Monthly Archives: March 2017

A day in the life with Blu Carraway by David Burnsworth

blu-heatMy business card says, Blu Carraway Investigations, Charleston, South Carolina. Sounds impressive, but most of the time I’m more of a glorified problem solver.

A woman calls about a cheating husband:

“Do you want pictures or compound fractures?” I say, jokingly.

She says, “That bastard. I want pictures of compound fractures!”

It’s like that sometimes.

I have a business partner. Well, really I had a business partner. He took off three years ago after our last big job. Can’t blame the guy—we almost died. A young woman vacationing in Mexico gets kidnapped. Her father’s a big-baller here in the lowcountry. The kidnappers know she’s rich, but don’t know her father got that way because he wasn’t a big fan of rules.

Mick Crome, my business partner, and I head south of the border to get her. I’m part Cuban on my mother’s side and both Crome and I speak the language. Thanks to a little luck and a lot of intelligence paid for by our client, we find out which cartel has the girl. They want a quarter million. Our client wants to prove a point.

We negotiate terms not with the kidnappers but their counterparts. Six dead kidnappers later, we have the girl back in the U.S. and there’s a new regime in charge back at the cartel. The client is so happy, we get a monster bonus. After settling all our debts, Crome and I split the leftovers and he hops on his motorcycle and heads to Key West.

I get it. His only commitment is to his Harley. I’ve got a small nine-acre island and a scraggly herd of free roaming Carolina Marsh Tackey horses to take care of. And I’ve also got Billie Day, a woman I’ve known forever and who is destined to be with me if I ever get my act together.

Except after I got out of the Rangers in the nineties, I married someone else and had a daughter. Her name is Hope. Hope is a better person at twenty than I am at forty-four. She’s beautiful because, fortunately for her, she’s got her mother’s looks. All she got from me was my eyes and Latin skin. Her mother and I are no longer together which is why I’m trying hard to do right by Billie. A three-year party in Key West with Crome would do me no good.

A victim of my own success, word got around about the Mexico job. I heard some potential clients have gone elsewhere, deciding the way Crome and I handle things might bring more liabilities than assets. I don’t fault them. My record is clean, thanks to that big-baller client and his limitless resources. The only information in any official database is my private investigation license and my driver’s license.

There’s still the occasional snoop job or tail assignment, and so far that’s been enough to keep the lights on at home. But I had to close the downtown office and sell off the cars we used for surveillance. It’s a tough business.

And I wouldn’t give it up to do anything else.


You can read more about Blu in Blu Heat, the “Blu Carraway” mystery novella.

A man walks into a bar, and dies. It isn’t just any bar, it’s the Pirate’s Cove located on the Isle of Palms, a barrier island just north of the Charleston, South Carolina harbor. Ex-Marine Brack Pelton tries to stop the murder and almost dies himself. The victim, Skip Romeo, has a shady past and some interesting friends. The friend he’d planned on meeting at the bar before he got shot was lowcountry Private Investigator Blu Carraway.

Brack Pelton hates that someone shot up his bar and Blu Carraway hates that someone gunned down his friend. Both want revenge and justice. And both tend to leave a lot of collateral damage in their wake. Their team-up is inevitable. Individually, they’re each a force to be reckoned with. Together, they’re like an atomic bomb blast at ground zero. Pelton and Carraway and Charleston will never be the same.

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About the author
David Burnsworth became fascinated with the Deep South at a young age. After a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and fifteen years in the corporate world, he made the decision to write a novel. Big City Heat is his fourth mystery. Having lived in Charleston on Sullivan’s Island for five years, the setting was a foregone conclusion. He and his wife call South Carolina home. Connect with David at davidburnsworthbooks.com, on Twitter and on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

Blu Heat is available at online booksellers.

A day in the life of my mom from Nathan Avery (Age 8) by Sara Rosett

mothers-day-muffin-and-murderSo if you really want to know what a day in my mom’s life is like, I guess I better start with breakfast. I don’t know when she gets up, but when my alarm goes off, she’s in the kitchen. We eat breakfast—me, Mom, and Livvy. (Livvy is my sister.) Sometimes Dad is there. Other times he’s at work, flying a plane. He’s in the Air Force. Mom is an organizer. That means she helps people put away their stuff where it should go. I have to put my toys away by myself so I don’t know why grown-ups need someone to tell them how to do it, but Mom says some grown-ups do need that.

