Guest Post & Giveaway: A LEGACY OF MURDER by Connie Berry

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As part of a tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I am pleased to have Connie Berry as a guest on my blog today, as she celebrates the release of A Legacy of Murder, the second book  in the  Kate Hamilton Mystery series.


TOO MUCH OF A GOOD THING?  by Connie Berry

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The picture above is an unedited, unexpurgated photograph of the inside of my bathroom cabinet, jam-packed with items I need to start my day—toothbrush and toothpaste, make-up remover, hairspray, creams, serums, brushes, foundation, eye-liner, and lipstick. Lots of lipstick. Fifty-four tubes, to be precise. All of them red.

Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? I’m a self-confessed over-purchaser of red lipstick, perpetually in search of that one perfect shade—not too light, not too dark, not too orangey nor too pinky. I probably own every shade of red lipstick ever created. I remember learning in my sophomore year of high school the principle of “diminishing returns:” the more you have a something, the less you want of it. Ice cream was the example back then, and I understood how the principle worked. So why doesn’t it work with red lipstick?

weasel.jpgAs a writer, it’s possible to have too much of a good thing as well. Writers depend upon words, but we can overuse them. Words we love. Words that weasel their way into our writing and lessen the impact. My own particular weasel words include: just, little, almost, nearly, too, about, a bit, seems, actually, like, and that. They scatter themselves so freely into my writing that I have to search for them later and weed them out. I read once that weasel words are used to make a statement seem more convincing or authoritative than it might actually be. [I used three weasel words in the previous sentence—see how insidious they are?] In reality, they accomplish the opposite.

Watson's Dictionary of Weasel WordsIn 2004 Don Watson published Watson’s Dictionary of Weasel Words, Contemporary Clichés, Cant & Management Jargon (don’t get me started on management jargon). A wonderful tool for writers, but if you’re thinking about purchasing a copy, be warned that Amazon is now selling the hardcover for $124. Used copies go for $50 and up. I’d check your local library.

But it’s not just certain words we overuse. Sometimes writers use too many words, period. We overwrite. One of the most useful things I learned as an aspiring author was to make an outtakes file. For me, revision includes paring down, tightening up—eliminating everything, as Hank Phillippi Ryan says, that “isn’t the book.” That can be hard. Consigning superfluous words, sentences, even whole paragraphs to an outtakes file feels better than deleting them. And, who knows, I might just use those words again.

Do you buy too much of something? Shoes? Jeans? Books?
What about weasel words? Can you name yours?


About a Legacy of Murder

A-Legacy-of-Murder-CoverAmerican antique dealer Kate Hamilton’s Christmastime jaunt to a charming English village leads to an investigation of a missing ruby…and a chain of murders.

It’s Christmastime and antiques dealer Kate Hamilton is off to visit her daughter, Christine, in the quaint English village of Long Barston. Christine and her boyfriend, Tristan, work at stately-but-crumbling Finchley Hall. Touring the Elizabethan house and grounds, Kate is intrigued by the docent’s tales of the Finchley Hoard, and the strange deaths surrounding the renowned treasure trove. But next to a small lake, Kate spies the body of a young woman, killed by a garden spade.

Nearly blind Lady Barbara, who lives at Finchley with her loyal butler, Mugg, persuades Kate to take over the murdered woman’s work. Kate finds that a Burmese ruby has vanished from the legendary Blood-Red Ring, replaced by a lesser garnet. Were the theft and the woman’s death connected?

Kate learns that Lady Barbara’s son fled to Venezuela years before, suspected of murdering another young woman. The murder weapon belonged to an old gardener, who becomes the leading suspect. But is Lady Barbara’s son back to kill again? When another body is found, the clues point toward Christine. It’s up to Kate to clear her daughter’s name in Connie Berry’s second Kate Hamilton mystery, a treasure for fans of traditional British mysteries.

Giveaway

Enter the rafflecopter for your chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card from the author.

About the Author

Author-Photo-By-Tree-Final-DaveLike her protagonist, Connie Berry was raised in the antiques trade. After teaching theology for twenty-five years, she took up writing mysteries featuring high-end antiques and the legacy of the past. Connie loves history, cute animals, travel with a hint of adventure, and all things British. She lives in Ohio with her husband and adorable dog, Millie.

Author Links:

Purchase:    Amazon    Barnes & Noble   Indiebound     Kobo

Click here to follow the tour for reviews, interviews and more.

Release Spotlight: CROQUEMBOUCHE MURDER by Sandi Scott

Today it’s time to shine a light on a new mystery release from Sandi Scott — Croquembouche Murder, the latest addition to the Seagrass Sweets Cozy Series.   I have to say the covers of the books in this series look yummy. Of course, given a choice between a main course and dessert, this reader’s sweeet tooth wins out every time.

