mystery

The Missing Baby Star: A Review

Hollywood Hearsay 1: The Missing Baby Star

By Barbara Morgenroth

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It’s 1933. America is in the Great Depression. Prohibition is still the law of the land.
When hard news reporter, Caro James, reveals the secret life of a politician in New York City, much to her dismay, The New York Sentinel newspaper sets out to teach her a lesson about the rules of journalism. They send her to Los Angles to write fluff pieces on the film industry.

The contact in Hollywood who is supposed to guide her for the week of punishment, is the handsome and unpredictable movie director, Sugar McLaughlin. Now, with a young, beautiful starlet missing for two weeks and in great danger, Caro and Sugar must find June Fowler before she is lost forever. When the one person who knows what happened to June is murdered, Caro and Sugar can’t help but think they’ve reached a dead end. As Sugar knows, every story has an Act III and Caro is in for the ride of her life as they race to find the starlet.

Available on Amazonhttps://www.amazon.com/Hollywood-Hearsay-Missing-Baby-Star-ebook/dp/B074D3FJG6/

My Review: When New York City reporter Caro James is sent to Los Angeles to cover the glitz and glam of Hollywood, she braces herself for an unpleasant week. As a reporter of serious news, she doesn’t relish the idea of writing articles about starlets and hairstyle tips. When she comes upon a story involving a possible missing actress, she suddenly finds that a week in Hollywood isn’t quite long enough – not if she’s going to get to the bottom of a mystery and help uncover the truth about the missing Baby Star. With Sugar McLaughlin by her side, she bravely navigates the glamorous world of Hollywood (and the seedy underbelly of Los Angeles) while maintaining her sense of humor and passion for finding the truth.

The Missing Baby Star is a historical mystery set in Great Depression-era Hollywood. With a fast-paced plot, atmospheric setting, and clever dialogue, this story is a page-turner. Caro is a witty, quick-thinking reporter who makes smart, logical decisions. Her Hollywood contact, Sugar McLaughlin, a highly respected director, has great chemistry with Caro. Their clever banter is one of the great highlights of this book. It’s rare to find a book that makes you laugh and grip the edge of your seat, all in the same chapter.

Overall, this story is a fine gem. It’s well-written with brilliantly-crafted characters. I certainly hope the author plans to write additional books featuring Caro and Sugar. The Missing Baby Star is a winner!

My Rating:

5 star

 

Categories: authors to watch, book review, historical fiction, murder mystery, mystery | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Book of the Day: Short & Tall Tales in Goose Pimple Junction

Today’s Book of the Day is

Short & Tall Tales in Goose Pimple Junction

by Amy Metz

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This is not your average Southern town. With a hint of mystery and a lot of laughs, you’ll catch a glimpse of everyday life in Goose Pimple Junction in this short story compilation. Short & Tall Tales occurs chronologically between Murder & Mayhem, book 1, and Heroes & Hooligans, book 2, in the Goose Pimple Junction mystery series. This book is a fun escape that will answer readers’ burning questions about the residents of this quirky, small town.

How did Johnny Butterfield become police chief?
How did Tess and Jack get engaged?
How did Ima Jean come to live with Louetta?
How do you celebrate an Apple Day?

These questions and more are answered in Short & Tall Tales in Goose Pimple Junction. Five short stories, one novella, and three recipes will give you more of the unique charm of Goose Pimple Junction, make you laugh, and have your mouth watering. If you want a feel-good read, you’ve come to the right place. Grab some sweet tea and escape to Goose Pimple Junction.

Short & Tall Tales in Goose Pimple Junction is available on Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/Short-Tales-Goose-Pimple-Junction/dp/0989714063/

Categories: book of the day, mystery | Tags: , ,

Alternate Voices Anthology: A Book for a Cause

alternate voices

This week is a celebration of the release of Alternate Voices, a DI Lyle Anthology. Seven authors (including Juliet B Madison, author of the DI Lyle Series) have come together to present a collection of short stories. The proceeds from the anthology will be donated to Macmillan Cancer Support. Each day this week, I am featuring a different author. I’m proud to say I am a part of this wonderful collection of stories. Since I can’t interview myself, I would like to talk about my contribution to the anthology.

My short story is called A Change of Heart and is about DI Frank Lyle’s ex-wife Sarah who is trying work through her feelings about the dissolution of her marriage and falling-out with her son. When Sarah meets a young homeless man in the park, she is forced to confront the truth about the mistakes she’s made in her family life. As she attempts to help save this young man, she also works up the courage to make things right with her own son.

I decided to contribute a short story for two reasons. One, because I’m friends with Juliet B Madison and a fan of her series. And two, because I believe the proceeds from the book sales are going to an extremely worthy cause. Most of us have been affected by cancer or know someone who has. Macmillan Cancer Support is an organization which helps cancer patients and their families. I’m very proud to be a part of this project.

As I mentioned above, I’m a fan of the DI Lyle Series. It’s very difficult to pick a favorite book, so I’ll highlight two that really stuck with me. Unholy Alliance is a favorite because it features Canon Thomas Rice, a particularly well-written and fascinating character. Canon Rice is a former police officer who helps DI Lyle in the investigation. Here’s the blurb:

The brutal murder of a curate at an ecumenical conference leads DI Lyle and his team to uncover the shocking and somewhat tragic past of the victim, Reverend Martin Hayes,whom no one appears to have known very well.

