Project Dogway by Sparkle Abbey

Here we Go againProject Dogway by Sparkle Abbey is part of the “Here We Go Again Short Story Anthology”. Publisher: The Story Vault, February 2014

It’s high fashion hijinks in Laguna Beach with designer togs, spa pampering, and jewels galore…and that’s just the dogs.

With canines on the catwalk at this fundraising haute dog fashion show, pet therapist, Caro, and cousin Mel, owner of the local Bow Wow Boutique, are mingling with the crowd, but still not speaking to each other.

But when one of Caro’s clients, Phil Tawny, the protective owner of Shadow, an award-winning beagle, drops dead at the event, the feuding cousins find themselves embroiled in much more than a fashion “faux paw.” There’s a rabid Shadow fan, a fame-hungry ex-wife, and a detective who doesn’t want them sniffing around his investigation.

But Caro and Mel refuse to sit/stay, and soon find themselves on the tail of a killer.

I enjoyed this short story where Caro and Mel are on the case in search of a missing dog and finding a murderer among the people at the fashion show. I love the comfortable tone and the pace of this light fare with its easy flowing chapters. A good read that fits perfectly in between the full-length novels.

A Day in the Life of Eve Appel by Lesley A Diehl

Dead in the WaterI’m Eve Appel, and with my partner and best friend, Madeleine Boudreaux, I own and operate a consignment shop in rural Florida. We’re well established in the area now after a few ups and downs. You can read about the rollicking ride in A Secondhand Murder and the second in the series, Dead in the Water, was released by Camel Press earlier in July.

I’m the kind of woman who often can’t control what comes out of my mouth while Madeleine is always socially appropriate, but seems to have no control over what her body does. I’m saying she’s clumsy. Take this typical day for us when I’d just moved to Florida.

“A rodeo??” I said to Madeleine when she mentioned it. A rodeo? Sure. That sounded area appropriate, and not as creepy as running across a gator while picnicking in the park by the lake.

The only catch was that I’d moved here a month ago, and we hadn’t yet opened our shop.

I looked around the shop. “Things look pretty disorganized.”

“Pooh. We’ll work tomorrow. Today is the last day for the annual rodeo, and I want you to see it. It’s real Florida.”

Madeleine had been showing me around “real” Florida in the last few weeks, so I was familiar with the gators and cowboys, the cowboys I met in the local bar, the gators in nearby canals and on the lake.

Cowboys? Up close and doing their roping, riding and bull riding thing? It was too tempting.

I must admit that I did love the excitement of the events, calf roping, barrel racing, and, the most thrilling, bull riding. I don’t know what I admired most, the skill of the cowboys or the energy of the animals. We sat in the lowest row of the stands and got a close up view of everything, including a good whiff of the cattle. Pick-up riders rode past us, their attention focused on insuring that the riders were safe once off the bulls. People cheered their favorite participant on from the stands. The noise of the steers, bellowing of bulls and neighing of horses added to the air of excitement.

“That was quite a show,” I said to Madeleine as we left the stands. “I’d like a chance to get a closer look at those bulls. They’re huge.”

Madeleine shot me a look filled with skepticism. “You want to get a closer look at those cowboys near the bull pens. Don’t lie to me.”

Well, yes, but the bulls were kind of intriguing too.

“And you’ve already rubbed elbows with cowboys in the Burnt Biscuit Restaurant and Bar on the dance floor.”

“Yeah, but these are sweaty, real cowboys with bulls to boot.”

“This is not a good idea, Eve.”

“Of course it is.”

I was wrong, as I usually am where Madeleine is concerned.

We wandered in the direction of the bull pens and caught the attention of several cowboys working with the stock and others I recognized as having participated in the events.

“Well, little ladies, did you enjoy the rodeo?” asked one of the riders.

Madeleine may be little, but at over six feet with my stiletto heels which I always wore, I am not.