About the Book

Croqueembouche Cover.jpgAn extravagant destination wedding job brings Ashley, Patty and Dizzy to a millionaire’s remote horse ranch in the mountains of Wyoming where a mysterious death and disabled commuter plane leave everyone stranded until the murder is solved. Another guess-along mystery by
USA & Wall Street Journal Best Selling Author Sandi Scott.

Being hired to cater a wedding is exciting and when that wedding is at a horse ranch, things couldn’t be much better for Seagrass Sweets and The Southern Bird. Ashley, Patty and even Dizzy fly to a remote ranch
located high in the mountains of Wyoming, ready to wow wedding guests with sumptuous meals and decadent desserts.

All is not well at the ranch however. Horses are falling sick with a virus and one of them, a mare named Cocoa, seems bent on ruining everything—from Ashley’s desserts to the wedding itself. Then a body is found in Cocoa’s stall, and the wedding is postponed. Ashley can’t decide which is worse, being at the scene of yet another murder, or not being able to make it home in time to go on a dream cruise with Ryan.

An impassible road and a plane that has been disabled means there is no way off the ranch and the police are unable to get up the mountain, so it is up to Ashley and Patty to keep their eyes and ears open to find the killer. With some help from Dizzy’s new friends, Cocoa, and a farm cat called Bébé, Ashley closes in on the killer.

Will she solve it before the police get involved in order to make it to her dream vacation with her sweetheart?

This is a cozy mystery featuring a strong female protagonist and a mystery that will keep you guessing. It has no graphic violence, bad language or sex. It is Book 6 of the Seagrass Sweets Cozy Series but can be read as a standalone.

About the Author

Sandi Scott is a USA Today & Wall Street Journal Best Selling Author of cozy mysteries who is finally living her dream of being able to write what I love, thanks to her loyal readers. She fell in love with mystery books when she first started reading Agatha Christie and the Bobsey Twins eons ago. It only took her a few decades to gather the courage to try her hand at writing them. Sandi loves connecting with her readers who share many of her passions:  reading, baking, and fur babies!  Every cozy Sandi writes includes a pet and a sweet (at least one!)

Connect with Sandi:

Buy links: 

 

 

Book Birthday Celebration & Giveaway: FIT FOR MURDER by Cassidy Salem

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I’m so excited about today’s release of Fit for Murder (An Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth Mystery) that I decided it’s time to celebrate. Not only have I extended the introductory offer for Fit for Murder through Oct. 31st, I am also offering my readers a chance to download a copy of Think Murder for free (3 days only).

But that’s not all,  you can click here to enter a giveaway for your chance to win a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

About Fit for Murder

fitformurder-KINDLEExercise is good for you, or so they said.
So why is the Pilates instructor dead?

Adina signed up for Pilates because she wanted to get some exercise, not to find another body. Initially ruled an accidental death, the victim’s business partner has her doubts, which are soon reinforced by a series of suspicious incidents. With no obvious motives or suspects, Adina sets out to identify the killer – with or without help from her favorite detective.

This is the fourth book in the Adina Donati,Accidental Sleuth Mystery series, however it can be read as a standalone mystery.

All of the books in the Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth Mystery series are available in paperback and digital editions, as well as with Kindle Unlimited.

For more about the series, click here.

Release Spotlight: CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE CURD KIND by Kirsten Weiss

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As part of a tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s spotlight shines on a new release from Kirsten Weiss – Close Encounters of the Curd Kind (A Wits’ End Cozy Mystery).  Gotta love the cow on that cover.

About the Book

CLOSE-ENCOUNTERS-OF-A-CURD-KINDThe truth is out there…
Way out there.

Susan Witsend, owner of the best little UFO-themed B&B in the Sierras, is absolutely, positively, not going to get involved in another murder case. Not with her small-town sheriff threatening jail time if she interferes in one more investigation.

So when her neighbor is murdered, Susan exerts all her willpower to stay out of the sheriff’s business. But her neighbor’s daughter, Clare, needs Susan’s help. Clare’s been experiencing lost time, a sure sign of alien abduction. Helping Clare is only neighborly… and totally not interfering.
Right?

Worse, Clare’s not the only one with UFO issues. Weird lights in the sky, vanishing cows, and little green men are bringing the mountain town of Doyle to the edge of a panic. Can Susan unearth the truth before her town spirals into chaos?
If you like laugh-out-loud mysteries with complicated heroines (and breakfast recipes), you’ll love Close Encounters of the Curd Kind, book 3 in the Wits’ End series of cozy mystery novels. Read this twisty cozy caper today!

About the Author

KIRSTEN-WEISSKirsten Weisss has never met a dessert she didn’t like, and her guilty pleasures are watching Ghost Whisperer re-runs and drinking red wine. The latter gives her heartburn, but she drinks it anyway.

