The Goings On in South Cove with Jill Gardner by Lynn Cahoon

Murder on WheelsThere are many reasons I should hate Kacey Austin. One, her rat cheat of a husband broke my friend, Sadie’s, heart. Two, she and said husband bought the food truck that was supposed to be the first Coffee, Books, and More annex. Coffee, Books, and More is my coffee shop and it’s located smack dab in the middle of South Cove. Of course, Kacey’s food truck won’t be true competition since she’d only selling gluten free items. The girl is crazy about nutrition. I think if you want dessert, you want three things, fat, sugar, and chocolate.

But I’m getting ahead of myself. I’m Jill Gardner, and not only do I own the only coffee shop in town, I’m also the business liaison between the South Cove city council and the business community. A job that typically just gets me into trouble. Somehow, I’m always the one to stumble upon a crime scene. Honestly, even I’m surprised how many dead bodies can show up in one little tourist town.

Back to Kacey. Like I said, I shouldn’t like her. But the girl is nice. Too nice to be married to such a loser like Austin. He knows I’m dying to tell Kacey about his dating Sadie, that’s why he’s always keeping us from talking. He won’t be able to keep this from Kacey very long. South Cove is too small for a secret like that to stay hidden.

Kacey and I have something else in common. She is president of the local geocaching club. Yes, there are such things. Justin, my best friend Amy’s boyfriend, is all into the ‘sport’ and has convinced Greg and I to go with them on our monthly double date.

What is geocaching, you ask? Well, someone goes out, hides something and then posts clues on a website for others to find. Yep, you got it, a modern treasure hunt with the map on line. Apparently a lot of homeschoolers use the activity as a geography exercise. I think it’s best left to the kids.

Anyway it’s life as usual here in South Cove. Except something’s going on with Aunt Jackie. She’s part of this water conservation committee which is keeping her busy, but she’s holding on to a secret too. I’ll figure it out sooner or later.

I guess I better open up the shop and start brewing coffee. My regular townie customers should be showing up soon. Have a great day, and if you’re in the area, be sure to stop by and say hi. We love visitors here in South Cove.


Murder on Wheels is the sixth book in the “Tourist Trap” mystery series, published by Lyrical Underground, February 2016.

The food truck craze has reached the charming coastal town of South Cove, California, but before Jill Gardner—owner of Coffee, Books, and More—can sample the eats, she has to shift gears and put the brakes on a killer . . .

Now that Kacey Austin has got her new gluten-free dessert truck up and running, there’s no curbing her enthusiasm—not even when someone vandalizes the vehicle and steals her recipes. But when Kacey turns up dead on the beach and Jill’s best friend Sadie becomes the prime suspect, Jill needs to step on it to serve the real killer some just desserts.

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All comments are welcomed.

About the author
Lynn Cahoon is the author of the NYT and USA Today bestselling Tourist Trap cozy mystery series. Guidebook to Murder, book 1 of the series won the Reader’s Crown for Mystery Fiction in 2015. She’s also the author of the soon to be released, Cat Latimer series, with the first book, A Story To Kill, releasing in mass market paperback September 2016.She lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and two fur babies. Sign up for her newsletter at

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a digital copy of Murder On Wheels. The giveaway will end February 18 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

Dumpster Diving with CeCe Prentice by Deirdre Verne

Drawing BloodOoh, that smarts. . .The tiniest of cuts! But it’s my own fault. . .

Picking garbage is a high-risk job. I speak from experience having recently nicked my finger on a glass bottle after a Dumpster-dive at my local recycling center. Frankly, if anyone should know better, it’s me. I’m practically a professional when it comes to refuse, a poster-child for all things junk. That’s right. I’m a full-fledged Freegan – my entire life is about repurposing what others discard. As I often brag, my carbon footprint is so small it wouldn’t fit over a newborn’s toes.

The problem with this particular dive is that I didn’t have a choice. I knew there was something strange going on the moment I saw that doll’s head. A Dawn doll to be specific. You may remember these adorable little figures from the early 1970’s. About 6.5 inches in height, Dawn dolls were so popular they outsold Barbie at one point. That’s why Bob Rooney, one of my best buds and manager of my recycling center, collects them. The week before I cut my finger, I traded Bob some doll parts on the condition that he’d help me find a used car to replace my clunker. But now it seems that Bob has tossed the parts I gave him. That didn’t sit well with me, as I really needed a new car.

