Midwest Book Review: "The Keeper of the Crows" by Kyle Alexander Romines

Small Press Bookwatch: March 2016
James A. Cox, Editor-in-Chief
Midwest Book Review
278 Orchard Drive, Oregon, WI 53575
The Mystery/Suspense Shelf
The Keeper of the Crows
Kyle Alxeander Romines
Sunbury Press
50 West Main Street, Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
www.sunburypress.com
9781620066461, $16.95, PB, 284pp, www.amazon.com
tkotc_fcSynopsis: No evil can remain buried forever, as disgraced journalist Thomas Brooks discovers when a wave of death grips the rural Kentucky town of Gray Hollow in terror. Following a very public humiliation, Thomas is looking for a story to get him back on the map – and free of the small town newspaper where he serves out his exile. The apparent murder of a stranger seems to be just what the opportunistic reporter needs, until he discovers the death is merely the start of something bigger. Also investigating the murder is Sheriff Jezebel Woods, who doesn’t approve of Thomas’ sensationalist intentions. Mounting deaths force the pair to set aside their differences to confront a force that threatens to destroy the entire town.
At the center of the mystery is the disappearance of a boy named Salem Alistair, who designed a series of grotesque scarecrows for his parents’ farm – scarecrows that are turning up at each subsequent crime scene. Thomas begins to doubt his uneasy alliance with the sheriff when he realizes Jezebel has her own secret history with Salem Alistair. Thomas and Jezebel are completely unprepared to face the supernatural force at odds with Gray Hollow. As the killings continue, and the town slowly begins to yield its dark secrets, the truth will pit Thomas and Jezebel on a collision course with true evil.
Critique: A compelling and entertaining read from cover to cover, “The Keeper of the Crows” is a deftly crafted novel that reveals author Kyle Romines as a master of the genre. Very highly recommended for community library Mystery/Suspense collections, it should be noted for the personal reading lists of mystery buffs that “The Keeper of the Crows” is also available in a Kindle edition ($2.99).

"Keeper of the Crows" is the top Sunbury bestseller for December

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Sunbury Press has released the bestsellers list for December, 2015. Kyle ALexander Romines took the top spot with his novel Keeper of the Crows. Keith Rommel’s The Cursed Man took the #2 spot.

SUNBURY PRESS – Bestsellers for December, 2015 (by Revenue)
Rank Last Month Title Author Category
1 18 The Keeper of the Crows Kyle Alexander Romines Thriller Fiction
2 The Cursed Man Keith Rommel Psycho Thriller
3 9 Pit Bulls Anthony Julian History
4 1 Mary Sachs: Merchant Princess Barbara Trainin Blank Biography
5 NEW Gotham Graves Volume 1 Joe Farrell and Joe Farley Biography
6 26 Capital Murder Chris Papst Investigation
7 8 Where Elephants Fought Bridget Smith Historical Fiction
8 16 Murder in Tuxedo Park William Lemanski Detective Thriller
9 11 The Closer Alan Mindell Sports Fiction
10 21 Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last Mike Campbell History
11 2 The Penns’ Manor of Spread Eagle and the Grist Mills of the Upper Mahantongo Valley Steve Troutman History
12 7 The B Team Alan Mindell Sports Fiction
13 Prohibition’s Prince Guy Graybill History
14 Jesus the Phoenician Karim El Koussa History
15 14 That Night at Surigao Ernie Marshall History
16 Hour 30 Brandon Musgrave Memoir
17 Blue Lines Up In Arms James Craig Atchison Detective Thriller
18 24 Dying for Vengeance J M West Detective Thriller
19 Winter of the Metal People Dennis Herrick Historical Fiction
20 Prince and the Paupers Guy Graybill History
21 NEW From Blue Ground Joe Harvey YA Fiction
22 Digging Dusky Diamonds John Lindermuth History
23 6 Call Sign Dracula Joe Fair War Memoir
24 Bravo! Guy Graybill History
25 The Death Machine Charles Godfrey Historical Fiction
26 The Final Charge Charles Godfrey Historical Fiction
27 Pit Bulls II Anthony Julian History
28 Emeralds of the Alhambra John Cressler Historical Fiction
29 What to Do about Mama? Barbara Matthews & Barb Blank Self-Help
30 Freemasons at Gettysburg Sheldon Munn History

tkotc_fcSunbury Press closed out a record year in 2015. However, sales remained weak through the holiday season. Fourth quarter sales were up 6% over Q4 2014, but it was the weakest quarter of the year, when typically it is the strongest. Sales were up 64% year over year. Overall, a great performance tempered by the lack of a hit new release at the end.