Assisted by Canon Thomas Rice, a former police officer, DI Lyle works his way through a tangled web, which leads to a recently released prisoner with a deep-seated hatred of the church. Can DI Lyle penetrate the unholy alliance formed between the ex con and a corrupt police officer? And will a little knowledge prove a dangerous thing?

The other book I’d like to mention as a favorite is Best Served Cold. This is the darkest book in the series and explores themes such as hate crimes and revenge. Here’s the blurb:

DI Lyle is about to get a glimpse into the murky world of political activism and hate crime; the murder of a prominent city councillor is just the tip of the iceberg.

The city of Ashbeck is on high alert when news breaks that convicted triple murderer and paedophile Bob Kenyon has escaped from custody.

Can DI Lyle and his team get to the bottom of this murky mess before another atrocity occurs?

Alternate Voices will be widely available on September 23rd. You can pre-order on iTunes, Kobo, and Nook. The book will also be available on Kindle and in paperback.

alternate voices collage

Categories: anothology, mystery, short stories | Tags: , , , , , ,

Alternate Voices Anthology: An Interview with Juliet B Madison

Today’s guest is Juliet B. Madison, author of the DI Lyle Series. Her latest book. Alternate Voices, is a collection of fan fiction short stories featuring characters from the DI Lyle Series. Here’s Juliet to tell us more about the anthology and why this book is near and dear to her heart…

alternate voices

What gave you the idea for the Alternate Voices anthology?

JULIET:  Last year I contributed a DI Lyle story to an anthology Shadows & Light to highlight the issues of Domestic Violence. I thought it would be interesting to see if other people could write DI Lyle stories as well and the six contributors have done an awesome job and done me and the DI Lyle Mystery Series proud.

I chose Macmillan Cancer Support because my late partner, David, had a lovely Macmillan nurse and I know that Macmillan do an awesome job in the UK helping people who have been diagnosed with cancer, as well as their friends and families. I have chosen to release Alternate Voices on the seventh anniversary of David’s death as it’s a bad day for me and I need something positive to focus on. Alternate Voices is dedicated to David’s memory.

Can you tell us a bit about your contribution to the anthology?

JULIET:  My story Sudden Impact is set between Prescription for Murder and Old Sins Cast Long Shadows.  James Lyle takes his boyfriend, Thomas, to visit his step-brother, Jez, in prison. The visit goes well but unexpected events on the way home force Thomas to confront his past.

Here is a short excerpt

“You know where to go from here, Mr Lyle?” The guard asked.

“Yes,” James nodded.

Thomas followed James into the visiting room. It was austere. The metal chairs were bolted to the floor.  They were directed to a table with two visitor’s chairs. James took out the cigarettes he’d brought. Jez used them as currency to exchange for stamps and phone cards, he didn’t actually smoke himself. Thomas smoked occasionally.

Some minutes later the prisoners filed in and took their seats across from their visitors.

Thomas saw a man in his early forties making his way towards them. The fact he looked like Jim Morrison hadn’t been exaggerated. Jez sat down.

“Alright kid?” he said to James.

“Fine thanks Jez, this is Thomas.”

Jez offered his hand and Thomas shook it.

“So you’re the man who has stolen my kid brother’s heart?”

“Guilty as charged,” Thomas smiled.

Did you have to do much research for Sudden Impact?

JULIET: I had to study the London Underground map once I found out which was the correct stop for HMP Wormwood Scrubs where Jez is incarcerated and, owing to what happens on the return journey, I had to look into the role of the British Transport Police. 

Just for fun, what’s your favorite DI Lyle book and why? 

JULIET: (Laughs) That’s not a fair question to ask the author. Although I’m not a Christian I think Unholy Alliance is my favourite because it deals with far more than the brutal murder of a clergyman; it’s about loyalty, destructive secrets and psychological torment. It’s quite dark in places and I tried not to overdo the religious symbolism. It also introduces the character of cop turned cleric Canon Thomas Rice, whom readers seem to have taken to and the Canon does actually appear in one of the stories in Alternate Voices but I’m not saying which one or who the author is.

What writing-related projects do you currently have on the go?

 JULIET: Well I’m working on the 6th DI Lyle novel In Harm’s Way and I’m also making a start on my new paranormal crime Psychic CID series. Also Best Served Cold is currently being translated into Spanish so I’m really excited about that..

Where can readers go to get a copy of Alternate Voices?

JULIET: The book is scheduled for release September 23rd. You can pre-order on iTunes, Kobo, and Nook. The book will also be available on Kindle and in paperback.

