Review & Giveaway: DEATH, DIAMONDS, AND FREEZER BURN by Tricia L. Sanders

DEATH-DIAMONDS-AND-FREEZER-BURN-BANNER-184

As part of a tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I recently had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of Death, Diamonds, and Freezer Burn: A Grime Pays Mystery, by Tricia L. Sanders.

Description

An unwelcome visitor, an unrequited love, and a dead body create chaos in a middle-aged woman’s plan for a productive summer.

DeathDiamondsFreezerB2_850Despite a looming divorce, an empty checkbook, and a struggling cleaning business, Cece Cavanaugh is determined to land on her own two feet. Adamant about staying a safe distance from the handsome detective who has her fantasizing about violating the morals clause in her prenuptial agreement, Cece dives headlong into her work.

Even though she has no free time to spare, Cece finds herself guilted into cleaning a hoarder’s home. Her discoveries in the condemned house are too shocking to ignore. Diamond-laden pachyderms, a secret cache of money, and a dead body lure Cece into launching an investigation that places her in direct contact with the one person she’s desperate to avoid–hunky Detective Case Alder.

With clues in hand, Cece runs down leads and eliminates suspects one by one. Her conclusion and brave accusation put a friend’s life in peril forcing Cece to hatch a plan to outsmart the killer. A daring move could either save Cece and her friend or lead to their demise.

My Review

I really enjoyed meeting up with Cece again as she continues to assert her independence while attempting to solve another mystery. She is good hearted and quick to help others, even an obnoxious woman she doesn’t particularly like.  Cece and her cohorts are well-developed characters and it was interesting to see how their relationships developed over time.   The plot was fairly intricate with a mix of somewhat predictable and totally unpredictable revelations about the diamonds, the dead body, and more.   This  well-paced mystery is likely to please fans of cozy mysteries.

Although this is the second book in the Grime Pays Mystery series, it can be read as a standalone.  Nonetheless, you might also enjoy reading the first one – Murder is a Dirty Business, which I reviewed on this blog earlier this year.

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 link:  Amazon

Giveaway

Click to enter a rafflecopter giveaway for a chance to win a Kindle copy of Murder is a Dirty Business.

About the Author

TriciaSandersTricia L. Sanders writes cozy mysteries and women’s fiction. She adds a dash of romance and a sprinkling of snark to raise the stakes. Her heroines are humorous women embarking on journeys of self-discovery all the while doing so with class, sass, and a touch of kickass.

Tricia is an avid St. Louis Cardinals fan, so don’t get between her and the television when a game is on. Currently, she is working on a mystery series set in the fictional town of Wickford, Missouri. Another project in the works is a women’s fiction road trip adventure.

A former instructional designer and corporate trainer, she traded in curriculum writing for novel writing, because she hates bullet points and loves to make stuff up. And fiction is more fun than training guides and lesson plans.

Author Links

Advertisements

Release Spotlight, Review & Giveaway: MURDER AT ARCHLY MANOR by Sara Rosett

MURDER-AT-ARCHLY-MANOR-184

As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s post spotlights Murder At Archly Manor, the first installment in a new historical cozy mystery series by USA Today bestselling author Sara Rosett.   As a fan of both cozies and historical fiction, I was glad for a chance to read it.

Description

A high-society murder. A spirited lady detective. Can she out-class the killer before an innocent person takes the fall?

HS-1-Archly-1London, 1923. Olive Belgrave needs a job. Despite her aristocratic upbringing, she’s penniless. Determined to support herself, she jumps at an unconventional job—looking into the background of her cousin’s fiancé, Alfred. He burst into the upper crust world of London’s high society, but his answers to questions about his past are decidedly vague.

Before Olive can gather more than the basics, a murder occurs at a posh party. Suddenly, every Bright Young Person in attendance is a suspect, and Olive must race to find the culprit because a sly murderer is determined to make sure Olive’s first case is her last.

Murder at Archly Manor is the first in the High Society Lady Detective series of charming historical cozy mysteries. If you like witty banter, glamorous settings, and delightful plot twists, you’ll love USA Today bestselling author Sara Rosett’s series for Anglophiles and mystery lovers alike. Travel back to the Golden Age of detective fiction with Murder at Archly Manor.

My Review

I really enjoyed this book, which transports the reader back almost a century to the era of flappers and vaudeville. The author did a fine job of creating a mystery set in British society in the 1920s.  The descriptions of the clothing and settings gave a good feel for the times without getting long-winded.

From the onset of the story, I found myself rooting for Olive as she struggles to support herself in a time when well-bred, independent working females – or should I say ladies – were not the norm.  Olive is sweet and spunky at the same time, and very loyal to her cousins, who are better situated in life.

Quirky and mysterious characters, secrets that must be kept at all costs, and an interesting,  somewhat unpredictable plot made for a very enjoyable read.  I look forward to reading more about Olive and her adventures in the future.FTC Disclosure: I received an advance review copy of this book without obligation and have voluntarily chosen to share my honest review.

Giveaway

Click to enter a rafflecopter for a chance to win a spectacular Prize Package, including a signed print copy of Murder at Archly Manor and more.