“Keeper of the Crows” returned to the top spot thanks to author events in Louisville, KY. Keith Rommel’s “The Cursed Man” benefitted from a large order from a Hollywood producer. Tony Julian grabbed #3 with Pit Bulls and #27 with Pit Bulls 2 thanks to Christmas purchases. “Mary Sachs,” last month’s leader, slipped to 4th, but local sales remained strong. The Joe’s New York release of “Gotham Graves” debuted at #5 thanks to author events. Chris Papst’s “Capital Murder” revived to #6 as interest in the scandal renewed. Bridget Smith’s “Where Elephants Fought” held at #7 due to interest in the Vicksburg, MS area. William Lemanski’s novel “Murder in Tuxedo Park” climbed to #8 thanks to online orders. Alan Mindell grabbed #9 and #12 with “The Closer” and “The B Team” as he continued to make appearances in the San Diego area. Mike Campbell’s “Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last” continued its streak in the top 30, reaching #10 thanks to continued interest in the lost aviatrix. Steve Troutman’s “Penns Manor” slipped to #11, as orders to the valley waned a bit. All-time best-selling author Guy Graybill returned to the rankings with “Prohibition’s Prince” #13, “Prince and the Paupers” #20, and “Bravo!” #24. Guy was very active in the 4th quarter. “Jesus the Phoenician” rolled back the stone and rejoined the bestsellers at #14. The book remains a steady seller most months. Ernie Marshall’s battleship history “That Night at Surigao” remained at #15 thanks to steady sales to naval historians. Brandon Musgrave’s “Hour 30” climbed to #16 due to college bookstore orders. “Blue Lines Up in Arms” by James Craig Atchison benefitted from author events, returning to the rankings at #17. J M West’s “Dying for Vengeance” found #18 due to sales in the Carlisle area. Dennis Herrick’s bestselling “Winter of the Metal People” granned #19 due to sales in the Southwest. Joe Harvey’s YA historical thriller “From Blue Ground” debuted at #21 and has sold well regionally. John Lindermuth dusted off “Digging Dusky Diamonds,” finding himself at #22. Joe Fair’s Vietnam memoir “Call Sign Dracula” slipped to #23. Charles Godfrey’s novels “The Death Machine” and “The Final Charge” were #25 and #26 thanks to sales to Civil War reenactors. John Cressler’s “Emeralds of the Alhambra” returned to the rankings thanks to discussion about its potential as a movie, taking #28. The Barbs’ “What to Do about Mama?” rode author events back to #29. Sheldon Munn’s “Freemasons at Gettysburg” took #30 due to regional sales.

The company released six new titles during the month of December.

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SUNBURY PRESS – New Releases for December, 2015
Gotham Graves Volume 1 Joe Farrell and Joe Farley Biography
From Blue Ground Joe Harvey YA Fiction
Perilous Journey Ted Brusaw Historical Fiction
Healing Tips for the Mind, Body, and Soul Arif M Shaikh Self-Help
Restitution Courtney Frey Memoir
The Savage Apostle John Kachuba Historical Fiction

For a list of Sunbury’s best-sellers, please see the Sunbury Press web site:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/BESTSELLERS_c3.htm
For a complete list of recent and upcoming releases, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/COMING-SOON_c47.htm

"Keeper of the Crows" is the top Sunbury bestseller for October

MECHANICSBURG, Pa. — Sunbury Press has released the bestsellers list for October, 2015. Kyle Alexander Romine took the top spot with his horror thriller “The Keeper of the Crows.” Darla Henry’s “3-5-7 Model Workbook” was the top nonfiction title in the #2 spot.

SUNBURY PRESS – Bestsellers for October, 2015 (by Revenue)
Rank Last Month Title Author Category
1 NEW The Keeper of the Crows Kyle Alexander Romines Thriller Fiction
2 The 3-5-7 Model Workbook Darla Henry Counseling
3 22 The Bronze Dagger Marie Sontag YA Fiction
4 The Bipolar Millionaire and the Operation John E Wade II Memoir
5 7 The Alabaster Jar Marie Sontag YA Fiction
6 4 Capital Murder Chris Papst Investigation
7 Rising Hope Marie Sontag YA Fiction
8 8 The Segregated Georgia School for the Deaf Ron Knorr & Clemmie Whatley History
9 The Lurking Man Keith Rommel Thriller Fiction
10 NEW Blue Lines Up In Arms James Craig Atchison Detective Fiction
11 15 The Wolf of Britannia Part I Jess Steven Hughes Historical Fiction
12 NEW The Devil Tree II: The Calling Keith Rommel Thriller Fiction
13 28 Jesus the Phoenician Karim El Koussa Religious History
14 16 The B Team Alan Mindell Sports Fiction
15 The Devil’s Grasp Brian Koscienski & Chris Pisano Fantasy Fiction
16 The Sinful Man Keith Rommel Thriller Fiction
17 A Pennsylvania Mennonite and the California Gold Rush Lawrence Knorr History
18 2 The 3-5-7 Model Darla Henry Counseling
19 Solomon Screech Owl Goes to the Galapagos Beth Lancione & Kathy Haney Childrens
20 Solomon Screech Owl’s First Flight Beth Lancione & Kathy Haney Childrens
21 18 Winter of the Metal People Dennis Herrick Historical Fiction
22 30 Pit Bulls Anthony Julian History
23 NEW White River Monster Keith Rommel Thriller Fiction
24 Freemasons at Gettysburg Sheldon Munn History
25 29 Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last Mike Campbell History
26 The Cursed Man Keith Rommel Thriller Fiction
27 The Devil Tree Keith Rommel Thriller Fiction
28 Forts, Forests, and Flintlocks John Moore History
29 The View from Four Foot Two Judi Markowitz Medical Memoir
30 20 That Night at Surigao Ernie Marshall History

