My Musing ~ Lying Blind by Dianne Emley

Lying Blind by Dianne Emley is the sixth book in the “Nan Vining” mystery series. Publisher: Alibi, February 28, 2017

lying-blindHomicide detective Nan Vining finds her world rocked when a murder investigation becomes chillingly personal in this hard-edged thriller for fans of Patricia Cornwell, Tana French, and Lisa Gardner.

In a breathtaking infinity pool on a sprawling Pasadena estate, the naked body of a beautiful young woman floats facedown in a drift of rose petals blowing on the breeze. Police sergeant Jim Kissick responds instantly, pulling the dead victim from the water. When his longtime girlfriend, Detective Nan Vining, arrives on-scene, she’s full of questions, and not just about the Jane Doe. Why did the homeowner text Jim instead of calling 911? Jim’s explanation—that he’s simply an old friend of Teddy and Rebecca Sexton’s—doesn’t sit well with Nan. A survivor of a bizarre murder attempt herself, Nan’s instincts for deception are acute. She senses that they’re all hiding something—including Jim, which plunges a wedge deep into their once steadfast relationship.

Then a drought-ravaged lake in a bucolic Central California town reveals a grisly secret. Soon two local detectives arrive in Pasadena to interview Jim and his wealthy friends about a mysterious death from years back, and Nan realizes she has good reasons for her suspicions. Jim’s always been her rock, but suddenly he’s become a stranger. And once Nan identifies her Jane Doe, events careen out of control as darkness from the past threatens to consume the life that Nan has worked so hard to rebuild.

I love books that immediately grabs my attention and pull me in and this one tops the list. Dianne has written one of the best book in her series where the two deaths, one in the past and one in present day, wreak havoc on Nan’s relationship with Jim, especially when certain facts come into play. Taking a step back, opens up too much history for them both and I liked how the author handled that portion of the story with enough details that sets the tone for the rest of this intriguing and suspenseful tale. The narrative of this fast-paced drama was staged perfectly putting me in the middle of all the action as I followed along with Nan as each clue took us both closer to the person responsible. And that surprising twist with the reveal of the killer’s identity, that was nicely done. Boasting a wonderful cast of characters and engaging dialogue, this book kept me enraptured from beginning to end with a conclusion that left me wondering how will this outcome affect Nan’s decision and based on that, I can’t wait for the next book in this terrific series.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

My Musing ~ Till Death by Jennifer L. Armentrout

Till Death by Jennifer L. Armentrout is published by William Morrow, February 28, 2017

till-deathIn New York Times bestselling author Jennifer L. Armentrout’s gripping new novel, a young woman comes home to reclaim her life—even as a murderer plots to end it.

It’s been ten years since Sasha Keaton left her West Virginia hometown . . . since she escaped the twisted serial killer known as the Groom. Returning to help run her family inn means being whole again, except for one missing piece. The piece that falls into place when Sasha’s threatened—and FBI agent Cole Landis vows to protect her the way he couldn’t a decade ago.

First one woman disappears; then another, and all the while, disturbing calling cards are left for the sole survivor of the Groom’s reign of terror. Cole’s never forgiven himself for not being there when Sasha was taken, but he intends to make up for it now . . . because under the quirky sexiness Cole first fell for is a steely strength that only makes him love Sasha more.

But someone is watching. Waiting. And Sasha’s first mistake could be her last.

I was immediately pulled into this fast-paced and action packed drama and it was hard to put down, quickly becoming a page turner. The author did a great job in telling this story evoking all kinds of emotions from intrigue, to suspense, to trepidation, all wrapped up in a satisfying story. The directions the story took had me hovering all the that was happening and when I thought I had it all figured out . . . bam, the author went another way, truly enhancing how the plot will play out in the end. Grippingly tantalizing is how I found the narrative of this well-defined drama.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher.

A day in the life of Detective Nan Vining by Dianne Emley

lying-blindLet me start by saying that I dislike talking about myself. But if I have to describe who I am, I’d say that first I’m a mom to Emily, who’s almost seventeen. Her dad and I divorced when she was a toddler—his choice, not mine. Next, I’d say that I’m the senior investigator in Homicide/Assault at the Pasadena, California Police Department. Then, if I’d had this conversation with you first thing this morning, I’d have said that I’m a devoted life partner and lover to Jim Kissick, who’s a sergeant with the Pasadena PD. Right now, at the end of a long and bewildering day, I’m not at all sure where things stand between Jim and me.

