Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Interview with J.L.Doucette

What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published?
My new book, the second in the Dr. Pepper Hunt Mystery Series, is called "On A Quiet Street". 
J. L. Doucette

How did you develop your character and choose your location? 
My main character, Dr. Pepper Hunt, is a psychologist who works with a local detective to solve crimes. I am a psychologist and I was inspired by Jonathan Kellerman's psychological mysteries featuring the fictional Dr. Alex Delaware.

I decided to create a female psychologist protagonist. I've gotten a lot of feedback from reviewers and readers that suggest the other lead character. Detective Beau Antelope, should have equal billing because of his role in the books. I did have a hard time deciding if I wanted the main character to be male or female and I think the strength of Antelope's character development indicates that I never really resolve that issue. The two characters, Hunt and Antelope, and their differing gender perspectives, are equally important to the stories.

The location was easy because it was central to the story in the first book. I relocated with my husband and baby daughter to a small town in Wyoming right after we finished graduate school. It was an incredible culture shock after studying and living for years in Boston and Cambridge. Everything was so different, and not in a good way. I wanted to leave as soon as we arrived and that feeling of having landed on another planet stayed with me for a long time. But the place, in the sense of a physical place, got to me and though I moved away, I couldn't stop thinking about it. Partly it was because I made friends and found my place there and started to write there. But mostly it's the power of the landscape, it's windswept emptiness, the huge sky, the sanctuary and silence that seems such a perfect home for the kind of stories I write. It's a place where complicated humans can get themselves in all kinds of trouble.

What do you enjoy about the author’s lifestyle? What do you not enjoy? 
I still have a full-time psychology practice so I can't say much about the author's lifestyle except that for me, writing happens in the time before I go to my day job. My life is very busy and I wish I had more time for each part of it. From the time I started writing my first book until it was released in 2017, the publishing world changed dramatically.

The writer's lifestyle includes more time devoted to the business of writing especially social media promotion. Talking with readers has been an unexpected joy.

Do you model your character after yourself or any one you know? 
Pepper Hunt is loosely modeled on me in that we share the same profession. There are many facets of the character as she is written that are very different from me.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? 
My younger writing self was pretty wise, I think, so I'm not sure what else I have to offer. I followed a career path recommended by the poet William Carlos William's, maintained a full-time career as a physician. I wanted to do work that would bring me into close proximity with human suffering. It felt important to me to do some direct good in the world through healing. But working as a psychologist also gave me access to the private lives of patients which has expanded and enhanced my own life experience hugely. And that's a good thing for a writer. If anything, I would advise watching the balance and tilting more in the direction of writing.

If your books were made into a movie, who would you want to play the lead character? 
Definitely, Julianne Moore for Pepper Hunt. They have the same intelligence, wit and also hair color.

Who is your favorite author? 
Andre Dubus III, especially, "The House of Sand and Fog". He's a New Englander of French Canadian and Catholic origins, as am I. All of those weighty demographics have their say in his prose and stories

If you could invite five people – living or dead – to a dinner party, who would they be? 
I would invite my other favorite authors and enjoy hearing about their experience of writing - Willa Cather, Billy Collins, Junot Diaz, Tana French, and John Updike.

If you could not be an author, what would like to do as a career?
If I couldn't be an author, some other careers I would enjoy, besides a psychologist, are being a journalist or a private detective. I've actually done both of those on a part time basis. I can't seem to get away from writing and people.

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Under Currents

Zane Bigelow's family is living a lie. On the outside his parents, Dr. Graham Bigelow and his socially prominent wife Eliza, seem to be attentive to their children and pillars of the community. To their son and daughter they are abusive monsters. In Under Currents by Nora Roberts, the situation comes to a boil one night when Zane and his father face off.

Fortunately for Zane, he has been diligently documenting the abuse and the local police chief believes him. Graham and Eliza are sentenced to jail and Zane and Britt, his sister, move in with their aunt Emily and try to forget their brutal childhood.

Fast forward nearly 20 years when Zane is now an attorney, living in Raleigh. He decides it's time to return to his North Carolina roots and he moves back to Lakeview where his sister, aunt, uncle and many other relatives still live.

He meets an energetic whirlwind landscape artist named Darby McCray who has dazzled everyone she meets with her talents. But Darby also has a secret and she doesn't want to share it with anyone so she keeps relationships at arms length. Despite her better judgment, she begins to enjoy Zane's company.

Zane is beginning to build his life in Lakeview into something meaningful, but in the back of his mind, he knows his father is soon to be released from prison. It would be unthinkable for Graham or Eliza to return to Lakeview, but the shadow still haunts Zane.

An breathtakingly suspenseful novel that will leave you sitting on the edge of your chair by the time you finish it.

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for a fair review. 

Monday, August 19, 2019

Tide and Punishment

It's Christmastime in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and Everly Swan is hoping her home town of Charm will live up to its name. In Tide and Punishment by Bree Baker, it's not long before trouble breaks out. (Tide and Punishment will be released by Poisoned Pen Press on September 24.)

Unfortunately Mother Nature has a surprise for the Charmers - snow and ice. That doesn't dampen Everly's spirits at her Sun, Sand and Tea Cafe, until her Great-Aunt Fran makes her mayoral bid announcement. No one is really surprised by it, but as she is making her announcement, Mayor Dunfree preempts her announcement by making his own.

He has decided to run again and with a co-mayor Mary Grace Chatsworth, Everly's hated enemy. Everyone is aghast at Mayor Dunfree's announcement and his lack of manners in his timing, but no one expects much from him.

A little while later, he is dead in the snow behind the shop with Great-Aunt Fran standing over him with a bloody gnome in her hands. Everly is positive her Great-Aunt didn't kill the mayor, but the mayor's wife wants Detective Grady Hays to arrest Fran. As much as Hays warns Everly to stay out of the investigation, she cannot let her Great Aunt wind up in jail at Christmas.

Everly's investigation leads her to a long-ago hiking death, many more shattered gnomes and someone with huge anger issues.

Another terrific addition to this charming series.

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley

Friday, August 16, 2019

The Murder List

Almost lawyer Rachel North is married to superstar defense attorney Jack Kirkland and she dreams of being his partner in their own law firm, finding justice for the accused. First though she needs to complete an internship and she has chosen Jack's most hated rival, Assistant District Attorney Martha Gardiner as her new mentor.

In The Murder List by Hank Phillippi Ryan this internship creates strife in the family. Rachel knows how much Jack hates to lose cases, so she decides to go "undercover" and work as an intern with Gardiner to find her weaknesses and relay them back to Jack. Such a smart idea, she thinks, guaranteed to lead to success in the future. (The Murder List will be released by Tom Doherty Associates on August 20.)