tkotc_fcSunbury Press had a record October, topping October 2014 by 32%. Year-to-date sales are up 83% year-over-year.

Kyle Alexander Romine’s “The Keeper of the Crows” started strong out of the gate thanks to seasonal interest and author activities. Darla Henry’s “The 3-5-7 Model Workbook” placed due to orders for conferences in Canada. The 3-5-7 guidebook was also on the list at #18  John E Wade II’s “The Bipolar Millionaire” returned the charts at #4 thanks to interest in New Orleans. Marie Sontag’s three YA fiction titles “The Bronze Dagger,” “The Alabaster Jar,” and “Rising Hope” were at 5, 7, & 9 on the chart due to invetory purchases for author appearances. Chris Papst’s “Capital Murder” held at #6 as the author appeared on numerous radio programs nationwide. “The Segregated Georgia School for he Deaf,” by professors Ron Knorr and Clemmie Whatley of Mercer University, clung to #8, and continues to sell steadily in Dixie. Keith Rommel nabbed 6 of the top 30 spots with “The Lurking Man” (9), “The Devil Tree II: The Calling” (12), “The Sinful Man” (16), “White River Monster” (23), “The Cursed Man” (26), and “The Devil Tree” (27) primarily due to author appearances at conventions. James Craig Atchison rounded out the top 10 with his debut novel “Blue Lines Up In Arms.” Jess Steven Hughes’ novel “The Wolf of Britannia Part I” moved up to #11 due to author appearances in Washington and Oregon. “Jesus the Phoenician,” Kareem El Koussa’s controversial history of the Son of God, rose to #13 as his US tour ebbed. Alan Mindell’s horse racing novel “The B Team” (#14) perservered thanks to continued interest in the author’s new website and blog and his appearance schedule. Brian Koscienski’s and Chris Pisano’s “The Devil’s Grasp” returned to the chart at #15 due to author appearances at conventions. Lawrence Knorr’s “A Pennsylvania Mennonite and the California Gold Rush” (#17) made another appearance on the chart thanks to large orders from the Golden State. Beth Lancione’s two Solomon Screech Owl books “Galapagos” (#19) and “First Flight” (#20) returned to the chart thanks to planned appearances by her son.  Dennis Herrick’s “Winter of the Metal People” held at #21 due to his appearance schedule in New Mexico. Anthony Julian’s “Pit Bulls” continued its streak on the chart at #22. “Freemasons at Gettysburg” by Sheldon Munn seized #24 thanks to orders from gift shops in and around Gettysburg. Mike Campbell’s “Amelia Earhart: The Truth at Last” took #25 as interest continues in the lost aviatrix. “Forts, Forests, and Flintlocks,” the most recent volume in John L. Moore’s “Frontier Pennsylvania” series was #28 thanks to regional sales. Judi Markowitz’s medical memoir about her daughter, “The View from Four Foot Two,” returned to the chart at #29. Ernie Marshall’s account of the last conflict between battleships, That Night at Surigao, was #30, thanks to author activity.

The company released eight new titles during the month of October.

SUNBURY PRESS – New Releases for October, 2015
Lady Moguls William A Cook Baseball History
White River Monster (combined) Keith Rommel Thriller Fiction
The Devil Tree II: The Calling Keith Rommel Thriller Fiction
The Keeper of the Crows Kyle Alexander Romines Thriller Fiction
Blue Lines Up In Arms James Craig Atchison Detective Fiction
The Politics of Prevailing William Miller Education
The Penns’ Manor of Spread Eagle and the Grist Mills of the Mahantongo Valley Steve E Troutman History

For a list of Sunbury’s best-sellers, please see the Sunbury Press web site:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/BESTSELLERS_c3.htm
For a complete list of recent and upcoming releases, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/COMING-SOON_c47.htm

"The Birds" meets "Night of the Living Dead" in Kyle Alexander Romine's "Keeper of the Crows"

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Sunbury Press has released Kyle Alexander Romine’s debut novel The Keeper of the Crows, a super-natural thriller.

tkotc_fcNo evil can remain buried forever, as disgraced journalist Thomas Brooks discovers when a wave of death grips the rural Kentucky town of Gray Hollow in terror.

