A day in the life of Pete Fernandez by Alex Segura

I’m not hungry. This is usually a bad sign.

We’re at a table near the back of El Rinconcito—the “tiny corner”—a small Cuban place on 157th Avenue in West Kendall. It’s a warm day, the Miami temperatures clocking in no higher than 82. Balmy for the area, hellish and humid for anyone else.

My sponsor, Jack, is sitting across from me, sipping his Cafecito and giving me a concerned look. I’ve just dropped a whopper on him. I slide my half-eaten plate of carne asada toward the center of the table.

We’ve just hit our regular midday AA meeting a few blocks from the restaurant. I needed one. After touching base with my partner, Kathy Bentley, I’ve got a lot to think about. Maybe too much. Definitely more than usual.

My name’s Pete Fernandez and I’m a private investigator in my hometown, Miami. It’s taken me a few years to come to terms with that. I’ve crossed paths with mysterious mob guns for hire, raving-mad serial killers and weapon-smuggling drug dealers, but I’ve always tried to avoid the truth: that this is my gig, and I’m pretty good at it. I’m especially good at it when working with Kathy Bentley, a former colleague in my past life as a newspaper employee at The Miami Times. Even better at it when I’m not drunk. The not-drinking part is a relatively new development. Here’s hoping it sticks.

“You gonna take the case?” Jack asked before polishing off his drink.

“Not sure yet. Not sure what the case is, really.”

Jack cleared his throat. He wasn’t the biggest fan of my pre-case wishy-washiness.

“Anyone over the age of thirty knows the Gaspar Varela case,” he said, leaning over the table. “The guy killed his wife. End of story.”

“Some people think otherwise,” I said, motioning for the check. “And they’ve reached out to Kathy.”

“And she’s reached out to you, huh?”

“They want to see if they can find any evidence to get him a new trial,” I said, grabbing the billfold from the waitress. “He was an Narcotics cop. Perfect record before all this.”

“I’m just an old, overweight ex-cop myself, Pete,” Jack said, shrugging. “What do I know? But the whole thing sounds fishy to me. The case has been closed over ten years and you’re supposed to find one sliver of new evidence to save the day? There’s a needle comparison here.”

I laughed. He was usually right. But something nagged at me about the case. There was more to it than what Kathy told me and I wanted to find out. My curiosity was helpful in my line of work. It also got me into a lot of trouble. I wasn’t sure which it was doing right now.

I slipped a twenty and a ten into the fold and got up.

“Gone so soon?” Jack said.

“Gotta run and do some errands,” I said, shaking his hand. “Tomorrow’s gonna be a busy day.”

“It’s starting again, isn’t it?”

It. The case. The next obsession. The dance around the darkness, where I get close enough to maybe pull someone out, but also risk getting myself dragged in. I’m not sure I can survive another bout like the one from last year. Jack doesn’t think so, either.

I nod.

“It’s starting.”

You can read more about Pete in Dangerous Ends, the third “Pete Fernandez Miami” Mystery, out April 11 from Polis Books.

Pete Fernandez has settled into an easy, if somewhat boring life as a P.I.. He takes pictures of cheating husbands. He tracks criminals who’ve skipped bail and he attends weekly AA meetings The days of chasing murderous killers are behind him. Or are they?

When his sometimes partner Kathy Bentley approaches him with a potential new client, Pete balks. Not because he doesn’t need the money, but because the case involves Gaspar Varela, a former Miami police officer serving a life sentence for the murder of his wife – one of the most infamous crimes in Miami history. The client? None other than Varela s daughter, Maya, who s doggedly supported her father s claims of innocence.

As Pete and Kathy wade into a case that no one wants, they also find themselves in the cross-hairs of Los Enfermos, a bloodthirsty gang of pro-Castro killers and drug dealers looking to wipe Pete off the Miami map. As if trying to exonerate Varela wasn’t enough, they find themselves entangled in something even older and more surprising–a bloody, political hit ordered by Fidel Castro himself, that left a still-healing scar on Peteand his dead father’s past.

Fast-paced, hardboiled and surprising, Dangerous Ends pushes Pete Fernandez into a battle with a deadlier, more complex threat, as he tries to shake off the demons haunting Miami s own, sordid past.

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the author
Alex Segura is a novelist and comic book writer. He is the author of the Miami crime novels featuring Pete Fernandez, Silent City and Down The Darkest Street. The next Fernandez mystery, Dangerous Ends, will be released in April 2017 via Polis Books.