You can connect with Juliet B Madison at the following links: 

SOCIAL MEDIA

Connect with Juliet on Facebook

Follow Juliet on Twitter

Juliet’s crime author website

DI Frank Lyle Efanzine

Psychic CID website

 

DI LYLE BOOKS

Second Chances

Heir to Misfortune

Unholy Alliance

DI Lyle Mystery Box Set (Ebook only)

Murder in the Wings

Best Served Cold

A Winter Murderland

Old Sins Cast Long Shadows

DI Frank Lyle’s Casebook Vol 1

DI Frank Lyle’s Casebook Vol 2

alternate voices collage

Categories: anthology, author interview, authors to watch, mystery, mystery series, police procedural, short stories | Tags: , , , ,

Guest Post by Jim Webster

It’s a strange game this writing business. But at times it can get pretty hectic. Tricia asked me if I could send her some stuff for a blog. Now I hate just sending out the same gumph twice. I like every blog post to be different, and ideally it should ‘fit’ the blog.

I suppose it’s the freelance-journalist in me, to ‘sell’ the same article to two publications simultaneously is unprofessional. But anyway Tricia sent me the email; I replied and leapt into action.

Or would have done if an editor I write for hadn’t sent me an email asking how I was getting on with the four articles she’d asked me to do.

Unfortunately after some investigation she discovered she’d sent them, a month previously, to the wrong email address. But still, in the course of three days I’d done her articles on Penknives, woodcraft, Second World War archaeology that we see as we travel about (pill boxes) and a week later when I’d finally got hold of someone with the pictures, an article on cycle touring.

Add to that worming, dagging out and checking the feet of 600 sheep (because I also farm) and you can see why I’m finishing this blog post somewhat later than I intended.

So excuses politely made, on with the literature.

I’d come up with a great female character, she fitted nicely into the fantasy background I have, and she looked interesting.

An aside; in case you don’t know my fantasy, it doesn’t have a lot of magic and I guarantee no elves, dwarves or hobbits.

But back to the point, I started writing the story. I had Shena and her husband Tallis. She was a practical lady, sharp, switched on, he was a poet. The chemistry worked, it was fine. Unfortunately it just didn’t sparkle and was no fun to write. I gritted my teeth and kept going. Then Shena stepped out of the cabin on the barge she and her husband live on, and nearly tripped over one of my favourite characters, Benor. Suddenly it came alive; it sparkled and was a joy to write. Shena remains the sharp practical lady, and her husband remains every bit the jobbing poet. But it became more fun and less worthy.

So I’ve written six stories which collectively make up ‘The Port Naain Intelligencer.’ Each one is a ‘stand-alone’ detective/mystery, somewhere between 15,000 and 20,000 words, and the cunning plan is that they’ll be published, as regular as clockwork, every four months. As they’re already written and edited even I can surely manage that.

Flotsam or Jetsam

The first one, ‘Flotsam or Jetsam’ is now out there and has been well received.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Flotsam-Jetsam-Jim-Webster-ebook/dp/B011VHS21Y/

or

http://www.amazon.com/Flotsam-Jetsam-Jim-Webster-ebook/dp/B011VHS21Y/

A review from a ‘top 500’ Amazon reviewer

“Benor is a cartographer and he’s come to Port Naain to produce a handbook. He makes a home with Tallis, a professional poet and his wife Shena. She’s a mud-jobber or as we might say, a beachcomber. Some of her combings include bodies. Everything has a price and families will pay for the privilege of burying their dead and, if possible, finding who caused it. Benor is a natural. He’s a nosy person and, with the aid of the wonderful Mutt, a ten year-old wise beyond his years, he sorts out the villains from the corpses. This first short story from The Port Naain Intelligencer bodes well for the rest of the series. A really great Whodunit.”

But the stories have rather taken on a life of their own. As I mentioned, Tallis is a poet, and of course he’s almost professionally obliged to drop lines of poetry into his conversation.

My editor, Mike Rose-Steel is also a poet and asked if he could borrow Tallis. He then wrote ten poems for him.

Benor then wrote the social/historical background stuff, and another poet by the name of Lancet Foredeck wrote the literary criticism.

Lambent Dreams Cover5

This we also published as ‘Lambent Dreams.’

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Lambent-Dreams-Jim-Webster-ebook/dp/B01278WPWI/

or

http://www.amazon.com/Lambent-Dreams-Jim-Webster-ebook/dp/B01278WPWI/

It also got good reviews

“This short book really amused me. If you’re familiar with the stories of Benor the Cartographer from the author’s Land of the Three Seas then you will have some idea of what to expect. Tallis Steelyard is a poet. He makes his living that way. Lambent Dreams is a collection of some of his works and his friend Benor comments on them to give some historical or geographical insight. Then there is the commentary from fellow poet and critic Lancet Foredeck. These remind me of the notes you get on wines from some of the ‘experts’ and I chuckled along with them. Perhaps funniest of all was the fact that, somehow, the footnotes inserted by one of the typesetters were left in by accident; a much more refreshing view is revealed!

This won’t take you long to read but I guarantee you’ll smile a lot while you do. A little gem!”

Obviously Tallis, as a professional poet, has to have his own blog,

https://tallissteelyard.wordpress.com/

Lancet Foredeck is not going to be outdone so also has one which he asked me to look after for him

https://jwebster2.wordpress.com/

Whilst mine own poor efforts are to be found at

https://jandbvwebster.wordpress.com/

You had best be warned that mine is the least literary of the three.

