Spotlight, Excerpt & Giveaway: TAIL OF THE DRAGON by Connie di Marco

tail-of-the-dragon-by-connie-di-marco-banner

As part of a blog tour organized by Partners in Crime, today’s post turns the spotlight on a recent release – Tail of the Dragon (A Zodiac Mystery) by Connie di Marco.

Description

TailofDragonCover.pngSan Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti never thought murder would be part of her practice, but now, Julia’s former boss and current client has asked for help. He has serious problems at his law firm. Two attorneys and a paralegal have received death threats and the only common denominator between all three is a case long settled — the highly publicized Bank of San Francisco fire. Julia’s convinced a woman is behind the threats, perhaps even the widow of the man who died in that same fire, but no one wants to listen — they can’t believe astrology could provide a clue. Before Julia can help her client, two lawyers are dead and her own life is threatened. Can she unmask the killer before he (or she) takes another life?

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

Giveaway

Enter a Rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win an Amazon gift card.

Read an Excerpt

The doorbell rang. I hurried down the stairs to the front door. I hesitated as I saw a woman’s figure through the glass. Maggie. It was Maggie. I threw the door open and we hugged. Michael’s sister and I got along famously from the first time we met. Maggie probably understands better than anyone how I feel and even though we don’t stay in touch as much as we used to, every time we meet it’s as though no time has elapsed at all. I stepped back and took a good look at her. She wasn’t smiling. “Maggie? What is it?”

“Can I come in?”

“Of course. Yes.” She was quiet as we climbed the stairs. She headed straight for the kitchen and sat down at the table. I joined her. “What’s wrong?”

“Something’s come up.”

“About …”

“Yes,” she didn’t have to say it. I knew she meant Michael.

“What’s happened?” Part of me hoped against hope that we might find an answer some day, another part of me just wanted the sadness and unknowingness to go away.

“Let me try to tell you in some kind of order.” She took a deep breath. “Do you remember the elderly man who used to live across the street from Michael’s old apartment?”

I nodded. I did remember. Michael’s apartment at 45th and Taraval was just a few blocks from my old place in the Sunset District. “Michael and I used to see him when he walked his dog. And then . . .” I shrugged, “there was a time when we didn’t see him as much.”

“Well, I think what happened was his son took the dog because it became too much for the old guy. But the dad didn’t want to leave his home so the family arranged some care and a companion for him.” I waited, not sure what Maggie’s story had to do with Michael. “Apparently, the old man was always taking pictures. He wasn’t any kind of a real photographer, but he liked to do that. He was always fooling around with his camera.”

“Yes, I remember now. He’d even take pictures of the flowers in his yard.”

“He died a couple of weeks ago. And his son and his daughter-in-law are putting the house up for sale. They’ve been there every day, moving stuff out and selling a few things to the neighbors. The thing is . . . they found a box of photos. The father didn’t like digital cameras, he had an old camera that he used and then he’d …

“Maggie …” I couldn’t imagine where she was going with this story.

“They found a photo of Michael. On the street. Just as that car hit him.”

I gasped and covered my mouth. My heart was racing wildly.

“He saw. He saw who hit Michael?”

“He must have. He must have tried to take a picture of what happened from his window.”

“Why didn’t he ever say anything?”

Maggie shook her head. “I don’t know. I really don’t. Maybe he didn’t want to get involved. Maybe he was afraid he’d have to testify.”

As much as I dreaded looking at anything Maggie had described, I still needed to see the photo. “Do you have it with you?”

“I don’t. The old man’s son and his wife knew what it was. They didn’t know Michael, but they knew there had been a hit and run in the neighborhood and that someone had died, so they turned it over to the police.”

“Have you seen it?”

“Yes, they showed it to me and my mother. She’s hysterical right now.” Celia, Michael’s mother had refused to speak to me since his death. She wasn’t on firm ground to begin with but after the accident, in her convoluted logic, she blamed me for her loss. If he hadn’t been in such a hurry to meet me, he would have been more careful. He wouldn’t have been killed.

“I can imagine.” I didn’t envy Maggie the emotional turmoil she must be dealing with.

“I told you before, Julia, she’s made a shrine of Michael’s room and I’m so worried about her. She never wants to go out or do anything. Once in a while I manage to drag her to a restaurant for brunch or something, but even her old friends have given up calling her.”

“What can they tell from the photo?”

“Not much, it’s not digital and it’s old. He had an old Nikon, I think, so they can’t see very much. Michael is lying on his side on the street and …” Maggie’s voice shook, “and you can just see the edge of the car. It’s dark or black and there’s a bit of a bumper and the corner of the right rear tire. The police think the driver must have panicked and took off. The old guy might have been looking out his window when it happened and snapped it really quick. They’re going to try to get as much information from it as they can, but they don’t really hold out much hope.”

“Who’s in charge of this?”

“Actually, a retired detective has volunteered to work on it. The case has never been closed, but this is the first thing they’ve had to go on at all. I can get you the name of the detective in charge, and maybe he’ll give you more information. I’ll find out and let him know you might want to talk to him.”

“Thanks, Maggie.” My heart sank. In all this time, no witnesses to the accident had come forward. One woman at the end of the block remembered a dark vehicle traveling fast, but couldn’t swear it had anything at all to do with the car that hit Michael. “We shouldn’t get our hopes up.”

“I want some answers, Julia!” Maggie’s voice had risen. “And I’m sure you do too. It’s not right. What this has done to our family, to me, to you. All our lives have been changed because of this. I want to see someone pay for what they did.”

