Release Spotlight & Giveaway: DEATH ON THE SET by Rose Kerr

Today’s spotlight shines on the first book in a new cozy mystery series Rose Kerr – Death on the Set (A Brenna Flynn Mystery).

About the Book

Former high school guidance counselor turns amateur sleuth to save herself from murder charge on reality show.

Brenna Flynn, returns home to Bayview City after the sudden death of her husband. Unable to find work in her field, she signs up with a temp agency to find employment. Sent on an interview for a cooking reality show, she aces it and gets the job of a production assistant.

On her second day at work, Brenna discovers a body in the studio. She soon learns she’s the police’s primary suspect. Determined to clear her name, she uses some skills she’s honed as a guidance counselor to learn more about the victim. Drawing people out comes naturally to Brenna, and she becomes a confidante to cast and crew on the show.

The stakes are raised with threatening notes, poisonings, and blackmail. Can Brenna uncover who the killer is before someone else dies?

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a special prize package from the author.

About the Author

Rose Kerr grew up in a small community in Nova Scotia. A graduate of Acadia University’s Bachelor of Arts Degree, Recreation and Physical Education, Rose worked for several organizations: Nova Scotia Figure Skating Association, Synchro Swim Nova Scotia, Northern Options for Women, and Contact North|Contact Nord. She traveled from Newfoundland to British Columbia and most provinces in between for work.

Rose and her husband settled in a small town, on the shores of Lake Superior in Northern Ontario to raise their family. A strong believer in lifelong learning, Rose took creative writing courses and began writing mysteries.
More recently, Rose, her husband, and their dog Jake have moved to Southern Ontario. When she isn’t writing, Rose and her husband enjoy exploring the new region.

Rose is a member of Sisters in Crime, the Guppy Online Chapter of Sisters in Crime, and Crime Writers of Canada. For more info visit www.rosekerr.com

Author Links:

Purchase Links – Amazon – Amazon Canada – Kobo – B&N

Visit the tour page for additional stops on the tour for reviews, interviews, and more.

Spotlight & Giveaway: JOUSTING AND JUSTICE by Elizabeth Pantley

Today the spotlight shines on Jousting and Justice, the 5th paranormal cozy mystery in Elizabeth Pantley’s Destiny Falls Mystery and Magic series. I have yet to read it myself, however it sounds interesting. I read and enjoyed a previous book in this series.

About the Book

An invitation to a medieval festival. A ferry ride to a mysterious island. A scheming, inept witch. An office break-in, an unidentified body, and a string of suspects. Can Hayden, her brave, sassy cat, Latifa, and the people of Destiny Falls solve the mystery and enjoy the festival?

Jousting and Justice follows the series format of combining two stories that blend into one. A murder mystery and the island mystery.

The Island Mystery: Hayden and all her friends get an invitation to a medieval festival – but it’s on “the forbidden island.” It’s too enticing to pass up. Of course, strange things will happen once they get there! . . . You’ll also learn the truth about the witch’s sister!

The Murder Mystery: A dead body shows up in the most shocking place. First, they need to figure out who this dead guy is. Then, who killed him and why. There are so many twists and turns on the way to the answers! But we know that Hayden, Latifa, and their family and friends will figure it out and justice will be served.

Hayden’s many adventures in Destiny Falls will keep you guessing with each book in this intriguing series.

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win two books plus a journal from the author.

Deal Alert

The second book in this series, The Disappearance of Emily, is on sale for a limited time – only 99 cents.

About the Author

Elizabeth Pantley says that writing the Destiny Falls Mystery and Magic book series is the most fun she’s ever had at work. Fans of the series say her joy is evident through the stories she tells. Elizabeth is also the internationally bestselling author of The No-Cry Sleep Solution and twelve other books for parents. Her books have been published in over twenty languages. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, the beautiful inspiration for the enchanted Destiny Falls world.

Author Links

Purchase Link – Amazon

Visit additional stops on the tour for reviews, interviews, and more.