The story is told in two time periods. The first is when Rachel worked as Chief of Staff for Senate President Tom Rafferty including her experience on a murder case jury in which Jack was the defense attorney and the second portion covers her time as an intern with Gardiner.

Of course Gardiner knows who Rachel is and pointedly makes comments about Jack, just to keep Rachel on her toes. She drags her to the site of a murder on the first day of Rachel's internship and uses every opportunity to keep her unbalanced.

Finally after several weeks, Rachel feels she is making strides with Gardiner and she relaxes into her own scheme of finding weaknesses. But there's a cat and mouse game going on with Rachel thinking she is outsmarting Gardiner. But who is the cat and who is the mouse?

A twisting, turning, spin you on your head plot that then freaks you out with the shocking ending. Don't miss this book. It is Hank Phillippi Ryan at her most devious.

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher through NetGalley.

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Death by the Bay

Being at the right place at the right time sets Door County Sheriff Dave Cubiak on the path to solving a suspicious death. When the ninety-three year old founder of the prestigious Institute for Progressive Medicine, Dr. Melk, falls dead at a conference, it appears to be from a heart attack. In Death by the Bay by Patricia Skalka, Dave questions those in attendance including Dr, Harlan Sage, director of the institute, and a writer named Linda Kiel.

Linda Kiel is writing an approved book on the Institute highlighting the positive achievements. She has spent many hours with Dr. Melk discussing the Institute and Dave wants to hear what she has to say. As he leads her to a separate conference room, he hears someone crying "Mi hermano. Mi hermano gemelo." He discovers one of the housekeepers looking with shocked awe at a photograph on the wall that is part of the doctor's presentation.

The housekeeper believes the photo is of her younger brother who had Down's Syndrome and has been missing for many years. He was taken away from his family in Mexico by a doctor who said he could cure him and would bring him back. That never happened.

As Dave continues to dig, the trail leads him to a family in Door County who is also missing a sibling. Because she is elderly and may not be remembering details correctly, most people think Florence Fadim is fantasizing about her missing sister Margaret. Through repeated conversations with her, Dave learns the sister also may have been taken by doctors hoping to cure her polio.

When another death occurs, Dave doubles down on his investigation and learns many disturbing secrets about Dr. Melk's past and his present activities at the Institute for Progressive Medicine. Long buried secrets and the Institute's dark past lead Dave on a search or the truth. A shocking tale of medical abuse and how the quest for notoriety and fame distorts the moral compass.

Disclosure: I received this book from the author for a fair review. 

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Interview with Diane Kelly

What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published?
My newest book is Paw of the Jungle, which releases the Tuesday just before Thanksgiving. I have
Diane Kelly and Reggie
published 26 novels and novellas to date. It’s been a busy and fun few years!

How did you develop your character and choose your location?
My two primary characters, Police Officer Megan Luz and her K-9 partner Brigit, came to me while I was attending the Citizens Police Academy in my then hometown of Mansfield, Texas. At the Academy, officers taught us the ins and outs of police work. At one of the classes, a K-9 handler performed a demonstration with his dog, Rocket. Much to the surprise of the class, Rocket spun around a few times and deposited some droppings at our feet before bounding off to do a building search. I knew right then that I had to write about these amazing handlers and their skilled, and sometimes amusing, dogs.

I lived near Fort Worth, Texas, at the time I started writing the series, and I decided to set the book there because the city has a fun western flavor. Fort Worth’s nickname is “Cowtown” because it was a major stop on the old Chisholm Trail back in the cattle drive days. It’s hung on to its cowboy identity, and the Stockyards area north of the city is a popular tourist attraction. The Will Rogers Center hosts lots of horse shows each year, too.

What do you enjoy about the author’s lifestyle? What do you not enjoy?
What I enjoy most about the author’s lifestyle is that every day is take-your-pet-to-work day! I love working from home, surrounded by my dogs and cats. I often work outside in a comfy lawn chair on my deck, and I dress in casual T-shirts and cozy yoga pants (shoes and bra optional). The hardest thing about working from home is the lack of human camaraderie, but I make up for it through my involvement in local writing groups.

Do you model your character after yourself or any one you know?
My characters are their own unique selves, though I do borrow personality traits and quirks from real-life people sometimes. They often reflect some of my values and opinions, but not always. It wouldn’t be much fun to be myself in my stories, too. Part of the excitement of writing is getting to play at being someone else who does something entirely different for a living, looks at the world differently, and has fun, sometimes dangerous, adventures.

How do you get yourself out of a writing rut?
I rarely have major ruts, thought there are days when the words flow much more easily than others. When I need to think a scene through, I do something mindless, like walking my dogs or dishes or laundry. My muse often visits me on long road trips, too, and whispers ideas in my ear when I’m in the shower or on my exercise bike. Getting away from the computer is the key to getting out of a rut!

If your books were made into a movie, who would you want to play the lead character?
If my Paw Enforcement series was made into a movie, America Ferrera (from Ugly Betty and Superstore) would be the perfect person to play Megan Luz. She’s just the right blend of strong, smart, and sexy, but with some vulnerabilities, too.

Who is your favorite author?
I have so many favorite contemporary authors, but I’d have to say my favorite author of all time is Erma Bombeck. Her humor columns taught me so much—how to laugh at life’s irritations, people’s quirks, and even my own imperfections. I read her columns in the newspaper growing up, and I consider her to be one of my early influences and inspirations.

If you could invite five people – living or dead – to a dinner party, who would they be?
The five people I would invite to a dinner party would be:
Leonard da Vinci – He was so smart and talented in many different ways, and so forward-thinking. He’d be interesting to talk to!
Carol Burnett – I loved her sketch comedy show when I was young, and I consider her to be one of my comedic influences. She wasn’t afraid to make a fool of herself for a laugh. Neither am I!
Elizabeth Hobbs Keckley – She was a former slave and skilled seamstress who supported her “master’s” extended family through her hard work and talents, and eventually bought her freedom and that of her son. She overcame so much—forced separation from her family, beatings, rape and resulting pregnancy—to become a sought-after dressmaker in Washington, D.C. and confidante to Mary Todd Lincoln. She spent some time in the town where I now live, Hillsborough, North Carolina. She wrote a great book about her experiences called Behind the Scenes, Or, Thirty Years a Slave and Four Years in the White House. I’m so intrigued by a woman who was so intelligent and determined, and who made so much of herself from such difficult beginnings.
Laura Ingalls Wilder – I loved her books as a young girl, and enjoyed the TV show as well. I’d love to talk writing with her!
My husband – If I left him out of a party with these other four fascinating people, he might file for divorce!