I nodded. “I do too. It won’t change anything. It won’t bring him back. But you’re right. We’ve all gone through so much …”

“I have to go.” Maggie stood suddenly and I realized she hadn’t even taken her coat off. “I’m staying at my Mom’s for a little while. I’m so worried about her. I don’t like the thought of her being all alone in that big house.”

“Okay. Stay in touch and let me know what you find out?”

“I will.” Maggie leaned toward me and I put my arms around her, holding her tight. I felt her chest rise, a quiet sob. “I’m sorry to arrive on your doorstep like this, but I had to tell you face to face.”

“I’m glad you did, Maggie. I’m glad you did. And maybe we’ll learn more.”

Maggie pulled away. I could see tears forming in her eyes as she rushed down the stairs.

***

Excerpt from Tail of the Dragon by Connie di Marco. Copyright © 2018 by Connie di Marco. Reproduced with permission from Connie di Marco. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Connie dimarcoConnie di Marco is the author of the Zodiac Mysteries from Midnight Ink featuring San Francisco astrologer Julia Bonatti. Tail of the Dragon, third in the series, will be released on August 8, 2018.

Writing as Connie Archer, she is also the author of the national bestselling Soup Lover’s Mysteries from Berkley Prime Crime. You can find her excerpts and recipes in The Cozy Cookbook and The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook. Connie is a member of MWA, Sisters in Crime and International Thriller Writers.

Click here to view the Tail Of The Dragon by Connie di Marco Tour Participants

 

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Review: THREE ODD BALLS by Cindy Blackburn

I was poking through the endless list of books on my Kindle looking for a light read.  Cindy Blackburn’s Three Odd Balls definitely fit the bill.  One of the earlier books in the Cue Ball Mystery series, it was a fun read.

413pxycuehlDescription (Amazon)

A romantic vacation for…five? This wasn’t exactly what Jessie and Wilson had in mind when they planned their trip to the tropics. But the fun begins when Jessie’s delightfully spry mother, Wilson’s surfer dude son, and Jessie’s rabidly hyperactive New York agent decide to tag along. But what kind of trouble can these three oddest of odd balls possibly get into? Take a guess.

My Review

Jessie, the main character, is a lot of fun.  She writes racy, historic romance novels for a living and takes on the role of amateur sleuth whenever an opportunity presents itself.   Needless to say, she is quick to take on the challenge of finding out who killed the bartender at the resort where they are staying, especially when the local cops are eager to frame her boyfriend, Wilson, or his son for the crime.  I enjoyed the interaction and antics of  Tessie  (her mom) and Chris (Wilson’s son), and the overall family dynamics, and I loved Bee Bee, the parrot.  The plot was interesting enough, and the cast was likeable. Except for Louise, whose repeated “fantastical” exclamations became quite annoying.   That said, overall I enjoyed the book. It’s an entertaining light mystery – a good choice for cozy mystery lovers.

One more thing – you can definitely read these books out of order. I started in the middle of the series 🙂

Review: A MEASURE OF DARKNESS by Jonathan Kellerman, Jesse Kellerman

I confess to being a fan of Jonathan Kellerman’s books, so I was eager to read A Measure of Darkness, the second police procedural co-authored with his son Jesse Kellerman and featuring Deputy Coroner Clay Edison.  Especially since I really enjoyed the first book in this series, Crime Scene.

Description (Amazon)

51jomfthxglClay Edison is busy. He’s solved a decades-old crime and redeemed an innocent man, earning himself a suspension in the process. Things are getting serious with his girlfriend. Plus his brother’s fresh out of prison, bringing with him a whole new set of complications.

Then the phone rings in the dead of night.

A wild party in a gentrifying East Bay neighborhood. A heated argument that spills into the street. Gunshots. Chaos.

For Clay and his fellow coroners, it’s the start of a long night and the first of many to come. The victims keep piling up. What begins as a community tragedy soon becomes lurid fodder for social media.

Then the smoke clears and the real mystery emerges—one victim’s death doesn’t match the others. Brutalized and abandoned, stripped of ID, and left to die: She is Jane Doe, a human question mark. And it falls to Clay to give her a name and a voice.

Haunted by the cruelty of her death, he embarks upon a journey into the bizarre, entering a hidden world where innocence and perversity meet and mingle. There, his relentless pursuit of the truth opens the gateway to a dark and baffling past—and brings him right into the line of fire.

My Review

In this book, Clay Edison works to solve a murder that took place at a party where few of the people knew each other.  In fact, more than one murder took place and different coroners and detectives are tasked with figuring out what happened and why.  Clay puts in extra time – his personal time – to help one of the detectives work the case.   The storyline itself has a great deal of potential, however the execution fell short in my eyes.  The writing was disjointed and rambled on at times. The narrative didn’t pull me in this time. No real suspense. Nonetheless, it was an interesting read that might appeal to fans of this genre.

FTC Disclosure: I received an advance review copy of this book without obligation and have voluntarily chosen to share my honest review.

Blurb Blitz: BLUEBONNECT BALLERINA by Carol Kilgore

As part of  a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions, today’s post provides into Carol Kilgore’s recently released mystery – Bluebonnet Ballerina.

Description

BookCover_Bluebonnet BallerinaGracie Hofner returns, and chaos reigns—including a couple of ghosts trying to save their granddaughter. But as Gracie dances from problem to problem, she’s unaware the music has been orchestrated into a murderous symphony.

When a different melody reaches Gracie’s ears from a guitar played by the new tenant living in her garage apartment, her tension vanishes. She listens unseen, cocooned in the shadows on her patio, and wonders who he’s longing for—and how it would feel for someone to crave her that much.

She can’t dwell on those thoughts, however. Problems of murder and missing prisoners abound. To say nothing of the ghosts. No one ever said being a law enforcement consultant would be easy.

