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Releasing on April 8, 2024

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   A Buddhist nun returns to her hometown and solves multiple murders while enduring her dysfunctional family.

 

   Ivy Lutz leaves her life as a Buddhist nun in Sri Lanka and returns home to northern California when her elderly mother suffers a stroke. Her sheltered life is blasted apart by a series of murders, which she attempts to solve with the help of a smitten detective. She understands why someone might want to kill her stepfather, who it turns out is a smuggler on the run, but what about her mother? Is Ivy’s unstable sister right that she was murdered, too? Ivy struggles to live by her Buddhist principles and employ her mindfulness skills, and discovers they both hinder and help in her search for the truth.

Now Released!

Released on May 15th, 2023

Here's a blurby description. Following that, I've pasted in a review from the Seattle Book Review. Google me or see my Amazon listing for more glowing reviews.

Tom is dangerously close to discovering where his threshold is—the point of no return for his sanity. His encounter with the killer represented one more bizarre hot potato he was forced to juggle instead of filing away neatly. It wasn’t one too many, but what if the next one was? And could all the coincidences that keep happening to Tom be nothing more than that? Could a young woman named Zig-Zag really be an angel? How could a dog lead Tom to one of the most important clues? The questions pile up for both Tom and the reader, much as the murders do.

Murder For Liar is a psychological mystery in which a therapist’s world is rocked by a crazed client, as well as a series of murders.

Tom explores his inner transformation with a clinician’s expertise as he’s forced to expand his perspective and gather new tools to maintain his sanity amid all the drastic plot twists that are foisted on him by a host of offbeat characters.

 
By the end of the book, after much internal dialogue (which Tom shares with the reader), he becomes a far better version of himself.
Overall, Murder For Liar is a thinking person’s mystery for readers who desire depth and wisdom along with the thrill ride that my novel provides.

                                     
                                   The Review

Murder for Liar
By Verlin Darrow
The Wild Rose Press, $17.99, 298 pages, Format: Trade
 

Star Rating: 4.5 / 5

 

Author Verlin Darrow weaves a suspenseful tale in Liar for Murder as his protagonist, psychotherapist Tom Dashiel finds himself falling down the rabbit hole after meeting new client George Arundel. George comes into Tom's office, located in Santa Cruz, California, and the two banter back and forth without Arundel giving any real information as to why he needs Tom's help. As Tom says to George on his first visit, "...talking with you feels like pulling teeth. You've systematically refused to cooperate with me, and frankly, I'm feeling very frustrated." George leaves the visit telling Tom that he believes a friend of his is an angel.

What I enjoyed about Murder for Liar was the way Darrow laid the story out. From the very beginning, the reader is sucked into the story wondering what would happen next. Needless to say, Tom finds his interest piqued by George's obscurity and allows George to come back for further visits, each one stranger than the next.

The attention to detail that Darrow uses in his book allows the reader to see clearly what each character looks like down to what he or she is wearing, their expressions, and their actions. The philosophical conversations between Tom and the other characters in the book give the reader something to ponder over as well. From Zig Zag, the possible angel, to an adorable dog who may or may not have led Tom to the book he was looking for, the characters are all interesting and have colorful personalities.

As the story unfolds, a serial killer in town becomes a main focus. Tom's new friend, Dizzy, believes the killer is after her and hires Tom as her bodyguard since he is a rather large and scary-looking, scar-faced man. But how does this all connect to Tom and his new client?

The climax of the book is delightfully horrific and readers will find that they just can't put the book down. What Tom experiences is both surreal and terrifying. Darrow does an amazing job of creating a suspenseful storyline that will twist and turn in the mind of the reader. This book's psychological manipulation feels like riding a rollercoaster in the dark—a bit scary, yet thrilling at the same time. If you are in the market for an intellectual, yet dark, psychological thriller with some fantasy thrown in, Murder for Liar is the book for you. Perfect for fans of Gillian Flynn and Peter Swanson.

Reviewed by Kristi Elizabeth

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  Buddha's clone, victim of a conspiracy, or just plain crazy? If only he knew.