He has also written a number of comic books, including the best-selling and critically acclaimed Archie Meets Kiss storyline, the “Occupy Riverdale” story, Archie Meets Ramones and the upcoming The Archies one-shot.

He lives in New York with his wife and son. He is a Miami native.

All comments are welcomed.

Dangerous Ends is available at retail and online booksellers or you can ask your local library to get it for you.

A day in the life of Hannah Vogel by Rebecca Cantrell

a-trace-of-smokeHannah gets up early, even though she would rather sleep in. She’s a crime reporter in Berlin in 1931, and she has a lot to do before she has to show up at the courthouse.

She has a quick breakfast—a roll and some tea, with butter and sugar respectively if she’s feeling flush—dons her cloche hat, and takes the subway to the police station at Alexanderplatz. It’s an imposing building that covers a square block, but she’s used to dodging automobiles, cars, and the occasional earnest police officer.

Folding several newspapers under her arm, she has to keep up, she goes into the massive hall and heads down the gloomy corridor called the Hall of the Unnamed Dead. Police hang death photos of unidentified bodies there. It’s a gruesome sight—a hundred corpses who have been shot, drowned, overdosed, or frozen to death stare down at her as she walks. She’s used to it, but after she saw her brother’s picture there, she averts her eyes.

At the end of her walk is an office that contains her childhood friend, Fritz Waldheim. He lets her look through the most recent crime reports. Sometimes she finds her next story there, and sometimes it makes her sad. Often, both.
After she takes her notes, she tries to get out before she’s spotted by Kommissar Lang. He’s a devout National Socialist and he’s paying too much attention to her. In her experience, it’s never a good thing when a cop or a Nazi gets too interested.

Then she’s off to the giant courthouse at Moabit. She’s covering a trial for the paper and she needs to get a good seat because she’ll be doing courtroom sketches. They often end up in the Berliner Zeitung, and they pay extra.
After the trial she’ll head back to the bullpen to type up her story, see if she can convince them to buy a sketch, and then it’s home to bed.

When her brother was alive she’d sometimes go to cabarets to watch him sing and enjoy a free drink. He usually sang at gay clubs, which meant no one bothered her. She liked the anonymity.

That’s an ordinary day. But Hannah almost never has one of those. She’s either investigating a murder or spying for the British or trying to control a drunken source or getting into prison to investigate or talking to a madam. It’s what she loves best—danger, excitement, and no day like the last.

You can read more about Hannah in A Trace of Smoke, the first book in the “Hannah Vogel” historical mystery series.

It’s 1931 in Berlin, and the world is on the precipice of change—the affluent still dance in their gilded cages but more and more people are living under threat and poverty. Hannah Vogel is a crime reporter forced to write under the male pseudonym Peter Weill. As a widow of the Great War, she’s used to doing what she must to survive. Her careful facade is threatened when she stumbles across a photograph of her brother in the Hall of the Unnamed Dead. Reluctant to make a formal identification until she has all the details, Hannah decides to investigate, herself. She must be cautious as Ernst’s life as a cross-dressing cabaret star was ringed in scandal, and his list of lovers included at least one powerful leader in the Nazi party.

She’s barely had a chance to begin before an endearing five-year-old orphan shows up on her doorstep holding a birth certificate listing her dead brother Ernst as his father, and calling Hannah ‘Mother.’ Further complicating matters are her evolving feelings for Boris Krause, a powerful banker whose world is the antithesis of Hannah’s. Boris has built a solid wall preventing anyone from disturbing his, or his daughter Trudi’s, perfectly managed lives—a wall Hannah and Anton are slowly breaking down.

As Hannah digs, she discovers political intrigues and scandals touching the top ranks of the rising Nazi party. Fired from her job and on the run from Hitler’s troops, she must protect herself and the little boy who has come to love her, but can she afford to find love for herself?

# # # # # # # # # # #

Meet the author
rcantrellNew York Times and USA Today bestselling author Rebecca Cantrell has published twelve novels in over ten different languages. Her novels have won the ITW Thriller, the Macavity, and the Bruce Alexander awards. In addition, they have been nominated for the GoodReads Choice award, the Barry, the RT Reviewers Choice, and the APPY award. She and her husband and son just left Berlin for Hawaii’s sunny shores. Connect with Rebecca at rebeccacantrell.com.