Bluebonnet Ballerina follows Jalapeno Cupcake Wench and is the second book in The Amazing Gracie Trilogy.

Bluebonnet Ballerina  is available on Amazon

Giveaway

The author will be awarding a $50 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner  during the tour.  Click here to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway.

Read an excerpt:

“Ow! Ow! Ow!” Gracie Hofner twitched with each exclamation.

“For crying out loud, Gracie, you’d think I was trying to kill you.”

“You are. This is supposed to feel good.” Gracie tried to lift herself up.

Ariana held her down with one arm and tortured her with the other. “You’ve got a knot bigger than Thor’s fist in here. I’m working it loose.”

“It’ll work itself out.”

“No it won’t. It’ll give you a headache and neck spasms and a hitch in your side. Now lie still and shut up.” A hundred and ten skinny pounds of pure muscle and bone returned to attacking Gracie’s back.

Ariana Ayala was Gracie’s best friend, but when Ariana went into massage mode, arguing was futile. This was her first massage in her friend’s new studio, but nothing about her technique had changed. Gracie sighed and tried to relax. The more she loosened up, the harder Ariana dug. The woman had forty fingers and ten elbows, all of them poking Gracie’s sore back.

“Much better now.” Ariana continued to knead the same spot, except with much less pressure. That’s what it felt like, but Ariana always said the pressure was the same. The difference was the muscle had relaxed. “Next time, I’ll work on it again. It won’t be as bad. You must’ve had one hell of a week.”

“Something like that.”

“You can tell me later. Relax now. You’ll enjoy the rest of this.”

Excerpt from Bluebonnet Ballerina. All rights reserved.

 

About the Author

AuthorPhoto_BluebonnetBallerinaCarol Kilgore is the award-winning author of The Amazing Gracie Trilogy. In addition, she is the author of In Name Only, Solomon’s Compass, and Secrets of Honor, three standalone romantic suspense novels set along the Texas Gulf Coast.

She and her husband live in San Antonio, the setting for the Amazing Gracie books, with two quirky herding dogs who still require help opening the food bin and the door.

You can learn more about Carol and be the first to know when the third book in the Amazing Gracie Trilogy will be released by visiting her website and subscribing to her newsletter at http://www.carolkilgore.net or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

Carol is a member of Romance Writers of America, Mystery Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.

Showcase, Excerpt & Giveaway: BAD TIME TO BE IN IT by David Burnsworth

As part of a book tour organized by Partners in Crime, today’s post turns the showcases a recent release – Bad Time to Be in It by David Burnsworth. This standalone novel is the latest addition to this author’s Blu Carraway mystery series.

Description

bad-time-to-be-in-it-by-david-burnsworthThe past is never past. Sometimes it repeats itself. And sometimes it comes back to pay a visit. Blu Carraway, flush with cash and back in business, never had it so good. Or so he thought.The reality is his love life is in shambles, his business partner is spending too much time with women half his age and not enough time on the job, and someone close goes missing. Blu’s business partner goes off the rails, his friends show their true colors, and he realizes that getting closure sometimes means walking away from everything. With a case from the past gone wrong twice, a loved one in trouble, and an unanswered marriage proposal, it’s a bad time to be in it for Blu Carraway Investigations.

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

Belize City, Belize, August, mid-MondayPaco squinted as he stared out over the courtyard, the afternoon sun a brilliant blaze. Sounds of local women selling vegetables, cheap pottery, and trinkets to tourists filled the air. The clinking of dishware. Some of the vendors were lucky enough to have an umbrella or canopy to shield them from the burning heat. Most weren’t.

The pavement baked Paco’s feet through his cowboy boots.

He lifted his straw hat, one with an orange band he’d bought from a local Mennonite child, and wiped his brow. The air tasted of salt, dust, and tamalito grease.

His two partners, a Belizean Creole called Lin and a Jamaican named Peter, were already in position. Lin nodded at him from the other side of the square. Paco checked on Peter and found him fifty meters due east scoping out the three young women they’d come for.

Well, really it was just one of them they wanted. The other two women were going to be a bonus. The contract was to grab the woman with the family name of Kincaid, make a phone call when they had her at their hideout, and then do whatever they wanted with the other two. And eliminate any resistance.

The stupid chicas had only one guard with them. Some tall, middle-aged Bufon Paco guessed was half-Cuban, half-gringo, who wore sunglasses and dressed in light-colored fatigues and military style boots. He looked fit but was most likely nothing but an easy target. In the three days Peter, Lin, and Paco had tracked the women, the man with the sunglasses always kept watch from behind.

The past two nights Paco had dreamt of shooting the man through those sunglasses.

Using the sleeve of his shirt, Paco wiped his forehead one more time and then replaced his hat. He watched Peter wait until the women and the man passed and then fell in behind them.

God, the women were beautiful. Suntanned white girls in their early twenties. Perfect teeth. Curled, long hair. Linen blouses, short shorts, and sandals. After he shot their protector, his dreams ended with tying each of them to a bed, the fear in their eyes giving him immense pleasure.

And today was the day his dream would come true.

Paco watched the group pass through a crowd of old people in bright clothes unloading from a tour bus.

Except Peter didn’t emerge behind them when the women came through the other side of the gray-haired mass.

Neither did the sunglass-wearing guard.

Paco smiled and thought, good, Peter took him out already.

He nodded at Lin who gave him a thumbs-up.

The women perused another row of vendors.

He and Lin followed, coming from opposite ends.

The women were just ahead. Paco caught sight of their toned caderas and thanked his god again for tight American shorts. He picked up his pace as he threaded through the crowd.

