Review & Giveaway: FINDERS, NOT KEEPERS by D.E. Haggerty

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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s post spotlights Finders, Not Keepers (A Not So Reluctant Detective Mystery) by D. E. Haggerty.

Description

What do you do with a diamond no one wants? You can’t keep it. Or can you?

FNK4While cleaning her ex-husband’s effects out of the attic, Terri finds an exquisite diamond pendant necklace. She’s determined to return the necklace to its proper owner, but the owner was brutally killed, a murder which remains unsolved, and her heirs want nothing to do with the diamond. Terri embarks upon a journey researching charities to which she can donate the diamond. When her research becomes dangerous, Terri contemplates solving the murder herself. Her best friend, Melanie, jumps feet first into investigating the murder, but her neighbor, Ryder, doesn’t want Terri exposed to any danger. Ryder, to Terri’s surprise, also wants to be more than neighbors with Terri. Luckily, he’s prepared to take any measure necessary to keep her safe because someone is determined to stop her inquiries.

Join Terri on her quest to find a home for the diamond, which may result in the unveiling of a murderer – if she survives long enough.

My Review

I liked Terri and Melanie and the friendship between the two women. Terry is still recovering from her divorce and her friend is very supportive.   As implied by title of this new series, Terri is not particularly reluctant to take matters into her own hands when she finds out that  diamond’s owner was murdered.  She wants to do the “right” thing.  If only it was that simple.  She decides to find the killer herself. Melanie is all for it.  Ryder, her hunky neighbor, is vehement in his opposition. I wanted to like Ryder, however his macho and patronizing attitude annoyed me too much.  Having a guy like that tell me what I should or shouldn’t do would be enough to make me do the opposite. Of course, Terri doesn’t listen and finds herself in hot water.  The mystery took an interesting course and came to a satisfactory resolution.  A nice choice for cozy mystery lovers.

Giveaway

Click to enter a rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card from the author.

About the Author

DEHAggertyI grew up reading everything I could get my grubby hands on, from my mom’s Harlequin romances to Nancy Drew, to Little Women. When I wasn’t flipping pages in a library book, I was penning horrendous poems, writing songs no one should ever sing, or drafting stories which have thankfully been destroyed. College and a stint in the U.S. Army came along, robbing me of free time to write and read, although on the odd occasion I did manage to sneak a book into my rucksack between rolled up socks, MRIs, t-shirts, and cold weather gear. After surviving the army experience, I went back to school and got my law degree. I jumped ship and joined the hubby in the Netherlands before the graduation ceremony could even begin. A few years into my legal career, I was exhausted, fed up, and just plain done. I quit my job and sat down to write a manuscript, which I promptly hid in the attic after returning to the law. But practicing law really wasn’t my thing, so I quit (again!) and went off to Germany to start a B&B. Turns out running a B&B wasn’t my thing either. I polished off that manuscript languishing in the attic before following the husband to Istanbul where I decided to give the whole writer-thing a go. But ten years was too many to stay away from my adopted home. I packed up again and moved to The Hague where I’m currently working on my next book. I hope I’ll always be working on my next book.

Finders, Not Keepers is my thirteenth novel.

Author Links
Website  –  Blog  – Facebook – Twitter  – Instagram  – Goodreads
Amazon author page – Newsletter signup – Google+  – Pinterest – BookBub

Purchase Links
Amazon        Smashwords       Barnes and Noble      Kobo      Goodreads       iTunes

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Guest Post & Giveaway: DEATH SAID THE GYPSY QUEEN by Susan Boles

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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I am thrilled to have mystery author, Susan Boles, as my guest.  She’s here to tell us about the power of rumors and about her recently released book, Death Said the Gypsy Queen (A Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery). Sounds like a spooky read in time for Halloween.


Rumor Has It by Susan Boles

The power of rumor has been known for a very long time. And the power of rumor in a small town is like a match to kindling. The flames jump high and fast and truth is often lost in the conflagration.

Being from a small town originally, where my family has lived for generations, gives me insight into how the rumor mill works up close. Here’s an example of one that doesn’t exist anymore, but was the bane of my teenage years.

