Another day in the life of Stella Lavender by Karen Pullen

cold-heart“You don’t look like a cop.” Wish I had a dollar for every time I heard a version of that opinion. My boss says it when he explains why I’m so valuable as an undercover drug agent. Drug sellers say it on the rare occasions my cover slips. My grandmother Fern says it after she’s arranged my hair in a complicated updo. And several characters involved in my latest homicide case were similarly puzzled by my appearance.

First, there’s the heroin dealer I tussled with until my partner Fredricks came to my rescue: Scottie rolled onto his side and gave me a stink eye. “Damn. You a cop? I don’t believe it.”

The next day I was heading home when I saw a teenager hitchhiking. I screeched to a halt and waved her into my car. She hopped in but it wasn’t a free ride–she had to listen to my lecture on what happens to teenage girl hitchhikers:

“Thanks,” she said. “Women never stop.”

“Where are you going?”

“Silver Hills.” An expensive gated golf community a few miles north.

“I’ll take you there if you’ll listen to these numbers.” I was making an effort to keep calm, not throttle her for terminal stupidity. “There are almost six thousand registered sex offenders in this state. They’ve been convicted. But only one in seven men arrested for rape is convicted, and only one in twenty-five reported rapes results in an arrest. And most rapes aren’t reported.”

She closed her eyes and puffed out a breath, fluttering her bangs. “Spare me the lecture. I have to babysit, and the kid’s dad didn’t pick me up like he said he would. I waited at the school bus stop for an hour. What was I supposed to do?”

“Let me simplify. Predators look for girls like you. Girls are picked up and never seen again.”

“Yeah, yeah. What makes you so smart?”

I showed her my ID. “What’s your name?”

“Nikki Truly. You’re a cop? You’re no older than me.”

“What makes you so smart?”

She laughed, showing even white teeth, transforming her face from sullen to cute. “OK. I get it. Next time I’ll call a cab.”

I’ll spare you the details of what I found at Nikki’s employer’s house in Silver Hills. I think you can imagine, since this is a murder mystery. I joined the investigation, of course. The only forensic evidence was a bloody fingerprint so I started interviewing subjects, among them the victim’s nineteen-year-old half-brother. I met Bryce at his gym, where he was working out:

The gym was a huge open space with very high ceilings festooned with ropes and metal bars. . . Bare walls held white boards with inspirational sayings and workout times. The place smelled like sweat, with undertones from the Chinese restaurant next door.

A class was in process. About twenty people were doing pushups, deadlifts, jumping on and off the boxes, squatting, throwing massive balls up against a wall. They grunted, groaned, and screamed encouragement at each other. Hip-hop music blared, barbells clanked, sweat flew. Body shapes ranged from pudgy to wiry, ages from twenty to seventy, but they all looked oxygen-deprived, hence confused, and after ten minutes of this, not a few were wobbly. One by one they screamed “time” and collapsed–chests heaving for air, streaming sweat–onto the floor. . .

I had never met Bryce, so I didn’t know which of the near-dead bodies was his, but after a few minutes the bulkiest of the young men staggered to his feet and waved at me. . . I know people who work out—some fellow agents are in the gym every day—but I’d never been up close to a body like his, bulging with muscle everywhere. . . His hair was gorgeous: thick, honey blond, cascading over his shoulders. I … invited him to sit in my car. He slid the seat all the way back and turned to face me. . .“So you’re a cop? You don’t look like one.”

I’m not offended; I know what I am. And not looking like a cop is a good thing when you’re trying to buy illegal drugs. That’s illegal, but not as illegal as trying to sell them.

It gets to me sometimes–the danger, lies, and necessary betrayals. That’s why I’ll always join a homicide investigation when I get the chance. And this recent one–the murder of Kent Mercer–was a doozy, churning up a half-dozen suspects, all related somehow: family, neighbors, work. Liars, every one, protecting their secrets.