After about forty meters, something didn’t seem right any more. He should have caught up to them by now. And Lin should have joined him.

Paco stopped, checked his phone. No messages.

Looking around, he thought he spotted the women turn down an alley.

Where were Peter and Lin?

It didn’t matter.

He had to get the woman now. Especially with the guard out of the picture.

Paco knew he could handle her by himself, even if the other two females had to die to make things easier. He sprinted after them, cut down the alley, and found himself alone with nothing but a dead end. The only noise he heard was the market from which he’d come.

An abandoned car on blocks with its hood open mocked him. Dust kicked up from his boots as he skidded to a stop. Paco turned around. No one had followed him.

He turned back and looked straight down the barrel of a revolver.

His eyes would not—could not—keep from staring at the black hole in front of him that brought death. Where in the hell did this come from? There had been no sound.

A man’s voice said, “Esto es donde dar la vuelta y a pie.” (This is where you turn around and walk away.)

Thinking fast, Paco said, “Que buscaba para mi hija.” (I was looking for my daughter.)

The thumb of the hand holding the revolver cocked the hammer back.

Anyone else would have soiled his pants at this. But Paco knew the man had made a very big mistake. Other peoples’ mistakes, and Paco’s awareness of them, were how he had survived this long. The cocked pistol an arm’s reach from his face had caught him off guard. If it had been five feet away, the perfect distance for control,he would have had a problem.

But this close—

Paco swung an arm at the hand with the pistol and ducked the other way, all in one motion just like he’d done before.

Except another gun fired.

Paco felt an inferno of heat and lead tear through his leg. He screamed and crashed to the ground.

A large, military boot kicked him in the face. It jolted his focus off the pain in his leg for a second and onto the sunglasses of the man from his dreams. Paco spotted a second pistol in the man’s other hand. He hadn’t seen the second gun because he couldn’t tear his eyes away from the first. The man had outsmarted him.

The man smiled down at him and said, in Spanish, “Who hired you?”

The pain flooded back. Paco seethed out a “Piss off.”

The man with the sunglasses put his large boot on Paco’s injured leg and stepped down hard.

Paco had never felt pain so great in his thirty-three years on this earth. He tried to scream, but nothing came out. He swam in a horizon of white noise.

The pressure on his leg let up. The boot kicked him in the ribs, ripping his concentration away from his leg once more, long enough for him to breathe.

“Your two friends won’t be joining us. Tell me who hired you. Do it now. I won’t ask again.”
Paco’s mind recovered enough from the pain to formulate a last desperate plan. He slipped a hand behind his back and pulled out a derringer.

Before he could aim it, the man standing over him blasted his hand from two feet away. And Paco felt a different twinge of pain that almost matched the firestorm in his leg. He lifted his hand to where he could look at it. Two of his fingers were missing.

Then he saw nothing.

Chapter TwoCharleston County, South Carolina, August, mid-MondayDAY ONEMick Crome sat on a stool at the inside bar of the Pirate’s Cove on the Isle of Palms. He finished off a second pint while staring at all the liquor bottles lined up on the shelves in front of him. They had a habit of staring back. Maureen, his sometimes girlfriend and bartender a hundred miles north up in Myrtle Beach, was pissed off at him. He couldn’t chill and watch her tight rear end as she poured drinks tonight. Maybe not tomorrow night, either.

The current bartender serving the beers, a friend named Brack Pelton, wasn’t exactly his type. At six feet and with a perpetual suntanned complexion, Brack looked like he should be tending bar in the Bahamas, not owning two watering holes in the South Carolina lowcountry.

Pelton asked, “You want another one, Mick?”

Even inside the place, the smell of the Atlantic Ocean directly behind him cleaned out his sinuses. The song streaming on the bar’s sound system, “Paradise City” by Guns and Roses, was a real classic.

Crome nodded, hooked a boot heel on the bottom rung of his stool, and pulled a vape pen out of the breast pocket of his weathered leather vest.

He couldn’t figure out what exactly he’d done wrong with Maureen but was sure it might have something to do with the two women he traded vodka shots with the night before. Mainly
because neither of them was Maureen. Maureen hadn’t taken too kindly to him cancelling their date so he could follow a lead only to end up getting drunk and crashing at another woman’s pad. She didn’t believe him when he’d tried to explain that nothing had happened. The lead was legit, but even he knew he should have just gotten the information over the phone.

What did people say in times like this? C’est la vie?

Whatever.

Pelton set a fresh pint of draft down in front of Crome. “Haven’t seen you or Blu around in a while. How’s it going?”

The kid, Pelton, meant well. If Crome hadn’t taken a liking to him, and if he hadn’t watched a video of the kid, empty handed, take on an armed giant of a man and win, he might have picked a fight with him just for fun. But the kid had saved his best friend’s daughter and was an unofficial partner in the private investigation firm Crome co-owned. Unofficial because just about everything Crome did was unofficial. The official side was handled by his main partner, Blu Carraway.

Crome said, “Blu’s on a security job. In Belize, the lucky bastard. Should be back in a day or two.”

A voice from behind him said, “Hi, Crome.”

It was female and familiar. Damn.

Anyone else would have been a welcome change to his wandering thoughts, a defense mechanism he used to avoid thinking about Maureen.

Hell, Maureen in her most pissed-off state would have been a welcome companion compared to—

The female voice interrupted his thought. “Aren’t you going to invite me to sit down?”

Crome saw the smirk form on his own face reflected in the mirror behind the bar. He also saw the strawberry-blond curls, red lipstick, and tight dress of his newest problem. “It’s a free country.”