Now based in San Mateo, CA, she writes genre-blending cozy mystery, supernatural and steampunk suspense, mixing her experiences and imagination to create vivid worlds of fun and enchantment.

If you like funny cozy mysteries, check out her Pie Town, Paranormal Museum and Wits’ End books. If you’re looking for some magic with your mystery, give the Witches of Doyle, Riga Hayworth, and Rocky Bridges books a try. And if you like steampunk, the Sensibility Grey series might be for you.

Kirsten sends out original short stories of mystery and magic to her mailing list. If you’d like to get them delivered straight to your inbox, make sure to sign up for her newsletter at kirstenweiss.com

Author Links – Twitter: @KirstenWeiss    Facebook     Blog

Purchase Links    Kindle   Author affiliate     iBooks     B&N     Kobo    Google Play    Video

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Review & Giveaway: GALLIANO GOLD by Traci Andrighetti

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As part of a tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I recently had the pleasure of reading Galliano Gold by Tracy Andrighetti, the fifth book in her successful Franki Amato mystery series.

About the Book

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It’s Mardi Gras season in New Orleans, but PI Franki Amato has too many problems to celebrate. A proven Sicilian lemon tradition hasn’t landed her a proposal, so her nonna has amped up the meddling to get her married, and pronto. Franki’s also under pressure to solve the strange murder of a family friend’s nephew, Nick Pescatore, who was found on a Mississippi River steamboat rumored to be haunted. When the sinister old boat sets sail on an overnight gambling cruise, Franki goes undercover with a motley crew, including a Mark Twainophile captain with a murderous past and a slimy galley chef with a mobster brother, not to mention an ex-stripper landlady with a newfound career as a memoir writer and all-too public speaker. Franki has to figure out what missing Civil War gold, a playing card, and a mysterious woman on roller skates have to do with Nick’s death. If she doesn’t, it’s anchors aweigh for Franki—down to Davy Jones’ locker.

My Review

Set in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, this is a humorous mystery with a delightful cast of quirky characters.  A crazy chain of events is triggered when Franki is hired to find Luigi’s missing nephew, leading her to go undercover as a kitchen hand on the “haunted” Galliano Gold.  Franki’s adventures may not be realistic but they are definitely entertaining.  And I loved the touch of Italian flavor – complete with a meddling grandmother – determined to see Franki married off despite her tendency to fly in the face of old-world Italian traditions.

My first time reading anything by this author. I just might go back and read the earlier books in the series.

FTC Disclosure: I received an advance review copy of this book from the publisher. This has not affected the content of this review.

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your change to win a New Orleans-themed mystery book box (U.S. only) from the author.

About the Author

Traci-Andrighetti-11bTraci Andrighetti is the USA TODAY bestselling author of the Franki Amato Mysteries and the Danger Cove Hair Salon Mysteries. In her previous life, she was an award-winning literary translator and a Lecturer of Italian at the University of Texas at Austin, where she earned a Ph.D. in Applied Linguistics. But then she got wise and ditched that academic stuff for a life of crime–writing, that is. Her latest capers are teaching mystery writing for Savvy Authors and taking aspiring and established authors on intensive writing retreats to Italy with LemonLit.

Author Links

Buy the Book:   Amazon. 

Click here to follow the tour for reviews, guest posts and more.

Showcase & Giveaway: ONE NIGHT GONE by Tara Laskowski

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As part of a blog tour organized by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours, today’s post showcases One Night Gone, a new suspense-filled mystery by Tara Laskowski.

Description

one-night-gone-by-tara-laskowski-coverIt was the perfect place to disappear…

One sultry summer, Maureen Haddaway arrives in the wealthy town of Opal Beach to start her life anew—to achieve her destiny. There, she finds herself lured by the promise of friendship, love, starry skies, and wild parties. But Maureen’s new life just might be too good to be true, and before the summer is up, she vanishes.

Decades later, when Allison Simpson is offered the opportunity to house-sit in Opal Beach during the off-season, it seems like the perfect chance to begin fresh after a messy divorce. But when she becomes drawn into the mysterious disappearance of a girl thirty years before, Allison realizes the gorgeous homes of Opal Beach hide dark secrets. And the truth of that long-ago summer is not even the most shocking part of all…

“A heart-wrenching and suspenseful novel of betrayal and revenge. Stunning!” —Carol Goodman, award-winning author of The Night Visitors

“Featuring a brilliantly executed dual timeline with two unforgettable narrators, One Night Gone is a timely and timeless mystery that will keep you obsessively reading well past your bedtime.” —Paul Tremblay, author of The Cabin at the End of the World

Scroll down to the bottom of the post to read an excerpt.

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter giveaway,  hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Harlequin and Tara Laskowski, for your chance to win a print copy of One Night Gone (U.S. and Canada addresses only).

Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Goodreads

About the Author

Tara LaskowskiTARA LASKOWSKI is the award-winning author of two short story collections, Modern Manners for Your Inner Demons and Bystanders, which was named a best book of 2017 by Jennifer Egan in The Guardian. She has had stories published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine, Mid-American Review, and the Norton anthology New Micro: Exceptionally Short Fiction, among others. Her Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine story, “States of Matter,” was selected by Amy Hempel for the 2017 Best Small Fictions anthology, and her short story “The Case of the Vanishing Professor” is a finalist for the 2019 Agatha Award. Tara was the winner of the 2010 Santa Fe Writers Project’s Literary Awards Prize, has been the editor of the popular online flash fiction journal SmokeLong Quarterly since 2010, and is a member of Sisters in Crime. She earned a BA in English with a minor in writing from Susquehanna University and an MFA in creative writing from George Mason University. Tara grew up in Pennsylvania and lives in Virginia. One Night Gone is her first novel.

Visit Tara at:
TaraLaskowski.com, Goodreads, BookBub, @TaraLWrites, Instagram, & Facebook!

Read an excerpt:

Opal Beach was about a two-hour drive without traffic from downtown Philadelphia. It was somewhere halfway between Ocean City and Atlantic City and way less touristy. The beach always reminded me of vacations as a kid, running barefoot on hot sand, creating lopsided sand castles with plastic buckets, breaking crab legs and sucking out the meat. But there was also a sense of slowing down, of taking it all in, and I needed that now. I could feel the air change, the way it clung, coated, opened everything up.

Through the car windows, the Oc¬tober air was shockingly cold but also reviving. The salty air had always bothered my mother and sister, who complained it was too humid and their tongues felt strange, but I loved the way it worked its fingers into my hair and curled around the tendrils. It made me feel a little wild, a little different. Untamed. Like anything could happen.

Was I really doing this? Was I really pressing on this pedal, steering, guiding these four wheels to a stranger’s beach house, where I would live for the next three months alone? It had all happened so fast. A blur, really. Annie’s friend Sharon, with that same nurse-like efficiency that Annie had, set it all up so quickly that I’d barely had time to adjust to the idea before it was actually happening.

But I was used to life messing with me now, used to tripping over a curb or forgetting to eat breakfast or chipping a nail, waking up only to discover that everything I’d known to be true was suddenly different. So in some ways this journey, the picking up and leaving behind, felt like an emerging. Like Rockefeller, the hermit crab I’d bought on our family vacation one year at a boardwalk shack, I was crawling out of a dingy shell and moving into a shinier, larger home. (Unlike Rockefeller, though, I hoped I wouldn’t die from the soap residue that was left inside the new shell when someone tried to clean it too vigorously before setting him inside the cage.)

I drove down a two-lane road just off the ocean, the main drag for all the beachfront houses. I could imagine that on a weekend in July it looked like a parking lot as families navigated in or out of town, canoes and coolers tied up on their roof racks. But now it was eerily vacant, and I had the sense I was the last woman on earth, that in my quiet drive alone the rest of humanity had vanished. I was trying to decide if that was a good thing or not when a giant orange Hummer zoomed into view behind me and passed without slowing down. “Well, so much for that. Asshole,” I said.

The houses were dramatically large and looming, blocking what otherwise would’ve been a magnificent view. You could tell which ones were just rentals—the monstrosities with thirteen bedrooms and a six-car garage that five families could rent out at once. But further down the road, the houses had more style and character. The kind of places—lots of windows, big porches, nice landscaping—that would make your mouth water even without the lush ocean backdrop as icing on the cake.

I slowed as my GPS indicated I was getting close, but even so I almost missed the tiny driveway and its faded, weather-beaten road sign declaring my new mailing address: Piper Sand Road.

I had made it.

The long gravel drive split off halfway up, with one side leading to the Worthington house and the other side to their neighbor’s. When I’d first met the Worthingtons for my “job interview” just a few weeks before, I’d been so nervous about the whole thing that I’d taken the wrong driveway and parked in the neighbor’s lot and stared at it for a good minute before realizing the house number was wrong.

But now, pulling into the correct driveway slowly, it felt like an adventure movie soundtrack should be swelling. And our heroine finds her destiny.

I could imagine Annie’s reaction when she finally saw the house in person. It was stunning. The surrounding homes were propped up on beams, like old ladies hitching up their skirts so they wouldn’t get wet in the surf, but that just gave the Worthingtons’ house an understated effect. It stood confident and modest between them, a beach gingerbread house right out of a fairy tale, with light blue curtains and sweeping eaves.

I parked right at the porch steps and got out, wrapping my cardigan around me to stave off the whipping wind. The front porch was small but quaint, with two wooden rocking chairs and a small white table with flaking paint. I ran my palm along the back of one of the tall chairs, and it creaked from my touch. The chairs seemed to be more for decoration than sitting.

