Category Archives: Books

Murder with a Twist by Allyson K. Abbott

Murder With a TwistMurder with a Twist by Allyson K. Abbott is the second book in the “Mack’s Bar” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, August 2014

The regulars at Mack’s Bar love putting their heads together to solve a good mystery. But Mack is learning there’s a big difference between barroom brain teasers and real-life murder…Milwaukee bar owner Mackenzie “Mack” Dalton has a unique neurological condition that gives her extra perceptive senses, and police detective Duncan Albright is convinced Mack’s abilities can be used to help catch crooks. Mack may be at pro at mixing drinks, but she’s still an amateur when it comes to solving crimes – and she’s not sure she should mix business with pleasure by working with a man who stirs up such strong feelings in her. At her first crime scene – a suspicious suicide – she experiences a heady cocktail of mixed sensations and emotions that make her question whether police work is right for her. But when Duncan asks her to help find a kidnapped child, she knows she has to give it a shot.

This was very enjoyable read. It definitely was a murder with a twist, especially when the murder case turned a corner and I immediately knew an underlining hand was behind the disappearance and murder, which came to a head when it all played out. The author did a great job delivering an exciting and engaging whodunit that entertained me from beginning to end. Overall, this was a wonderful book, but the ending left me a bit disappointed and sad and I hope the one story arc gets back on track in the next book.

Nightmares Can Be Murder by Mary Kennedy

Nightmares Can Be MurderNightmares Can Be Murder by Mary Kennedy is the first book in the new “Dream Club” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, September 2014

Dream Team
Business consultant Taylor Blake has returned to Savannah, Georgia, to help her sister Allison turn her dream of running an old-fashioned candy store into a reality. Allison is also interested in dream interpretation and invites Taylor to her Friday night Dream Club, where members meet once a week to share and analyze their dreams.

When a local dance instructor, Chico Hernandez, is found dead in his studio, and the murder scene has an eerie resemblance to one of the dreams shared at their meeting, Taylor can’t help but be intrigued. And when her sister, who was briefly involved with the dance teacher, becomes the prime suspect, Taylor and their fellow club members can’t be caught napping. It’s up to them to dream up a solution to the murder before Allison faces a real-life nightmare.

I enjoyed this evenly paced drama immensely with its creative use of dream interpretation expertly woven into this well-executed storyline. The tone was comfortable putting me right in the middle of the action and the ease at the storytelling flowed beautifully from scene to scene as we got to know a little bit about the members of this ensemble cast. The author did a great job in planting clues that pointed at each member of this group as well as those who interacted with them, as to motive warranted enough to kill, and it was the way the author flushed out the culprit that kept me glued to the prize of the killer’s identity. Boasting great dialogue and the most charming setting of Savannah, Georgia, this was a great read and I look forward to more sweet times with Taylor, Ali and their friends.

Death Is Like a Box of Chocolates by Kathy Aarons

Death is like a box of ChocolateDeath Is Like a Box of Chocolates by Kathy Aarons is the first book in the new “Chocolate Covered” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, September 2014

Whether it’s to satisfy a craving for chocolate or pick up the hottest new bestseller, the locals in charming West Riverdale, Maryland, are heading to Chocolates and Chapters, where everything sold is to die for.

Best friends Michelle Serrano and Erica Russell are celebrating the sweet rewards of their combined bookstore and chocolate shop by hosting the Great Fudge Cook-off during the town’s Memorial Day weekend Arts Festival. But success turns bittersweet when Main Street’s portrait photographer is found dead in their store, poisoned by Michelle’s signature truffles.

As suspicion mounts against Michelle, her sales begin to crumble and her career seems whipped. With Erica by her side, Michelle must pick through an assortment of suspects before the future of their dream store melts away.

I enjoyed this tantalizing sweet whodunit that whetted my appetite for chocolate and murder. With a scattered list of suspects, it was easy to succumb to the early clues but once the story moved forward, the killer’s identity inch closer as suspect after suspect were alibied. The author did a good job in presenting a well-fermented drama that was easy to follow with the perfect backdrop of a bookstore and chocolates. There’s a backstory between Erica and Bobby that I can’t wait to read more about and the possibility of a romance blooms for our heroine. Boasting a lovable cast of characters and engaging dialogue, this delectable treat is a welcomed addition to the cozy genre. Bonus chocolaty recipes are included.