COLD HEART is the second book in the Stella Lavender mystery series published by Five Star Publishing, January 2017.

Motivated by her mother’s long-ago unsolved abduction, Stella Lavender has joined the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation only to be severely challenged by her first assignment: undercover drug agent. Stella works nights, buying drugs from paranoid drug dealers, gathering evidence to send them to prison or turn them into informants. She’s great at the job because, as her boss says, “you don’t look like a cop.” But the physical danger and the necessary betrayals are getting to her. When she sees a chance to work homicide, she’ll always take it.

One afternoon Stella gives a hitchhiking teenager a ride to her babysitting job in a wealthy neighborhood. Horror awaits them—the father lies dead in a pool of blood, and his toddler is missing. Stella joins the murder investigation as the puzzle quickly grows. Most importantly, where is the toddler? A dizzying array of plausible suspects provides more questions than answers.

At the same time, Stella’s personal life offers plenty of distractions. Her grandmother Fern, a free-spirited artist with male admirers wrapped around every one of her paint-stained fingers, needs Stella’s help with expensive house repairs. And Stella’s attraction to three very different men means her romantic life is, well, complicated.

Cold Heart draws the reader into a darkly delightful page-turner as Stella rummages through every strata of society in her relentless and sometimes unconventional pursuit of a cold-hearted murderer who won’t stop at just one victim.

“Fans of the regional mystery, rejoice! (Stella) is back, and the murder that sets off the action is even more engrossing than her first.” – Margaret Maron.

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About the author
Karen Pullen’s fiction includes two Five Star mysteries, Cold Feet (2013) and Cold Heart (2017). She also edited the Anthony-nominated anthology Carolina Crimes: 19 Tales of Lust, Love, and Longing (Wildside, 2014). She has an MFA from Stonecoast at the University of Southern Maine, serves on the board of Sisters in Crime, and lives in Pittsboro NC. For updates, see www.karenpullen.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: In keeping with the title of her January release Cold Heart, Karen will send a silver heart pendant to a commenter selected at random. US addresses only, please. Check back on January 25, 2017 to see if you won! Good luck everyone!

A day in the life of Dodie O’Dell by Suzanne Trauth

time-outFall is in the air in Etonville, New Jersey. The leaves are about to change colors, the humidity has evaporated, and I, Dodie O’Dell, am whipping the Windjammer restaurant into a finely- tuned machine. Nearly two years after Hurricane Sandy I’m finally getting comfortable trading the Jersey Shore sun and sand for the antics of small town life.

Of course, with autumn comes the opening production of the Etonville Little Theatre—Arsenic and Old Lace. It’s perfect for them: a love story, batty old ladies, a homicidal maniac, delusional relatives, and murder. Plus a large cast. My BFF Lola Tripper is shifting from playing the leading diva in recent productions to artistic director, leaving former director and love interest Walter Zeitzman to step into the role of the delusional nephew. Which I think is type-casting. Lola has invited Antonio Digenza, a friend from her Off-Off-Broadway days, to serve as a guest director. He agreed as long as he could cast his very young wife as the romantic lead. Lola agreed, much to the annoyance of some ELT regulars.

So, my theme food ideas went over so big with the Romeo and Juliet crowds, that I decide to up the ante with a weekend food festival to promote Arsenic and Old Lace. 1940s Brooklyn fare: Nathan’s hotdogs, Italian ices, egg creams, knishes, and elderberry wine, without the arsenic, of course. My chef/boss Henry isn’t too thrilled about a 1940s throwback food theme, since he’s still in culinary competition with his cross-town rival La Famiglia. But Henry is usually a good egg and this time is willing to give me the benefit of the doubt.