Following a very public humiliation, Thomas is looking for a story to get him back on the map—and free of the small town newspaper where he serves out his exile. The apparent murder of a stranger seems to be just what the opportunistic reporter needs, until he discovers the death is merely the start of something bigger.

Also investigating the murder is Sheriff Jezebel Woods, who doesn’t approve of Thomas’ sensationalist intentions. Mounting deaths force the pair to set aside their differences to confront a force that threatens to destroy the entire town.

At the center of the mystery is the disappearance of a boy named Salem Alistair, who designed a series of grotesque scarecrows for his parents’ farm—scarecrows that are turning up at each subsequent crime scene. Thomas begins to doubt his uneasy alliance with the sheriff when he realizes Jezebel has her own secret history with Salem Alistair.

Thomas and Jezebel are completely unprepared to face the supernatural force at odds with Gray Hollow. As the killings continue, and the town slowly begins to yield its dark secrets, the truth will pit Thomas and Jezebel on a collision course with true evil.

back imageEXCERPT:
… Jeff hastily brought the aluminum can up to his lips and choked down the frothy liquid.

“Ugh,” he grunted. It was warm. The vehicle bounced over the gravel rocks, causing him to spill the remainder of the beer on his jacket. “Stupid truck,” he muttered as he glanced at the gas gauge. There was barely enough fuel to get back into town. Jeff hurled the empty can down on the floorboard and brought the vehicle to a halt. A rusty metal gate barred his entry to the farm. Jeff almost laughed when he saw the locks fastened around the wooden post.

Like anyone would want to break in here, he thought.

The sun waned above, casting an orange glow on the farm. An old barn stood nearly twenty feet beyond the fence. Like his truck, the barn’s red paint was faded, and planks of rotten wood contributed to a general state of disarray. A cornfield rested just outside the barn, with a small grassy hill overlooking the whole property. Jeff grabbed a cooler from the back of his truck and hoisted it over the gate adjoining the wooden fence. A wave of reluctance washed across him when he rested his hands on the cold metal. After hesitating, Jeff shook his head and yielded to the silent calling that prompted his return to the abandoned farm. It wasn’t like anyone was going to find him out here. The farm lay deserted since the last member of the Alistair family passed away almost twenty years ago. The government now owned the property. All the while the Alistair farm lingered in limbo, waiting. Waiting for him.

“Here goes nothing,” Jeff said before he began climbing over the fence. A blast of freezing wind sent a chill through him, but it was too late to turn back now. He trudged through thick piles of multi-hued leaves. Dusk was fast approaching over the October horizon. Jeff stared into the thick rows of corn. He remembered all too well what secret lay hidden within. That the corn would still be growing in an ordered pattern after all these years disturbed him for some reason. He caughtanother chill, this one not from the cool breeze.

The government probably planted them, he thought. Even as the words formed in his head, Jeff found the probability unlikely. He didn’t understand why the town would waste money by planting corn in an abandoned field. As he rounded the corner, Jeff spotted a dark figure in the cornfield. He nearly jumped out of his skin before realizing the figure wasn’t human. A stitched amalgamation of cloth and straw hung from a pole that towered above the rows.

“It’s just a scarecrow,” he said to himself, letting out a sigh of relief.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kyle Alexander Romines is a teller of tales from the hills of Kentucky. He enjoys good reads, thunderstorms, and anything edible. The Keeper of the Crows is his first published book. His writing interests include fantasy, science fiction, horror, and western.

Kyle’s lifelong love of books began with childhood bedtime stories and was fostered by his parents and teachers. He grew up reading Calvin and Hobbes, RL Stine’s Goosebumps series, and Harry Potter. His current list of favorites includes Justin Cronin’s The Passage, Hard Country by Michael McGarrity, and Red Rising by Pierce Brown. The library is his friend.

Kyle discovered a passion for writing after graduating high school, which resulted in the completion of three novel length manuscripts before The Keeper of the Crows. These fledgling attempts at writing taught him a great deal, and since writing Keeper he has worked to continue honing his skills. He hopes to continue writing as long as he has stories to tell.

He is currently a medical student at the University of Louisville.

The Keeper of the Crows
Authored by Kyle Alexander Romines
List Price: $16.95
5.5″ x 8.5″ (13.97 x 21.59 cm)
Black & White on Cream paper
284 pages
Sunbury Press, Inc.
ISBN-13: 978-1620066461
ISBN-10: 1620066467
BISAC: Fiction / Occult & Supernatural

For more information, please see:
http://www.sunburypressstore.com/The-Keeper-of-the-Crows-…