Harmony Childs pulled out the stool next to him and sat. “That bad-ass biker routine won’t work on me, Sugar. You’ve seen me in my underwear.”

Twenty years his junior, nuttier than a pecan tree, driven, and drop-dead gorgeous, Harmony was the very cliché of Kryptonite for him. She was also one of the two women he’d traded shots with last night.

It was true; he had seen her in her underwear. But not out of her underwear, thank God, or he and Maureen wouldn’t have lasted this long.

Harmony said, “Don’t tell me you’ve still got a hangover. I’d hate to think you couldn’t hang with us, given your propensity for bars and liquor.”

She really was beautiful. And she’d matched him shot for shot, unless the bartender was feeding her and her friend water instead of Citron. But that couldn’t be because he’d watched all their shot glasses get refilled from the same bottle.

“Not on your life, Dolly,” he said.

Pelton came over, grinned at the young woman, and said, “What’ll it be, Ms. Harmony?”

If Pelton’s wife caught him doing anything more than casual flirting, she’d string him up by his testicles. Especially if it was with Harmony. Or her cohort, Tess Ray. Which reminded Crome, when there was one, the other wasn’t far behind.

Tess pulled out the stool on the other side of Crome and sat. “Sorry I’m late. There was another double homicide in North Charleston.”

Shorter than Harmony, with shoulder length blonde hair that fell in layers, Tess wore dark-rimmed glasses, a business dress with no sleeves, and medium heels.

She’d been the second woman from the night before. Two women to one man, a bottle of vodka, and all he had to show for it was a nasty headache, a stiff back from the couch he’d crashed on alone, and a pissed off girlfriend. Must be his lucky day.

Crome opened his mouth to say “howdy” but got cut off before he could start.

“It would be nice if your partner was around,” Harmony said.

“You guys make good copy. Maybe you all could give us something besides gang violence to report on.”

Harmony and Tess were eager-beaver news correspondents who’d recently gone independent.

Tess asked, “So when is Blu due back in town? Soon, right?”

Every damn woman who’d ever laid eyes on Blu Carraway fell in love with the bastard.

Again, Crome opened his mouth to speak, and again got interrupted. This time by the other local lady killer, Pelton’s dog, Shelby.

At the sight of the chow-collie mix, Harmony and Tess both slid off their stools and swarmed the mutt. The damned canine seemed to be eating it all up, dancing around between them, his wagging tail high in the air.

The song ended, and in the lull before the next one began, Crome checked his iPhone, the one that felt like an old-fashioned pair of handcuffs restraining him from freedom. The one that came with the business of running a private investigation firm. The one that his partner had made him take.

He’d missed a call.

The number wasn’t familiar, but whoever had called left a voicemail. He listened.

It sounded like Maureen. “Mick? I’m in trouble. Please help—”

A man’s voice cut her off. “Listen Crome, it’s payback time. You took from me so I’m taking from you. I’ll be in touch.”

His phone showed a text message. He tapped to open it up and stared at a picture of a scared Maureen with a gun to her head.

Billy Idol’s “Eyes Without a Face” started playing, blowing a hole through the world.

Excerpt from Bad Time To Be In It by David Burnsworth. Copyright © 2018 by David Burnsworth. Reproduced with permission from David Burnsworth. All rights reserved.

Purchase Links: Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, iTunes, Kobo

Giveaway

Click to enter a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for David Burnsworth. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and 4 winners of one (1) print OR eBook copy of David Burnsworth’s Bad Time To Be In It.

About the Author

david-burnsworth-authorThe past is never past. Sometimes it repeats itself. And sometimes it comes back to pay a visit. Blu Carraway, flush with cash and back in business, never had it so good. Or so he thought.The reality is his love life is in shambles, his business partner is spending too much time with women half his age and not enough time on the job, and someone close goes missing. Blu’s business partner goes off the rails, his friends show their true colors, and he realizes that getting closure sometimes means walking away from everything. With a case from the past gone wrong twice, a loved one in trouble, and an unanswered marriage proposal, it’s a bad time to be in it for Blu Carraway Investigations.

Connect with the author on:  Website, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

Review: SOMEBODY’S DAUGHTER by David Bell

Today’s selection is  the latest thriller by David Bell, which released just days ago.   I really enjoyed  Bring Her Home and Since She Went Away so I jumped at the chance to download a pre-release copy of Somebody’s Daughter from NetGalley.

Description

51iz2bx2bs6ul

When Michael Frazier’s ex-wife, Erica, unexpectedly shows up on his doorstep, she drops a bombshell that threatens to rip his family apart: Her ten-year-old daughter is missing–and Michael is the father. Unsure whether this is the truth but unwilling to leave the girl’s fate to chance, Michael has no choice but to follow the elusive trail of the child he has always wanted but never knew he had.

Over the course of one night, lies that span a decade come bubbling to the surface, putting Michael, his wife, and his whole family in jeopardy. And as the window for a little girl’s safe return closes, Michael will have to decide who can be trusted and who is hiding the truth….

My Review

This book does not disappoint. The reader is taken on a journey that focuses on the disappearance of a child and whether or not Michael is her biological father, an emotional issue that is colored by his family’s past.

The well written narrative presents the distinct perspectives of Michael, his current wife, and one of the police officers involved in the search.  These characters were especially well developed, making it easy to identify with what they were going through.  The plot was interesting and well paced, and the writer’s use of short chapters made it even harder for me to put this book down. The temptation to read just one more, and then another, kept those pages turning.