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog

Fat Cat At Large by Janet Cantrell

Fat Cat At LargeFat Cat At Large by Janet Cantrell is the first book in the new “Fat Cat” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, September 2014

When she’s not dreaming up irresistible dessert bars for her Minneapolis treatery, Bar None, Charity “Chase” Oliver is running after her cat, Quincy—a tubby tabby with a gift for sniffing out edibles. But what happens when this cat burglar leads Chase to the scene of a real crime?

The jig is up for Chase’s adorable plus-size cat, Quincy. His new vet says “diet”—that means no more cherry cheesecake bars. From now on he gets low-calorie kibble only. But one taste of the stuff is all it takes to drive him in search of better things. Quincy’s escape is the last thing Chase needs after the nasty run-in she has with underhanded business rival Gabe Naughtly.

Chase tracks Quincy down in a neighbor’s kitchen, where he’s devouring a meatloaf, unaware of the much more serious crime he’s stumbled upon. Gabe’s corpse is lying on the kitchen floor, and when Chase is discovered at the murder scene, she becomes suspect number one. Now, with a little help from her friends—both human and feline—she’ll have to catch the real killer or wind up behind bars that aren’t so sweet.

This was a fun read that kept my interest from beginning to end. The mystery was teasingly adventurous from the suspects, to the interaction between the cast and to the frequent surprise mentions of fictional characters from cozy series that I read. I love the way the story flowed and the comfortable tone that created a lovely atmosphere as the story moved forward. Chase is great character and I would like to know more about her and Anna and Julie. Quincy adds a dash of excitement with his escapes and discoveries in this debut novel. I look forward to more good times and murder with the next book in this delightfully appealing series.

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog

Caught Dead Handed by Carol J. Perry

Caught Dead HandedCaught Dead Handed by Carol J. Perry is the first book in the new “Witch City” mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, September 2014

She’s not a psychic–she just plays one on TV.

Most folks associate the city of Salem, Massachusetts with witches, but for Lee Barrett, it’s home. This October she’s returned to her hometown–where her beloved Aunt Ibby still lives–to interview for a job as a reporter at WICH-TV. But the only opening is for a call-in psychic to host the late night horror movies. It seems the previous host, Ariel Constellation, never saw her own murder coming.

Lee reluctantly takes the job, but when she starts seeing real events in the obsidian ball she’s using as a prop, she wonders if she might really have psychic abilities. To make things even spookier, it’s starting to look like Ariel may have been an actual practicing witch–especially when O’Ryan, the cat Lee and Aunt Ibby inherited from her, exhibits some strange powers of his own. With Halloween fast approaching, Lee must focus on unmasking a killer–or her career as a psychic may be very short lived. . .

This was a fun book to read that was filled with suspense and intrigue. Is she or is she not? That’s the question I had as I followed the actions set forth by Lee as well as the clues in drama that was hard to put down. The author did a great job in the presentation of this novel, where nothing is as it seems and until you got closer to the end, did I suspect what I thought I knew. I Lee is a great heroine as is her aunt Ibby. The addition of O’Ryan and Pete rounded out the cast that supported them. Boasting engaging dialogue and the perfect background setting of Salem, MA and Halloween, this was a very enjoyable read and I can’t wait to read the next book in this wonderfully crafted series.

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog

The Night Visitor by Dianne Emley

The Night VisitorThe Night Visitor by Dianne Emley is her new paranormal thriller. Publisher: Alibi/Random House, September 2014

Gorgeous and successful, Rory Langtry seemed to have it all. Daughter of a movie star and sister of a supermodel, Rory was engaged to sexy artist, Junior Lara. But her bright future went dark one terrible, bloody night that left her sister dead and the accused murderer, Junior, in an extended coma.

Now, five years later, Rory appears to have put the past behind her. She has a wonderful new fiancé and heads a successful cosmetics company… yet dark secrets threaten. Across town, Junior lies close to death but before he departs he seeks to clear his name.

It starts with a feeling. It turns into a vision. Soon Rory has sensations that only Junior could experience—from the horrifying to the erotic. Then she learns details about the awful night that only Junior could know, newfound knowledge with potentially fatal consequences. When another act of violence rocks her family, Rory plunges deeper into the unsolved mystery, led by an inexplicable visitor to a dangerous time and place where all will be revealed at last. But until then, Junior will not let her go.

I love it. Rory is experiencing visions from her ex-fiancé who lies in a coma when the reason becomes clear. Was he not responsible for her sister’s death? This takes Rory on an adventure that had my heart palpitating as I had to know if she was going to come out of this alive.