All comments are welcomed.

A Trace of Smoke is available at online booksellers.

The 2017 Raven Award

Tonight (April 27, 2017) is the night that I’ve been waiting for ever since this was announced . . .

The Raven Award recognizes outstanding achievement in the mystery field outside the realm of creative writing. Dru Ann Love will receive the 2017 Raven Award.

Dru Ann Love is owner/editor of dru’s book musings (https://drusbookmusing.com/), a blog where characters give a glimpse into a day in their life, as well as her musings. Her musings also appear in Crimespree Magazine. She is also a guest blogger at the Stiletto Gang. Dru Ann is an avid reader, writes poetry, quilts, and loves attending reader/fan conventions. Dru Ann’s blog was nominated for a 2015 Anthony Award for Best Critical or Non-Fiction Work. She also serves on the Bouchercon standing committee.

When told that she would receive the Raven Award, Love said, “I’m so thrilled and honored to be awarded the Raven. The mystery community is like a big family and I’m so proud that they have embraced me with open arms. Thanks to the nominating committee for selecting me and a big thanks to the authors—without them, this would not be possible.”

I’m deeply honored to be awarded this prize and I look forward to sharing this evening with you. Photos to follow after the event.

The evening starts with a gathering for the nominees followed by the cocktail hour and then the banquet. Then it’s off to the Malice Domestic Convention. A busy weekend for me and I’m loving it.

A day in the life with Sally Muccio by Catherine Bruns

frosted-with-revengeIt’s finally happening. After all of these years, I’m about to marry the man of my dreams, the only one I’ve truly ever loved. Our invitations have been sent out, the venue is reserved and my crazy but well-meaning parents are cooperating. . .sort of. There’s just one little problem.

Someone is trying to kill me.

My name is Sally Muccio. The last name is pronounced Mooch-EE-oo. My life comes with many blessings and a few trials that include my parents who are–well, unique, to say the least. My father’s hobby is death. Yes, you heard me right. He’s gone from planning his own funeral to driving a hearse to studying to become an undertaker. Now Dad’s the proud operator of his own “killer” blog. Mom’s a lovely woman but she’s been acting very mother-of-the-bridezillish lately. My sister Gianna is always there for me and so is Grandma Rosa, who serves up sound advice along with the world’s best cheesecake.

Josie Sullivan is my best friend and head baker at Sally’s Samples, the novelty cookie shop that I own in Western New York. And of course there’s my fiancé, who would go to any lengths to protect me from this crazy person. Mike and I first dated in high school and broke up over a stupid misunderstanding on prom night, which lead to my marriage to another man (can you say rebound?) It’s been over ten years but we’re finally back together. . .forever. Till death do us part. I just hope that comes later rather than sooner.

You see, ever since I came back to my hometown a year ago when my divorce was final, strange things have been happening. Strange as in murder. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, those blasted fortune cookies are responsible. Every customer gets a free one with their purchase and the cookies are so popular that if I discontinued them, my business would suffer. The messages come from a novelty store but always seem to come true in some shape or form. My latest one said, “Revenge is sweet.” How silly. Why would I ever want revenge on someone? I have a good life, try to be a decent person and give people the benefit of the doubt. Then I finally understood that the message was a warning. . .for me.

Suddenly, I’m suspicious of everyone. I can’t walk down the street without looking over my shoulder. Josie already decked one person she thought was the killer with a batch of her famous Whoopie pies. Maybe I can hire her as a bodyguard. Did I mention that our new delivery boy seems to have a weird obsession with me? Or that a former girlfriend of my fiancé is still carrying a torch for him and hates me? It’s horrible to be afraid.

A woman I didn’t even know is dead, because of me. The killer is communicating with my father through his death blog (appropriate, right?) To top it all off, now this maniac has ended up hurting someone I love. That’s the final straw. You don’t mess with my family and friends.

The cops don’t have any concrete leads so I’ve hatched a plan. It’s dangerous but I can’t live like this anymore. This person will be stopped. . .

If it’s the last thing I do.

You can read more about Sally in FROSTED WITH REVENGE, the fourth book in the Cookies and Chance mystery series.

From USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns comes the next dangerously delicious Cookies & Chance Mystery.

Sally Muccio’s walk down the aisle might be her last.