We struck up a conversation with the men and talked of spurs, ropes, pickup riders, and prize money, all matters important to rodeo riders. Madeleine leaned back onto the fence surrounding the stock pens as we talked. I didn’t notice what she was doing, but one of the cowboys did.

“Careful there, Ma’am. You don’t want to lean into that lever or you’ll…”

Madeleine jumped away from the fence, but too late. She’d tripped the level, and the gate swung open. The bulls inside jockeyed for position as they sniffed freedom to the outside world.

The cowboy pushed us out of the way, as the bulls rushed for the open rodeo grounds.

“Oh, oh,” said Madeleine.

“Oh, crap,” I said.

“Bulls are out!” yelled a cowboy.

The chase to round them up began. Men on horses and on foot, the two clowns who worked the rodeo and spectators not afraid to back down a bull dashed out of the stadium to herd the animals back into the pen, but not before two of them jumped on the merry-go-round, scaring the riders already there. Others took off toward the barbeque stands and knocked over three booths, scattering pounds of ribs and chicken onto the ground. It took several hours before the bulls were back in their pen.

As for Madeleine, the lure of the rodeo has worn off, and I haven’t heard her mention attending the event for the past two years. She still agrees with me, however. Cowboys are really cute, but she prefers them on the dance floor rather than riding a bull.

You can read more about Eve in Dead in the Water, the second book in the “Eve Appel” mystery series, published by Camel Press. The first book in the series is A Secondhand Murder.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on July 24 for the chance to win a copy of Dead in the Water. (US entries only, please.)

Meet the author
Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport. Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her writing muse. When not writing, she gardens, cooks and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats, and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work.

She is author of several mystery series, all featuring country gals with attitude. Lesley has also authored a number of short stories and several standalone mystery novels. She invites readers to visit her on her website, on Twitter or on Facebook.

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Shenanigans in the Shadows by Kari Lee Townsend

Here we Go againShenanigans in the Shadows by Kari Lee Townsend is part of the “Here We Go Again Short Story Anthology”. Publisher: The Story Vault, February 2014

Psychic Sunshine Meadows is used to predicting trouble, but never sees mischief and mayhem coming her way. After Detective Mitch Stone moves in, her cat Morty refuses to accept him. Both resort to all sorts of shenanigans as they compete for her attention. When Morty sees his shadow, Sunny knows she can’t endure six more weeks of doom and threatens to put them each in the doghouse if they don’t quit misbehaving. When her best friend’s priceless heirloom wedding rings go missing and a break-in is discovered, they must put their differences aside and work together to figure out whodunit.

This was a great read and a long overdue visit with Sunny and her friends. In this light fare, a missing ring has Sunny and Mitch looking for a thief and it was very enjoyable watching them fit all the pieces together to solve this puzzling crime and boy was it fun when the thief was revealed. Now that I know there is a new book coming in this series, this was a nice interlude and I can’t wait for the next book in this delightfully charming series.

Power Play by Catherine Coulter

Power PlayPower Play by Catherine Coulter is the 18th book in the “FBI” thriller series. Publisher: Putnam, July 2014

#1 New York Times–bestselling author Catherine Coulter returns with the newest full-throttle adventure in the FBI series featuring Dillon Savich and Lacey Sherlock.

Natalie Black, the U.S. ambassador to the Court of St. James, has returned to Washington, her job in jeopardy. Her fiancé, George McCallum, Viscount Lockenby, has died in a car accident, and mysterious rumors begin that she’s responsible begin to surface: she broke off the engagement and, heartbroken, he killed himself. Then someone tries to force her off the M-2 outside London. Again, rumors claim it was a sympathy ploy. When she returns to the United States, she’s nearly killed when a car tries to mow her down while she’s out for a run. No one believes her except FBI Special Agent Davis Sullivan.