The ELT is three weeks into rehearsal and is proceeding on time. But yesterday Lola burst into the Windjammer needing a drink, clearly upset: Antonio has been disappearing without any explanation, his leading lady wife hasn’t learned her lines, and the cast is grumbling over Antonio’s direction. Of course, Lola is frantic but the gossip mill in Etonville is loving the crises. Never mind, I told myself, the food festival will be just the dose of diversion the theater needs. A stroll down Main Street noshing knishes, Italian ices and hotdogs. I might even get my current heartthrob—Police Chief Bill Thompson, a former NFL player with the body to prove it—off the local gridiron next weekend, where he’ll be coaching Etonville’s Youth Football team. Their record is 0 and 8, but hope springs eternal.

Bill and I have become an almost-couple since last spring when I helped solve the murder of my good friend Jerome Angleton, the ELT box office manager. With the aid of my digital forensic research geek Pauli, son of my other BFF Carol, owner of the Snippets salon.

Tonight, I’m the last person standing at the Windjammer. I sent bartender Benny and chef Henry home an hour ago. I grab my bag, switch off the lights, and open the door, inhaling the chilly autumn air. I turn to lock the door when a white Mercedes speeds down Main Street. I glance up and catch the tail lights of the car. There is only one white Mercedes with a New York license plate in Etonville at the moment and it belongs to guest director Antonio Digenza. Interesting that he’s racing down the road away from the theater at this hour. Lola and her staff have been burning the midnight oil there every night this week. For that matter I’m surprised he’s even in town at all. Lola had told me he would be away overnight and his assistant would take over rehearsal.

Something about Antonio doesn’t sit right with me. He’s too smooth, too good-looking, too arrogant. I have these little hairs on the back of my neck that twitch whenever something is wrong. My personal radar system. Right now, they are standing at attention. Is there something about the ELT guest director that he’s kept hidden? Is there more to his story? I shake off my suspicions, climb into my trusty Chevy Metro, and head home.


TIME OUT is the second book in the Dodie O’Dell mystery series published by Lyrical Underground, January 2017.

KNISH OF DEATH

The amateur actors at the Etonville Little Theatre may be known for chewing the scenery, but restaurant manager Dodie O’Dell has something more appetizing for them to sink their teeth into. She’s been taking bows in her small New Jersey town for her theme menus, designed to complement the local productions. This fall, the community theatre is staging Arsenic and Old Lace, set in 1940s Brooklyn, so Dodie is serving up hot dogs, Italian ices, egg creams, and knishes at the weekend food festival.

All is going well until Antonio Digenza, the ex-Off-Off-Broadway director of the show, dies dramatically while noshing on a knish. As rumors of food poisoning quickly spread, Dodie scrambles to rescue the Windjammer restaurant’s reputation. But when clues point to foul play, she’s faced with a cast of suspects all auditioning for the part of DiGenza’s murderer. She’ll need to act fast to shine a spotlight on the killer—before it’s curtains for another victim . . .

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About the author
Suzanne Trauth’s novels include Show Time (2016) and Time Out (2017), the initial books in a new mystery series published by Kensington Books. Her plays include Françoise, nominated for the Kilroy List; Midwives developed at Playwrights Theatre of New Jersey; Rehearsing Desire; iDream, supported by the National Science Foundation’s STEM initiative; and Katrina: the K Word. Suzanne wrote and directed the short film Jigsaw and is a member of the Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Dramatists Guild. Connect with Suzanne at www.suzannetrauth.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Time Out. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends January 23, 2017. Good luck everyone!

A day in the life of Carrie Jorgenson by Catherine Bruns

death-of-the-big-kahunaAloha, kakou!

All right, I have a confession to make. I can’t really speak Hawaiian. In fact, those are the only words of the language I’m familiar with, except for a few that our chef, Poncho, mumbles under his breath occasionally when someone complains that the food is cold or there’s a mistake with their order. And I don’t dare ask him what they mean because I’m pretty sure I don’t want to find out.

My name is Carrie Jorgenson. I’m new to Hawaii and the island of Kauai. I’m new to waitressing as well, but please don’t tell anyone. Hopefully no one noticed that earlier mishap when I spilled coffee on a co-worker or face planted into a Mai Tai on the patio table. Hazards of the job, right?