The some-time amateur sleuth and full-time bakery owner is finally marrying the man of her dreams. But during a last minute taste testing of their wedding cake, Sally and her fiancé are witnesses—and almost victims!—of a random shooting. At least they think it’s random, until an original fortune cookie message proves otherwise. Is someone after Sally? And why does the mysterious shooter want to ice the baker? Sal tries to proceed with caution, but when someone close to her is attacked, all bets are off. She’ll do whatever it takes to bring this monster to justice, even if it means sacrificing herself in the process.

Can Sal make it to the church on time. . .and alive?

Recipes included!

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the author
Catherine is the USA Today bestselling author of the Cookies & Chance mysteries. She lives in New York with her very patient husband, three sons, and assorted cats and dogs. Catherine has a B.A. in English and is a former newspaper reporter and press release writer. She also writes the Cindy York and Aloha Lagoon (Carrie Jorgenson) mysteries.
To find out more about future releases and giveaways, you can visit her website at catherinebruns.net and sign up for Catherine’s newsletter at here. Please feel free to connect with her on social media as well at Facebook and Twitter.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win copy of Frosted with Revenge, either Kindle (open to everyone) or print (U.S. residents only), winner’s choice. The giveaway will end April 28, 2017. Good luck everyone!

Frosted with Revenge is available at online booksellers.

A day in the life of Sarah Winston by Sherry Harris

Can I have a do over? Sarah Winston here and I’ve had some bad days. Haven’t we all? But the last few days added together make one of the worst weeks of my life. Things started well enough on a lovely early May day in Ellington, Massachusetts. I was throwing my first big yard sale of the spring and had gone all out. Balloons for the kiddos, coffee and donuts, tunes playing. It was so much fun. Until one of my clients, a veteran, was murdered and his wife was seriously injured—during the yard sale!

Could the day get any worse? Oh yes. Then my brother Luke turned up at my door. That may sound like a good thing. But wait. I hadn’t seen Luke in almost twenty years and only talked to him twice during that time. And he didn’t show up for a wonderful family reunion. No. He wanted me to hide him. I’m still not sure from whom, but it didn’t sound good. His exact words were, “I’m asking—no, begging—you not to tell anyone I’m in town.” Especially not my ex, the chief of police of Ellington. Most people wouldn’t have a problem not mentioning something to their ex, but CJ and I have a complicated relationship.

So of course CJ picks that moment to knock on my door, which presented me with a huge dilemma. Hide Luke or lie by omission to CJ. Luke gave me his “help me, sis” look—the same one from when we were kids—the one I could never say no to. So I hid him in the attic space off my one-bedroom apartment.

But that wasn’t a long-term solution. It was barely a short-term one. So I began stashing Luke in various places around my apartment building for a couple of days, like he was an illicit drug I was hiding—only a lot bigger and harder to hide. Then he vanished! All I have left is his notebook with a list of veterans in it. Veterans? My murdered yard-sale client was a veteran. Could Luke’s disappearance and the murder be connected? Knowing my life, you can bet they are. And I’ve now realized that to find Luke, I’ll have to figure out who killed my client.

You can read more about Sarah in A Good Day to Buy, the fourth book in the “Sarah Winston Garage Sale” mystery series.

When Sarah Winston’s estranged brother Luke shows up on her doorstep, asking her not to tell anyone he’s in town—especially her ex, the chief of police—the timing is strange, to say the least. Hours earlier, Sarah’s latest garage sale was taped off as a crime scene following the discovery of a murdered Vietnam vet and his gravely injured wife—her clients, the Spencers.

All Luke will tell Sarah is that he’s undercover, investigating a story. Before she can learn more, he vanishes as suddenly as he appeared. Rummaging through his things for a clue to his whereabouts, Sarah comes upon a list of veterans and realizes that to find her brother, she’ll have to figure out who killed Mr. Spencer. And all without telling her ex . . .

# # # # # # # # # # #

About the author
Sherry Harris is the author of the Agatha Award nominated Sarah Winston Garage Sale series. She honed her bartering skills as she moved around the country while her husband served in the Air Force. Sherry uses her love of garage sales, her life as a military spouse, and her time living in Massachusetts as inspiration for the series. The fourth book in the series, A Good Day To Buy, releases on April 25.

Visit Sherry at Sherryharrisauthor.com and on the Wicked Cozy Authors blog.

All comments are welcomed.

A Good Day to Buy is available at retail and online booksellers or you can ask your local library to get it for you.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of A Good Day to Buy. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends April 27, 2017. Good luck everyone!