If you could not be an author, what would like to do as a career?
I love animals and nature, so probably something in habitat conversation, or maybe I’d be a park ranger, dog trainer, or wildlife rehabilitator.

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

Lowcountry Boomerang

It's not just another day at the beach for Liz Talbot and her husband Nate Andrews when they learn TV star Darius DeAndre Baker is leaving Main Street USA and returning to Stella Maris. In Lowcountry Boomerang, by Susan M. Boyer, this should be cause for celebration. (Lowcountry Boomerang will be released by Henery Press on September 3.)

But before Darius settles in his high school sweetheart Trina Lynn Causby is found dead, and the police think he is the murderer. Liz had been friends with Darius in high school and she knows he's no killer so she and Nate set out to find the real killer. Colleen, Liz's ghost friend, has bonded herself to Darius because she is afraid for his life.

With so-called eyewitnesses seeing Darius shove a white bag into the trash near the scene of the crime, the police are in a rush to close the case. Liz and Nate take it upon themselves to causally interview the eyewitnesses and clarify their stories.

The case gets complicated as Darius' three -wives turn up, positive he still loves each of them. Also adding to the drama is that fact that Trina Lynn, a well know TV news personality, allegedly had a child with Darius when she was in high school. No one, not even Darius had heard a whisper of this story until now, when Trina Lynn is dead.

Trina Lynn lead a complicated life and was involved with two men; one married and the other a co-worker. There was, in fact, a very public scene with the wife of her married suitor, and Liz and Nate believe there could be other suspects besides Darius.

Another stellar mystery from our friends on Stella Maris. Dripping with Southern charm, but plenty of sass.

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for a fair review. 

Monday, August 12, 2019

Fatal Cajun Festival

Now that Maggie Crozat and Bo Durand are officially engaged, everyone in Pelican wants to know when they will set the date. In Fatal Cajun Festival by Ellen Byron, Maggie and her family are too busy with festival season to think about planning a wedding. (Fatal Cajun Festival will be released on September 10 by Crooked Lane Books.)

When Grandmere decides Pelican needs a festival to precede the New Orlean's Jazz & Heritage Festival, she ropes Maggie into helping her organize Cajun Country Live! The featured artist is none other than hometown-girl-makes good Tammy Barker. Tammy has hit the bigtime as the winner of a TV singing competition, but to many in Pelican, she is still the diva she always thought she was. This includes Maggie's best friend Gaynell Bourgeois, who went to high school with Tammy.

Tammy's band is a collection of offbeat, weirdos who seem to have been randomly selected at the last minute to make the event. When a member of this motley crew is found murdered, Gaynell is suspected and Tammy seems to want to make it a permanent "vacation." There's always been bad blood between Tammy and Gaynell and it comes to a boil when Tammy sabotages Gaynell and the Gator Girls' audition for Jazz Fest.

Maggie decides the best way to discover information is to go undercover as a "newly-unengaged" woman and flirt with the band members. When another band member is seriously injured, Bo thinks it's about time for Maggie to become his fiancee again and stay out of trouble.

The flavor of this book is so Louisiana Cajun and you can almost smell the delicious food simmering on the stove and hear the foot-stomping music in the background. I love these books; they always make me miss New Orleans and everything Cajun.

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley for a fair review. 

Friday, August 9, 2019

Murder's No Votive Confidence

Nantucket Island and candlemaking seem to go together. In Murder's No Votive Confidence by Christin Brecher, candlemaker Stella Wright is excited to be part of Jessica Sterling's candle-themed wedding. Using candles as the main theme would do wonders for Stella's small business, Wick & Flame.

Among the specially planned candles is a two-foot tall Unity Candle decorated to resemble the bride's gown. Everyone is excited about the wedding, but there is one small sad note, Jessica's father had died recently and she was hoping her long-estranged uncle would walk her down the aisle.

For some reason, Jessica's mother is highly opposed to the idea, but she want everything to be perfect for her daughter's wedding, so she relents. The animosity between them is electric and not in a good way. Jessica's mother is not that enamored with her future son-in-law either, but Jessica has been wildly optimistic and happy.

The day before the wedding, Stella drops in to look over her candle decorations and discovers the body of Uncle Simon. Someone has put out his lights with Stella's exquisite Unity Candle, but the wedding is to go on as planned. Stella has her work cut out for her because she needs to create another gorgeous Unity Candle and hope superstitious brides-to-be clients don't start canceling orders.

When the bartender at the hotel is arrested, Stella is sure he is innocent and the police have rushed to make an arrest. She decides to join forces with a charming reporter and a local detective in hopes of solving the crime before her business folds.

A charming setting and an intrepid shop owner brings her delightfully-scented candles to life in this new series.

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for a fair review. 

Thursday, August 8, 2019

The Escape Room

Elevators have never been a favorite of mine, but after reading The Escape Room by Megan Goldin  I may never get in one again. Four high roller Wall St. financiers are sent to participate in an escape room exercise in an elevator on a Saturday night. They begin complaining as soon as they enter the elevator, but the worst is yet to come.

Sylvie, Sam and Jules are part of Vincent's team at the prestigious and soul-crushing company Stanhope and Sons. They have worked as a team for four years and Vincent wonders if he has every liked any of them in that span of time. He's hoping the escape room exercise will only take one hour and he will be rid of them for the rest of the weekend.

The moment the elevator doors close, the lights turn off, leaving them in suffocating darkness. The only light is the weak glow of the small display. As they press the control panel buttons in a frenzy to turn the lights on, the elevator begins to move up.

As the elevator approaches the 70th floor, it comes to a stop, but the doors do not open. Over the control panel, a small television monitor blinks to life with this message: Welcome to the escape room. Your goal is simple. Get out alive.

As they bicker about the best way to handle their predicament, another message flicks to life on the screen: Dead but not forgotten. ASLHARLA

Before long they are fighting for their lives and reliving their past abuses of other people. A terrifying study of avarice, greed and treachery beyond belief and what that leads people to do.

A spectacular debut novel from Megan Goldin.

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for a fair review. 

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Interview with Margaret Dumas

What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published?
My newest book is titled Murder in the Balcony. It’s the second in the Movie Palace Mysteries
series. The first was Murder at the Palace.
Prior to the Movie Palace Mysteries I’d published two other mysteries and one non-mystery.

How did you develop your character and choose your location?
I usually start out with thinking about something that I’d like to do with my life, but that for one reason or another (meaning: I’m a great big chicken) I haven’t. My first mystery series was set in a small theatrical company and for the Movie Palace series I set it in a classic movie theater.