The Land of the Three Seas has its own Facebook page where you can see pictures of all (and sundry) arrayed in their best.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Land-of-the-Three-Seas/426394067386022

Categories: authors to watch, books, guest post, mystery | Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Juliet B Madison talks about Old Sins Cast Long Shadows

Today I’m delighted to welcome crime author Juliet B Madison back to Authors to Watch to talk about her new DI Frank Lyle novella Old Sins Cast Long Shadows.

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JULIET:  Thanks Tricia, it’s always good to be here.

I understand that Old Sins Cast Long Shadows deals with an important aspect of the main DI Frank Lyle Mystery Series story arc.

JULIET:   That’s right Tricia. All the DI Lyle Mystery series characters are important to me and sometimes things happen in their lives outside of work that are way too important to be diluted by a main novel.

Is this story about DI Lyle himself?

JULIET:  No, as a matter of fact DI Lyle isn’t in it very much. It’s about DS Thomas Fox, who has had a bit of a rough time recently, what with nearly dying in Best Served Cold and having to confront an unpleasant memory from his past in A Winter Murderland. Thomas learns something that will change the way he sees himself forever and we also finally find out the truth about what happened the night of the fire in which his parents died. This event is often hinted at throughout the series, but never been fully explored until now.

Do you feel bad putting your characters through the emotional wringer so to speak?

JULIET:   Not at all, because such events shape and mould character. They discover their strengths and limitations. None of us would learn anything in life if we didn’t experience bad times. To use a quote from Cora, Countess of Grantham in Downton Abbey, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”

How do you think the characters in the DI Lyle series view death, which is amazingly still a taboo in the Western World of the twentieth century when the series is set?

JULIET:  I think that the DI Lyle series police characters have a grudging respect for death, because they professionally deal with the physical aspects of it on a near enough daily basis. However both DI Lyle and DS Fox have had more personal close encounters in Unholy Alliance and Best Served Cold respectively. As Coroner, Dr Barry Fox is slightly more removed, but it doesn’t mean he isn’t emotionally affected by death in both his professional and personal life.

Does DS Fox return to his Ashbeck CID duties in Old sins cast long shadows?

JULIET:  No. DS Thomas Fox will get the medical all-clear to return to duty in the next full length DI Frank Lyle novel Dead on Arrival, as will Desk Sergeant Timothy Harding.

How did you come up with the title for this novella?

JULIET:  I initially thought it was a quote from the Bible; it certainly sounds like it should be. However I am reliably informed that it is an Irish and Danish proverb.

Did you have to step outside your comfort zone while writing this story?

JULIET:  Yes, quite a bit in this one. I had to write about the feelings a woman might experience when she learns she cannot have a child of her own. I also touched on surrogate motherhood, which is a rather controversial topic in some quarters. Anyone who knows me is aware that I have no ambitions towards motherhood myself so it was quite tough trying to approach such a topic with sensitivity. It was really hard trying to imagine wanting a child almost at any cost, when I have never experienced such a desire. The Chanel fragrances eau de baby puke and eau de shitty nappy/diaper just don’t do it for me and I make no apologies for that either.

In what way is this story different from, or similar to, previous DI Lyle stories?

JULIET:  The fact that It isn’t centred on a police investigation and DI Lyle himself isn’t really in it much are two things that make it different. The multiple first person POV and the shifts to different time periods can be found in all DI Lyle books and stories.

Can you give us a brief excerpt from the novella?

JULIET:  It was tough finding an excerpt which doesn’t contain major spoilers, but this comes from the prologue which takes place in December 1966. Please note that in 1966 you had to be twenty-one to marry without parental consent in the UK.

Sylvia Fox looked around the austere hospital ward. The grey lino and magnolia walls only added to her darkening mood. Tears slid down her pale face. Why did life have to be so damned unfair?

Her husband had gone to get himself a cup of insipid hospital vending machine tea. She forced a smile; under trade descriptions legislation the stuff could barely be called tea. She loved Barry dearly and wondered how they were going to cope with the future; a barren future devoid of the experience of motherhood.

Barry was a doctor and a good one. Sylvia had waited with anticipation while he was away at medical school in Edinburgh. It had been hard for them both to abstain from carnal relations, but Sylvia’s strict upbringing meant she would not countenance the idea of sex before marriage and, although Barry did not share her convictions, he respected her decision. After all the mothers of children conceived outside of wedlock were still judged harshly even in these so called enlightened times. During his medical training Barry had seen far too many young women scarred for life after resorting to back street “doctors” to rid them of their shame. He had married Sylvia six months after qualifying and gone into General Practise in Ashbeck.  It was his first step on the ladder that would one day lead to him becoming Ashbeck’s District Coroner, but he had no major ambitions in this direction as yet. He wanted to get a few years medical experience under his belt and a few years of family life; the last had been dealt a severe blow the previous evening.

A nurse came into the ward.

“Are you alright Mrs Fox?” she asked.

“As well as can be expected,” Sylvia sighed and, to her horror, burst into floods of tears. The nurse handed her some tissues.

“I can’t even pretend to know what you’re going through, Mrs Fox. I’m not even old enough to get married without parental consent yet. Mind you I’m too busy for boyfriends and all that anyway.”

“Don’t wish your life away, it passes fast enough.” Sylvia said.

The nurse took Sylvia’s temperature and blood pressure, recording the details on the chart hung at the end of the bed before moving on to the next patient.