The only negative for me was that the ending felt a bit abrupt, leaving one plot question not fully addressed.  Nonetheless, if you enjoy mystery and suspense, this is definitely a book to add to your TBR list.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary ARC of this book from NetGalley. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

Cozy Happenings – July 2018

This month’s “Cozy Happenings” post highlights some of the new releases, giveaways and bargains from my author friends. Hope it helps you find something great to read this summer.

Recent or Upcoming Releases – Check’em Out!

New_July_sizzle New-July_DD&D
New_July_sticky New-July_secrets
New-July-Sheridan New-july-snoops

Free or Discounted Books

July_Sale_GladOne July_Sale_Sister July_Sale_thtrJuly_Sale_PkgJuly_Sale_DD July-Aug_Sale+Portrait

Note: This blog does not contain affiliate links. Links are provided for the reader’s convenience only.

Review & Giveaway: BECKER CIRCLE by Addison Brae

As part of a book tour organized by RABT Book Tours, I recently had the opportunity to read Becker Circle, a New Adult mystery by Addison Brae.

Description

My first and only boyfriend believed I was too gutless to leave. He was dead wrong. My name is Gillian. I graduated Harvard early and left his hot temper and everyone else behind for Dallas. Determined to make it on my own, I land a second job bartending at the neighborhood pub smack in drama central where most every jerk in the neighborhood hits on me—at a huge price.

BeckerCirclebyAddisonBrae2A week into the job, the neighborhood’s very popular drug dealer falls to his death a few feet from the table I’m serving. The cops say suicide, but the hot guitar player in the house band and I suspect foul play, and I intend to prove it. We dig deeper, grow closer, and make a shocking discovery. We know the murderer.

Praise for Becker Circle:

  • “I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to finding out what will happen in Becker Circle next.” ~ 4* Goodreads ARC review by Cathy Geha
  • “Overall, Becker Circle was a good book that I’m sure many people will love.” ~ 4* Goodreads ARC review by Kiss Like a Girl
  • “Brimming with both action and drama, Becker Circle draws readers into its social milieu and keeps them hooked, page after page.” ~ 5* Cadia Cox, Award-Winning Author of Double Shot of Love and Mistletoe & Macaroons
  • “This is an awesome mystery/thriller set against the backdrop of a popular neighborhood full of intrigue, a fascinating cast of characters and a sexy romance. It’ll make you look at your favorite neighborhood bar in a different light.” ~5* Amazon reader review
  • “Becker Circle and Gillian kept me on the edge of my seat between the romance, suspense, and mystery. Every chapter took me to a place I didn’t see coming and an ending that I would have never anticipated.” ~5* Goodreads reader review
  • “Becker Circle has a main character you’d like to know, and a slow burn suspense that just keeps getting creepier.”  ~ Kris Bock, Author of suspense, mystery and romance

My Review

Gillian moves to Texas hoping for a new start, far way from a controlling ex-boyfriend. She is a hard-working and intelligent, single young woman, who is determined to make changes in how she lives her life.  Her job tending bar exposes her, and the reader,  to a colorful assortment of local characters and potential suspects in the murder of the local drug dealer.  Although I liked Gillian, I did find some of her actions to be a bit foolish and incongruous with her otherwise “smart” character.  The story moved along at a nice pace with enough twists to keep me wondering who was behind the murder, not to mention where her budding friendship with Jon might lead.  All in all, a promising debut for this new author.

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

Click here to enter a Rafflecopter giveaway.

About the Author

Carol_Barreyre-0566-croppedAddison Brae lives in Dallas, Texas on the edge of downtown. As a child, she was constantly in trouble for hiding under the bed to read when she was supposed to be napping. She has been writing since childhood starting with diaries, letters and short stories. She continues today with articles, video scripts and other content as an independent marketing consultant.

When she’s not writing, Addison spends her time traveling the world, collecting interesting cocktail recipes and hosting parties. She’s still addicted to reading and enjoys jogging in her neighborhood park, sipping red wine, binge-watching TV series, vintage clothing and hanging out with her artistic other half and their neurotic cat Lucy.

Contact Links:

Buy links:

 

Review & Giveaway: SUMMER SNOOPS AND COZY CRIMES

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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s post spotlights a soon to-be-released boxed set from an accomplished group of cozy mystery authors.  Not to mention the fact that any profits from its sales will be donated to No Kill animal charities.  Check it out.

Description

Help Us Help Pets!

New-SnoopsHave a howlingly good read during the dog days of summer with a dozen cozy mysteries from Wall Street Journal, USA Today and Amazon best-selling authors. Murder lurks in every corner during the dog days of summer. Solve the mystery as our snoops leash the criminals – at the beach, at the farm, on the mountain – everywhere! All profits from this pack go to support NO KILL animal charities! Fetch it now! And help us help pets!

Summer Snoops and Cozy Crimes includes never before published books from:

  • WSJ Bestselling Author Judith Lucci – Gawd Almighty & the Corn
  • WSJ Bestselling Author Cindy Bell – Murder at Pawprint Creek
  • WSJ Bestselling Author Colleen Mooney – Dog Gone and Dead
  • USA Today and WSJ Bestselling Author Amy Vansant – Summer Teeth
  • WSJ Bestselling Author Colleen Helme – A Midsummer Night’s Murder
  • WSJ Bestselling Author Kim Hunt Harris – The Murder of Bandera Bandito
  • USA Today Bestselling Author Anna Celeste Burke – A Body on Fitzgerald’s Bluff
  • Ava Mallory – A Dream Stray-Cation
  • Sandi Scott – Croquembouche Murder
  • Susan Boles – Death on the Beach
  • USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever – Toxic Tech
  • Anne R. Tan – Just Lost and Found

Bonus recipes from the authors are included!