I’m a huge classic movie fan, so creating a character who thinks in terms of Bette Davis quotes seemed like a good fit. And I’ve set all my books in San Francisco. It’s my adopted city and I think it’s a great background for just about anything to happen.

For a review of Murder at the Palace, click here

What do you enjoy about the author’s lifestyle? What do you not enjoy?
I think I’d love hanging out with classic movie people and programming a theater with the kinds of movies I love. I think I would not enjoy my character’s personal life — she was very publicly dumped by her movie-star husband and had to endure way too much attention from the press and social media. On the upside, there’s this new guy she’s just met in San Francisco...

Do you model your character after yourself or any one you know?
I model my character on who I wish I could be. I write in the first person, so some of my voice comes through, but my character is gutsier, more confident, and definitely thinner than I am.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Persist! Think of the process, not of the goal, and write regularly. The muse has an easier time finding you if you’re parked in front of your keyboard.

If your books were made into a movie, who would you want to play the lead character?
Sandra Bullock. No question. Sandy…call me!

Who is your favorite author?
Yikes, do we have that kind of time? I read widely, in all kinds of genres, so I’m going to go with my all time favorites, which are probably everyone’s favorites — Jane Austin and Louisa May Alcott. I know! So predictable! If we’re talking about people who are still writing, I always look forward to something new from Elinor Lipman or Cathleen Schine.

If you could invite five people – living or dead – to a dinner party, who would they be?
Okay, I’ve been thinking about classic movies even more than usual lately, so I’m thinking movie stars. Joan Crawford and Bette Davis, even though they’d probably spend the night sniping at each other. Rosalind Russell for sure. And then I'd round it out with Katharine Hepburn and Barbara Stanwyck. Now that I’m planning it I have no idea what to serve, beyond martinis. Lots and lots of martinis.

If you could not be an author, what would like to do as a career?
It seems pretty clear that I’d like to run a classic movie theater. Let me know if you hear of one that has an opening!

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

The Long Call

Ann Cleeves introduces a new series featuring Detective Inspector Matthew Venn. In The Long Call, Matthew Venn was raised in strict Evangelical family. When he turns his back on the Brethren and he leaves his family behind as well. (The Long Call will be released on September 3 by Minotaur Books.

On the day of his father's funeral as he is standing outside the church, he still has feelings of inadequacy brought on my his memories of family life. Now married to Jonathan Church, director of  Woodyard Centre, he still has moments of doubt. When receives a call telling him he still has  a body has been found on the beach at Crow Point. The victim had no identification on him, but he had a tattoo of an albatross around his neck. There's also a shopping list scrawled on the back of a piece of junk mail with an address on Hope Street.

When his detectives arrive at Hope Street, they find the victim was living with two young women; one the artist-in-residence at and the other a social worker at a mental health facility attached to a church. Gaby, the artist identifies the victim as their roommate, Simon Walden. Walden appeared one day at Caroline's church, drunk and claiming to have no where to go and being the type of person she was, she took him in.

As Matthew delves deeper into Simon's life, he learns he has ties to some of the disabled women who attend programs at Woodyard including a woman named Lucie. The deeper he goes into the victim's life and death, the closer it brings him to his own past.

In The Long Call, the death of the stranger leads Matthew on a tangled trail of secrets, lies, abuse and power. An excellent beginning to a new series.

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley for a fair review. 

Monday, August 5, 2019

Tilling the Truth

When Lilly Jayne's friend Harmon Dane dies suddenly, Lilly learns she has been named executor of his estate. In Tilling the Truth by Julia Henry, Lilly believes there will be unpleasantness with his relatives and she is correct. (Tilling the Truth will be released by Kensington Publishers on August 27.)

Braden and Miranda are only anxious to know what Harmon left for them in his will. When they learn the bulk of his estate is to be left to a bird sanctuary on his property, they are haranguing her for some of the money earmarked for the sanctuary.

Since Harmon's death there have been a series of explainable events in Goosebush, Massachusetts. Harmon's house was one of three built on a small cliff overlooking the beach and the water. An agreement made when the houses were built required that nothing could be done to one that wasn't done to all three and that they would all stay the same size. Harmon's neighbors Alex Marston and Gladys Preston were both exploring ways to break the agreement.

For her part, real estate agent Tamara O'Connor has been trying to hold open houses to sell Harmon's but they all have been sabotaged through various methods - garbage strewn around the house, dead fish hidden in places and other awful pranks. She thinks it might be Gertrude or the new go-getter realtor in town, Regan Holland.

When one of them winds up dead and Tamara is found standing over her, Lilly and her Garden Squad leap into action to solve the crime and restore peace to lovely Goosebush.

The energy and community spirit shown by the characters in the Garden Squad Mysteries is a marvel and I wish there were more people throwing themselves into community beautification. We'd all benefit from it.

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher via NetGalley

Friday, August 2, 2019

On a Quiet Street

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Who would want to kill Stacey Hart? She was an advocate for victims of domestic violence, she was smart, beautiful, engaged to be married to the District Attorney and she had no enemies or so everyone thought. Someone did kill her though, right in front of the gorgeous mansion she was renovating before her wedding. In On a Quiet Street by J.L. Doucette, Sweetwater County, Wyoming Detective Beau Antelope joins forces with psychologist Dr. Pepper Hunt. (Published by She Writes Press.)

There are plenty of suspects including the handy man Jack Swailes who has his eye on Stacey and now seems to have vanished. There's also her very jealous fiance District Attorney Connor Collins. Also joining the ranks is her own brother Max Hart. Max, Connor and a third friend Paul Ryan were on a climbing trip when they were when and the ropes broke plunging Tim to his death and dramatically injuring Max. His brain injury has made him prone to wild outbursts of rage.

As Antelope and Hunt did deeper into the backgrounds of the
victim and the various suspects, they begin to piece together a very different picture of Stacey Hart and those surrounding her. Long dead secrets begin to be revealed and Antelope and Hunt think they may have found the motive behind Stacey's death.

They are hampered in their investigations by patient confidentiality for Dr. Hunt and by the various stories and disappearances of vital witnesses. A tangled web takes much time and patience to unwind, but On A Quiet Street is worth reading. A little like peeling an onion, one layer at a time. It will definitely make you think your life is uncomplicated and simple compared to the characters in the book.

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for a fair review.

Thursday, August 1, 2019

Carpet Diem

Pre-order purchase link
Oh Tallulah how do you get yourself into such messes? Oh did I give away your secret real name. Who names their daughter Tallulah Graver - sounds like a B actress. In Carpet Diem by Misty Simon, Tallie is competing for a mansion cleaning job with the newly arrived Audra McNeal. Audra is not your typical cleaner. She is glamorous and has a fancy manicure. How does she clean houses? (Carpet Diem will be released by Kensington Publishers on September 24). 