Sylvia felt so incredibly forlorn. She had wanted to give her beloved Barry a child, ideally more than one. She herself had been an only child and would not have wished that loneliness on anyone.

Does this story offer us insight into characters that have not been previously explored in the series?

JULIET:  Yes, this story looks at Ashbeck District Coroner, Dr Barry Fox, and his respective relationships with his identical twin brother, Matthew, his wife, Sylvia, and sister-in-law Yvonne. At this time though Barry was not the Coroner, just an ordinary family doctor or General Practitioner (GP) as we call them in the UK..

How do you relax when you’re not writing?

JULIET:   Lots of ways. I enjoy reading, spending time with friends, mucking about on Facebook and watching a good TV drama like NCIS (I have a thing for Agent Gibbs aka Mark Harmon).

Where can readers get their hands on a copy of Old Sins Cast Long Shadows?

JULIET:  Old sins cast long shadows is available from Amazon, Nook, Kobo, itunes and Lulu.com

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You can learn more about Juliet B Madison and the DI Frank Lyle series at the following links:

Twitter

Facebook

Website

Blog

Categories: author interview, mystery, mystery series | Tags: , ,

Lowcountry Boneyard Blog Tour

lowcountry boneyard button

Where is Kent Heyward? The twenty-three-year-old heiress from one of Charleston’s oldest families vanished a month ago. When her father hires private investigator Liz Talbot, Liz suspects the most difficult part of her job will be convincing the patriarch his daughter tired of his overbearing nature and left town. That’s what the Charleston Police Department believes.

But behind the garden walls South of Broad, family secrets pop up like weeds in the azaleas. The neighbors recollect violent arguments between Kent and her parents. Eccentric twin uncles and a gaggle of cousins covet the family fortune. And the lingering spirit of a Civil-War-era debutante may know something if Colleen, Liz’s dead best friend, can get her to talk.

Liz juggles her case, the partner she’s in love with, and the family she adores. But the closer she gets to what has become of Kent, the closer Liz dances to her own grave.

lowcountry boneyar

EXCERPT FROM LOWCOUNTRY BONEYARD

ONE

The dead are not generally fretful of mortal affairs. My friend Colleen passed from this world to the next seventeen years ago last June. She can’t be bothered with global warming, the national debt, or those Duck Dynasty folks from Louisiana. She’s careful to stay focused on her mission, namely, protecting Stella Maris, our South Carolina island home, from the evils of high-rise resorts, timeshares, and all such as that. But occasionally, she fixates on what appear to be random concerns, mostly cases I’m working. Colleen minds my business, is what I’m saying.

To be fair, I make my living minding other people’s business. I’m a private investigator, licensed by the state. Roughly half of my casework is pre-trial investigation for criminal defense attorneys. Another quarter involves domestic misunderstandings. The remainder is a mixed bag of human comedy and suffering—everything from conspiracy to kidnap a prize hound for stud services to conspiracy to commit murder. Sometimes it’s difficult to know which I’m dealing with at first, but I pray for the wildly farcical.

That Tuesday in mid-October, I was sitting in an Adirondack chair on my deck savoring my second cup of coffee and the music of waves breaking and racing to shore. The sun was warm on my skin. I’d just finished a read-through of my final report on a case when a ringtone named pinball announced a caller not in my contacts list. I glanced at my iPhone. It was precisely nine o’clock. The number was local. I set my coffee down and picked up the phone.

“Talbot and Andrews Investigations.”

“Miss Talbot?” The man’s tone brought to mind a professor who’d caught me daydreaming in class.

I pulled the phone away from my face and scrutinized the number again. What the hell? “This is Liz Talbot. How can I help you?”

“Colton Heyward here. I’d like to arrange a meeting at your earliest convenience.”

Something heavy and dark settled in my chest. The Heyward family and their missing early-twenties daughter had been all over the news. Kent Heyward had vanished from the streets of Charleston one late summer evening.

I closed my eyes and forced air into my lungs. “Of course. I’ll come whenever you like.”

He gave me his home address on lower Legare Street in Charleston and asked me to be there at ten o’clock the next morning. Had I not been familiar with the family, the address—which was south of Broad Street near where the Ashley River converges with the Cooper to sculpt the end of the Charleston peninsula—would’ve told me I was likely dealing with old money and a family tree including names from history books.

Wednesday morning Colleen woke me at 4:45. She pestered the fire out of me to get an early start, proceeding to inform me of the time every five minutes during my run, shower, and the berry-yogurt-granola parfait that failed to summon my appetite. Kent Heyward’s disappearance weighed heavy on my heart. It haunted the entire lowcountry. I was both eager to help and apprehensive. What could I do that hadn’t been done?

“Are you about ready?” Colleen was working my last nerve.

“What is with you?”

“We can’t be late. I’ll be in the car.”

She rode shotgun on the trip to Charleston. As her sole human Point of Contact, I was the only one who could see her. Across Stella Maris, during the ferry ride to Isle of Palms, and through Mount Pleasant she barely spoke. I knew she was tense. Most days I would’ve quizzed her about it, but I was preoccupied myself. Colleen relaxed considerably once we crossed the Cooper River Bridge and I drove my green hybrid Escape into the Holy City.