When I was a growing up, most of the people in my area had party line telephones. For those of you scratching your head – these had nothing to do with a party and everything to do with fueling the local rumor mill.

A party line telephone was one where multiple households were on the same line and each home had a particular set of rings to let them know someone was calling them. The ring for my house was two shorts and a long. And, yes, it worked exactly like is sounds. Two short rings followed by one long ring.

Any other combination was for another home. And all of us knew what combination of rings went with which home. And, if you very quietly picked up the phone at your house, you could listen in to every word of every conversation taking place. Night or day. See how that rumor mill worked back then?

That particular rumor mill option no longer exists. But, I think Facebook may run a nice second. Have you noticed, something that can be taken as a personal insult or construed as being a cut against someone is posted and folks are off to the races on the rumor mill.

In Death said the Gypsy Queen, the fourth book in the Lily Gayle Lambert mystery series, I use the local rumor mill as a backdrop to create momentum in the story line. The prophecy of the fortune-teller combines with a secret that’s rumbling underground just waiting to explode into danger for all of our favorite characters.

About Death Said the Gypsy Queen

DeathGypsyQueencover“Beware the sign of the vampire blood,” said the fortune teller. “It brings madness and turmoil.”

Lily Gayle knows what that means, but, for the life of her, can’t figure out how the fortune teller does. A quick road trip with Dixie. An unplanned stop at a roadside park. And, an hour later a dead body. Lily Gayle, Dixie and Miss Edna find themselves knee deep in another homicide investigation when the local vet assistant turns up dead behind an outbuilding at the farmers market.

Lily Gayle believes the words of the fortune teller will have a major impact on the investigation but can’t bring herself to tell the other ladies. To reveal what she believes the words mean might bring trouble to another old friend. And would betray a trust. Only Ben knows and he, as usual, advises Lily Gayle to stay out of his investigation – which she isn’t about to do.

When the secret is revealed, the townspeople go mad and the fortune tellers words come true. Can Lily Gayle, Dixie and Miss Edna solve the murder before more people are harmed?

Purchase linkAmazon

Giveaway

Click to enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a tote bag, an autographed paperback of Death of a Wolfman, a flour sack kitchen towel with the logo on it and four custom bookmarks with a charm featuring the cover of each of the four Lily Gayle Lambert books.

About the Author

Susan is the award-winning author of the Lily Gayle Lambert Mystery Series and a contributing author to the Brotherhood Protectors World.

Susan-Best-Head-ShotA 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. She currently writes the Lily Gayle Lambert mystery series set in the fictional town of Mercy, Mississippi featuring a multi-generational cast of female sleuths and romantic suspense in the Brotherhood Protectors Kindle World.

Susan writes mysteries and set in the big city of Memphis, TN and the fictional small town of Mercy, Mississippi.

Connect with Susan:
Susan loves to hear from readers and book lovers! Visit her website at http://www.susanbolesauthor.com  or drop her a line at susan@susanbolesauthor.com

Author Links: Website  Twitter – @SusanBAuthor – Blog – Facebook – Linked In – GoodReads Instagram – Pinterest – Bookbub

Review & Giveaway: K STREET KILLING by Colleen J. Shogan

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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I recently read a new mystery set in one of my favorite places – Washington, D.C.  Released this past summer,  K Street Killing  is the fourth book in Colleen J. Shogan Washington Whodunit series.

Description

KStreetCoverIt’s the height of campaign season, and instead of relishing newlywed bliss with her husband Doug Hollingsworth, Capitol Hill staffer Kit Marshall is busy with a tough reelection fight for her boss, member of Congress Maeve Dixon. Before Maeve and her staff–Kit included–leave Washington, D.C. to campaign full time in North Carolina, they have one last fundraising engagement.