At my interview, I told the owner, Mr. Akamu, that I had experience serving customers. What that really amounts to is that I once worked at a Walmart. I have no waitressing experience at all. Zero, none, zilch. But hey, how hard could it be to carry this off?

Up until a few weeks ago, I’d lived my entire life in Vermont, amid six feet of snow in the winter, rural dirt roads and a family that I’d rather not talk about. Anxious to escape more than just the weather back home, I followed my boyfriend Brad here. He’s the new head surfing instructor at the Aloha Lagoon resort. Loco Moco Café, where I am now employed, is also part of the same resort.

Living in a tropical paradise is a dream come true for me. Since I was a little girl, my other dream has concerned the theater. Acting in shows was an escape from reality and I love to sing as well. Oh, how I hope to get a part in the Hana Hou’s production of Little Women, the Musical. Last night I sang karaoke out on the patio of the Loco Moco and didn’t even shatter one drink glass this time! Success.

The entire island is gorgeous. I mean, it’s January and here I am wearing shorts and sandals, and riding on the back of mopeds. Back home, my former neighbors are shoveling out their cars and clearing windshields with ice scrapers after the latest blizzard. There’s a gentle breeze stirring through nearby banyan trees, a view of the ocean to die for (oops, shouldn’t have said it like that) and the water is the most gorgeous shade of blue, with the exception of a certain man’s eyes around here.

While it may be paradise on the outside, the inside of the Loco Moco is anything but. Like most restaurants, there’s a constant gossip mill going and the biggest piece of chatter concerns our owner, Hale Akamu. No one likes the man because—well, there’s simply nothing to like. Don’t get me wrong. He’s handsome in a similar way to the man from those reruns of the old television show, Magnum P.I. Tom something, right? Hale’s obscenely wealthy because in addition to the café, he owns a shopping mall in Oahu too.

Yes, the man has got it all going for him—tall, dark, and vile. Hale also has more enemies than the entire state of Hawaii has pineapples. Let’s just say that I could go on and on about who he’s wronged and the terrible things he’s done to people—especially his own employees, but that seems uncalled for now. Why, you might ask?

Because he’s dead. Wouldn’t you know that I was the lucky one to stumble upon his lifeless body? The police have their suspects, but they aren’t talking. . .

And I’m pretty sure they’re looking at me.


DEATH OF THE BIG KAHUNA is the first Carrie Jorgenson mystery, and part of the Aloha Lagoon multi-author series published by Gemma Halliday Publishing, January 2017. Note: The Aloha Lagoon books can be read in any order.

From USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns, comes an Aloha Lagoon Mystery that proves sometimes paradise isn’t all it’s served up to be.

New to both Hawaii and the Aloha Lagoon Resort, Carrie Jorgenson has big dreams of stardom. But while she awaits fame and fortune, she’s forced to accept a job waitressing at the resort’s The Loco Moco Café. It isn’t long before she discovers the dish on her new boss—also known to many as “The Big Kahuna.” Hale Akamu is rich, handsome, repulsive…and dead. When Carrie discovers Hale’s lifeless body, she’s suddenly forced into yet another role—amateur sleuth. With everyone from Carrie to the saucy chef to the café’s hot assistant manager under suspicion, Carrie needs to track a killer before she becomes his next main entrée!

**Recipes included!**

The Aloha Lagoon Mysteries:
1. Ukulele Murder
2. Murder on the Aloha Express
3. Deadly Wipeout
4. Deadly Bubbles in the Wine
5. Mele Kalikimaka Murder
6. Death of the Big Kahuna

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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 mysteries and the Aloha Lagoon (Carrie Jorgenson) mysteries.

To find out more about future releases and giveaways, you can sign up for Catherine’s newsletter here. Please feel free to connect with her on social media as well on Facebook and on Twitter.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print, signed copy of Death of the Big Kahuna. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends January 20, 2017. Good luck everyone!