Meanwhile someone is following Sherlock. A stalker? Then someone tries to shoot her from the back of a motorcycle, but the assailant gets away. Sherlock next gets a call from an Atlanta mental hospital warning her that Blessed Backman has escaped. This is not good news. Blessed is a talented psychopath out for revenge against the agents, primarily Sherlock, whom his dying mother begged him to kill since she and Savich brought down her cult.

How to find out who’s trying to kill the ambassador to the U.K.? How can they get their hands on Blessed Backman before he succeeds and kills Sherlock? The clock is ticking and the danger intensifies . . .

I love this series and the author once again delivers a fast-paced and thrilling drama that was hard to put down from the start to a conclusion worthy of Savitch and Sherlock investigative and sharp shooting skills. The mystery grabbed my attention and I love watching how it all plays out with some surprising twists that gave this story a bit of jolt that as to what was going on. A good read that I enjoyed immensely and I can’t wait for the next book in this terrific series.


Weekly Roundup* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

This week on dru’s book musings

July 21: Dead in the Water by Lesley A. Diehl: Guest Post
July 22: Deadly Assets by Wendy Tyson: Guest Post
July 23: Silence of the Lamb’s Wool by Betty Hechtman: Guest Post
July 24: Margaret Truman’s Undiplomatic Murder by Donald Bain: Guest Post
July 25: Maple Mayhem by Jessie Crockett: Guest Post
July 26: Pies & Peril by Janel Gradowski: Guest Post

Last week on dru’s book musings

Recent contest winners

  • The Black Hour by Lori Rader-Day – Barb G.
  • Blood, Ash and Bone by Tina Whittle – Sheila K.
  • Ruin Falls by Jenny Milchman – Sally S.
  • Supreme Justice by Max Allan Collins – Jane R.
  • Fatal Fortune by Victoria Laurie – Valerie C.
  • The Dead Will Tell by Linda Castillo – Allyssa C.
  • The Dead Will Tell by Linda Castillo – Tammy C.

Recently posted on dru’s book musings

  • Ill-Gotten Panes by Jennifer McAndrews
  • Book Clubbed by Lorna Barrett
  • Phantom Instinct by Meg Gardiner
  • Mind Over Murder by Evelyn David

Follow dru’s book musing on Facebook for posting about discounted books, giveaways and some of my reading musings.

On The Case with Billy Two-Feathers by Keith Donnelly

Three Dragons DoomedMy name is Billy Two-Feathers. I am a full blooded Cherokee Indian adopted and raised by white parents in Wilton, Connecticut. I met my best friend, Donald Youngblood, in college. We attended the University of Connecticut. Most of the time I call Don, “Blood.” Most of the time Don calls me “Chief.”

After we graduated, Don went to Wall Street and made a fortune. I made some bad choices and went to prison. In five years my only visitor in prison was Donald Youngblood. Don gave me a second chance for a good life and I took it.

After my release from prison, a series of events led us back to Don’s hometown, Mountain Center, Tennessee where we opened Cherokee Investigations, a private investigative firm. A lot has happened since then. I am now a deputy sheriff in Swain County, North Carolina; a long story best told another time.

This particular day started innocently enough; a minor drug bust, a break-in and a domestic disturbance. I had them all taken care of before lunch. Then I got a call from Don asking for backup on a serial killer case that was coming to a head. Late that afternoon, I was making the trip over the Smoky Mountains down through Gatlinburg and on to Mountain Center and thinking as I went about all the cases we had been involved in.

I sometimes worry about Don. He can be reckless when it comes to personal safety so I need to watch his back. He calls me a “mother hen” but beneath the protest I know he feels safer when I am around. I have saved his life on more than one occasion, although he would scoff at that and say he had it all under control. The facts are he has been assaulted more than once, beaten unconscious to a comatose state and wounded in a gun battle. He has been hospitalized at least three times that I know of since he became a private investigator. Donald Youngblood has a gift for finding trouble.

When Don called he told me he was temporarily staying at the Fleet Mansion, not a good sign. Joseph Fleet is a rich and powerful business man in Mountain Center whose inner circle includes Don and me because Don tracked the killer of Joseph Fleet’s daughter, Sarah Ann.