Wait. Who am I kidding? I could use a new everything, but I happily deny myself these luxuries. The only things I don’t recycle are my friends. In fact, I keep them so close that I insist we live together, commune-like, in a rambling Victorian overlooking Long Island’s majestic sound. It’s here where we farm our own land and live our sustainable lifestyle. And now that my best friend Katrina is having a baby, our house is about to get that much cozier. . .and louder, but I’m okay with that because there’s nothing I wouldn’t do for my friends, and they for me.

That’s why I’m a little worried that Bob hasn’t called me back in a week. He knows I’ve got impending transportation issues. It doesn’t help that a member of my local police department just informed me that he had a cryptic conversation with Bob right about the time I gave him the doll parts. This tidbit, I learned, because the newest member of my inner-circle happens to be a cop. That’s right. I’m dating a cop. So when I learned that Bob was speaking to the police and I spotted the doll parts in the garbage, I panicked. Then I got frantic and jumped into the pile of garbage.

One injured finger, one broken car, one cryptic conversation and one missing friend. I’d love to tell you that I’m about to throw my hands up and head to the mall for some retail therapy, but you know that’s not happening. I think I’ve got a case to solve and if there’s one thing a Freegan knows, it’s how to get something out of nothing.

Drawing Blood is the second book in the “Sketch In Crime” mystery series, published by Midnight Ink.

When Big Bob, manager of the town dump, goes missing, CeCe is worried about more than where she’ll score her next salvaged car. First at the scene when Bob’s body is recovered from under the weekly recycling haul, CeCe is quick to identify potential witnesses and provide crucial scene sketches. But when CeCe is uncharacteristically startled by an unidentified woman at Bob’s abandoned house, her artistic talents are challenged, and her drawings, much to her frustration, come up short.

With CeCe’s observational talents on the fritz, Detective Frank DeRosa, CeCe, and her network of Freegans are forced to recreate Big Bob’s life from the garbage up. The team is soon thrust into the underworld of recycling where what appears to be junk could actually be the clue that saves a life.

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About the author
Deirdre Verne (Lower Westchester, NY) is a mystery writer, college professor, and an active college blogger. Deirdre’s interest in green living inspired her to create an off-the-grid character who Dumpster dives her way through the “Sketch in Crime” mystery series. Verne’s second book, Drawing Blood, is available in February 2016. A dysfunctional functional family to die for. . . [CeCe Prentice’s] second case is every bit as twisty and surprising.”-Kirkus Reviews.

A member of Sisters in Crime, Deirdre’s short stories appear in all three New York chapter anthologies – Murder New York Style, Murder New York Style: Fresh Slices and Family Matters. Visit her online at

A Day in the Life with Herr Georg Wolfsburger as told to B.B. Haywood

Town In A Cinnamon ToastProprietor, Black Forest Bakery
Cape Willington, Maine

Hallo! Wie geht’s? My name is Georg Wolfsburger. You may have heard of me. I own the Black Forest Bakery in the quaint seaside village of Cape Willington, Maine, located on the rocky Down East coast. Many of you I have met around town, and I’m sure some of you have been into my shop, where I bake the most delectable cakes and German pastries in New England. But the sticky mess in which I currently find myself has nothing to do with my bakery.

In just two day’s time, I will be marrying the love of my life and apple to my strudel, the lovely and energetic Maggie Tremont. I can’t even begin to describe my happiness to you! I’m looking forward to the wedding more than anything else in the world. There’s just one minor problem at the moment. Last evening, at our wedding rehearsal dinner, our best man, Julius Seabury, went missing. Much to my surprise and regret, he was later found dead and—dare I say?—possibly murdered! A friend of mine, blueberry farmer Candy Holliday, discovered his body at the English Point Lighthouse and Museum, in the second-floor archives, which is full of musty old books and documents. Needless to say, it was a great shock for us all.

As if that isn’t tragic enough, it appears that Julius was killed by a knock on the head with one of the bottles of champagne I personally ordered for our upcoming wedding celebration! Talk about popping a cork! The police might even think I did it! Gott in Himmel! Can you imagine?

With the loss of Julius, my best friend and best man, and with my upcoming wedding just two days away, and with a possible murderer running around town, and with ongoing preparations to open the bakery for the summer season in a few weeks’ time, I have so much on my mind that it’s just spinning like a top! Not to mention the fact that I have a wedding cake to bake for my own wedding! But before I can do that, I need to find out who took that bottle of champagne from its case without anyone’s knowledge, and why it was taken to the museum and used to strike down my best man.