Dolores, Sharon’s sister who lived in town, was supposed to be meeting me to hand over the keys. Yet it seemed I’d arrived first. I’d had to come one week sooner than planned, as Patty and John had been whisked away to her mysterious assignment in Eastern Europe a little earlier than expected. Patty had called me from the airport with the news. I’d pictured her in her white visor and tennis sneakers rushing through the terminals, bags bouncing off her lower back as she breathlessly gave me instructions.

Still, I half expected Patty to appear in the window as I squatted down and peered inside the house. It was hard to see with the bright sun glaring at my back, but I could make out the shadowy silhouette of the large island counter in the middle of the kitchen. Beyond that room, I remembered, was the living room, with doors and stairs leading to all the many nooks of the house.

All empty now, waiting for me. A shiver curled from my spine up to my neck, unwinding inside me. Calm down, you idiot, I told myself. Not everything is a trap. Think positively, and positive things will come…

Excerpt from One Night Gone, by Tara Laskowski.

Follow the tour at Partners in Crime for reviews, guest posts and more.

Cover Reveal: HANNAH AND TAMAR MYSTERIES by Christa Nardi and Cassidy Salem

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Christa Nardi and I  are happy to announce the re-release of this family-friendly mystery series for teens, tweens, and mystery lovers of all ages – updated and upgraded with lovely new covers.

There are currently four books in this series, with a fifth title slated for release later this fall.  All titles are available in paperback and digital editions, and with Kindle Unlimited.

THE MYSTERIOUS PACKAGE

hannahmysteryebook1Two sisters, strangers on a train, and a mystery to solve.

Hannah and Tamar are looking forward to spending Thanksgiving break with their grandparents. On the long ride to Vermont, the sisters are quick to offer assistance when a fellow passenger – a girl in her late teens – is hassled by a rough-looking young man. Grateful as she may be for their help, Gwen is in no hurry to make friends, not even as she thrusts a mysterious package into Tamar’s hand and disappears in the Rutland train station. Puzzled by her behavior, Hannah and Tamar set out to locate Gwen and unravel the secret of the mysterious package.

Now available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01M1XPEZH

MRS. TEDESCO’S MISSING COOKBOOK

A simple request opens up a savory mystery. 

hannahmysteryebook2Hannah never imagined her high school service project with the elderly would draw her into another mystery. Mrs. Tedesco, a lonely widow who loves to bake, has just one request — that the teen retrieve her cookbook from her old house. Easier said than done. The house has been ransacked and the coveted cookbook is nowhere to be found. Eager to help the woman, Hannah and her sister, Tamar, are driven to locate the cookbook and uncover its secrets. But the teens aren’t the only ones seeking the cookbook’s hidden treasures, and the other side is playing for keeps.

Now available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B06XZDR15K

THE MISPLACED DOG

hannahmysteryebook3A gorgeous addition places Playful Paws and its staff at the center of a mystery.

It’s love at first sight when Tamar meets Rusty – the newest resident at the local shelter where she volunteers. However, the arrival of the well-trained and affectionate dog coincides with the onset of suspicious and dangerous incidents involving the shelter and its staff. Is it a coincidence or could the dog be the key to solving a major crime?

Now available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B074FGN9XM

MALICIOUS MISCHIEF

Social media, smoke bombs, and a secret society.

hannahmysteryebook4When a popular jock senses something’s up with his younger sister, he turns to local teen sleuths, Hannah and Tamar, for help. At the same time, a rash of smoke bombs attacks across Rosedale has the community on edge. Are these events connected and could someone at Rosedale High be involved?

Join Hannah and Tamar as they uncover malicious mischief and forge new friendships in this mystery for teens and young adults.

Now available on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07C9SVJDJ

About the Authors

Christa Nardi and Cassidy Salem are both accomplished mystery writers — and sisters in real life. The Hannah and Tamar Mysteries were inspired by their shared love of Nancy Drew.

Christa Nardi has penned the successful Cold Creek Mysteries, the Sheridan Hendey Mysteries, and the Stacie Maroni Mysteries. Cassidy Salem is the author of the Adina Donati, Accidental Sleuth series.

You can follow the Hannah and Tamar series on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/HannahTamar/.

You’ll find Christa on Amazon, Goodreads, and Twitter, or on her blog at Christa Reads and Writes (www.christanardi.blogspot.com).

You can follow Cassidy on Amazon, Goodreads, and Twitter, or visit Cassidy’s Bookshelves (https://cassidysalem.wordpress.com/).

Spotlight & Guest Post: THE GLASS HOUSE by Nancy Lynn Jarvis

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As part of a virtual book tour organized by Great Escapes, I am happy to have as my guest today, Nancy Lynn Jarvis,  as she celebrates the release of The Glass House, the first book in a new cozy mystery series.