* * * * * * * * * *

I found Don and Mr. Fleet in the first floor study. They were in quiet conversation having drinks in front of the fireplace.

“Good to see you again, Billy,” Joseph Fleet said, when Roy Husky escorted me in.

Roy is Fleet’s right-hand man and has become a friend to both Don and me and supported us on a few of our cases.

“You too, sir,” I said.

“I take it this is not a social call,” Joseph Fleet said.

“No, it’s not, “I said. “ I need to speak with Blood.”

Joseph Fleet stood. “Gentlemen,” he said. “I’m turning in for the night. Billy, you’re welcome to stay.”

“Thank you, sir,” I said. “I believe I will.”

He left us alone.

Moments later, Don and I left the study and went to his third floor suite to plan our strategy for tomorrow. Don thought he knew exactly where James Hyde would be set up for him. Mary, Don’s wife and Mountain Center police detective, didn’t seem surprised to see me when I walked in. Don began to share his plan with me when Mary interrupted.

“About tomorrow,” Mary said, her voice determined. ”I’m going with you and it’s not negotiable.”

I caught the look between them and sensed the beginning of an argument.

“I promised him I would come alone,” Don said, with little conviction.

“He doesn’t deserve your promise,” Mary said. “And besides, I didn’t promise him a damn thing.”

“Me, either,” I said.

It was pointless for Don to argue, Mary wasn’t going to give in and something about having Mary with us felt right.

“Okay,” Don said to Mary. “You follow me in and cover my back. Chief comes in from the front in my Pathfinder.”

He showed Mary and me our route in and how we would play it. He explained my part. We all agreed.

“You think he’s going to try and ambush you?” Mary asked.

“I do,” Don said.

I nodded agreement.

“In the end they’re all cowards,” I said.

“I thought he wanted a face-to-face,” Mary said.

“He wants me dead,” Don said. “He doesn’t want to gamble with me out in the open. This is his version of a face-to-face.”

We went over it a second time then I left for my room knowing that tomorrow, one way or another, we were going to bring down a serial killer.

You can read more about Billy Two-Feathers in Three Dragons Doomed, the fifth book in the “Donald Youngblood” mystery series, published by John F. Blair. The first book in the series is Three Deuces Down.

GIVEAWAY: Leave a comment by 6 p.m. eastern on July 23 for the chance to win a copy of Three Deuces Down. (US entries only, please.)

Meet the author
Keith Donnelly grew up in Johnson City, TN where he graduated from East Tennessee State University with a degree in Economics and soon after found himself in the New York City world of publishing.

Keith and wife, Tessa, divide their time between Gatlinburg, TN, Singer Island, FL and Salt Lake City, UT where Keith indulges in his passion of downhill skiing. His motto: have laptop, will travel!

Donnelly is currently working on book six in the Donald Youngblood Mystery series. Visit Keith at

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Mind Over Murder by Evelyn David

Mind Over MurderMind Over Murder by Evelyn David. Publisher: Trace Evidence Press, June 2014

The last time the police knocked on psychic Valentine Zalmanzig Cohen’s door they ignored her advice and the wrong man ended up in prison for murder. Five years later the knock comes again. Another couple killed in the same house. A copycat killer? Or has the original killer struck again? The police are willing to consider that perhaps they’d been wrong, but is Val willing to risk her marriage, career, and maybe even her life to try again?

I like it. When both she and her husband becomes the main person of interest in several vicious murders, Val does what she needs to do in order to clear their name, this despite being threatened and discovering some painful news. The mystery was well played out and kept me glued to the pages as I had to know what happens next. The author did a good job in hiding the killer in plain sight, which gave me a surprise. I like Val and Jake and a nod to the author because I figured out who Ruth was. Will we see more of Val and Jake? I hope we do, as this was a very good read.