Anyway, after breakfast, Mom takes Livvy and me to school at North Dawkins Elementary. Sometimes she stays and helps. She’s my room mom, so she’s there a lot. Especially lately. It’s almost summer, and we’re finally getting to do some fun stuff—Field Day, Muffins with Mom, and the End of Year party.

There have been some bad things, too. Eric (he sits beside me) said he heard Ms. Matheson say there was a vampire in the storage closet. I didn’t believe him. But then someone was murdered—not at the school, but it was someone who worked there. And now a bunch of weird things are happening, like one of the teachers got in trouble, then someone broke into the school during the night. I don’t understand that. Who would want to get into the school? We all want to get out.

Right now everything is weird, but Mom is here all the time, so I know it will be okay. I bet she’ll figure out what happened. Dad says she has a knack for sorting things out. She’s done it before. There’s the bell for lunch, and Mom’s eating with me in the cafeteria. It’s spaghetti. Got to go!


You can read more about Nathan and what’s happening in his school in Mother’s Day, Muffin, and Murder, the 10th book in the “Ellie Avery” mystery series.

With summer approaching, Ellie Avery’s schedule is ruled by attending end-of-the-year events at her kids’ school—and avoiding run-ins with her arch competitor. When a murder disrupts the core curriculum, can the two women form an alliance to teach the killer a lesson in justice?

As a regular volunteer at North Dawkins Elementary, Ellie would never miss the annual Mother’s Day breakfast—even if she has to tolerate the likes of Gabrielle Matheson. The rivals aren’t exactly sworn enemies, although Ellie still thinks there’s only room for one professional organizer in their small Georgia town.

But when Ellie sees Gabrielle in the hallway, she’s a mess. It looks like Gabrielle’s seen a ghost—or, as she explains, a dead body inside the supply closet. Before Ellie can get help the body vanishes . . . only to mysteriously reappear later at the school.

Little is known about the victim, a secretive snoop with a nosy nature and a penchant for keeping quiet about her own past. Ellie will leave no desk unturned to protect her kids and expose the cunning criminal’s identity. Because if she doesn’t, the killer may chalk up another textbook case of murder . . .

Don’t miss Ellie Avery’s great tips for PTA moms!

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About the author
Sara Rosett is a bestselling mystery author. She writes the Ellie Avery series, the On The Run series, and the Murder on Location series. Publishers Weekly called Sara’s books “satisfying,” “well-executed,” and “sparkling.”

Sara teaches what she knows through the How to Outline a Cozy Mystery course. She loves to get new stamps in her passport and considers dark chocolate a daily requirement. Find out more at SaraRosett.com and sign up to get a free e-book from Sara.

All comments are welcomed.

Mother’s Day, Muffin, and Murder 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 Mother’s Day, Muffin, and Murder. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends April 1, 2017. Good luck everyone!

A day in the life with Julia Gooden by Jane Haseldine

duplicityConcrete, grey, cold, and quickly passing is the only thing I see. I’m Julia Gooden, and I cover the crime beat in the city of Detroit. My runs started as just one lap around the rugged coastal loop of Lake Huron last summer. But when I migrated back to the Detroit suburbs for a second shot at my rocky marriage with assistant district attorney David Tanner, my runs progressed and three times a week turned into seven and the start times became earlier and earlier.

Five a.m. I conquer the stretch of my Rochester Hills comfortable suburban neighborhood within five minutes. I expand my perimeter to downtown and then all the way to the Auburn Hills border. Ten miles today. No negotiation.

I race through the darkness just starting to break and ignore everything I pass, the funky downtown stores, the tidy homes with daily papers waiting on the icy driveway blacktops and the Assembly of God church with its bulletin board warning “Sin: It Seemed Like A Good Idea At The Time.”

None of the scenery matters. The steady rhythm of my sneakers pounding against the concrete pushes me forward, getting me closer to some invisible finish line as I race my one constant opponent: myself.

Spring officially arrived in Michigan a week ago, but the depressing mounds of frozen grey snow from another cruel Midwestern winter obviously didn’t get the memo. I push myself harder as I pass my oldest son Logan’s elementary school, my half-mile mark to home.