On the iconic rooftop of a restaurant overlooking the Capitol and the Washington monument, Kit and her best pal Meg do their best to woo wealthy lobbyists for sizable campaign donations. Everyone’s enjoying the evening soiree until a powerful K Street tycoon mysteriously tumbles off the rooftop. Even with claims the fall must be suicide, Detective Maggie Glass and Kit aren’t so easily convinced foul play isn’t at work. While balancing Doug’s mid-life career crisis, Kit must spring into action to discover who killed the notorious Van Parker before Dixon’s candidacy sputters, even if it means investigating Meg’s handsome new beau, the victim’s conniving widow, and a bicycle advocate hell-bent on settling a long-standing grudge. When threatening note is left on Kit’s car, warning her to back off the investigation, she knows she’s closing in on the true story of what happened.

My Review

This well written mystery provides an interesting glimpse into the world of congressional staffers and their interactions with lobbyists. Kit Marshall is single-minded in her determination to wrap up the murder investigation and get back to her boss’s campaign. She actively seeks to identify the killer, even though it should be the police’s job.  I found the detective’s acceptance of her meddling to be a bit unrealistic.   Nonetheless, the well-paced plot held my interest throughout.  I found the setup leading to the mystery’s resolution reminiscent of Agatha Christie and other traditional mystery writers. And, of course, I loved Clarence and his antics.

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 for a chance to win a $50 Amazon gift card.

About the Author

KShogan_authorpicColleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. She conceived of the plot of her first mystery one morning while taking a walk in her suburban Washington, D.C. neighborhood. A political scientist, she previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate and as the Deputy Director of the Congressional Research Service. She is currently a senior executive at the Library of Congress who works on great initiatives such as the National Book Festival. Colleen lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob and their beagle mutt Conan. She is the recipient of the Next Generation Indie Prize for Best Mystery.

Author Links

Purchase Links:  Amazon  B&N

Click here to check out the rest of the stops on this blog tour.

Cozy Happenings – September 2018

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

Recent or Upcoming Releases – Check’em Out!

Sept-NR-Disheartened Sept-NR+Ride Sept-NR_FFM Sept-NR_Noel

Free or Discounted Books

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And, last but not least – you won’t want to miss out on the Mystery Lover’s Mega Sale for a great selection of free and bargain books from your favorite mystery authors.

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Happy reading!

Review & Excerpt: CRIMINAL MISDEEDS by Randee Green

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As part of a book tour organized by Partners in Crime, I recently had the pleasure of reading Criminal Misdeeds, the first in a new series by a new author. Fun read.

Description

As far back as the Shatners can be traced, they have been breaking the law and running from it. It’s a family tradition. Now Carrie Shatner is a detective and crime-scene technician with the Wyatt County Sheriff’s Department in Eastern Texas. Over the years, she has tried to distance herself from her family’s criminal activities. But that is easier said than done.

criminal_misdeeds_300-1The Shatner family is celebrating New Year’s Eve at the Wyatt County Fairgrounds in their usual style: illegal fireworks, homemade moonshine, and a near brawl. After shutting down the party, Carrie does a final sweep of the fairgrounds and finds a dead body in a dumpster.

Good news: the dead man is not a Shatner. Bad news: the Shatners are now suspects in a homicide investigation. Soon the fairgrounds are overrun with law enforcement, including Sergeant Jerrod Hardy, a Texas Ranger. The victim is Kyle Vance, Carrie’s ex-boyfriend and a member of the Palmer family, who have been feuding with the Shatners since the Civil War.

Despite serious misgivings, Hardy allows Carrie to help him investigate. He knows she physically couldn’t have beaten Vance to death, but he wonders if she is covering for a family member.

My Review

Imagine trying to uphold the law when your family is prone to violating the law on a regular basis.  Figuring out where to draw the line between family loyalties and her job is an ongoing challenge for Carrie Shatner.  And her family isn’t making matters any easier, especially when the crime is murder and the victim is a Palmer.   But Carrie is   feisty enough to stand up to her relatives – sometimes, anyway.

Carrie is candid and entertaining. With a light conversational tone, it is almost as if an old friend is recounting an absurd episode in her life.  The plot was at the same time predictable and surprising. The course of events and revelations that led up to the resolution included twists and the identity of the killer came as a surprise to me.

This fast-paced mystery is likely to appeal to fans of cozy and other light mysteries.  I look forward to reading more about Carrie’s adventures in the future.