Review: MURDER IS A FAMILY BUSINESS by Heather Haven

Every now and then I take a chance and download a book by an author who is new to me. I recently did just that and soon became a fan of The Alvarez Family Murder Mysteries by Heather Haven, which starts with a fun read – Murder is a Family Business.

Description*

It’s a dismal day for the PI firm to the stars of Silicon Valley when their own star is huddled in a phone booth instead of tracking down stolen software. Sadly, ace detective Lee Alvarez is currently taking shelter from a deluge while surveilling some rat of a husband. This is way beneath her dignity!

Worse, she may be trapped with another rat. Something in there just moved.

But Lee’s luck just changed—that’s no drowned rat. It’s her thoroughly drenched, pathetically skinny, and terminally cute new BFF— an orange and white kitten tiny enough to fit in a pocket. Well, forget the surveillance.

When you catch on that this is the kind of mystery that starts with rescuing a kitten, you know you’re in good hands!

But Lee can’t forget the surveillance—she’s been assigned to the case by her formidable boss, the elegant Lila Alvarez (aka her mom), who’s doing a favor for an old friend. When she investigates why the rat hasn’t left his lair, she discovers the worst,— he has a few fresh holes in his chest.

She soon uncovers a criminal web of international proportions amid dark and harrowing dangers she never signed up for. But is she up to a near-death experience? Well! Is a kitten adorable?

*As appears on Amazon.

My Review

A fun cozy mystery. As a private investigator for her company’s family business, Lianna Alvarez is typically tasked with rooting out the culprits behind corporate espionage in Silicon Valley. Except her current case brings her face-to-face with a dead body. The story is told from Lianna’s point of view – the conversational style is candid and humorous. Lianna’s outlook is refreshing and the family interactions add punch. And, of course, the kitten is an adorable addition to the Alvarez clan. Although in some places the writing could have been more polished and with less fashion-oriented details, the plot was interesting with the requisite twists to be found in any mystery. All in all, I enjoyed it.

Cover Reveal: THE FRIDAY NIGHT MYSTERY CLUB by Joanna Campbell

A New Book from Joanna Campbell Slan

A Novel Featuring a Female Amateur Sleuth and Her Friends …

Decatur, Illinois – 1986 …

Release Date September 18, 2021

The Friday Night Mystery Club

A nasty divorce leaves Cragan Collins with a mountain of bills and her grandmother to support. She takes a job as an ad salesperson for The Gazette. The market is tough, but Cragan finds a mentor in business reporter, Robert Smithson. One icy January day, Robert is found dead in a city park. His murder is dismissed as gay-on-gay crime. Cragan asks The Friday Night Mystery Club to find justice for Robert. Will Cragan’s quest for the truth land her on the obituary page?

About Joanna Campbell Slan

“Our best friend, our next-door neighbor, and ourselves with just a touch of the outrageous.” That’s how RT Book Review describes Joanna’s protagonist, Kiki Lowenstein. The truth is that’s a pretty good description of Joanna Campbell Slan as well.
Joanna is a New York Times Bestselling, USA Today Bestselling, and Amazon Bestselling author as well as a woman prone to frequent bursts of crafting frenzy, leaving her with burns from her hot glue gun and paint on her clothes. And the mess? Let’s not even go there.
Otherwise, Joanna’s a productive author with more than 80 written projects to her credit. Her non-fiction work includes how to books, a college textbook for public speakers, and books of personal essays (think Chicken Soup for the Soul).
Currently, she writes five fiction series: The Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series (Agatha Award Finalist, contemporary, St. Louis setting, crafting), the Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series (contemporary, Florida setting, DIY, and recycling), the Jane Eyre Chronicles (Daphne du Maurier Award Winner, 1830s England, based on Charlotte Brontë’s classic), the Sherlock Holmes Fantasy Thrillers (late 1800s, based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s books), and the Zen Cozy Mystery Series (launch 2021).
A former TV talk show host, college teacher, and public relations specialist, Joanna was one of the early Chicken Soup for the Soul contributors. She won a Silver Anvil for her work on the original FarmAid concert to benefit farmers.
In her ongoing quest never to see snow again, Joanna lives with her husband and their Havanese puppy, Jax, on an island off the coast of Florida. You can email her at jcslan@joannaslan.com or visit her website at https://linktr.ee/jcslan.