Charleston was christened the Holy City forever ago, owing to the number of churches generously scattered across her cityscape and her history of religious tolerance. Her streets buzzed in the soft October air. Deliverymen unloaded their wares with a brisker step now that the oppressive summer heat and humidity had relented. The Carolina blue sky forecasted a pleasant day for all. October is my favorite month in the Lowcountry. The quality of light renders Charleston and her realm through a filtered lens, obscuring flaws and highlighting our best features. That particular morning, my joy in simply driving through the city was muted.

At nine-fifty—ten minutes early—we rolled through the lacy wrought iron gate and down the tree-sheltered brick drive to the Heyward home. Shades of green surrounded us—magnolias, tea olives, gardenias, camellias, ferns, palms—all manner of tree and shrub. We’d been swallowed whole by the Garden of Eden. I turned off the engine. Everything was still except the gurgling fountain in a bed of massive hostas. We stared at the three-story, clay-colored masonry mansion with triple-tiered piazzas.

“It’s magnificent,” I said.

“It was built in eighteen thirty-eight. Can you imagine everything that house has seen?” Colleen’s voice was reverent, her green eyes round, their color intensified by the similarly hued cardigan she wore over today’s dress.

“Do you think there are other ghosts in there?”

She cut me with a look. “You know I’m not a ghost.”

“Mmm-kay. Do you think there are other guardian spirits in the house?”

“No. I know all the locals.” She shrugged. “The place is crawling with ghosts. We may or may not see them this morning.”

The distinction, according to Colleen, was that guardian spirits had passed to the next world and been sent back with work to do. Ghosts were the lingering spirits of the dead who had yet to cross over to the next life. “This should be interesting,” I said. “If you run across any specters, find out where the family skeletons are hidden. That information could come in handy.”

 Copyright © 2015 by Susan M. Boyer — This excerpt is reprinted by permission from Henery Press. All rights reserved.

Buy the Book!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | iBooks | Google Fiction Addiction |  Henery Press

susan boyerAuthor Bio:

Susan M. Boyer is the author of the USA TODAY bestselling Liz Talbot mystery series. Her debut novel, Lowcountry Boil, won the 2012 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, and garnered several other award nominations. Lowcountry Boneyard, the third Liz Talbot mystery, was released April 21, 2015. Susan loves beaches, Southern food, and small towns where everyone knows everyone, and everyone has crazy relatives. You’ll find all of the above in her novels.

Susan lives in Greenville, SC, with her husband and an inordinate number of houseplants.

Connect with Susan!  

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Pinterest | Goodreads

Follow the rest of the blog tour:

http://www.clpblogtours.com/2015/03/lowcountry-boneyard-by-susan-m-boyer.html

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Categories: blog tour, book excerpt, book feature, book tour, excerpt, mystery, mystery series | Tags: , , , , , ,

Killer Music

KILLER MUSIC

A Cooper Harrington Detective Novel

By Tammy L. Grace

When private detective Cooper “Coop” Harrington meets record label mogul Grayson Taylor at a swank gathering of country music artists and politicians he never imagines he’ll be investigating his brutal murder less than twenty-four hours later.

The suspects are plentiful. More than a handful of people could have wanted him dead. Retained by Taylor’s widow, Coop works alongside his best friend and Chief of Detectives, Ben Mason. The investigation leads Coop and Ben to visit the luxurious mansions of recording industry magnates, navigate the murky undercurrents of the political world, and probe complicated family matters. Scandalous indiscretions, secrets, and hints of corruption swirl in the midst of their pursuit of the killer.

Coop’s faithful friend and assistant, Annabelle and his loyal golden retriever, Gus, both lend a hand during the investigation. Even his Aunt Camille mines the local gossip mill to unearth potential killers with motive. Yet the case seems hopeless until a crucial piece of evidence emerges that sends Coop and Ben on a race to catch the killer before someone else dies.

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Excerpt from Chapter 1

A heavy pounding rattled the door of the penthouse hotel suite and roused Grayson Taylor early Friday morning. His heart hammering, he jumped from the bed, disoriented, but prompted by the banging, he rushed to the door. He looked through the peephole and rubbed his eyes. Pressing his eye to the door again, he studied the man on the other side.

He tiptoed back to the bedroom and told Pamela to stay in the room and not come out. His heart rate steadied as thoughts of the past swirled in his head. Still confused, but less startled, he answered the door. “Andy, what brings you by?”

“I just came by to tell you what a rotten son of a bitch you are,” shouted the irate man in jeans, a t-shirt, and a ball cap.

Grayson peeked into the quiet hallway and opened the door wider, motioning Andy inside, leading him to the couch in front of the huge window showcasing the Nashville skyline. “What’s this all about? I haven’t seen you for years.”

Andy refused to sit, instead pacing with his fists clenched, “Yeah, that’s why I’m here. Abby would kill me if she knew I was here, but you need to know something.”

“What’s Abby got to do with this? I haven’t seen your sister since high school. And how did you know I was here?”

“Well, Gray, we regular folks have friends too and one of mine happens to work here and told me I could find you in the penthouse. No surprise, since you’re such a big shot,” yelled Andy.