What a day with Maggie McDonald by Mary Feliz

scheduled-to-deathDru asked me to share a typical day in the life of Maggie McDonald, sole proprietor of Simplicity Itself Organizing Services and the protagonist of the Maggie McDonald Mystery series. But she’s a take-charge kind of gal, and insisted on telling her own story…

One of the things I like best about being a professional organizer is that there’s no such thing as a typical day. My schedule depends on my clients’ needs and on how I decide to juggle my career with the demands of my life as the mother of two teenaged boys, the servant of two demanding cats and the best pal of a golden retriever with separation anxiety. And then there’s my adorable and supportive husband Max.

At first glance, there’s not much fodder in my life for mysteries, but as an organizer I’m required to rummage in some of the most private areas of any person’s world: their sock and underwear drawers, the darkness under the bathroom sink, and the furthest recesses of their kitchens, basements, attics, and garage lofts. That cliché about skeletons in the closet? That’s nothing. In contrast with the secrets stashed in an underwear drawer, a closet is very nearly public.

To forestall awkwardness, I insist my clients delve into their storage spaces and remove evidence of any secrets. I don’t want to find illegal drugs, weapons, or items that would make me blush.

That strategy doesn’t always work. A young woman once hired me to wrangle her wardrobe. Deep in the recesses of her closest, I found a rusty can stuffed with shoe-cleaning rags. I set it in the discard pile to be reviewed by my client.

golden-retriever-dogWeeks later, she phoned me in a panic. Did I put that can away? Transfer the contents to another container? Toss it? I reminded her she’d thrown it away herself. I make recommendations, but I never discard anything that doesn’t belong to me. For good reason. The young woman’s beau was a heroin addict and she’d deep-sixed a valuable quantity of his drug of choice. She dumped the boyfriend and added custom storage to his side of the closet.

On another occasion, a young lawyer hired me to help his elderly father evaluate his organizational needs. I phoned to make an appointment, but no one answered. After several tries, I stopped by to leave my business card. As I stepped up on the porch, I saw the curtain twitch and I could hear someone moving inside. I knocked, but there was no answer. The house was centrally located, so it was easy for me to drop by. I did, frequently, sometimes writing notes on the back of my card. Until one day, as I turned to go, the metal flap on the mail box stirred and a voice whispered, “Hello.”

I crouched on the doormat and peered inside. “I’m Maggie. Are you Walter?”

The flap quivered, but the voice didn’t respond.

“Your son hoped I could help you organize your things a bit.”

“Go away. I don’t need help.”

After a few more conversations through the mail flap, including the time I left a plate of chocolate-chip cookies on the mat, I was invited inside his immaculate home.

address-to-dieWalter poured tea and made cinnamon toast, cut in triangles. He told me that he’d initially thought I was a spy for his son, who urged him to move to senior living and sell his home and all of its furnishings. But Walter liked being alone, relished the company of two cats, and had friends in the neighborhood. Though his wife had died ten years earlier, he cherished the house filled with memories of the life they’d shared. He had no desire to move. Weary of arguments, he’d told his son he was welcome to visit only if he didn’t mention real estate or homes for the elderly.

“So what convinced you to open the door to me?”

“You’re stubborn. You remind me of my late wife. Feisty. Helena would have loved you.”

We created a plan to visit weekly over tea. Fighting off the cats, who stole pencils and ate paper, Walter paid his bills while I filed receipts. On every invoice I sent I told Walter’s son that his father had little need for my services. But the son insisted I continue. Walter and I became good friends, laughing over tea and shared stories.

Most of my clients are less colorful than Walter and the drug-addict’s girlfriend, but no two are alike. Individually tailoring my organizational systems and finding strategies that work in practice as well as they do in theory is what takes my days in unexpected directions.

Truth be told, discovering the occasional dead body can also throw my schedule for a loop. But that, as they say, is another story.