Author links:  Website  *  Facebook  *  Twitter  *  BookBub  * Pinterest

Review: TO FETCH A KILLER by Maria Hudgins, Teresa Inge, Heather Weidner, and Jayne Ormerod

As part of blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I recently had the pleasure of reading To Fetch a Killer, Four Fun “Tails” of Chaos and Murder by Maria Hudgins, Teresa Inge, Heather Weidner, and Jayne Ormerod.

About the Book(s)

It’s a dog-meet-dog world as a pack of canines team up with their humans to solve mysteries and track down killers. Four mutt-loving authors join their talents in creating this collection of canine-themed novellas which will transport you into the chaotic world of hero dogs who have a nose for murder. Grab a leash and hang on tight…the mutts are on the loose again!

This anthology includes four novellas.

“Sandy Paws” by Maria Hudgins
The Sand Fiddler’s Writers Group has rented a beach house for its annual retreat, but the writers and their canine friends can’t get much done after murder rears its ugly head.

“A New Leash on Death” by Teresa Inge
Catt Ramsey, owner of the Woof-Pack Dog Walkers, has a knack for finding dead bodies, but when she and her pups are on the case, there’s no way the killer will get away with murder.

“Wags to Riches” by Heather Weidner
When a prickly guest ends up dead in his booth at the rummage sale, track owner, Cassidy Green and her Rottweiler Oliver have to sniff out clues and find the killer before another murder is forever linked to her business.

“Bone Appetit” by Jayne Ormerod
A dead guest at private chef Molly Perkins’s dinner party draws her and house dog Tater in a chaotic search for the secret ingredient to murder.

My Review

As a dog lover, I definitely enjoyed these “tails.” Although all of the stories were interesting and well written, the writers each have their own style. Each of the stories is set in a different milieu, with its own characters – from writers, to dog walkers, to a private chef. I particularly enjoyed “A New Leash on Death,” with its ambitious and likable main character, its loveable dogs, and the occasional laugh out loud moments. Catt is making admirable efforts to launch her new business and the latest corpse is not making it easy. Of course, a story about a dog walking business is bound to include lots of dogs. I also found “Wags to Riches” to be an interesting and original read, set against the unique backdrop of family-owned racetrack.

Overall, this anthology is a great choice for dog lovers who enjoy light mysteries.

FTC disclosure: I received an advance review copy of this book. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win one of five digital copies of To Fetch a Killer.

About the Authors

MARIA HUDGINS is a mystery writer from coastal Virginia and a lover of animals. She writes the Dotsy Lamb Travel Mysteries and the Lacy Glass Archaeology Mysteries. Her short stories appear in such publications as Virginia is for Mysteries, Fifty Shades of Cabernet, Murder by the Glass, and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. The two dogs, Trey and Kim, featured in this story are based on Hudgins’s beloved Bichons, Holly and Hamilton, now gone but never forgotten.

TERESA INGE grew up reading Nancy Drew mysteries. Combining her love of reading mysteries and writing professional articles led to writing short fiction and novellas.

Today, she doesn’t carry a rod like her idol but she hot rods. She juggles assisting two busy executives at a financial firm and is president of the Sisters in Crime, Mystery by the Sea chapter. Teresa is a contributing author to the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Mutt Mysteries series, Coastal Crimes, and Murder by the Glass, Cocktail Mysteries.

She resides in Southeastern Virginia with her husband and two dogs. She can be reached on all social media or by posting a comment on her website.

Heather Weidner has been a cop’s kid, technical writer, editor, college professor, software tester, and IT manager. She writes the Delanie Fitzgerald mystery series set in Virginia (Secret Lives and Private Eyes, The Tulip Shirt Murders, and Glitter, Glam, and Contraband). Her new cozy series with vintage trailers and tiny houses, the Jules Keene Glamping Mysteries, launches in October 2021.