“What do you want, Andy? And, keep your voice down.”

“Don’t tell me what to do,” he spat. “You’ve always thought you were better than us and I’m sick of watching Abby struggle while you live your life without a care in the world, getting richer and richer.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean Abby’s working two jobs to support your son and you don’t give a shit.”

“What in the hell are you talking about, Andy? Are you drunk or something?”

“No, I’m not drunk, you asshole. Remember when you got Abby pregnant when she was seventeen and solved it all by giving her money for an abortion? Ring a bell, Gray?”

Gray went pale, “Yes, I do remember and I’m not proud of it.”

“Well, unlike you, Abby didn’t feel right killing a baby because he was an inconvenience. So, for the last seventeen years our family has worked hard to help Abby and her son. He wants to go to college when he graduates next year, so Abby’s been working two jobs to help save money. They live in an apartment out by the airport and she has a job at a school and works at a pizza place at night. I’m sick of watching her suffer, and knowing you have no worries pisses me off.”

Gray’s knees wobbled. He sat on the couch. “Andy, you have to believe me, I had no idea. I’ve always regretted what happened with Abby and the baby, but she made it clear she didn’t want to see me ever again. So, I stayed away.”

“I’m sure she still doesn’t want to see you Gray, but I don’t think it’s fair. Taylor’s a great kid. He’s smart and responsible and a good son. He deserves more.”

“Taylor? She named him Taylor?”

“Yes, and he looks just like you,” he said with contempt. “So, maybe you can find a way to help him. She’s too proud to ask or take anything, but like I said, Taylor deserves a future. I’m sure you’ll be at the party tomorrow night out at Silverwood, won’t you?”

“Yes, I will. All the record companies will be there. It’s one of the main reasons I made the trip to Nashville. Why?”

“Well, Taylor works at Silverwood during the summer, so you’ll see him at the party. Maybe when you see him you’ll decide to step up and be a man. Call me when you do,” said Andy, as he thrust a card at Gray.

They both turned as they heard a loud knock on the door and a voice said, “Mr. Taylor, Nashville Police, please open the door.”

Andy followed Gray to the door as Gray opened it, “Officer?”

“Mr. Taylor, we’ve had a report of a domestic disturbance. Is there a problem?”

“I’m sorry, officer. We got carried away, there’s no problem. We’re fine,” he said, as he patted Andy on the back.

“Is that right, sir?” asked the officer of Andy.

“Yes, officer. Sorry to trouble you. I’ll talk to you later, Gray. I’m late for work,” said Andy, as he moved towards the hallway.

“Are you certain there’s no problem, Mr. Taylor?”

“I’m sure; again, I’m sorry to trouble you and disturb the guests.” Gray slipped a card from the table and passed it to Andy as he made his way to the door.

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About Tammy L. Grace:

Born and raised in Nevada, Tammy L. Grace loved reading at a young age. With the help of her middle school teacher, she discovered the joy of writing. After spending a career in local and state government service, she retired and finally has the time to dedicate to writing. When Tammy isn’t working on ideas for a novel, she’s spending time with family and friends or supporting her addiction to books and chocolate. She and her husband have one grown son and a spoiled golden retriever.

Connect with Tammy:

Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Goodreads  |  Twitter   |  Amazon

 

Categories: book excerpt, book feature, book launch, book release, cozy mystery, murder mystery, mystery, private detective | Tags: , , , , , ,

Meet Amy Metz

Today we’ve got a special guest who has come all the way from Goose Pimple Junction. Amy Metz has visited with us in the past to discuss her novel, Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction. Now she’s back to tell us about the sequel, Heroes & Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction. Grab a cup of coffee (or sweet iced tea), a piece of pie, and settle in for a chat with Amy.

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Welcome back, Amy. For those who haven’t had a chance to meet you, can you tell us a little about yourself?

I have two sons and a daughter-in-law who are the light of my life. Should that be lights, plural? Anyway…they’re pretty darn special. I taught first grade before my kids were born, and then I was a stay-at-home mom. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that stay-at-home moms don’t work. Now that my sons are grown, I write full time.

Tell us about your writing process. When and where do you write? Do you have a routine?

No real routine, I just write whenever I can, usually in my home office.

Can you tell us about your series?

The Goose Pimple Junction Mysteries is a humorous cozy mystery series set in the South. There will always be the same core group of characters, but each book will have a new main character and will also introduce a few new characters.

Can you tell us about your newest release?

Heroes & Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction picks up three months after the first book ended. Its main characters are Martha Maye and Johnny, who are smitten with each other, but can’t quite act on their feelings because her divorce isn’t final yet. Things get sticky when her not-so-nice soon-to-be-ex-husband comes to town to win her back. There are a couple of side threads running through the book: someone is stalking Martha Maye, and someone is stealing the town blind. And of course, there’s a murder. I won’t tell you who gets murdered in this one—only that the murder throws the town into a tizzy.

How did you get the idea for the series?

I have no idea. I wanted to write something funny, and I had an idea for the plot for the first book. My characters took over from there.

If you could sit down and have coffee and pie with one of your characters, who would you choose? Why?