Purchase and GoodReads Links

My Review

Given the range of authors and titles in this box set, any cozy mystery lover is sure to find something they’ll enjoy.  I didn’t have time to read all of the books in time for this post so I poked around the list of books and selected A Body on Fitzgerald’s Bluff by Anna Celeste Burke to start off with.

The first book in the author’s newest series, A Body on Fitzgerald’s Bluff features a group of women who reside at Seaview Cottages, a seaside community for adults over 55.  Miriam Webster, their newest and youngest resident, comes across a dead body while taking her dog for an early morning walk on the beach.  Despite the police warning her to let them handle the investigation, she is soon joined by a gaggle of grand old lady detectives who are on a mission to learn everything they can about the victim.  This cozy whodunnit features a warm and caring group of women, quirky at times, but very likeable.  The story moved along at a nice pace with a variety of suspects and motives divulged as the plot unfolds.  And with its seaside setting, A Body on Fitzgerald’s Bluff is sure to please cozy mystery lovers in search of a fun beach read this summer.

Giveaway

Click here to enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a $25 Amazon Gift Card.


About the Authors

Judith Lucci

Dr. Judith Lucci is a Wall Street Journal and best-selling Amazon. She is an award-winning author of the Alexandra Destephano Medical Thriller and the Michaela McPherson “Two Sleuth’s and a Dog” Crime fiction series. Her newest series, Artzy Chicks, releases next month and features a group of , eccentric, talented but zany artists in their Art Gallery at a Mountain Resort.

In 2017, ‘Viral Intent’ (Book 3) Alexandra Destephano Series) was awarded a Gold Medal by Readers’ Favorites for ‘Best Political Thriller’. as was her crime thriller ‘The Case of Dr. Dude’ (Michaela McPherson #1) for a Gold Medal for ‘Best Amateur Sleuth for 2017. ‘The Most Wonderful Crime of the Year‘ won an additional gold medal for ‘Best Holiday Read’ of 2017.

Her favorite things are reading, writing art and animals. In her spare time she teaches painting, loves up on animals and raises money for needy causes. Judith lives with her 4 dog family in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia. She loves to connect with her readers and is available at judithlucciwrites@gmail.com. Check our her website at judithlucci.com. and sign-up for a free copy of Chaos at Crescent City Medical Center.


Cindy Bell

Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author, Cindy Bell, has always loved reading, but it is only recently that she has discovered her passion for writing romantic cozy mysteries. When she is not reading or writing she loves baking (and eating) sweet treats or walking along the beach with her energetic cocker spaniel, thinking of the next adventure her characters can embark on. Cindy is the author of the Chocolate Centered, Donut Truck, Dune House, Sage Gardens, Nuts about Nuts, Bekki the Beautician, Wendy the Wedding Planner, Heavenly Highland Inn and the Macaron Patisserie Cozy Mystery Series.


Colleen Mooney

Colleen Mooney was born and raised in New Orleans along with everyone else in her family. She is a Wall Street Journal Best Selling Author and writes a cozy mystery series set in New Orleans called The New Orleans Go Cup Chronicles and the fourth book, Death By Rum Balls was released in December 2017.

Since January 2017 Colleen organized a Sisters In Crime chapter in New Orleans, has been elected President and has a planned a Mystery Writers’ Conference for June. She is currently working on her 5th book in the Brandy Alexander series.

In New Orleans, she’s been a member and active in many Mardi Gras Krewes, Super Krewes, and organizations. Colleen says she has never met a parade she didn’t like.

She’s an ardent animal lover and the Director for a breed rescue, Schnauzer Rescue of Louisiana for the last fifteen years. She has rescued and placed over 350 abandoned or surrendered Schnauzers. She loves to write and writes about what she loves. Colleen says, “New Orleans is where it all happens for me.”


Amy Vansant

Amy Vansant

Amy Vansant is a Wall Street Journal and USA Today best-selling author specializing in fun, comedic reads about accident prone, easily distracted women with questionable taste in men.
So, autobiographies, mostly.
Ha!
But seriously: She writes happy romantic comedies, mysteries, and urban fantasies. Amy is the former East Coast Editor of SURFER Magazine but the urge to drive up and down the coast interviewing surfers has long since left her. She’s a dog-lover who works at home with her goofy husband and loves interacting with fans, so stop by her blog or Twitter and say hi!

http://www.amyvansant.com/


Colleen Helme

Colleen Helme is the author of the bestselling Shelby Nichols Adventure Series, a wildly entertaining and highly humorous series about Shelby Nichols, a woman with the ability to read minds. When asked if reading minds is something Colleen wishes she could do she says, “No way! It gets Shelby into so much trouble that I would never want that ability.” Known for her laugh since she was a kid, Colleen has always tried to find the humor in every situation and continues to enjoy writing about Shelby’s adventures. Besides writing, she loves reading, biking, hiking, and playing board and card games with family and friends. She loves to connect with readers and admits that fans of the series keep her writing.


Kim Hunt Harris

Kim knew she wanted to be a writer before she even knew how to write. When her parents read bedtime stories to her, she knew she wanted to be a part of the story world. She started out writing children’s stories, and her stories grew as she did. She discovered a gift for humor and a love for making people laugh with her tales, and the Trailer Park Princess series was born.

Kim loves to not only make her readers laugh and entertain them with a good mystery, but also to examine the issues the everyday people face…well, every day. Issues like faith and forgiveness, perseverance and tolerance. Set in Lubbock, Texas, the fun books feature a cast of quirky characters, outrageous situations, a drama queen of a dog, and from time to time, a tear or two.

Kim lives with her husband of more than thirty years and two teenage kids in Texas.