Her short stories appear in the Virginia is for Mysteries series, 50 Shades of Cabernet, Deadly Southern Charm, and Murder by the Glass, and her novellas appear in The Mutt Mysteries series (To Fetch a Thief, To Fetch a Scoundrel, To Fetch a Villain, and To Fetch a Killer).

She is a member of Sisters in Crime – Central Virginia, Sisters in Crime – Chessie, Guppies, International Thriller Writers, and James River Writers.

Originally from Virginia Beach, Heather has been a mystery fan since Scooby-Doo and Nancy Drew. She lives in Central Virginia with her husband and a pair of Jack Russell terriers.

JAYNE ORMEROD grew up in a small Ohio town then went on to a small-town Ohio college. Upon earning her degree in accountancy, she became a CIA (that’s not a sexy spy thing, but a Certified Internal Auditor.) She married a naval officer and off they sailed to see the world. After nineteen moves, they, along with their two rescue dogs Tiller and Scout, have settled into a cozy cottage by the Chesapeake Bay. Jayne’s publishing credits include two novels, five novellas, and eight short mysteries, with more coming soon. A complete list can be found on her website.

MUTT MYSTERIES 

Purchase Link – Amazon – Apple Books – Nook – Kobo 

Click here to visit additional stops on this tour for more reviews, author interviews, and guest posts.

Release Spotlight & Giveaway: MURDER ON HONKY-TONK ROW by Rita Moreau

Today’s post shines the spotlight on a new paranormal mystery – Murder on Honky-Tonk Row (A Ghost & Camper Kooky Mystery) by Rita Moreau.

About the Book

Will camping in the country music capital have Mabel kicking up some saw dust… or line-dancing to her doom?

Despite their good deed in Savannah, Mabel Gold’s ghostly friend Irma remains stuck in Purgatory. So when the plucky sixty-something divorcée pulls her haunted vintage camper into a Nashville campground, she’s expecting Irma to accompany her on the tour of the Grand Ole Opry. But as they two-step into a honky-tonk for some live tunes, they’re shocked to encounter two lost spirits stranded there for the past twenty years after their double homicide.

Though St. Peter hints that solving the long-closed case could get Irma through the Pearly Gates, Mabel has little time to uncover the culprit before she’s due to boot-scoot off to the Badlands. But when shady financials surface and threaten to ruin the honky-tonk owner’s run for governor, trying to help the poor souls pass on could land the fearless sleuth in a whole heap o’ trouble.

Can Mabel collar the killer before she’s singing country-western with choirs of angels?

Murder on Honky-Tonk Row is the second book in the lighthearted Ghost & the Camper kooky mystery series. If you like wacky characters, quick-witted banter, and crooners with a twang, then you’ll love Rita Moreau’s clever caper.

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter for your chance to win a print copy of Murder on Honky-Tonk Row from the author.

About the Author

Rita Moreau is the author of the Mary Catherine Mahoney Mystery series and the Ghost & Camper Kooky Mystery series.

A workaholic by nature, upon retirement, Rita Moreau began work on her bucket list, writing a book. Traveling the national parks with her husband George in a vintage Bluebird motor home, (on George’s list), Rita completed her first novel Bribing Saint Anthony. Back home she completed Nuns! Psychics! & Gypsies! OH! NO, Feisty Nuns and The Russian & Aunt Sophia and The House on Xenia. Last year when we entered the Twilight Zone Rita wrote the first two new novels in the Ghost & the Camper series. Rita and her husband live in a postcard called Florida where he has fun telling everyone he is the author’s husband. When not writing she joins PatZi Gil on the Joy on Paper radio program with Book Buzz Mysteries, or you can find her teaching SilverSneakers fitness classes and doing her best to keep busy. She loves connecting with readers. Visit her at http://www.RitaMoreau.com or find her on Facebook at facebook.com/RitaMoreauAuthor. She would love to hear from you.