Tallie had hoped she an Audra could be friends even though they were competitors for the cleaning jobs. Audra seemed like a friendly person and she was newly engaged, but Preston Prescott liked to pit them against each other, especially in front of his aunt.

Preston, Mrs. Petrovski's entitled nephew, had been a classmate of Tallie's in high school. They never got along then, and it was worse now. For some reason the owner of the mansion, Mrs. Petrovski, had set up this competition for the job. Preston had become a thorn in Tallie's side. He is enamored with Audra and even takes to sabotaging the room Tallie is cleaning, so Audra can win the contract.

Not one to leave until she manages to clean up his mess, Tallie discovers a carpet in the dumpster and wrapped in the carpet is the lovely Audra, who is very dead. Fortunately Tallie is able to reach the police before a big truck from the trash collecting service rolls into the driveway. She persuades them not to take the dumpster and waits for her cousin Matt to show up.

As Tallie digs deeper into Audra's life she finds some unsavory facts and wonders who could have killed her. Another entertaining book from Misty Simon.

Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Interview with Jane Bennett Munro

What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published?
My newest book is A Deadly Homecoming. It’s the sixth installment of my Toni Day Mystery series. The others are, in order, Murder under the Microscope, Too Much Blood, Grievous Bodily Harm, Death by Autopsy, and The Body on the Lido Deck. I’m currently working on the seventh installment, with the working title The Twelve Murders of Christmas.
Jane Bennett Munro, MD

For a review of A Deadly Homecoming, click here

How did you develop your character and choose your location?
My character, Toni Day, is loosely based on me. She’s a hospital-based pathologist in a rural hospital in Twin Falls ID. She’s not a forensic expert, but has forensic cases thrust upon her in the course of her regular job.  I’m a pathologist, too, retired now, and my small rural hospital has now morphed into a tertiary care center, and the forensic cases all go to Boise, but back in the day the Twin Falls County coroner’s cases went to the county hospital, and those from all the surrounding counties came to me. I picked Twin Falls because it’s where I live. In the beginning, Toni had a husband and a mother, and then in subsequent books she acquired a stepdaughter, a stepfather, a son-in-law, and two grandchildren.

What drew you to the writing life from your current career in medicine?
Murder She Wrote. It gave me the idea that if a retired schoolteacher in Maine could do it, so could a retired pathologist in Idaho. Then I had an encounter with a female doctor who came to our hospital to help with weekend call and ended up working during the week as well. She was abusive to my techs and contemptuous of me, and went out of her way to erode my credibility with the medical staff. She was only there for three weeks, but in that short time she really did a number on my already fragile self-esteem. I consoled myself by killing her off in Murder under the Microscope.

Do you model your character after yourself or any one you know?
Yes. Many of my other characters are also based on people I know, or combinations of them. Others are totally made-up.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Keep it moving. Keep it moving. New writers have a tendency to start with a lot of backstory to explain what they’re writing about before they actually start writing about it, and readers tend to lose interest if you don’t grab them right away and keep the action moving. Bits of backstory can be inserted along the way, but you can’t let it slow the action.

If your books were made into a movie, who would you want to play the lead character?
I have no idea. I’m not as familiar with current movie actors as I am with those of the fifties, sixties and seventies. Back then I would have said Sally Field. Toni is petite and feisty, so if there’s somebody like that currently in movies, it would be someone like Sally Field.

Who is your favorite author?
Dorothy Sayers. Her mystery novels are set in England between the World Wars, and her character, Lord Peter Wimsey, is a young member of the aristocracy who fought in WWI and came out of it with such a bad case of PTSD that only his sergeant, Bunter, is able to pull him out of it. Bunter becomes Lord Peter’s butler, valet, and Archie Goodwin to Lord Peter’s Nero Wolfe, and together, they solve murders.  If I could write like Dorothy Sayers, I’d be a happy writer.

If you could invite five people – living or dead – to a dinner party, who would they be?
I assume you mean other authors? If so, it would be Agatha Christie, Dorothy Sayers, Lisa Scottoline, Julia Spencer-Fleming, Sue Grafton, and Dick Francis. In real life, however, it would be my five closest friends.

If you could not be an author, what would like to do as a career?
I had a career. I was a pathologist for 42 years, and I retired at the end of May 2019. Gardening is my other passion, so perhaps I could be a landscape architect. The problem with that is that it involves a lot of hard work and heavy lifting, and now that I’m 74, that’s a little harder to do than it used to be.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

The Turn of the Key

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In my opinion Ruth Ware is giving Louise Penny a run for her money as a master story teller. Don't get me wrong, I adore Louise Penny's book and her stories are painted with beautiful emotional brushes, but Ruth Ware has given me the chills more times than I can count with her brand of suspenseful story telling.

When Rowan Caine answers an ad for a full-time nanny, she has no idea what is in store for her. The Turn of the Key by Ruth Ware is an intriguing tale of a nanny in a smart house located in the wilds of Scotland. (The Turn of the Key will be released by Simon and Schuster on August 6.)

Nothing goes right from the minute Rowan Caine arrives. First she discovers there have already been four nannies in fewer than two years, then she is faced with learning the smart settings for nearly every electronic gadget in the house including the lights in her room, the water temperature in her shower and the fancy coffeemaker in the kitchen.  

When Sandra Elincourt announces that she and her husband will be leaving the next day for a business trip, Rowan is freaked. She has only had one day to get acquainted with the three younger children, and their parents' business trip will take them away for several weeks.  As Rowan struggles to learn how the Smart House operates, she feels as if she is being spied upon. Lights turn on in the middle of the night for no reason. Music blares at all hours.

After their parents depart, the girls regale Rowan with the house's haunted history and about the girl who died here many years ago. That's probably not the story she wants to hear. One day they are as sweet and as docile as can be and then the next day they torment Rowan and behave maliciously. Some nights Rowan cannot sleep because she hears footsteps in the attic above her room. 

In a surprising plot twist, most of the story is told through Rowan Caine's letters from prison to her attorney trying to explain the circumstances leading up to her being incarcerated for murder. It's a fascinating tale with shocking results. Don't read this book while you are alone in the house. Don't say I didn't warn you.

Disclosure: I received this book through NetGalley for a fair review. 