If you know me, then you know I’m normally a reserved, stay-out-of-trouble man, but in this case I feel that I need to take immediate action. I have to find out what happened to Julius in order to save my wedding. Thankfully, I have Candy Holliday to help me solve this mystery. As you might know, she has quite a bit of experience with this sort of thing. It’s a case we’ll try to solve together.

The clues, as expected, are mysterious. Why was there sand on the bottoms of Julius’s shoes? What was he looking at through his binoculars? Why did he seem so distressed in his final days? Was someone after him? Did it have anything to do with the town’s founding families, like the Sykes and the Pruitt families? And, most important, what the heck is this thing called Foul Mouth?

It will take all our combined efforts to get to the bottom of this mystery. I admit that I’ll never be the sleuth Candy has become, but I will do my best to sharpen my investigative skills! I’ll don my green felt Tyrolean hat (complete with feather) and get out there to solve this crime. Only then will I have peace of mind. Then the beautiful wedding I’ve planned with my darling Maggie can take place, so we can both live happily ever after.

Town in a Cinnamon Toast is the seventh book in the “Candy Holliday” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime, February 2016.

The author of Town in a Sweet Pickle brings back Candy Holliday, a blueberry farmer with a green thumb for sleuthing.

The much-anticipated wedding of local resident Maggie Tremont and popular baker Herr Georg has stirred up the usually quiet coastal town of Cape Willington. To make sure the wedding of the year goes off without a hitch, the participants gather at a pre-wedding dinner—everyone, that is, except the best man.

Worried, Candy, the maid of honor, goes looking for him, finally tracking him down to the upstairs archive rooms at the English Point Lighthouse and Museum. There’s only one problem: he’s dead, struck over the head with a bottle of champagne, the same exclusive brand that was ordered for the dinner. Before the wedding plans fall flat, Candy rushes to find the murderer, unearthing a conspiracy that could spill over into the whole town.

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All comments are welcomed.

NOTE: Town in a Cinnamon Toast was published on Feb. 2, 2016, by Berkeley Prime Crime, and available in both print and as an ebook. Other titles in the New York Times bestselling series include Town in a Sweet Pickle, Town in a Strawberry Swirl, Town in a Pumpkin Bash, Town in a Wild Moose Chase, Town in a Lobster Stew, and Town in a Blueberry Jam. Large print editions of the books and an audiobook of Town in a Blueberry Jam are also available. For more information on the series, visit

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a signed copy of Town in a Cinnamon Toast. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end February 16, 2016 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!

Annabelle Starkey and Mickey Paxton by Zoe Burke

No Gun IntendedLet me tell you about the leading man in my life, Michael Thomas Paxton, though everyone calls him Mickey. He used to be an NYPD detective, but now we have our own detective agency, partnering with our best friend, Luis Maldonado. He’s an ex-cop, too.

As for me, Annabelle Starkey, I drew the lucky card when I met Mickey a couple of years ago. It was pure happenstance, and even though I unknowingly led him into a mash-up of murder and mayhem, he somehow fell in love with me.

I still find that wondrous. Mickey and I do have lots in common—for instance, we love the movies. He once told me, “You are exceptionally odd,” which I recognized right away as a quote from A Beautiful Mind, and I came right back at him with the movie’s line: “I bet you’re very popular with the girls.” We’re cinematically copacetic.

But we’re very different, too. He’s contained, thoughtful, doesn’t reveal too much too soon. In fact, I’m certain there’s more to him than even I know. I, on the other hand, tend to blurt out immediately everything that comes to mind.

Mickey is rich. His parents died in an accident when he was only 25, and they left him a pile of money. It was newly earned—Mickey grew up working-class, until his plumber father invented a pipe sealant, the patent for which paid out big time. So Mickey doesn’t have airs, if you know what I mean. He’s a solid, straightforward, no-nonsense kind of guy. Except when we’re yucking it up. He needs yucking. He’s wound pretty tight from those years of being a New York City cop.

I suppose that’s why he’s attracted to me. I know I can be flighty and impulsive, and while those qualities have, admittedly, gotten us into some scrapes, I do have good instincts. Mickey has told me that, lots of times.

Just last night, in fact, I told him I thought it was time to go to bed. He complimented me on my instincts.