Author Links

Website – Facebook – Twitter – Instagram – Radio – GoodReads 

Purchase Link – Amazon

Review & Giveaway: THE WIPEOUT AFFAIR by Rachel Neuburger Reynolds

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As part of a blog tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, I recently had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of  The Wipeout Affair, the second book in the Red Frog Beach Mystery Series by Rachel Neuburger Reynolds.

About the Book

Ready to go back to the beach?
51tf2O1OGLL._SY346_Lexie Milano left her heart in Bocas del Toro, and the new and improved New Yorker makes the big choice to move to the laid-back Caribbean island permanently. Piña coladas, white sand beaches, and a little cabin of her own on the edge of the rainforest complete her picture of the perfect tropical future awaiting her. But if it looks too good to be true, it usually is. . . .

When the body of a beautiful wealthy local is found at an isolated surf camp, the owner calls on Lexie to help him figure out who did it in this delicious whodunit. Reluctant sleuth Lexie first turns to the police, but her sudden access to a treasure-trove of island secrets convinces her it’s time to solve another murder on her own.

Favorite characters from Drowning Lessons return to grace the pages of this comedic mystery, including Migs, the handsome photographer; Lloyd, the genius with the cryptic past; and Lexie’s new best friend, Detective LaGuardia. Between old friends, new associates, and the added potential of shark attacks, The Wipeout Affair will leave you laughing and guessing until the very end.

This is the second in the series but can be read as a stand alone novel.

My Review

Lexi has escaped her old life in New York in favor of a paradise-like island on the coast of Panama. She is only starting to put down roots and make friends when her friend Jazz turns up dead.  The prime suspect is one of her employers and someone she feels could not possibly be the culprit, so she takes it upon herself to prove his innocence.

Even though the identity of the murderer didn’t really surprise me, the story was nicely paced with a number of plot twists and suspenseful incidents.   The unusual location, surfer milieu, and somewhat quirky characters made for a book that is a good choice if you are looking for a light, entertaining read.

Note: I have not read the first book in this series.  Although this book can be read as a standalone, I suspect it might be best to read them in order.

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

Giveaway

Enter a rafflecopter giveaway for your chance to win one of 5 ebook copies of The Wipeout Affair.  Good luck!

About the Author

RACHEL-NEUBURGER-REYNOLDSRachel Neuburger Reynolds is the author of the Red Frog Beach Mystery Series. Book 1, Drowning Lessons, was released on May 21, 2019, and the second in the series, The Wipeout Affair, was released on October 17, 2019. She’s also working on a separate series, The Evelyn Bay Murder Mystery series, and has written book one The Death Of A Classic. If all goes as planned you’ll be reading this in 2020. This is the first of book of seven in the series. Two of her plays have been produced in recent years. The Silencer, a cautionary tale about the perils of online dating, premiered at the Edinburgh Festival, followed by a run in New York. Nepenthe, a one-woman show about the 1960’s Hollywood-fication of the Holocaust had its premiere in London, and she is currently in talks about a film adaptation in 2021. Previous to her life of putting pen to paper, she produced theatre in New York City for fifteen years. Though she bounces back and forth between London in New York my headquarters is in Crowhurst on the South Coast of the UK. Please check out more at RachelNeuburger.com

Author Links

Purchase Links:  Amazon – Kindle

Click here to visit the other stops on the tour for more reviews, guest posts and more.

Spotlight: TILL DIRT DO US PART by Teresa Trent

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s spotlight is turning onto the latest mystery by Teresa Trent – Till Dirt Do Us Part – an addition to the Pecan Bayou mystery series.

TDDUP.COVER_Description

Not everything stays buried. When Betsy, a notorious brown thumb gets roped into a gardening contest sponsored by the Pecan Bayou Gazette, she finds herself digging up more than weeds. She is ridiculed by the garden club ladies, and now her heart breaks for a newly single mom whose world has just collapsed. The Happy Hinter is back so take some time to revisit the cozy little town Pecan Bayou, Texas. Grab a glass of sweet tea before you turn the dirt in the garden and sit a spell with all your favorite characters who dole out heartfelt caring and compassion with a side of humor. Till Dirt Do Us Part includes bonus recipes and helpful hints from Betsy’s column!