SCHEDULED TO DEATH is the second book in the Maggie McDonald mystery series published by Lyrical Underground, January 2017.

Professional organizer Maggie McDonald has a knack for cleaning up other people’s messes. So when the fiancée of her latest client turns up dead, it’s up to her to sort through the untidy list of suspects and identify the real killer.

Maggie McDonald is hoping to raise the profile of her new Orchard View organizing business via her first high-profile client. Professor Lincoln Sinclair may be up for a Nobel Prize, but he’s hopeless when it comes to organizing anything other than his thoughts. For an academic, he’s also amassed more than his share of enemies. When Sinclair’s fiancée is found dead on the floor of his home laboratory—electrocuted in a puddle of water—Maggie takes on the added task of finding the woman’s murderer. To do so, she’ll have to outmaneuver the suspicious, obnoxious police investigator she’s nicknamed “Detective Awful” before a shadowy figure can check off the first item on their personal to-do list—Kill Maggie McDonald.

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Meet the author
mary-felizMary Feliz writes the Maggie McDonald Mysteries featuring a Silicon Valley professional organizer and her sidekick golden retriever. She’s worked for Fortune 500 firms and mom and pop enterprises, competed in whale boat races and done synchronized swimming. She attends organizing conferences in her character’s stead, but Maggie’s skills leave her in the dust. Connect with Mary at www.maryfeliz.com

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a copy of Address to Die For and Scheduled to Death, either e-book (open to everyone) or print (U.S. residents only), winner’s choice. The giveaway ends January 19, 2017. Good luck everyone!

A day in the life of Aggie Mundeen by Nancy G. West

river-city-deadNot every city has a river running through it. And not many women plan a rendezvous at a San Antonio River Walk hotel during Fiesta Week after years of self-imposed celibacy. I was about to make history.

Sam and I were meeting at Casa Prima Hotel. Hopefully our first days and nights together in River City would be more fiesta than fiasco.

And we could avoid dealing with crime.

To calm the jumping beans in my stomach, I decided to make a quick detour to Barnes and Noble. Instead of turning south from Hildebrand toward downtown, I turned north on Highway 281 and headed toward Loop 410. If SAPD called Sam away, I’d need something to read. He assured me they wouldn’t contact him, but sometimes they had to rely on an experienced homicide detective for a difficult case.

Barnes and Noble was packed. After a lengthy search through half the store, I found aisles brimming with romance novels. I didn’t relish being caught scouring this area. In my Flash-News column, “Stay Young with Aggie,” I answered readers’ questions about everything from fitness to relationships. As an “expert,” I wasn’t supposed to need help.

It wasn’t as though I was innocent. I became painfully experienced after Lester the Louse seduced me when I was barely eighteen, impregnated me and vanished like mist. But stories of other people’s romances might be enlightening.

Slipping down an unoccupied aisle, I reached for a title that caught my eye, A Well-Spent Night. A bare-chested, muscled Scottish hunk wearing a plaid kilt bulged from the cover. I squinted at the title, which upon closer inspection actually read, A Well-Spent Knight. Worked either way. I flipped pages to the middle, found what I was looking for and started reading. There was a lot of heavy breathing and rippling biceps, but it never said why the guy wore a kilt or how he got it off. I’d wondered about that. Historical romance might not be the thing.

I replaced the book and continued down the aisle. The face-out cover of Steaming in Hawaii gleamed with electric blue ocean water and swaying palm trees. A gorgeous half-dressed couple grasped each other beside the cobalt ocean. Sam and I would have a swimming pool at our River Walk hotel. Close enough. I slipped the novel off the shelf and flipped through pages. The title did not refer to steam from Hawaii’s volcanoes. Skimming pages, I noticed contemporary novels offered details and felt my body parts tingling.

From the corner of my eye, I saw a young sales girl eyeing me. Was my face flushing?

“Can I help you?” About twenty-five with swinging hair and a pouty mouth, she looked sexy, bored, and all-knowing.