This fast-paced drama pulled me immediately into the world of Rory and her visions and quickly became a page-turner. The author did a great job in kicking the suspense up a notch with plenty of twists and turns that kept me immersed in all that was happening. The tone and flow of this paranormal plot lend itself to the intensity and riveting action throughout this strong storyline of justice served in this grippingly thrilling tale of suspense. This is a great addition to the works by author Dianne Emley.

Another Day in the Life of Cait Morgan by Cathy Ace

The Corpse with the Platinum HairWhat a day! This is my first trip to Las Vegas, and I am loving it! I know they say that what happens here, stays here, but I’m going to be taking home a lot of photographs, and I’ve even bought one of those cheesy snow-globes, with the world-famous “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” sign in it, for Bud. I’ll give it to him tomorrow, as a part of his birthday present.

We’re staying at the Tsar! Hotel and Casino. It’s a fabulous place, with architecture and design elements inspired by, and closely modelled after, Tsarist Russian themes. And tonight, guess what? We’ve been invited to the most exclusive restaurant in the place: the casino owner’s private dining room. If you know Vegas you’ll know where it is. The Tsar! has that giant glass edifice shaped like a Faberge egg at one end of the building, overlooking The Strip. The private restaurant is right at the top, in the bit of the egg you’d cut off if it were soft-boiled. It should be wonderful.

Bud’s friend and old colleague, Jack White, has a son working here at the Tsar! as a chef, and he managed to wangle us an invitation. I am so happy for Bud—he deserves a real treat for his birthday, so, although he’ll be a year older after midnight, we can at least celebrate in style.

We arrived a few days ago, and we haven’t stopped. I suppose that the most overwhelming impression the place has made on me is its sheer size. It seems to take forever to walk from one casino to the next, even though they look as though they’re very close together. And when people tell you “It’s a dry heat” here, they aren’t lying, but that doesn’t make it feel any cooler. Today, September 24th, it reached almost 100 degrees fahrenheit, and that meant that Bud and I gave ourselves a “day off” and lounged beside the pool for a few hours. Very relaxing. Lots of slim, young bodies lying about the place. Well, except for the man with the body covered in tattoos, that is. He was neither slim, nor very young.

Tattoos fascinate me, and often repel me at the same time. As a psychologist they fascinate me—why a person chooses to use their skin as a canvas is quite a complex question. They also, in many cases, are truly wonderful works of art. But the repulsion sets in quickly, as does my inability to stop myself from profiling the person who has them. I’ll set aside for one moment the knowledge that certain criminal elements use tattoos as a way to mark themselves as a lifelong member of their chosen brotherhood, and, in some cases, to tell stories about their exploits that can only be understood by insiders. Beyond that there’s the question of where on the body they appear. His were everywhere, and I mean that as literally as I am able, given that he was wearing a pair of swimming trunks. Bud and I talked about what he might do for a living, given the fact there was no way he could hide his tattoos—certainly not those on his face. Bud’s decided he was an actor, who was happy to accept a narrow range of parts, I had him pegged as a tattoo artist. As he left the pool area, I sat up and called to him. He looked quite shocked when I asked him what he did for a living. His reply told Bud and me that I was right.

That means Bud owes me a cocktail. Ha! So this evening, I’m going to have one of the hotel’s signature Tsar!Tini’s and drink it happily. Then we can make our way to the private restaurant and indulge in what’s bound to be a fabulous meal. Here’s hoping Bud has a very happy start to his birthday.

You can read more about Cait in The Corpse With The Platinum Hair, the fourth book in the “Cait Morgan” mystery series, published by TouchWood Editions, coming in October 2014. The first book in the series is The Corpse with the Silver Tongue.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on September 15 for the chance to win a copy of THE CORPSE WITH THE EMERALD THUMB, the third book in the series. The giveaway is open to U.S. and Canadian residents only.

About the author
Welsh Canadian mystery author Cathy Ace is the creator of The Cait Morgan Mysteries. Born, raised and educated in 2cathyWales, Cathy enjoyed a successful career in marketing and training across Europe for twenty years before migrating to Vancouver, Canada. There she taught on MBA and Undergraduate marketing programmes at various Universities for a decade. Her eclectic tastes in art, music, food and drink have been developed during her decades of extensive travels, which she continues, whenever possible. Now a full-time author, Cathy and her husband are keen gardeners who enjoy being helped out around their rural acreage by their Labradors.

Cathy’s website can be found at Follow her on Twitter, or on Facebook.

Also, look for The Corpse With The Sapphire Eyes in Spring 2015 and The Corpse With The Diamond Hand in Fall 2015.