About the Author

SARA-ROSETTUSA Today bestselling author Sara Rosett writes light-hearted escapes for readers who enjoy puzzling mysteries, interesting settings, and quirky characters.

She is the author of the Murder on Location series, the Ellie Avery series, the On the Run series, and the High Society Lady Detective series. Sara also teaches an online course, How to Outline A Cozy Mystery.

Publishers Weekly called Sara’s books, “satisfying,” “well-executed,” and “sparkling.” Sara loves to get new stamps in her passport and considers dark chocolate a daily requirement. Find out more at SaraRosett.com.

Author Links:

Purchase Links:

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

FINDERS-NOT-KEEPERS-BANNER-184

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

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

K-STREET-KILLING-BANNER-184

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.

Review & Excerpt: CRIMINAL MISDEEDS by Randee Green

criminal-misdeeds-by-randee-greenBanner

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 🔗!

 

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.

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.

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, Excerpt & Giveaway: DEAD AIR by Cliff Protzman

dead-air-tour-banner

As part of a blog tour organized by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours, I recently read had the opportunity to read Dead Air, a suspense-filled read by Cliff Protzman.

Description

Dead Air signals trouble at the radio station. Glenn Beckert discovers his high school best friend is shot in the head while on the air. Beck, the owner of Blue Water Security, is employed to provide security for the station.

DeadAirCoverHe becomes willingly embroiled in the investigation by the not-so-innocent widow. The list of potential suspects is long, gleaned from the numerous extramarital affairs of the victim and widow. The pending sale of the radio station has created friction between his now dead friend, Richie Zito and the major stockholders. Motives for murder becomes increasingly murky after the search reveals an encrypted file on Zito’s laptop.

Beck enlists the help of a friend from college, Irene Schade, to break the code, revealing a money laundering network leading to the financial and political powers of his beloved city of Pittsburgh. Their collaboration ignites the flames of passion each had considered extinguished.

A former college teammate, police Lieutenant Paglironi delivers a message to back off. Arrogantly, he ignores his friend’s advice. The threats from less friendly sources are more ominous, forcing Beck to move in an unfamiliar world. A startling revelation from his client forces Beck to deal with his inner conviction of right and wrong, challenging the gray areas of his ethical principles. Betraying his client’s confidence could expose the killer. The alternative is to confront the suspect and take matters into his own hands. Either way his life is in jeopardy.

Get your copy of Dead Air from: Amazon & Barnes & Noble! Plus add it to your Goodreads list!

My Review

In this somewhat gritty mystery, Beck investigates the murder of a close friend.  Beck is decent guy and a good investigator, though he does occasionally bend the rules to get the job done. The dynamic between Beck and Paglironi is an interesting one, and one that helps Beck to make more progress on his investigation than would otherwise be possible.  For the most part, the mystery unfolded at a nice pace – though there were a few places in the middle where I’d have preferred to see more action and less description.  Overall, an interesting mystery with a fair number of twists, with the identity and motives of the perpetrators revealed only as the book neared its end.

Note: If you are easily offended by the use of gratuitous profanity, this book might not be for you.

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.

Read an excerpt:

Dead Air. It was the most unforgivable of sins. I was standing at the bar in Jergel’s Rhythm Grille in Warrendale, PA when the overhead sound system finished blaring “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida,” the seventeen-minute, two-second version, then dove into silence… and stayed there.

Minutes crawled past while WZOC, better known as Z-Rock to Pittsburgh-area listeners, remained silent. The long version of the Iron Butterfly song was played when DJs need extended bathroom time. Apparently, it was not enough time.

The seventeen-thousand-square-foot bar and restaurant was beginning to fill up. The stage hands scrambled over the stage in a well-orchestrated dance as they prepared the stage at the rear of the building. I was at the front bar, one of six serving the customers. The crowd noise increased due to the silent overhead system. The bartenders and service personnel went about their jobs, oblivious to the lack of music. I appeared to be the only person who noticed it. The dead air was an unexpected lapse for a normally proficient staff at Z-Rock. The station owned by my high school best friend, had been my first client, so I was always glad when the bar staff piped it in to provide background noise.

A Pittsburgh favorite, The Clarks, were scheduled to take the stage in forty-five minutes. Their classic rock style was often compared to Tom Petty. Z-Rock had introduced The Clarks to the Pittsburgh market, and it remained a strong supporter of the band. They had parlayed the station’s promotion into a broader following along the Southern Atlantic states. The quartet was almost as well-known in the city as the Pittsburgh Steelers’ starting lineup. I had had the great fortune to see many of their local performances.

Before heading to the front door, I finished my IC Light, a low- calorie brew from Pittsburgh Brewing. The bartender grabbed my empty bottle and asked, “Another one, Beck?”

“No thanks; probably later.” I headed toward the entrance, featuring solid wood double doors, the left side closed to restrain the incoming crowd. The line stretched outside beyond my view.

My firm was in charge of crowd control for the event. Even though I was on duty tonight, my plan was to be more of a spectator.

In my earpiece, I heard my site manager of Jergel’s security, Lance Parisi. “Beck, we have a problem at the front door. This patron is drunk and belligerent. He may be armed. I’m trying to get him to leave.”