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.

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

Read an excerpt:

Criminal Misdeeds by Randee Green

CHAPTER ONE

I come from a long line of criminals.

Moonshiners, rumrunners, and drug dealers. Horse thieves and carjackers. Bank robbers, burglars, pickpockets, and con artists. And then there has been the occasional killer. You name it, whether it’s a felony or a misdemeanor, somewhere along the line a member of my family has committed it.

As far back as the Shatner family could be traced – from southern England to the mountains of western North Carolina, and now to the Piney Woods of East Texas – we had been breaking the law. And running from it, too.

It was a family tradition.

You see, the Shatners have never swum in the baby pool of life. We’ve always been out in the deep end, and we jumped in headfirst.

As for me, every day I fight my genetic predisposition to break the law. Some days I’ve been more successful than others. You see, I can’t break the law when I’m the one who is supposed to be upholding it.

My name is Carrie Shatner, and for the last three-and-a-half years I have worked as a detective and crime scene technician for the Wyatt County Sheriff’s Department in East Texas. That would put my Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University to good use except there wasn’t a whole heck of a lot of serious crime in Wyatt County. I mainly sat behind my desk all day, twiddling my thumbs, playing Sudoku, and keeping up with my various social media accounts.

While my official job was to process crime scenes and deal with all parts of criminal investigations, my unofficial job was to cover up my family’s illegal activities and keep them out of jail. I’d be the first to admit that what I have been doing wasn’t ethical. It was probably also criminal. I tried not to think about that too much. To be honest, I tried not to think about any of it too much. Most days I felt like quitting my job. Family obligation prevented that.

I’m not saying that all of the Shatners have been hardened criminals. Sure, most of the older ones were. But at least some of the younger ones shied away from the family business and seemed to be sticking to the straight and narrow. And they were the reason why I do what I do. Yes, I clean up the crimes of the guilty. But I do it to protect the innocent.

These days, the laws my various family members break have been fairly minor ones. Okay, some were still kind of major. But it was nothing compared to what we used to engage in. I mean, I’m pretty sure we were no longer involved in contract killing or organized crime.

What I did know was that my great-uncles had a moonshine still out in the woods and a marijuana crop concealed in a bunch of old Cold War bomb shelters. Every time I caught one of my family members selling the homebrew or the pot, they would promise me it was the last time. I didn’t believe them. I didn’t arrest them either, because I knew it wouldn’t stop them. It would also infuriate the rest of the family. And, while tempting, that wasn’t a risk I was quite willing to take. At least not yet.

Occasionally, one of the younger Shatners would steal a car or deface some public property or get busted for underage drinking. The older Shatners were always getting nabbed for public indecency and public intoxication. Some of them were also heavily involved in insurance scams. And then there had been the occasional assault. But we hadn’t killed anyone – accidently or on purpose – in years. Or, if someone had, I didn’t know about it.

When you got down to it, the majority of the bad things that the Shatners have done were just plain dumb. And, as far as I knew, being stupid wasn’t illegal. We would have been in serious trouble otherwise.

I don’t want you to go into this thinking that all of the Shatners were bad people. Most of them have just been a little misguided.

At least that’s what I kept telling myself.

Until I found the body.

Excerpt from Criminal Misdeeds by Randee Green. Copyright © 20178. All rights reserved.

About the Author

randee-bretherick-green-author-photo.jpgRandee Green’s passion for reading began in grade school with Little House in the Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder. She has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature, as well as a master’s and an MFA in Creative Writing. When not writing, she’s usually reading, indulging in her passion for Texas country music, traveling, or hanging out with her favorite feline friend, Mr. Snookums G. Cat.

Catch Up With Randee Green On:
randeegreen.com 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

 

Release Spotlight & Excerpt: A NEW PLACE, ANOTHER MURDER by Christa Nardi

As a fan of Christa Nardi’s Cold Creek Mystery series, I was glad to hear that the main character,  Prof. Sheridan Hendley, is back in A New Place, Another Murder (A Sheridan Hendley Mystery Book 1), which was released last month.