Oh my, that’s a hard question. First of all, it would be sweet tea and pie, not coffee. Let’s see, there’s Johnny Butterfield, who’s a hunk and a half, although Jackson Wright is also quite good looking, and he’s more my age. But I’d also like to chat with Louetta about life and her recipes. And I’d love to pick Slick’s brain on cooking. I could chat with Martha Maye about ex-husbands, or Caledonia Culpepper about clothes. Sorry, I just can’t choose.

Do you have a favorite Goose Pimple-ism?

“Get your straw out of my Kool-Aid.” Not you, Tricia. I mean that’s probably my favorite one–it means mind your own business.

What projects are you currently working on?

I’m working on the third book in the Goose Pimple Junction series, and I’m working on a chick lit book.

Can you share a book recommendation with my readers?

Besides your series? Hmm. I have a ton of indie author recommendations, but I hate recommending one over another. Two of my favorite mystery series are Robert B. Parker’s Spenser series and David Rosenfelt’s Andy Carpenter.

What advice would you offer to new or aspiring authors?

Coincidentally, the best advice I’ve ever gotten came from you: write the first draft, then put it away and go back weeks or months later. It gives you a whole new perspective on the book.

Thank you chatting with us today, Amy! For those who’d like to learn more about Amy and her books, read on…

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Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction

When Tess Tremaine starts a new life in the colorful town of Goose Pimple Junction, curiosity leads her to look into a seventy-five-year-old murder. Suddenly she’s learning the foreign language of southern speak, resisting her attraction to local celebrity Jackson Wright, and dealing with more mayhem than she can handle.

A bank robbery, murder, and family tragedy from the 1930s are pieces of the mystery that Tess attempts to solve. As she gets close to the truth, she encounters danger, mystery, a lot of southern charm, and a new temptation for which she’s not sure she’s ready.

Buy a copy of Murder & Mayhem in Goose Pimple Junction on Amazon

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Heroes & Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction

Goose Pimple Junction is just recovering from a kidnapping and a murder, its first major crimes in years, when trouble begins anew. Life is turned upside down in the quirky little Southern town with the arrival of several shifty hooligans: A philandering husband intent on getting his wife back, another murderer loose in town, a stalker intent on frightening Martha Maye, and a thief who’s stealing the town blind of their pumpkins, pies, and peace. Together, they’re scaring the living daylights out of the residents and keeping the new police chief busier than a set of jumper cables at a redneck picnic. Suddenly, he has his hands full trying to apprehend a killer, stop a stalker, and fight his feelings for the damsel in distress.

Buy a copy of Heroes & Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction on Amazon

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About the Author:

Amy Metz is the mother of two sons and a daughter-in-law, who, if they were books, would be bestsellers. Amy is a former first grade teacher, professional volunteer, and full-time mother. Her debut novel, Murder & Mayhem In Goose Pimple Junction, is the first in a humorous southern mystery series. Heroes & Hooligans in Goose Pimple Junction is book 2 in the series. Amy’s passions are writing, photography, reading, and her children. She lives in Louisville, Kentucky.

Connect with Amy Metz:

Website  |  Blog  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

 

 

Categories: author feature, author interview, authors to watch, cozy mystery, mystery, mystery series | Tags: , , , , , ,

Island in the Clouds: Book Review

Island in the Clouds
By Susan M Toy
Available on Amazon 

The dead body in the pool is putting a serious dent in Geoff’s morning. An ex-pat property manager on the Caribbean island of Bequia, Geoff doesn’t want a spotlight shone on the secret past he left behind in Canada, but now he’s the suspect in a brutal murder. With no help from the inept local police force,  he’s drawn into investigating the murder himself, to clear his name. As Geoff finds out more about the circumstances surrounding the killing, and he and his loved ones find themselves in danger, he begins to see a very dark underbelly of the place some people call paradise…

Part travelogue, part mystery, Island in the Clouds takes a long, hard look at the reality of living in a place that seems perfect — from the outside, anyway.



My Review: When Geoff finds a dead body floating in a swimming pool, his peaceful life on Bequia is disrupted. From property manager to murder suspect, Geoff investigates the murder and inadvertently puts his own life in danger.

Island in the Clouds is a wonderfully written murder mystery that takes us to Bequia, a Caribbean island where ex-pats hide their secrets in paradise. Everyone has a secret or two – even Geoff. When he’s asked to help investigate a murder, he draws attention from some vindictive, ruthless characters. The danger intensifies as the clues slowly stack up. Geoff isn’t a typical crime-solver, but he’s smart and persistent. Actually, there is nothing typical about Geoff or any of the other characters for that matter. The author portrays Bequia inhabitants–the lazy, inept cops; the shady ex-pats; the weed-smoking islanders–without resorting to stereotypes. The reader gets a feel for the rich culture and the sometimes unsavory aspects of island life, but author provides us with well-rounded characters with depth and individuality. No one is exactly what they seem on the surface, and that’s not always a bad thing.

This is the second book I’ve read by Susan Toy, and both books are completely different, but perfect in their own way. I hope she’s planning on writing more mysteries based in Bequia. Island in the Clouds was one of the most enjoyable mysteries I’ve read in a long time and I’d love to read more from Susan Toy.

My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Categories: authors to watch, book review, mysteries | Tags: ,

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