Monday, July 29, 2019

Let's Fake a Deal

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Who knew garage sales could get your arrested? Sarah Winston is running a garage sale for a nice young couple from the Midwest. Little does she know the merchandise is stolen. In Let's Fake a Deal by Sherry Harris, Sarah is shocked to suddenly find herself face down on the ground and handcuffed by an overzealous police officer. (Let's Fake a Deal will be release by Kensington Books tomorrow.)

When she tries to find the nice couple to explain the situation to the police, she is stunned to find they have disappeared.  Angered by their deceit, but worried about her reputation, she is determined to find the answers to what happened. She is more terrified when the police discover her credit card number was used to rent the storage unit the Greens claim to be using for their belongings.

With the assistance of her lawyer, Sarah is out of jail in no time, but still has the charges hanging over her head unless she can find the missing Greens. She attempts to call the number they gave her, but no one answers and no one has seen them either.

In the meantime, Sarah contacts a woman who wants to sell the items in her cat collection, There are hundreds of cat-related items and sorting through them takes her mind off the case. Later in the evening, Sarah meets her friend Lt. Colonel Michelle Garcia for a drink. Michelle is in line for a promotion, but as usual there is reticence in the military to promote women.  And someone filed a discrimination complaint against her which stacks the deck even less in her favor.

After a night of drinking, Sarah convinces Michelle to come back to her place rather than drive. The next day they travel to reclaim Michelle's car only to find the body of Major Blade in the front seat.

When  Michelle is arrested for murder, Sarah thinks it's time to call in some favors from her shadowy friend Michael.

The Garage Sale Mysteries are so much fun to read and Sarah has some of the quirkiest garage sale clients you will ever find.

Disclosure: I received this book from NetGalley for a fair review

Friday, July 26, 2019

The House on Hallowed Ground

Enter to win A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell. Comment below with your favorite beach. One winner. US and Canada only.
Contest ends Friday, July 26 at midnight. 

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A sparkling new series by a Nancy Cole Silverman involving a former psychic to the stars - Misty Dawn. In The House on Hallowed Ground, Misty is convinced by her friend Denise to move into her recently-deceased brother’s house. Denise fails to mention that Wilson has not crossed over and he haunts the house. (The House on Hallowed Ground will be released on September 10 by Henery Press)

Actress Zoey Chamberlain believes her house, the fabled Pink Mansion, is haunted. She has been hearing footsteps, music and other strange sounds, so she invites Misty to see for herself. Legend has it a four-year-old girl drowned in the pool in the early forties and her ghost still haunts the house.

But when Misty arrives, to search the house she is not greeted by a ghost, but a dead body. Zoey's best friend and lookalike actress Lacey Adams has drowned in the hot tub. Zoey and Lacey have been seen arguing earlier and the police are interested in the argument, and Zoey as the killer.

Misty is soon involved in the investigation of a murder and Wilson is recruited to assist. Because of Wilson's special circumstances, he has the ability to reach the spirits and talk to them. Soon he is having tea with the little girl ghost of the house. These scenes are quite delightful.

The Misty-Wilson combination has the potential to solve crimes, but in a very unusual and comic way. I look forward to others in this series.

Disclosure: I received this book from the author for a fair review.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Enter to Win

Enter to win A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell. Comment below with your favorite beach. One winner. US and Canada only.
Contest ends Friday, July 26 at midnight. 

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

Interview with Susan Wittig Albert

Enter to win A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell. Comment below with your favorite beach. One winner. US and Canada only.
Contest ends Friday, July 26 at midnight. 

What books did you read as a child?
I read and reread the Little House books, by Laura Ingalls Wilder (and grew up to write a book about
their secret co-author, Laura's daughter, Rose Wilder Lane). I also read Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys (and grew up to be both Carolyn Keene and Franklin W. Dixon.) I loved reading. We lived on a small farm, and I looked forward all week to a trip to the library in town. Reading was my entertainment, my doorway onto a big world, my escape from an unhappy home (my father was an alcoholic), and my solace.

What was the most recent book you read? 
I'm currently reading The Gown, by Jennifer Robson. I love the novel’s premise (the intersecting lives of two women who worked on Princess Elizabeth’s wedding gown in 1947) and its portrayal of women's enduring friendships and care for one another.

What drew you to writing mysteries? 
I write the kind of books I like to read. I enjoy reading realistic, tightly plotted books that hold my attention and portray characters who act with purpose and who have a problem to solve. I like stories that engage me, don’t give me all the necessary information all at once (or too soon), that keep me guessing, keep me asking questions. And I like stories that teach me something I didn’t know—about people, places, present and past times. The best mysteries do that, I think. I wanted to write books like that.

If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be? 
Just keep on doing what you're doing, Susan--you're on the right track. Follow your instincts and pay attention. Oh, and you might lighten up a bit. The outcome will surprise--and delight--you.

What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book. 
That depends on whether it's one of the contemporary or historical mystery series or a standalone. The research for A Plain Vanilla Murder took (off and on) a week or so before I started to write and continued as I wrote. Because the subjects are highly topical and of current news interest, most of it was done on the Internet. For the contemporary mysteries, I do the research as I write. I'm back and forth to the Internet all day, looking for details and material to deepen what I think of as the story’s “information value.”

(For a review of A Plain Vanilla Murder click here.)

The pre-writing research for The General's Women  (the story of Eisenhower’s driver, Kay Summersby, during/after WW2), took at least 3 months, before I started to write and was mostly book research—Eisenhower biographies and books about the war. Then, when I began to dig into Kay Summersby's post-war life, I used Internet newspaper archives and kept digging as I wrote, finding out more and more. Nobody had ever looked into Kay’s story so I was doing original research and the deeper I dug, the more I wanted to know. There was one person I wanted to interview: the still-living editor who knows the backstory of Kay’s second memoir, but he is inaccessible. Frustrating!

I put the same kind of research effort into Loving Eleanor, but since the primary materials (the 30 years of letters between Lorena Hickok and Eleanor Roosevelt) were held at the Franklin Roosevelt Presidential Library, I made a couple of trips there (Hyde Park, NY). There were some other places I would like to have visited (Lorena’s apartment in New York, her house on Long Island, her third-floor rooms in the White House) but those were off-limits, for various reasons. Another kind of frustration—but that’s the story of research. There’s always something you’ll never know.

The research for A Wilder Rose (a book about Rose Wilder Lane, the daughter of the woman who is recognized as the sole author of the Little House books) actually began when I was in grad school in the early 1970s. I thought at first I might write Rose’s biography, but when I learned that there was a biography underway (William Holtz's The Ghost in the Little House, published in 1992) I decided to write a novel about the writing of the Little House books. It took another 20 years before that book was done.