Description

NewplaceSometimes you need to be careful what you wish for.
Pretty much settled into her new home in Appomattox with Brett and his daughter, Sheridan longs for something to keep her busy.  That is, until Maddie and her new friend are framed for theft and murder.  Not quite the distraction she had hoped for, but she’ll turn over every rock to prove their innocence.  In the process, she learns about the powerful Buchanan family and the history of the local community.  Will the truth come out before the person calling the shots takes Sheridan and Maddie out of the picture?

You can get your copy of A New Place, Another Murder on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DZDQWW4/

About the Author

Christa Nardi is an accomplished author of cozy mysteries. Christa’s background is in higher education and psychology, much as her protagonist, Sheridan Hendley in the Cold Creek mystery series.

012.jpgMurder at Cold Creek College is the first in this series set in a small, fictitious town in Virginia and Sheridan is an accidental sleuth called on to assist the detective in charge of a colleague’s murder. The fifth and last in the series, Murder and a Wedding, was released on August 10, 2017. Sheridan may be moving, but she still gets involved in mysteries.

The first book in her Stacie Maroni series, Prestige, Privilege and Murder, was released in January 2018, and feature a strong female at a crossroads in her life.  A second book is expected to release early this fall.

In addition, Christa collaborates with Cassidy Salem on a YA mystery series featuring teen sisters. The first book, The Mysterious Package – A Hannah and Tamar Mystery, was released in October 2016. The second, Mrs. Tedesco’s Missing Cookbook, was released in April 2017. The Misplaced Dog was added in August 2017. The fourth in the series, Malicious Mischief released in April 2018.

You can contact Christa via twitter @ChristaN7777 or via email: cccnardi@gmail.com or on her blog christanardi.blogspot.com.  Sign up for her monthly newsletter at http://smarturl.it/NardiNewsletter

Read an excerpt from A New Place, Another Murder:

My complaints to my close friend, Kim, about boredom were interrupted by the slamming of the front door and I ended my call. Probably something I’d have to get used to as step-mom to a teenager. In the kitchen, I found Maddie, her backpack thrown on the floor. She was stomping around the counter island, her face in a pout.

“What’s up Maddie?”

“You won’t believe what happened today. It’s unbelievable. I still can’t believe it and I was there.”

Her voice rose an octave as she vented and I had no clue what she was talking about. Maddie went to a variety of activities during the week. They were called “camps” but that seemed a misnomer to me. Robotics, theater, and computers were not quite what I thought of as a “camp.” I waited a few seconds and she ranted some more.

“Alex was accused of stealing money from the office. It was in his backpack, but he didn’t steal it. They didn’t even give him a chance to explain. They called his mom and took him away. He was mortified.”

“Calm down and help me understand. Can we back up please? Who’s Alex?”

“He’s one of the kids attending all these camps with me. Of all the kids, he’s been the nicest to me. I don’t understand why they don’t believe he had no idea how the money got in his backpack.”

She finally simmered down and plopped into a chair, a grimace on her face.

“You may be upset for nothing. Once they got him to the station with his parents and got more information, they may have figured out they made a mistake. But why would they think he stole the money and why are you so sure he didn’t do it?”

“I don’t understand why they picked on him. The officer walked in and asked for him. Then asked where his backpack was. Alex pointed to his pack and the officer went over, opened it and pulled out an envelope and money fell out. It wasn’t even hidden. Then they grabbed him. He looked around but nobody helped him. I didn’t know what to do to help him.”

“What makes you think he’s innocent? How else would it get in his backpack?”

“You don’t understand! Alex’s nice. He … He wouldn’t do that.”

“How do you think the money ended up in his backpack then?”

“I’m not sure and Dad says I shouldn’t accuse people without facts. When the police came and asked for Alex, two other boys snickered and fist-bumped. I think they set him up. All our backpacks stay in the main room while we go in and out. They could have stolen the money and stuck it in his pack. Then they must have called the police and made an anonymous report or something. We’ve got to help him.” She stomped around the kitchen some more and kicked her backpack.

“Maddie, is your backpack in the same place as Alex’s and the others’?”