Whipping the novel under the arm laden with my shoulder purse, I reached blindly toward the shelf for another novel, hoping I didn’t look like a waif grasping for crumbs.

“So many choices.” I doused her with my superior bank-teller expression. “I doubt if any of these books are really that good.” Another cover caught my eye with the title The Long Hard Ride. A shirtless muscle-bound cowboy stood spread-legged front and center while a steer romped around behind him. I snatched the book off the shelf. “Imagine that,” I said. “You even have westerns.” She smirked. Some urge compelled me to jabber. “I don’t think he could ride a steer dressed like that.”

The new-fangled phone jangled in my purse. I resented the impertinent metal box. Digging to retrieve it, I dropped the books. The sales girl swiveled over and scooped them up. “I’ll keep these at the counter while you search for more.” She cocked a corner of her sulky mouth before walking away. I fumbled to flip open my Motorola StarTrac.

It was Sam, using his professional detective voice. “Where are you?”

“I just needed a few things. Have you seen the…our room?”

“You need to get down here, Aggie. We have problems. I’ll meet you in the lobby.” He hung up.

That was the last thing I wanted to hear. Scouting the quickest route to the exit to avoid the sales girl, I skirted through rows of books, sailed out into the sunshine and headed for my Wagoneer, convincing myself that whatever problem Sam encountered couldn’t be that bad.

I cranked up Albatross, my station wagon, headed south on 281 and turned right on McCullough toward Broadway, the main thoroughfare to downtown and the Fiesta parade route. Huge paper flowers with streaming ribbons decorated doors. Shop windows proclaimed “VIVA FIESTA

How perfect that Sam Vanderhoven and I would begin blending our lives during Fiesta. At least that’s what I hoped we were doing. Since he was a homicide detective, I naturally tried to impress him with my investigate skills. Unfortunately, my behavior frustrated him. The last time I intervened against his advice, I almost got myself killed.

The towering Casa Prima Hotel loomed in the next block, re-activating my jumping beans. What did Sam’s call mean? Had he discovered a crime, considered the burden of my pesky interference and decided to cancel our rendezvous?


RIVER CITY DEAD is the fourth book in the Aggie Mundeen humorous mystery series published by Henery Press, January 2017 (copyright 2016).

Advice columnist Aggie Mundeen and SAPD Detective Sam Vanderhoven plan their first rendezvous at a San Antonio River Walk hotel during Fiesta Week—sumptuous sights, sounds, and festivities in the middle of America’s Venice. A vacation from crime and a reset for their tumultuous relationship. But murder descends on the Casa Prima Hotel. Disturbing revelations surface about the Fabulous Femmes, Aggie’s new friends holding a convention. Evil emerges at parties in La Villita. Calamity plagues Aggie’s debut dance performance at the Arneson River Theater, the celebration skewed by carousing, crazies, and corpses. Even in idyllic River City, crime complicates relationships.

To watch Aggie’s crime solving capabilities grow and follow the developing relationship between Aggie and Detective Sam, read the books in order.

Books 1-3:
Fit to Be Dead, San Antonio health club fiasco. (Lefty Award Finalist and Chanticleer Winner, Mystery & Mayhem)
Dang Near Dead, Hill Country dude ranch caper. (Chanticleer Finalist)
Smart, but Dead, mayhem and murder at a premier San Antonio university. (Short-listed, Mystery and Mayhem)

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About the author
While writing her suspense novel, Nine Days to Evil, Nancy experienced a peculiar event. Supporting character Aggie Mundeen insisted Nancy write about her. Aggie was on to something.

Connect with Nancy and enjoy sights and sounds of the San Antonio River Walk at www.nancygwest.com, on Goodreads, on Twitter, on Facebook and on Pinterest.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win four e-books in the Aggie Mundeen series from Amazon or B&N.com. The giveaway ends January 21, 2017. Good luck everyone!