 

Psychotherapist Sid Menk is dragged into a war between spiritual factions vying for control of the planet. Is he Buddha's clone? Has his mentor actually granted him enlightenment? Can the woman by his side kick everyone’s butt?

 

As kidnappers, rogue monks, and Maori gangsters chase Sid through New Zealand, India, and the redwoods of northern California, his sense of identity dissolves and something amazing takes its place. Armed with newfound insights and abilities, he marshals esoteric energy to match the power of those who seek to exploit him.

The twists and turns of this contemporary fantasy thriller send the reader on a wild ride,and we guarantee that no one will predict the outrageous ending of this contemporary fantasy.

                                                               THE BLURB                                                                                  

 

PI Karl Gatlin takes Aria Piper’s case when a threat arrives—“if she doesn’t stop doing Satan’s work…” A few hours later, a headless John Doe bobs up in the wishing well at Aria’s New Age spiritual center near Santa Cruz, California. 
 

With canine Larry by his side and a wise-ass hacker helping out, Karl confronts a ruthless pastor, the dead-eyed leader of a drug gang, and several suspicious members of Aria’s own flock as he hunts for answers. More murders lead to more questions. How could violence on this scale emerge from such a peaceful spiritual community—led by Aria, no less, the kindest, wisest person Karl has ever met?  Will Karl’s psychologist training be enough to save his new lover’s life? 

               

                       

Blood and Wisdom

A psycho-spiritual murder mystery.

 

 

 

 

 

 

                                                          Early Reviews of B&W:

 

 

"The story has great pace, fun characters who you care about, plenty of twists, and narrative 'personality', especially with all of the psychology and spiritual references. 

Many good zingers, taut scenes, and punchy, believable dialogue.  

The mixture of a hard-boiled story line with a soft-boiled private investigator works well and the psychology--spiritualism element grabbed and held my interest."

 

C.I. Dennis, author of the Vince Tanzi series

 

 

"Verlin Darrow has a sense of plot and style that carries the reader forward into that special place of anxious expectation, the place where putting the book down is unthinkable.

Verlin gets us into the minds of people you wouldn't want to invite for dinner. Fascinating."

 

Richard House MD, author of Between Now and When

                                                     SAMPLE PARAGRAPHS

       

I gazed around. Much like the last time I’d visited the meditation hall, fifty or sixty people held themselves like shoddily made statues of the Buddha on the polished wooden floor, arranged in neat rows. How did they manage to get the spacing so exact? Tape on the floor? I pictured silver duct tape with red Sharpie writing: “sit here,” “sit here,” “sit here.” Then I imagined being the one who had to churn out all the little signs. What a pain. Aria probably made them do all sorts of things like that just so they’d get worn down psychically and accept all her crazy ideas. Spiritual boot camp.

 

        It was great to see my pup—and he was mine, even if an idiot judge made me share him with Adele. Larry went nuts when he raced in, careening from room to room—all four of them. Then he tried to jump into me. Not onto me—into me. He had a strong urge to merge, as my mother used to say about her very Catholic brother. If Larry ever figured out how to do it, the Karl/Larry amalgam would probably be a major upgrade.

 

         I filled her in. The story fell out of me. It was my third go-round, and by now the big yellow marker in my head had highlighted the essential elements. This was the same one that ran a circle around whichever woman on the beach was wearing the skimpiest bikini, so I knew I could trust it. 

 

        Quite a few of the redwoods sported carbuncle-like burls at their bases, which my mind sought to turn into faces. I knew evolution favored whoever was a whiz at facial recognition, but all I came up with was a cartoon character or two. I guess my line was doomed to die out sooner than most.

 

        Rachel was solidly built. She could’ve played inside linebacker for a player-strapped high school. It was like hugging a man who happened to have a squishy bosom and smelled like herbal conditioner. She wore black-framed glasses and bright red lipstick. Sometimes she wore bright red glasses and black lipstick. She was a tricky one.

                                                   

I WON AN AWARD (sort of)!!!

 

Blood and Wisdom has been designated a Finalist in the 2019 mystery category by the Indie Book Awards. Basically, this means that it is one of five runners up, which is close enough to winning an international contest for me to crow about it and celebrate.

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