A car drives slowly by, reaches the corner and then turns back around in my direction. I instinctively move away from the curb and reach into my waist pack. Instead of a water bottle, I pack protection, pepper spray and a folding knife with a three-inch blade. Paranoia always ran hard and deep after my brother Ben’s childhood abduction—a case that has never been solved—compounded by twelve years covering the crime beat. For me, it all adds up to one thing: Trust no one.

I watch the suspect car drive past and then turn out of sight at the cross street. A small shiver runs through me, as my brother’s nine-year-old voice echoes in my head, reminding me never to take a ride from a stranger.

The sudden childhood memory jolts me, and I start to sprint as if I could race fast enough to outrun the passage of time and warn my younger self to lock the door the night Ben was taken.

I finally reach home, nowhere left to run. I drop onto the front step and choke back a sob. I know how to get through the pain. I always have. I push my emotions down deep and concentrate on what I can control.

I focus on my upcoming day-one trial coverage of Nick Rossi, Detroit’s most ruthless criminal whose illegal empire was just brought down. I kick the frozen ground with the toe of my sneaker as I try to figure out how to maintain professional boundaries with my husband, who is first chair for the prosecution on the Rossi case, while trying to simultaneously get David to give up the identity of his star witness, who will likely upend the case and get Rossi locked up for good.

I click off the pieces of the Rossi story I will have to assemble and file into some kind of compelling piece to run in the paper’s website before opening statements later this morning. The facts will be the bones of my story: Nick Rossi’s illegal empire is believed to encompass hijacking and shipping stolen goods, mainly computers and electronics, illegal gambling and drug trafficking. Both the feds and the Detroit PD had been trying to nail him for years. Rossi finally got busted in a city police sting led by Detective Raymond Navarro, my best source and former flame, courtesy of hidden cameras placed in the VIP suites of the MGM Grand Hotel. Images on the tapes showed payoffs to the former Detroit mayor and a city councilman, in addition to drug trafficking and cash exchanges for high-stakes gambling bets.

I head into the warmth of my house that hits me like a blowtorch. I strip off my jacket and check in on my still sleeping sons, Logan and Will. I linger in front of Logan’s door and feel a melancholy ache over his uncanny resemblance to my brother.

As I hurry to the shower, I wonder how I’ll be able to pull off covering the opening statements of the Rossi trial and also manage to meet Logan’s school bus when it arrives at the courthouse for his class field trip this afternoon.

This worry will seem trivial, when in a matter of hours, a bomb will detonate on the courthouse stairs as I race to greet Logan’s bus, the bomb killing the prosecution’s star witness and critically injuring my husband, leaving me to untangle a thick web of political ambition, greed and payback. . . if only I can live long enough to tell the story.


You can read more about Julia in Duplicity, the second book in the “Julia Gooden” mystery series.

In Jane Haseldine’s new novel of riveting suspense, Detroit newspaper reporter Julia Gooden is up against the city’s most devious criminal—and her own painful past.

Julia Gooden knows how to juggle different lives. A successful crime reporter, she covers the grittiest stories in the city while raising her two young boys in the suburbs. But beneath that accomplished façade is another Julia, still consumed by a tragedy that unfolded thirty years ago when her nine-year-old brother disappeared without a trace.

Julia’s marriage, too, is a balancing act, as she tries to rekindle her relationship with her husband, Assistant District Attorney David Tanner, while maintaining professional boundaries. David is about to bring Nick Rossi to trial for crimes that include drug trafficking, illegal gambling, and bribery. But the story becomes much more urgent when a courthouse bomb claims several victims—including the prosecution’s key witness—and leaves David critically injured.

Though Julia is certain that Rossi orchestrated the attack, the case against him is collapsing, and his power and connections run high and wide. With the help of Detective Raymond Navarro of the Detroit PD, she starts following a trail of blackmail, payback, and political ambition, little imagining where it will lead. Julia has risked her career before, but this time innocent lives—including her children’s—hang in the balance, and justice may come too late to save what truly matters…

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About the author
Jane Haseldine is a journalist, former crime reporter, columnist, newspaper editor, magazine writer, and deputy director of communications for a governor. Jane graduated from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications with a degree in journalism. She resides in Southern California with her husband and two sons. You can find her at janehaseldine.com, Twitter, Goodreads, and Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

Duplicity 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 Duplicity. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends March 31, 2017. Good luck everyone!