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Guest Post,  Nancy Lynn Jarvis

Let me make one thing clear, Readers: I’m not private investigator Pat Pirard’s on-the-page-buddy, Syda Gonzales. I’m not married to a deputy sheriff. I’ve never tried to fix anyone up. I don’t say embarrassing things to near-strangers. I’m not an artist, marginal or not. And I would never―never―write an opening line for a book like Syda does that reads:  Private detective Rowdy Dick looked down at the body that washed up on shore with crabs clinging to it and chewing the flesh on its face. He turned to his stacked red-haired secretary and said, “Whew, thank God it’s only crabs eating her. If it was lobsters, I don’t know what I’d do, Babe. I could never eat one again.”

But I must admit, I sometimes wish I had the game-for-anything approach to life that Syda has when Pat comes up with some of her investigation tactics and asks for Syda’s help.

Private investigator Pat Pirard is based on a friend of mine also named Pat. Like my protagonist, the real Pat was once Santa Cruz County’s Law Librarian. She’s currently a private investigator, too, just like Pat Pirard, and like her, the real Pat doesn’t plan to become licensed because she sometimes likes to bend the rules when she investigates.

The real Pat is highly intuitive and daring. I overlook a neighbor who recently fenced his acreage and installed a guardhouse at its entry. Vehicles have started coming and going in the dead of night. Pat, who lives in another state, was visiting, and one night in half-an-hour we counted headlights and taillights from twenty-three vehicles.

“What do you think he’s doing?” I asked.

We speculated for a while over a glass of wine, pretty sure we knew the answer to the question. (I’ve even written about him, fictionalized of course, in “A Neighborly Killing,” book six in my Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries series.)

“Let’s see what I can find out about him,” Pat said. She clicked away on her iPad like the PI she is, and using her advanced research techniques, discovered his mortgage, which is held by a bank under FBI investigation for money laundering, is over ten-thousand dollars a month. She also turned up a criminal record for him. “Look at this. He spent some time in jail for assault. Seems suspicious, all right. Tomorrow morning, let’s go climb the fence and ask him what he’s up to,” my real Pat suggested.

“Absolutely not! He might be armed and dangerous. Besides, I don’t want him to know that I can see what he’s doing.”

“Don’t worry. I have a concealed carry license and a 357 magnum in my purse,” she informed me.

Like I said, Pat’s daring and her stolen identity will be, too in the PIP Inc. Mysteries I plan to write with Pat’s input, but I think even Syda wouldn’t be up for that kind of caper, although as long as it’s only on paper, you never know.


THE-GLASS-HOUSE-COVERAbout the Book

Law Librarian Pat Pirard got an unexpected thirty-fifth birthday present: a pink slip. Now she has nine weeks to reinvent herself before she runs out of money. Her best friend Syda gives her a glass forming class as a birthday present and distraction where Pat again gets a surprise: a murder.

About the Author

Nancy Lynn Jarvis was a Santa Cruz, California, Realtor® for more than twenty years before she fell in love with writing and let her license lapse.

After earning a BA in behavioral science from San Jose State University, she worked in the advertising department of the San Jose Mercury News. A move to Santa Cruz meant a new job as a librarian and later a stint as the business manager for Shakespeare/Santa Cruz at UCSC.

Nancy’s work history reflects her philosophy: people should try something radically different every few years, a philosophy she applies to her writing, as well. She has written seven Regan McHenry Real Estate Mysteries; a stand-alone novel “Mags and the AARP Gang” about a group of octogenarian bank robbers; edited “Cozy Food: 128 Cozy Mystery Writers Share Their Favorite Recipes” and a short story anthology, “Santa Cruz Weird;” and even done a little insider’s book, “The Truth About Hosting Airbnb” about her first year as a host.

“The Glass House” is the first book in a planned series of PIP Inc. Mysteries. Now she’s trying to figure out when to work on another series she’d love to do called “Geezers with Tools” about two older handymen who will solve mysteries in the course of doing their work, and setting up writer retreats at her house.

Author Links

Purchase – Amazon

Click here to follow the tour for reviews, guest posts, and more.

Review & Excerpt: STRANDS OF TRUTH by Colleen Coble

As part of a virtual tour organized by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours, today’s post introduces Strands of Truth by Colleen Coble.

About the Book

cover-Strands-of-TruthStrands of Harper Taylor’s childhood are resurfacing—but will the truth save her … or pull her under?

Harper Taylor is used to being alone— after all, she grew up in one foster home after another. Oliver Jackson finally took her under his wing when she was a runaway teenager, and now Harper pours her marine biology knowledge into Oliver’s pen shell research. But she’s never stopped wishing for a family of her own.

So when a DNA test reveals a half-sister living just two hours away, Harper is both hopeful and nervous. Over warm cinnamon rolls, Harper and Annabelle find striking similarities in their stories. Is it just a coincidence that both their mothers died tragically, without revealing Harper and Annabelle’s father’s name?