She turned to me and nodded. “Yeah, why? They’re all together in the main room.”

“Humor me, okay? Can you dump everything out of your backpack and make sure that the only things in there really belong to you?”

I cleaned off the table and she emptied her back pack onto the table. Books, brush, hair ties, crumpled up papers, pens, pencils, stale cookie, and an envelope.

“What? Where did that come from?” Her eyes opened wide. She went to grab the envelope and I caught her hand.

“Don’t touch it. You don’t know where the envelope came from or what’s inside?”

She shook her head, eyes wide. “Am I going to get arrested now, too?”

“I don’t think it will come to that. Your dad will be home in a little while and we’ll show him what we found. He’ll decide what to do. But don’t touch the envelope in case there are fingerprints or something else that might help identify who handled that envelope, okay?”

She nodded and sat down, staring at the mess.

“Is that everything? What about the pockets? Everything out, even the crumbs.” I realized this was going to be the cleanest this backpack had been since she got it almost a year ago. Maddie emptied and gasped as she found another envelope in one of the outside pockets.

“Sheridan, there’s another one here. Oh, no, I touched the edge!”

“It’s okay. Let me see if I can find something…” I rummaged through the kitchen drawer and pulled out serving tongs. “I’ll use these tongs and pull it the rest of the way out.” It took a few tries, but I managed to get the envelope out and dropped it with the other one. Then I released the tongs and left them on top.

“Now what?”

“Why don’t you go through all the stuff you just dumped here and either throw it away or put it back in the backpack. Except the two envelopes. In the meantime, I’ll work on finishing up the meatloaf and potatoes for dinner. Later, after we talk to your Dad, you might wipe the whole thing down with a sanitizer.”

She made a face. “This cookie doesn’t look so good. Did you make any more today?”

I looked at the cookie she’d picked up out of the pile. “That one bit the dust. Yes, there are more cookies over on the counter – only one, please. We’ll be eating in an hour.”
Somehow, my boring day seemed preferable to the drama. The idea of the camps was giving Maddie something to do. A big benefit, the camps provided an opportunity for her to make friends before starting at her new middle school in the fall. As with most 13-year-olds, middle school was a big deal. It was convenient she attended the camps at Clover Leaf Middle School where she’d be a student. And it had been working until then.

***

Maddie and I finished the dinner preparation and set the table as Brett pulled in the driveway. He raked his hand through his dark curly hair. That was a sure sign that he was tired or stressed. This situation with Maddie would push him over the edge, likely add a few gray hairs. Meeting him at the door, we kissed and that at least brought a smile to his eyes.

“Hungry?”

He looked past me to Maddie. I followed his gaze. Shoulders dropped and mouth quivering, she’d lost her independent teen, “I can take on the world” attitude.

“What’s wrong?”

He’d barely got the words out and she was in his arms, sobbing. Her long brown hair fell over her shoulders.

“Maddie’s friend, Alex, is in trouble. He’s been accused of stealing money. Maddie thinks he’s been arrested. The police found an envelope with money in his backpack.”

“Do you want me to see if I can find out what happened with your friend?” He caught my expression and his jaw clenched. “That’s not all, is it?”

“Afraid not. Maddie is sure he was set up, that somebody put the envelope in his backpack. When she told me both their backpacks were unattended in the room, I had her empty out hers. We found two envelopes that aren’t hers.”

His jaw clenched, he mumbled. “We’ll figure this out. Let me call Chief Peabody and have him send someone over.”

“I’ll finish putting dinner on the table. I imagine they’ll be tied up for a while.”
Brett nodded and walked down the hall to our office. Maddie moved as if to follow him and I stopped her. “He’ll take care of it and you can help me in the kitchen.”

A few minutes later, he joined us. “There was a shooting. It’ll be a while. Envelopes under the tongs?”

“We used the tongs so we wouldn’t touch them.”

He nodded. It was a quiet dinner, the envelopes grabbing our attention and dampening our usual dinnertime banter. We cleaned up and waited.

A New Place, Another Murder. Copyright © 2018. All rights reserved.

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

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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

 

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: BLUEBONNET 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.