could he not see that?

I lifted the lid. In a pretty velvet holder nestled the biggest diamond I’d ever seen, the kind a movie star would wear. I turned the ring over and over in my fingers, admiring the sparkle. I felt its weight. It brought back the memories of another ring, another place and time, and the last time I was asked. It’s eerie how the past trails you into the present, silent and unseen, like a stalker. The stalker takes his time, he’s got all the time in the world, but one day, I thought, he’ll pull the trigger on me. I repressed that thought, those memories. Salvatore deserved better.

Salvatore slid the ring on my finger. He waited till I looked up.

“I love you, Annie. I’m ready.”

I kissed him. “Me too. Just not the same day I’m attacked.”

Win a $25 Amazon gift card AND a signed paperback edition of any book by Frederick Lee Brooke!

To win, all you have to do is visit every blog on the 26-day Collateral Damage Excerpt Tour and leave a comment showing that you read the excerpt. That’s it! See the blog list and join the tour ...

Monday, June 24: Chapter 1 on  Shannon Mayer's News Blog

Tuesday, June 25: Chapter 2 on Scott Bury's Written Words 

Wednesday, June 26: Chapter 3 on Raine Thomas's Write as Rain

Thursday, June 27: Chapter 4 on Emily Walker's Self Publish or Die!

Friday, June 28: Chapter 5 on Simon Jenner's Escaping Life by Writing Action Thrillers

Saturday, June 29: Chapter 6 on Amberr Meadows' Amber Is Me blog

Sunday, June 30: Chapter 7 on Anne Chaconas' blog

Monday, July 1: Chapter 8 on the BestsellingReads blog

Tuesday, July 2: Chapter 9 on Tyler-Rose Neath's The Reading Pile

Wednesday, July 3: Chapter 10 on Naomi Leadbeater Naimeless blog

Thursday, July 4: Chapter 11 on Mohana Rajakumar MohaDoha blog

Friday, July 5: Chapter 12 on Helen Hanson's blog

Saturday, July 6: Chapter 13 on Marilou George's Confessions of a Reader

Sunday, July 7: Chapter 14 on  J.C. Martin's blog

Monday, July 8: Chapter 15 on Corinne O’Flynn's blog

Tuesday, July 9: Chapter 16 on Tawdra Kandle's blog

Wednesday, July 10: Chapter 17 on Martha Bourke's blog

Thursday, July 11: Chapter 18 on Connie M. Chyle's blog

Friday, July 12: Chapter 19 on Cyndi's Reduce Footprints blog

Saturday, July 13: Chapter 20 on Kenneth Hoss's blog

Sunday, July 14: Chapter 21 on Andrea Kurian's Mommy Adventures with Ravina

Monday, July 15: Chapter 22 on Andy Holloman's blog

Tuesday, July 16: Chapter 23 on Marilyn Diekman's blog

Wednesday, July 17: Chapter 24 on Christine Nolfi blog

Thursday, July 18: Chapter 25 on Patricia Sands blog

Friday, July 19: return back home to author Fred Brooke's blog for Chapter 26

Frederick Lee Brooke is the author of the widely-acclaimed Annie Ogden mystery series, which includes DoingMax Vinyl, Zombie Candy, and Collateral Damage. The books do not have to be read in order.
Having lived in Switzerland for the past two decades, Brooke has taught English, run a business and learned French, German and Italian. You can find him online at www.FrederickLeeBrooke.com. Sign up for his newsletter and read all about his travels, recipes, and upcoming works!


  1. I think Fred's tour idea is brilliant! It's so much fun reading a chapter at a time.

  2. Scott, thank you for hosting me on this tour!

  3. Martine Sangster11:11 AM

    I'm wondering how old Annie is? I think she's too young to get married. Looking forward to the rest of the story!

    1. I've been wondering, myself, about the model for these covers. I guess we should ask the author!

  4. Some people just age well, don't you all think? It's true, Annie spent 4 years of her life in Iraq, and she's also under the thumb of her bossy sister, Alison, among other problems.

    Anyway, too young to get married, Martine? That's an interesting comment. How old do you think a woman has to be?

  5. Martine Sangster3:46 PM

    That's a good question. To be honest I don't know the answer myself. Old enough to make the right decision, do you really want to spend the rest of your life with that one person? After all there are so many fish in the sea... What if Annie is married with Salvatore and she meets her soulmate?

  6. Great excerpt! This is definitely a series I'll be checking out. Thanks for sharing, Scott. :)