How long does it take you to write a book?
For the mysteries, I usually set aside 3-4 months for a book. I work best when I have a string of consecutive days to write, without interruption. Otherwise, it's harder to manage the necessary continuity of plot, character, and voice.

On the other hand, A WILDER ROSE took over 30 years, start to finish.

How do you market your books? 
That's changed over the years. In the 1990s and through about 2010, I did a lot of book travel, speaking at libraries, garden clubs, bookstores, conferences--anywhere I could find an audience. That was fun and useful, because it helped to build personal relationships with readers, many of whom I still hear from.

Now, though, I am an author-publisher and most of my marketing is done online. About 75% of the hardcovers are sold to libraries, so I use email marketing (through IBPA, the Independent Book Publishers Association) to reach out to them. The remaining hardcovers are sold through bookstores and online retailers, and I market them through reviews in the usual trade publications (Kirkus Reviews, Publishers Weekly).

The e-books are sold online, directly to readers. I spend a lot of time and effort letting readers know when the books are available, via my website, blog, and social media (mostly Facebook but also Instagram and Twitter). I use NetGalley to get ARCs to people who might write a review. I also do a monthly direct e-letter mailing to readers, and occasional mailings of a different e-letter.

If you could invite five people - living or dead - to a dinner party, who would they be?
I would invite Kay Summersby, Gertrude Bell, Lorena Hickok, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Rose Wilder Lane. Each of these women is a character in one of my books or in a writing project that hasn’t yet become a book. I have some very pointed (and very personal) questions for each one of them.

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

A Deadly Homecoming

It might be a good idea to have a medical dictionary handy for the first for chapters of this book. A Deadly Homecoming by Jane Bennett Munro features pathologist Dr. Toni Day. Dr. Day and her husband Hal are summoned home to Long Beach, California, by her mother. It seems her mother's friend Doris is feeling ill and oh yes, her husband has been missing for two weeks.

After a search of the Scottish Gothic castle home owned by Doris’ husband, Dick, Toni find a bottle of nearly pure arsenic in the basement of the house. Everything else surrounding the bottle is covered in decades old dust except this bottle. This worries Toni and when Doris falls into a coma and has a seizure, she is convinced there has been a systematic dosing of arsenic.  At the hospital Toni wants the attending doctor to perform a battery of arsenic tests and that’s why you might need the dictionary.

While waiting for the results of the tests, Toni decides to go
back to the house. What she finds surprises her - a secret staircase behind a mysterious panel. Unexpectedly the door closes behind her trapping her in the staircase. Fortunately she has her phone, but while she waits for rescue, she decides to keep searching and that's when she finds Dick’s badly damaged body.

The police really don't want Toni investigating, but she disregards them and continues her research on Dick Campbell. Her research leads her to a diabolical plot of stolen identities, heavily insured spouses and murder.

An entertaining mystery with an unusual lead character.

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for a fair review.

Friday, July 19, 2019

Murder at Crossways

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When Emma sees the body of a man found in the Spouting Rock formation, she believes it is her half brother Brady. But a closer look shows her the body is of an older man. In Murder at Crossways by Alyssa Maxwell, this is only the beginning of the mystery,

Shocked at the resemblance, she muses about whether it could be Brady’s long-dead father and what would have brought him back to Newport 30 years later. It's also fall and that signals the end of "The Season" as the Newport Four Hundred say. 

That also means it is time for Mamie Fish to host her Fall Festival celebration at Crossways. Mamie is no shrinking violet and her events are BIG. She doesn't follow the staid, conventional approach of the other wealthy women in Newport. She has invited Prince Otto, nephew of the Austro-Hungarian emperor, Franz Joseph, to the party.

With life-size scarecrows and enormous decorations, Mamie's
event begins in her usual flamboyant style. But when the Prince fails to appear, everyone is disappointed until his lifeless body is found tucked into one of the scarecrows. There are plenty of suspects and Emma believes there may be a link between the other victim and the prince.

In another area of her life, problems at her newspaper seem to be increasing. First the press is jammed with ink, then newsprint is stolen and many other incidents occur. It seems Emma has much on her plate, but with the assistance of the rambunctious Mamie Fish, she helps solve the case.

Another stellar mystery by Alyssa Maxwell.

Disclosure: I received this book from NetGalley for an honest review

Thursday, July 18, 2019

A Stranger on the Beach

A riveting, atmospheric mystery that twists and turns the reader from one direction to the other. A Stranger on the Beach by Michele Campbell finds Caroline Stark preparing for her lavish house warming party. She has spent a great deal of time and money building and decorating her lavish home on Long Island's toney shores.

Several days before the party she spots a stranger outside on the beach gazing at her house. As there have been several robberies in town, she decides to confront the stranger. As she approaches him, the skies open up and it begins pouring rain. All she gets from him is his name - Aidan. She rationalizes that he was standing on a public beach so she goes back inside.

As the date of the housewarming party approaches, Jason, Caroline's husband tells her he probably will not be able to make the party. He claims he is stuck in Cleveland, but hadn't he told her he was going to Denver. Outraged that he will not attend, she decides to ping his phone to see where he actually is. She finds he is at an address in Times Square.

Bewildered and betrayed, she cannot believe he might be having an affair. True he has been traveling a great deal, but she cannot believe he would betray her like that. The truth smacks her in the face when Jason shows up at the housewarming party, exceedingly late, and with a young woman dressed seductively.

He insists the woman is a business partner, but they flee quickly after a shouting match with Caroline. Stunned and confused, Caroline hides out all weekend until Jason shows up again encouraging her to get a divorce. He tells her he won't contest it and she can have everything, and then he leaves.

That's where the trouble begins. Caroline feels the need for a drink in a public place and winds up at the local bar the Red Anchor. Who should be tending bar, but the stranger on the beach. A bit younger than Caroline, he is knock-out handsome and charming, but she goes home alone.

The next day she discovers Jason has drained all the money from their accounts and she finds herself headed to the Red Anchor again. From this point the novel twists, turns, bends one way, then the next until a very surprising and shocking conclusion.

If you would like to win a copy of A Stranger on the Beach, come back to on Monday, July 22 for a chance to win. 

Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Interview with Hank Phillippi Ryan

What is the title of your newest book? How many books have you published?
My new book is The Murder List, a psychological standalone. And it is my eleventh published novel.
And the eleventh book I have written! Sometimes I cannot believe it.

How did you develop your character and choose your location?
That is such a great question. The location creates itself out of the story, and the characters creates themselves out of the story. It’s hard to describe, but I begin with a compelling plot, and then I see who I need to tell that story in the best way, and where it might take place.