Oliver’s son Ridge still sees Harper as a troubled teen even all these years later. But when Oliver is attacked, Ridge and Harper find themselves working together to uncover dangerous secrets that threaten to destroy them all. They must unravel her past before they can have any hope for the future.

Scroll down to the end of this post to read an excerpt.

My Review

Despite her successful career, Harper longs to find family and turns to DNA testing to track down possible relatives.  The results of her search are interwoven into an interesting story with a complex plot that exposes the reader to the world of marine biology and the intricacies of sea silk production.

As a fan of clean romance and mysteries, romantic suspense is one of my go-to reading choices. As a mystery, Strands of Truth ticks all the checkboxes – murder, attempted murder, threats, and more, with  surprises and twists along the way.  As for the romantic side of things, I enjoyed Harper and Ridge’s interactions – though at times it did seem they protested a bit too much with regard to their growing mutual attraction.  It was fun to watch their relationship evolve.

This was my first time reading anything by this author; it probably won’t be the last.

FTC Disclosure:  I received an advance review copy from the publisher.  This has not affected the content of my review.

About the Author

Coble-ColleenColleen Coble is a USA TODAY bestselling author and RITA finalist best known for her coastal romantic suspense novels, including The Inn at Ocean’s Edge, Twilight at Blueberry Barrens, and the Lavender Tides, Sunset Cove, Hope Beach, and Rock Harbor series.

Connect with Colleen online at:

Buy links: 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Excerpt

Prologue

January 1990

St. Petersburg, Florida

Lisa ran to her Datsun Bluebird and jerked open the yellow door. Her pulse strummed in her neck, and she glanced behind her to make sure she wasn’t being followed. She’d tried not to show fear during the confrontation, but it was all she could do not to cry. She couldn’t face life without him.

She’d been on edge ever since yesterday.

Twilight backlit the treetops and highlighted the hanging moss. Instead of finding it beautiful, she saw frightening shadows and shuddered. She slid under the wheel and started the engine, then pulled out of her driveway onto the road.

She turned toward the Gulf. The water always calmed her when she was upset—and she had crossed upset moments ago and swerved into the scared zone.

Her belly barely fit under the wheel, but this baby would be born soon, then she’d have her figure back. She accelerated away from her home, a dilapidated one-story house with peeling white paint, and switched on her headlights.

The radio blared full of the news about the Berlin Wall coming down, but Lisa didn’t care about that, not now. She switched channels until she found Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’ ” playing, but even her favorite tune failed to sooth her shattered nerves. Could she seriously be murdered over this? She’d glimpsed madness in those eyes.

She pressed the brakes as she came to a four-way stop, but the brake pedal went clear to the floor. She gasped and pumped the pedal again. No response. The car shot through the intersection, barely missing the tail end of another vehicle that had entered it before her.

Hands gripping the steering wheel, she struggled to keep the car on the road as she frantically thought of a way to bring it to a stop that didn’t involve hitting another car or a tree. The baby in her belly kicked as if he or she knew their lives hung suspended in time.

“We’re going to make it, little one. We have to. I can’t leave you alone.” No one would love her baby if she died. Her mother couldn’t care for her child. She cared more about her drugs than anything else.

Lisa tried to tamp down her rising emotions, but she’d never been so frightened. The car fishtailed on the sandy road as she forced it back from the shoulder. Huge trees lined the pavement in a dense formation. Where could she drive off into relative safety? A field sprawled over on the right, just past the four-way stop ahead. If she made it through, it seemed the only place where they might survive.

Had the brakes been cut? What else could it be? She’d just had the car serviced.

Lisa approached the stop sign much too fast. The slight downhill slope had only accelerated the speed that hovered at nearly seventy. Her mouth went bone dry.

***

Taken from “Strands of Truth” by Colleen Coble. Copyright © 2019 by Colleen Coble. Used by permission of http://www.thomasnelson.com/.


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Review & Giveaway: THE PUPPET MASTER by Ronald S. Barak

the puppet master banner

As part of a blog tour organized by Silver Dagger Book Tours, I jumped at the chance to read Ronald Barak’s latest thriller- The Puppet Master.  The Puppet  Master is a prequel to  The Amendment Killer, an excellent novel, which I had the pleasure of reading and reviewing when it was released (click here to read that review).

Description

Puppet-Master-2018-FIN-cover-praise-s-3200x4800px-ebook_400x600What would YOU do if they took everything you had, your family, your home, your business, your dignity, even—perhaps—your sanity? Ronald S. Barak’s latest, The Puppet Master, prequel to The Amendment Killer, and the second in the Brooks/Lotello Thriller Series, is a gripping story of a political system gone awry—and those who feel compelled to fix it. “Have you ever killed anyone? I have. I’ll do it again. If I need to.” Three prominent political leaders in Washington, D.C., murdered in as many days.