NEWS Flash!  Till Dirt Do Us Part will be free to download from Amazon May 1-5th.

About the Author

Teresa Trent lives in Houston, Texas and is an award-winning mystery writer.  She writes the Pecan Bayou Mystery Series, is a regular contributor to the Happy Homicides Anthologies. Teresa is happy to add her Henry Park Mystery Series to her publishing credits with Color Me Dead, the first book in the series. Teresa has also won awards for her work in short stories where she loves to dabble in tales that are closer to the Twilight Zone than small town cozies. When Teresa isn’t writing, she is a full-time caregiver for her son and teaches preschoolers music part-time. Her favorite things include spending time with family and friends, waiting for brownies to come out of the oven, and of course, a good mystery.

Author Links

Review: DOUBLE WHAMMY by Gretchen Archer

I recently found a new series to add to my favorites list. Well, considering the first in Gretchen Archer’s A Davis Way Crime Caper series came out in 2013, it’s not really a new series – but it was new to me.

I started the series from the first book – Double Whammy.

Description (from Amazon)

51hbymnebmlDavis Way thinks she’s hit the jackpot when she lands a job as the fifth wheel on an elite security team at the fabulous Bellissimo Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. But once there, she runs straight into her ex-ex-husband, a rigged slot machine, her evil twin, and a trail of dead bodies. Davis learns the truth and it does not set her free—in fact, it lands her in the pokey. Buried under a mistaken identity, her hot streak runs cold until her landlord Bradley Cole steps in. Make that her landlord, lawyer, and love interest. With his help, Davis must win this high stakes game before her luck runs out.

My Review

I loved this book.  It was a fun read that necessitated I suppress my laughter so as not to disturb my husband’s sleep in the early hours of the morning.  The story is told from Davis’s point of view  with a great deal of candor.  She is smart, but she has made a lot of stupid moves in the past, and she knows it.  She gets herself into trouble. A lot. Still she somehow manages to come through unscathed.  And the author leveraged the casino setting to create  quirky characters and absurd situations.  The plot is interesting and the culprits remain a mystery until almost the end.  Is the storyline entirely believable? No. But that didn’t detract from my enjoyment one bit.

Disclosure: I received a review copy of this book free of charge. This has not affected the content of my review.

About the Series

The Davis Way Crime Caper series includes:

Release Spotlight & Giveaway: TREASURE IN PARADISE by Kathi Daley

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As part of a Blog Tour organized by Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours, today’s spotlight is turned on Treasure in Paradise, a new cozy mystery by Kathi Daley.

TreasureInParadise FRONT 2[15190]Description

Tj Jensen and her family head to Turtle Cove Resort for summer vacation, but their plans for rest and relaxation are thwarted when they find a dead treasure hunter in the attic of the resort’s main house. Initially vowing not to get involved, Tj quickly changes her tune when the Gull Island deputy on the case closes it after a bare bones investigation. All evidence points to foul play, and Tj’s determined to uncover what the deputy wants to keep hidden. With the help of her best friend and a chatty parrot, Tj digs up a centuries old legend, a hidden map, and secrets buried deeper than pirate’s treasure.

Giveaway:

For a chance to win an e-copy of Treasure in Paradise from the author, leave a comment about what your idea of paradise might be. (Winner to be selected at random.)

About the Author

Author of the Zoe Donovan cozy Mystery Series, Tj Jensen Paradise Lake Mystery series, Whales and Tails Cozy Mystery Series, Sand and Sea Hawaiian Mysteries, and Seacliff High Teen Cozy Mystery Series.

KathiDaleyCome for the murder, stay for the romance.

Kathi lives in the beautiful alpine community of Lake Tahoe with her husband Ken and dog Echo. When she’s not writing she enjoys hanging out on the beach with her children and grandchildren. During the summer she enjoys hiking, kayaking, mountain biking, wakeboarding, and sunset cruises on the lake. During the winter she enjoys cross country skiing, snowshoeing, and curling up by a fire with a good book.