Mickey quickly became part of my family. My parents, Jeff and Sylvia, live in Portland, Oregon, and they treated him like a son from the get-go. In fact, they knew he was in love with me before I figured it out. They’ve helped us out a lot, even though I’ve brought trouble to their door twice. Mom told me early on that Mickey was “a goddamned keeper” and I better not “screw up and end up with some loser twitbrain instead of him.” Mom is very expressive in her use of the English language. Dad, he’s more like Mickey. Big heart, usually quiet, generous to a fault.

These days, we’re back in our Chelsea flat in Manhattan, having just spent a harrowing week in Portland. It was supposed to have been a relaxing visit with the ’rents, but it played out more like a Ridley Scott movie—no aliens, but plenty of bad guys.

Here’s what happened: I arrived a few days before Mickey, ready to settle in for a week of chilling out, when I discovered my backpack had been switched for one holding a gun—a gun linked to a murder.

My infallible instincts told me that this could not be good.

I didn’t know if I had been set up or was simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. The Portland PD wasn’t sure, either—they were figuring me as some sort of criminal. Then a frantic young woman got in touch with me, claiming the gun was hers. And besides all of that, I spotted the man who sat next to me on the plane twice, on the streets of Portland. Was he stalking me?

So, I was freaked out but held it somewhat together until Mickey and Luis arrived. That’s not to say I was lost without them. But I do better with them around. We’re a good team. We complement each other. I don’t pretend to be an Olivia Benson clone, but with my partners, I think the three of us could solve any Law and Order crime that fell into our laps. Whenever Mickey and I don’t see private eye to private eye, that’s when Luis steps in. He keeps us on track.

I’ll leave it to you to find out more about the Portland caper.

But one last word about Mickey: every morning he makes me coffee, tells me he loves me, and insists that my hair looks great. He can be overly protective, but he’s always on my side, and by my side.

Mickey’s my rock.

And I guess you could say that I’m his roll.

No Gun Intended is the second book in the “Annabelle Starkey” mystery series, published by Poisoned Pen Press, January 2016.

Meet the author
Zoe Burke lives in Portland, Oregon. She has written several children’s books as well as her Annabelle Starkey mysteries. She is also the vice president and publisher of Pomegranate Communications, an art book publishing company, and she enjoyed a brief singer/songwriter career as Katie Burke in the 1990s. Visit Zoe at

Giveaway: Win a copy of each of Zoe Burke’s Annabelle Starkey mysteries—Jump The Gun and No Gun Intended! Since Annabelle is such a movie nut, in 50 words or less, tell us what your favorite movie is and why. Leave your comment below. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end February 15 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!


Weekly Update

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Coming up on dru’s book musings (2/8 – 2/14)
Feb 8: Annabelle Starkey, “No Gun Intended” by Zoe Burke (Annabelle Starkey)
Feb 9: Herr Georg Wolfsburger, “Town in A Cinnamon Toast” by B.B. Haywood (Candy Holliday)
Feb 10: CeCe Prentice, “Drawing Blood” by Deirdre Verne (Sketch In Crime)
Feb 11: Jill Gardner, “Murder on Wheels” by Lynn Cahoon (Tourist Trap)
Feb 12: Gordon Hepler, “Deadly Places” by Terry Odell (Mapleton)
Feb 13: Maura Donovan, “A Turn for the Bad” by Sheila Connolly (County Cork)
Feb 14: Kiki Lowenstein, “Happy Homicides 2” edited by Joanna Campbell Slan

Previously on dru’s book musings
– Robert Vickers, “Death in the Old Rectory” by Kathie Deviny
– Margo Tamblyn, “A Disguise to Die For” by Diane Vallere
– Dani O’Rourke, “Mixed Up With Murder” by Susan Shea
– Charlotte Bessette, “For Cheddar Or Worse” by Avery Aames
– Sheriff Dan Carlyle, “Scene of the Brine” by Mary Ellen Hughes
– Trixie Matkowski, “It’s A Wonderful Knife” by Christine Wenger

“The Case of the Missing Morris Dancer” by Cathy Ace – Doward W.
“High Strung” and “A Bead in the Hand” by Janice Peacock – Judy D.
“Practical Sins For Cold Climates” by Shelley Costa – Linda H.
“Burning Heat” by David Burnsworth – Mary C.
“The Silence of Stones” by Jeri Westerson – Vicki H.