Jim had always been my strong, silent, standup guy. My Gary Cooper (I also love watching classic movies). Jim has guided me through dark times in my life. Terrible times and I have the physical and psychological scars to prove it. Tonight, sitting at my desk in the empty Detectives Section at the PPD, I’m wondering whether I misread those silences of Jim’s. Did I mistake them for solidity and strength when they were in reality concealing secrets? To say that my world has been rocked is an understatement.

The day started normally enough until the middle of the afternoon, when my partner, Alex, and I were called out to the scene of a mysterious death at a huge Pasadena estate. One of the homeowners, Teddy Sexton, had discovered the body of a nude young woman floating in the backyard pool. Jim had been the first officer on-scene. I was happy to see him. I always am because our schedules zig and zag so much it’s hard for us to get together. But he was acting sketchy and evasive from the get go. Things became more odd when I found out, after dragging the information from him, that he’d left the scene of a car accident with injuries to dash over to the Sexton estate because Teddy had texted him. Teddy and his wife, Becca, are old friends, Jim explained. Jim will definitely be reprimanded for abandoning an active incident–possibly even fired—and he risked that to respond to a text?

Things got more disturbing when Becca returned home. You see, the Jane Doe in the pool bears a staggering resemblance to a much younger Becca, but everyone in the Sexton household denied knowing who the victim is. After interviewing Becca, I learned that she and Jim had a close relationship years ago. Very close. Something else that Jim neglected to tell me.

Sitting here at my computer, I’m trying to identify poor Jane Doe, who nobody other than my partner and I seem to care about. I’m also trying to push away an ominous feeling that this case will tear me and Jim apart. He’d be the one I’d turn to in such a situation to talk it through, but I can’t. I’m feeling horribly alone. Em’s spending the night at her girlfriend’s. I might as well keep working because I doubt I’ll get any sleep tonight. I’m not looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings. That’s enough about me. Back to work.


You can read more about Nan in Lying Blind, the sixth book in the “Nan Vining” series.

In a breathtaking infinity pool on a sprawling Pasadena estate, the naked body of a beautiful young woman floats facedown in a drift of rose petals blowing on the breeze. Police sergeant Jim Kissick responds instantly, pulling the dead victim from the water. When his longtime girlfriend, Detective Nan Vining, arrives on-scene, she’s full of questions, and not just about the Jane Doe. Why did the homeowner text Jim instead of calling 911? Jim’s explanation—that he’s simply an old friend of Teddy and Rebecca Sexton’s—doesn’t sit well with Nan. A survivor of a bizarre murder attempt herself, Nan’s instincts for deception are acute. She senses that they’re all hiding something—including Jim, which plunges a wedge deep into their once steadfast relationship.

Then a drought-ravaged lake in a bucolic Central California town reveals a grisly secret. Soon two local detectives arrive in Pasadena to interview Jim and his wealthy friends about a mysterious death from years back, and Nan realizes she has good reasons for her suspicions. Jim’s always been her rock, but suddenly he’s become a stranger. And once Nan identifies her Jane Doe, events careen out of control as darkness from the past threatens to consume the life that Nan has worked so hard to rebuild.

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About the author
Dianne Emley is a Los Angeles Times bestselling author and has received critical acclaim for her Detective Nan Vining thrillers, Iris Thorne mysteries, and The Night Visitor, a standalone paranormal mystery. She’s also published short fiction for anthologies including Literary Pasadena. Her novels have been translated into six languages. A Los Angeles native, she lives in the Central California wine country with her husband, where she’s a pretty good cook and a terrible golfer. About Dianne’s books, Tess Gerritsen says: “Emley masterfully twists, turns, and shocks.”

Connect with Dianne through her website dianneemley.com or visit her on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment for a chance to win a Lying Blind e-book (Kindle/Nook open to all) or a signed paperback (US only) of one of the first four books in the Nan Vining series (The First Cut, Cut to the Quick, The Deepest Cut, or Love Kills). The giveaway ends February 27, 2017. Good luck everyone!

Lying Blind will be published as an e-book by Alibi/Random House on February 28, 2017.

A day in the life with Lila Maclean by Cynthia Kuhn

the-art-of-vanishingLila Maclean here. Nice to meet you.

It’s my second semester at Stonedale University, and though I’m still learning my way around, at least I’ve managed to confirm one of my suspicions: a professor’s work is never done. You finish teaching, there are office hours and meetings. You grade one stack of papers and another rolls in. You complete some research, and more awaits. And so on. It’s enough to make you question why you thought spending that all money on the degrees required to apply for the job was worth it in the first place. But I digress.