Kathi uses her mountain home as inspiration for her books, all which include appearances by the wildlife she shares her life with.

Visit Kathi Daley:

Books in the Tj Jensen Mystery Series:

PUMPKINS IN PARADISE (#1)
SNOWMEN IN PARADISE (#2)
BIKINIS IN PARADISE (#3)
CHRISTMAS IN PARADISE(#4)
PUPPIES IN PARADISE (#5)
HALLOWEEN IN PARADISE (#6)
TREASURE IN PARADISE (#7)

Opening Scene from Treasure in Paradise

There is magic in beginnings. Some beginnings come as a rite of passage, such as a graduation from college, the birth of a child, or a wedding day. Other beginnings start off more subtly, as nothing more than an ordinary moment that evolves into a crucial event that, in the end, helps define who you are and who you will become. And then there are the beginnings that arrive on the heels of change. At times we welcome this change with joyful anticipation, while at others we fight to maintain that which we feel we’ve lost. Change can come in gentle waves that shepherd us into a new reality, or it can come in a tornado of destruction that tears apart everything we hold dear to our hearts.

My own new beginning occurred when I packed up two sisters, a grandpa, two very dear friends, four cats, and three dogs, and traveled across the country to help an old friend of my father’s renovate the oceanfront resort he’d been forced to sell. The resort, which consisted of a resident’s home and twenty cabins nestled artfully on a long stretch of beach on the southeastern corner of Gull Island, had been in Garrett Hanford’s family for four generations. Garrett was an only child who’d never married or had children of his own, so when his health began to fail he’d decided he had no choice other than to sell the property he was no longer capable of managing.

The problem was that the resort had fallen into disrepair, and the only buyers interested in the large slice of oceanfront land were developers who didn’t care about the cabins because they planned to tear them down and build a new infrastructure from the ground up. Garrett didn’t want to sell to those large corporations, so in spite of the fact that he was not likely to recover his investment, he’d decided to put some money into the resort and renovate the buildings prior to looking for a buyer who would maintain the integrity of the property he loved. When I learned Garrett had suffered a stroke and would need someone to oversee the renovations, I jumped at the chance to take a step away from a life that had undergone so many changes in the past few months that I no longer recognized it. What I didn’t expect was that by agreeing to spend the summer on Gull Island, I would be trading one set of problems for another.

“Someone from the sheriff’s office should be here in a few minutes,” my best friend, Kyle Donovan, informed me as he joined me in the attic of the three-story house where the two of us, along with my two half sisters Ashley and Gracie, my Grandpa Ben, and a dear friend, Stan Griffin, planned to live that summer.

I glanced in Kyle’s direction with what I was sure was a look of resignation on my face. “What do you think happened to him?”

Kyle’s sandy blond hair had grown long over the past few months and touched his collar as he shrugged. “I’m sure the deputy who shows up will be able to tell us. It looks like he’s been dead for a while.”

“Two weeks at least,” Stan, more commonly known as Doc, agreed. Doc was not only my grandfather, Ben Jensen’s best friend, but was also a retired coroner, so I imagined he knew what he was talking about. “I can’t say for certain without a closer examination of the remains, but based on the fractures on the man’s left temple, I’m going to say the cause of death was blunt force trauma delivered by a right handed individual facing him.”

I grimaced. I don’t know exactly what I expected to find on my first day in over twenty years at Turtle Cove Resort, but in spite of my reputation as an amateur sleuth, I certainly didn’t think I’d be thrust into a murder investigation before I’d even had a chance to unpack.

“Are you okay?” Kyle asked as Doc slipped on the latex glove he carried in his wallet and took a closer look at the body.

“I’m fine.” I looked around the dusty room. “It’s been such a long time since I was here but everything looks exactly like I remember.”

“You spent a lot of time in the attic as a child?”

“Actually, I did.”