In The Murder List, my goal was to show matter what side a lawyer is on, defense or prosecution, they think they are the good guy. But that can’t be true, right? So how does a person decide whether to be the one who defends the accused? Or prosecute them? And what does it mean to be good? So in The Murder List, a brilliant and devoted criminal defense attorney and a tough and ruthless prosecutor—who hate each other--think they are battling for the legal and moral soul of a promising young law student. (That’s what they think they’re doing, at least.)

So The Murder List takes place in Boston, and in the Boston suburbs. Yes, I know that well, after being a journalist here for so many years, it’s fun for me to use it fictionally, with places that people might have visited, or might not even know about. Or recognize when they come visit! I always “see” my books when I’m in certain locations—and sometimes it’s hard to remember I made them up.

What do you enjoy about the author’s lifestyle? What do you not enjoy?
Oh my goodness, most of the time it is a complete joy. I have been a television reporter for 43 years now, and I’m still on the air at Boston’s Channel 7. That lifestyle is stressful, relentless, competitive, and incredibly rewarding. But rarely are the deadlines my own (or farther away than a few weeks) and breaking news does not always cooperate with my own personal schedule.

So as an author, I completely embrace the idea I can wake up when I want to, have coffee and read the paper, and then write write write write write, in sweat pants and no makeup (!) without having to make sure I get everything on video, and without having to stick to the facts. And I can work for 8 hours in a row without stopping if I want to. Or…not.

What I do not enjoy are the days I sit here looking at my computer, knowing I have a crushing book deadline, and not one word emerges, let alone the story. But finally, now, I have learned to embrace the panic, and know that after the panic, the answer always comes.

So far.

Do you model your character after yourself or any one you know?
Model my character after myself? No. I really don’t. My characters are completely fiction. Yes, many of the characters are reporters, or lawyers, or criminals, many of whom I know. But part of the fun, if you call it fun, is to watch a fictional character emerge out of my imagination. I am often surprised, and, in the end, always delighted.

How do you get yourself out of a writing rut?
A writing rut? I can’t afford to be in a writing rut. I have learned after all these years of television that you can’t be perfect every day. Some days you simply have to allow yourself to be terrible. I have plenty of those! But I know I can always fix my pages later. So instead of thinking about a rut, which sometimes can make you seize up and be terrified, I just allow myself to write something hideous, laughing all the way, knowing it is not set in stone.

If your books were made into a movie, who would you want to play the lead character?
Oh, what a fun question. I know that in Trust Me, Mercer should be Tea Leoni and Taylor Swift should be Ashlyn. Those are perfect parts for them! Cat and mouse—but which is which? Rachel North in The Murder List is more difficult… even choosing an actor for her may give away too much. But DA Martha Gardiner could be Emma Thompson. And Jack? Jeremy Northam, maybe, with a little bit of gray hair.

Who is your favorite author?
My favorite author? Yikes. Shakespeare. Tom Wolfe, Edith Wharton, Stephen King, Hunter Thompson, Mark Helprin, Agatha Christie.

If you could invite five people – living or dead – to a dinner party, who would they be?
Dinner party! This is so difficult, and I am so hyper-analytical that I can never figure this out. You’d want the dinner party to be fun, right? So good conversationalists? But the people who are most intriguing might not want to chitchat. Stephen Sondheim. Stephen King. Steven Spielberg. I see a theme :-) How about those three, plus Shakespeare, because he was probably fun. And Edith Wharton. And Anthony Horowitz. That’s a lot of men. How about adding Agatha Christie! Yes! Because someone will have to cancel because of their busy schedule, right? So whichever five show up.

If you could not be an author, what would like to do as a career?
Oh, I love this. A florist? Or maybe just a flower arranger. And a reader. A flower arranging reader. Could I make a living from that? And I’d adore to be a book editor, even though I know it is not one bit glamorous and it’s incredibly stressful. Still. Bring it on. I’d also love to be a lawyer, but maybe I’ll simply stick with that in fiction.

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Cliff Hanger

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What starts as an organizing job at a beautiful coastal resort in the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary in California turns into a nightmare for Maggie McDonald and her family. In Cliff Hanger by Mary Feliz, the boys see an ultra-light crash into the cliff side and race down to aid the pilot. (Cliff Hanger will be released by Kensington Publishers on July 16.)

Grad student Jake Peterson loved to fly and was meticulous about safety. When the boys reach him he is mumbling something they cannot understand and they call for EMS to airlift off the dune. When he dies at the hospital, everyone thinks it is an accident. Jake's parents, grieving his death, lash out the boys and try to blame them for Jake's death.

On the job front, Maggie is having difficulty connecting with her contact Renee, the complex's manager. Because they cannot make contact with her, the family is shunted off into a disgustingly dirty condo and Maggie thinks she may have made a mistake taking the job. 

The next day they are able to move into the promised three-bedroom condo, and they traipse off to the beach. One of the boys is injured by a seemingly misplaced metal spike in the sand cliff. When Maggie sees strange lights on the water at night, she wonders if this job was a mistake. When more odd things begin to happen, she calls in her law enforcement friends from back home as reinforcements to try to solve the mystery.

Maggie is the most organized character I've ever read about. I only wish I had as much energy to be organized as she is. I always enjoy the organization tips at the beginning of each chapter. 

Disclosure: I received this book from NetGalley for an honest review.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Dreamed It

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Baxley Powell has an unusual profession. She is a Dreamwalker, crossing over to the spirit realm to communicate with the spirits. In Dreamed It by Maggie Toussaint, Baxley is called in to assist in a series of murders of young women, each found in a suitcase. Now a body has been fund in Sinclair Country, Georgia. Is the Suitcase Killer expanding his scope? (Dreamed It will be released by Camel Press on August 13)

Baxley tries to dreamwalk with the body in the suitcase, but the experience is draining. A slight connection to this case is the disappearance of a local woman. Though the police don't have evidence that the cases are connected, Baxley is sure they are. She finds herself "in touch" with the missing woman and realizes it is a race against time to save her. Baxley relies on her wits and her Cherokeee boyfriend, Deputy Sam Mayes to solve the puzzle, but dealing with a living person is different than dealing with the dead.

Sam and Baxley share the dreamwalk and energy transfer, but the
missing woman seems to have a strange pull on Baxley and she fears she might be caught in the dream world and not be able to return.

In the past case the Georgia Bureau of Investigation had three different suspects, but could not find enough evidence to arrest anyone. Agent Roger Lavene is called in to the latest case.

When a missing persons report is filed on a local woman who matches the description of the other murdered women, Baxley harder to find that connection in desperate a race to save the young woman from a cunning adversary.

An excellent adventure into the paranormal.

Disclosure: I received this book from the author for a fair and honest review.