Anna Celeste Burke

Anna Celeste Burke is an award-winning, USA Today Bestselling Author!

Life is an extravaganza! Figuring out how to hang tough and make the most of the wild ride is the challenge.

An award-winning and bestselling author I enjoy snooping into life’s mysteries with fun, fiction, & food—California style! My books include the Jessica Huntington Desert Cities Mystery series set in the Coachella Valley near Palm Springs, the Corsario Cove Cozy Mystery series set on California’s Central Coast, and The Georgie Shaw Cozy Mystery series set in Orange County, California–the OC. Coming soon: The Misadventures of Betsy Stark also set here in the Coachella Valley. Find out more at http://www.desertcitiesmystery.com.


Ava Mallory

Ava Mallory has been a grade school teacher, a psychiatric technician, a dementia unit nurse manager, and a Hospice nurse. She has embarrassed herself in front of handsome celebrities, won vocal contests much to the chagrin of her children, survived a  major earthquake, and nearly drowned when she mistakenly thought a YMCA lifeguard asked her to dive into the deep end on her first day of swim lessons. She and her eternally annoyed children share their home with a massive collection of books and a never-ending supply of new book ideas.


Sandi Scott

Sandi Scott is a cozy mystery reader who finally found the courage to write the stories in her head and share them with others. She fell in love with mystery books when she first started reading Agatha Christie eons ago, although her favorite female sleuth will always be Harriet the Spy. She loves dogs, her family, her readers, and sweet treats — not necessarily in that order.


Sam Cheever

USA Today Bestselling Author Sam Cheever writes mystery and suspense, creating stories that draw you in and keep you eagerly turning pages. Known for writing great characters, snappy dialogue, and unique and exhilarating stories, Sam is the award-winning author of 50+ books.


Susan Boles

Susan Boles is the award-winning author of the Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery Series and also writes romantic suspense in the Brotherhood Protectors series.

A lifelong long love of all things mysterious led Susan to write cozy mysteries. Nancy Drew and Trixie Belden were the first to show her that girls can be crime solvers. Agatha Christie showed her that even small towns have big secrets. And Phryne Fisher showed her lady detectives can be outrageously individual. She lives in Mississippi with her rescue mini dachshund, Lucy, and her rescue cat of no particular breed, Zimba.


Anne R. Tan

Anne R. Tan fell in love with storytelling in elementary school, but decided to study engineering so she could get a “real job.” Her day job is her vacation from home and she moonlights as a writer to keep the voices inside her head under control. She is a toddler wrangler and a part-time short-order cook for her family. She is married to her version of Bob Vila who believes everything needs to be fixed, even if it’s already working. The koi fish in her pond are the only sane members of her household.

Guest Post & Spotlight: CONFOUND IT by Maggie Toussaint

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours to celebrate the release of Confound It, Maggie Toussain  stopped by to share her thoughts on her main character, a single mom.  Enjoy.


Single Mom’s Club by Maggie Toussaint

MaggieToussaint.jpgThis is a true fact: like attracts like. If you were locked in a room with fifty cows and one person, you’d automatically gravitate toward the other person.

Dreamwalker and crime consultant Baxley Powell has been on her own for several years. She’s a single mom of a ten-year- old daughter, Larissa, and there have been times in the recent past where she got behind on her bills.

So it galls her to no end when the cops gloss over a victim’s death in order to catch bigger fish in the drug pipeline. A woman died. A mother. Don’t they get it? Doodle lost his mom, and now he’s an orphan.

Mandy Patterson was a single mom, and her death must count for something. After each
Dreamwalk visit with Mandy’s spirit, Baxley feels more convinced that she has to find Mandy’s killer.

Baxley understands the struggles Mandy went through and the tough decisions that had to be made. Childcare often costs more than a single mom can afford. Old cars break down. Kids outgrown their shoes. Life just keeps coming at you at full speed and single moms have to find ways to survive.

Sure, Mandy made a few decisions that weren’t great, but that shouldn’t mean she’s a disposable person. As a member of the single mom’s club, Baxley leads the charge to get justice for Mandy. The thing is, Mandy’s killer has no intention of getting caught…


About Confound It

Confound It_frontCov -smallerWhile hosting out-of-town guests at her Georgia home, Dreamwalker Baxley Powell is called upon to help investigate a suspicious fire. One of her guests, close friend and fellow dreamwalker Deputy Sam Mayes, accompanies her to the scene.

A meth cook is dead, and when Baxley visits her beyond the Veil of Life, she determines that the woman was murdered. Baxley pities Mandy Patterson, a single mother with aspirations for her teenage son Doodle. Unconcerned about the death of a criminal, the authorities pursue the drug-supply chain angle. Baxley worries about Doodle and vows to find out who killed his mother.

As the case grows more baffling, Baxley struggles against her attraction to Sam. Although her husband is missing and declared dead, she does not feel free to love again until she is sure of his fate.

Two suspects have the strongest motive, but Baxley has reason to believe they are pawns in a deeper game. And unless she can stop them, the world will never be the same.

Confound It (A Dreamwalker Mystery) is available on Amazon.

About the Author

Southern author Maggie Toussaint writes mystery, suspense, and dystopian fiction. Her work won the Silver Falchion Award for best mystery, the Readers’ Choice Award, and the EPIC Award. She’s published seventeen novels as well as several short stories and novellas. The next book in her paranormal mystery series, Dadgummit, releases August 2017. Maggie serves on the national board for Mystery Writers of America, is President of Southeast Mystery Writers of America, and is Co-VP of Low Country Sisters In Crime. Visit her at http://www.maggietoussaint.com.

Connect with Maggie:
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