Not a plausible story premise? What about the real world villain who recently mailed a series of pipe bombs to a number of prominent political figures? Ripped from the headlines? Barak gives new meaning to the word “timely.” The Puppet Master isn’t ripped from the headlines; written first, it forecast the headlines that followed!

The Puppet Master begins with a bang. Literally. Three of them. Not a page wasted. Capitol Hill panics. Who will be next? Others whisper that our political leaders are only getting what they deserve. Anxious to see who will be next. And why.

Crafty D.C. homicide detective Frank Lotello is tasked to find the killer. Cliff Norman, a local businessman with ample motive, is arrested. Politicians breathe a sigh of relief. However, when Lotello discovers a disturbing White House connection, he suspects Norman may not be what he appears to be. Things may not be what they appear to be.

Norman’s trial commences in the courtroom of savvy D.C. trial court judge Cyrus Brooks. An angry nation rallies behind Norman. The jury debates whether Norman’s actions may be legally justified by a rampant abuse of political trust, and threatens to unravel the very fabric of our dysfunctional government.

In an unprecedented and questionable manner that may destroy their respective careers, Lotello quietly approaches Brooks and they form a secret alliance to uncover the truth in this classic whodunnit mystery. Before it’s too late.

Blurring fiction and reality, The Puppet Master will have you dangling from the first page to the very last.

You can view the book trailer at: https://youtu.be/J9aV5pMUKC8.

Buy Links:

My Review

I enjoyed following  Detective Lotello as he persists in investigating the murder of three high-profile politicans – despite the confession of a bitter, broken man with a grudge.  The story is told from alternating points of view in short chapters, giving you a sense of what each of the players is going through and their deliberations, yet without being too confusing to follow.   Both Lotello and Judge Brooks are great characters – human and relatable.

The story is engaging and well-paced, while raising controversial questions regarding the potential for broader application  of the justifiable homicide defense in the courts – when does it become reasonable to take the law into your own hands?  Definitely thought-provoking stuff.

A well-written choice for fans of political thrillers and police procedurals.

FTC Disclosure:   I received a complimentary ARC of this book as part of this blog tour. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

Giveaway and More

Follow the tour for exclusive excerpts, guest posts and enter the Thriller Junkies  giveaway for your chance to win an e-book copy of the Puppet Master and a $10 Amazon Gift Card.

About the Author

Ronald-S-BarakDescribed by his readers as a cross between Agatha Christie, Lee Child, and John Lescroart, bestselling author Ron Barak keeps his readers flipping the pages into the wee hours of the night. While he mostly lets his characters tell his stories, he does manage to get his licks in too.

Barak derives great satisfaction in knowing that his books not only entertain but also stimulate others to think about how things might be, how people can actually resolve real-world problems. In particular, Barak tackles the country’s dysfunctional government representatives—not just back-seat driving criticism for the sake of being a back-seat driver, but truly framing practical remedies to the political abuse and corruption adversely affecting too many people’s lives today. Barak’s extensive legal background and insight allow him to cleverly cross-pollenate his fiction and today’s sad state of political reality.

In his latest novel, THE AMENDMENT KILLER, Barak calls upon his real world legal ingenuity and skill to craft a 28th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution criminalizing political abuse and corruption that Constitutional scholars across the country are heralding as a highly plausible answer to the political chaos destroying the very moral fiber of the country today. It’s difficult to read THE AMENDMENT KILLER and not imagine what could—and should—be expected and demanded of those political leaders who have forgotten they are there to serve and not be served.

Barak is also a committed and strident advocate of finding a cure for diabetes. One of the primary characters in THE AMENDMENT KILLER is the feisty and precocious 11-year-old diabetic granddaughter of the Supreme Court justice holding the swing vote in a case in which Congress is challenging the validity of Barak’s hypothetical 28th Amendment. It is no small coincidence that Barak is himself a diabetic. Or that he has committed 50% of the net proceeds of THE AMENDMENT KILLER to diabetes research and education.

Barak is singularly qualified to have authored THE AMENDMENT KILLER, which will appeal to political and legal thriller aficionados alike. Barak is a law school honors graduate and a former Olympic athlete. While still in law school, he authored a bill introduced in Congress that overnight forced the settlement of a decades long dispute between the NCAA and the AAU to control amateur athletics in the United States.

Present-day politicians would do well to read THE AMENDMENT KILLER and not underestimate the potential of Barak’s 28th Amendment. You can read his 28th Amendment at ronaldsbarak.com/28th-amendment-page-2. You can also read his occasional political blogs at ronaldsbarak.com/blog.

Ron and his wife, Barbie, and the four-legged members of their family reside in Pacific Palisades, California.

You can catch up with the author on:
Website 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!