I replied, “On my way.” As the owner of Blue Water Security, I was always glad to help with situations like these. I tried to hire only the best, so backing them with my support was always a pleasure.

An obviously intoxicated man was pointing a finger at Lance who had to be at least six inches taller than the swaying man. “You fucking asshole! I have a ticket! You can’t keep me out!” I heard the word motherfucker and that was that. This wasn’t going to end well for the drunken ticket holder.

In my mouthpiece, I said, “Stay cool, Lance. He’s all talk,” but before I could arrive, the man took a swing at Lance. So much for my expert analysis. In one quick movement, Lance had the man’s right arm twisted behind his back, Lance’s left arm firmly around his neck in a choke hold.

I rushed to Lance’s side. The man’s open coat displayed the butt of a gun in his waistband. I jerked the .38 Special from his belt holster and turned to look him in the eyes. The combined stink of beer and whiskey oozed from him.

Adrenaline was pumping through my body as if facing a 3-2 pitch. I regained my composure before speaking in a calm, determined voice. “Sir, even with a concealed carry permit, it is illegal to bring a gun into a bar, especially when you are intoxicated.” The other patrons waiting to enter had backed away when they saw the gun. “The man with his arm around your neck is going to escort you to the office. The police will be called. I hope you have your permit with you. You can walk to the office quietly. If not, I’m certain Lance will find a way to get you there. Is that clear?”

The man nodded as best he could with Lance’s muscular arm wrapped around his neck. Lance released his stranglehold, keeping a firm grip on the man’s arm. I handed the gun to my employee. The drunk remained calm and allowed Lance to lead him away. Using my mic, I paged Jason Weaver, who had been assigned to dance floor security for the night, to come to the front door.

I remained at the door, checking tickets for the anxious concert fans, until Jason appeared. It was then I realized there was still silence coming from the sound system. The normal professionalism of Z-Rock’s staff made me wonder about the cause of the extended silence. I could imagine engineers scrambling to locate and repair whatever technical problems had occurred.

Jason arrived, assuming Lance’s position at the door. I turned back to the bar as my cell phone rang. “Glenn Beckert,” I answered.

“This is John Waner at Z-Rock.” He paused and I wondered if I was truly surprised to be hearing from my security guard at the station. His voice was high-pitched, his words rushed as he said, “There’s a big problem here.”

“John, what’s the problem?”

“Beck… H-He’s… I don’t know what to do. R-Richie’s been murdered.”

***

Excerpt from Dead Air by Cliff Protzman. Copyright © 2018 by Cliff Protzman. Reproduced with permission from Cliff Protzman. All rights reserved.

Giveaway

Enter the Rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Cliff Protzman for a chance to win an Amazon gift card. The giveaway begins on April 1 and runs through May 2, 2018. Void where prohibited.

About the Authorcliff

Cliff was born and raised in Pittsburgh, PA. Cliff’s family relocated to Northeast Ohio when he was in high school. Immediately after graduation he returned to his hometown to attend the University of Pittsburgh. Cliff planned to major in journalism and write the great American novel. Instead, he switched to Business Administration and began a 30-year career in accounting and finance.

Cliff rekindled his passion for writing acquired as a reporter for his school newspaper. He published his first novel, DEAD AIR: a Glenn Beckert Mystery in September 2017. Cliff also writes short stories. He was a winner in the Unfinished Chapters anthology in 2015. Cliff is a member of the Mystery Writers of America and Pennwriters.

Catch up with Cliff on his Website cliffprotzman.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

Review: WHISKEY AND GUMDROPS by Jean Oram

Light romance tends to provide my go-to break from all the mysteries and thrillers I read. Whiskey and Gumdrops by Jean Oram is a fun read that provided an enjoyable diversion from my usual fare. It is the first book in the author’s five-book Blueberry Springs Series.

Description

Whiskey and Gumdrops: A Blueberry Springs Sweet Romance by [Oram, Jean]One woman. One case of self-denial. One hunky best friend who wants a lot more.

Watching the man she thought she’d marry tie the knot to someone else spurs small-town waitress, Mandy Mattson, to finally pursue her dreams of opening her own restaurant.

But she can’t do it alone. . .

Mandy’s going to need the help of her sexy, long-time best friend, Frankie Smith. He has everything she needs–and more. She fell for him years ago, but has never allowed their friendship to evolve into something more. After all, he’s “Frankie fall-off-the-tower Smith,” and she has no intention of giving her heart to a dare devil like him. But what happens when Frankie asks Mandy to take the biggest dare of all?

My Review

This romance centers around a well-known dilemma whether you should risk losing your best friend by trying to become more than just friends. Mandy is likeable and can’t imagine what she would do without her best friend and so she closes herself off to the possibility of their ever becoming something more. Frankie is wonderful, always at her side, providing support in every possible way, while Mandy does her utmost to push him away. Sometimes you just want to shake some sense into her. Their antics are entertaining as they circle the elephant in the room their strong, mutual attraction until (as in every good romance) they find their happily ever-after. An enjoyable sweet romance.

You can get your copy on Amazon.