The point is, most of my time is already accounted for, so when my department chair urged me to join the Arts Week Committee, I hesitated. He convinced me by pointing out that it was one of the chancellor’s favorite projects and that participating might generate some goodwill. Since the chancellor is already unhappy with my involvement in the unfortunate events of last fall (the less said about that, the better), it sounded like a wise idea. Yet it may turn out to be a questionable decision.

By which I mean that the chancellor has just sent me to bring back a lively and informative interview featuring the world’s crankiest author, Damon Von Tussel, who is supposed to headline our Arts Week festivities. It’s a difficult mission, given Damon’s famous resistance to doing anything requested of him by another human, but the chancellor made it very clear that failure was not an option. Trouble is, Damon’s disappeared. . .


You can read more about Lila in The Art of Vanishing, the second book in the “Lila Maclean Academic” mystery series.

When Professor Lila Maclean is sent to interview celebrated author and notorious cad Damon Von Tussel, he disappears before her very eyes. The English department is thrown into chaos by the news, as Damon is supposed to headline Stonedale University’s upcoming Arts Week.

The chancellor makes it clear that he expects Lila to locate the writer and set events back on track immediately. But someone appears to have a different plan: strange warnings are received, valuable items go missing, and a series of dangerous incidents threaten the lives of Stonedale’s guests. After her beloved mother, who happens to be Damon’s ex, rushes onto campus and into harm’s way, Lila has even more reason to bring the culprit to light before anything—or anyone—else vanishes.

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About the author
Cynthia Kuhn writes the Lila Maclean academic mystery series. Her work has appeared in McSweeney’s Quarterly Concern, Literary Mama, Copper Nickel, Prick of the Spindle, Mama PhD and other publications. She teaches English at Metropolitan State University of Denver and serves as president of Sisters in Crime-Colorado. Connect with Cynthia at cynthiakuhn.net

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a Kindle/Nook copy of The Art of Vanishing. The giveaway ends February 27, 2017. Good luck everyone!

The Art of Vanishing is available at retail and online booksellers.

A day in the life with Cat Latimer by Lynn Cahoon

fatality-by-firelightI got this bright idea the other day. I’m Cat Latimer, owner/operator of The Warm Springs Writer’s Retreat. I also write a young adult series focusing on a teenage witch out of water (Tori’s a newcomer to the world of magic and high school.)

I do have to add in blame for this great idea to Shauna and Seth as they encouraged me on. Shauna’s my BFF, and Seth, well, he’s my boyfriend. He was my high school sweetheart, so boyfriend is appropriate, even if it feels like I’m a teenager again.

But anyway, back to my bright idea. . .

Our second monthly writer’s retreat started today and we invited our guests to a day of skiing at the Little Ski Hill just outside of Aspen Hills. Shauna’s new boyfriend, Kevin, actually owns the place, but it didn’t get us any discounts on the lift tickets. He’s a bit of a penny pincher.

I loved skiing as a kid. Seth and I and all of our friends spent the winter weekends on the slopes. Colorado has great snow and there’s no better use for the white stuff is to strap two sticks on your feet, get hauled up to the top of the mountain and then maneuver your way down. The snow sparkles so brightly, you have to wear shades. It’s a great way to open the retreat with some physical activity which we all know, writers don’t get a lot of that.

The Victorian I inherited from my ex-husband, Michael, is almost finished being remodeled. We’ve almost got the attic changed over to a writer’s haven. As soon as we get the heating and cooling system installed, the remodel will be done. Mostly. I still have to clean out Michael’s study, but there’s some questions about his death that have been bothering me. I wish I’d never opened his journal. But apparently, there are some discrepancies in the manner of his death that are bothering my Uncle Pete too. You remember, Uncle Pete, right? He’s the town chief of police for Aspen Hills.

Anyway, that’s old worries that won’t be getting in my way for this retreat. Today, we’re taking most of the writer’s up to the ski resort for a day of skiing and fun. Then we’ll start the official writing retreat part with a visit with Miss Applebome at the Covington College Library on Monday.

Here’s to hoping the second retreat goes smoother than the first. I’d hate to have the retreat be known as Murder Central for a little mountain town like Aspen Hills. Besides, I’ve got a book on deadline and I need to spend some quality time in my office this week.

Let’s hope for a surprise free retreat week. That’s not too much to ask, is it?

Cat


You can read more about Cat in Fatality By Firelight, the second book in the “Cat Latimer” mystery series.

Cat Latimer’s Colorado bed-and-breakfast plays host to writers from all over. But murder is distinctly unwelcome . . .

To kick off a winter writing retreat, Cat and her handyman boyfriend, Seth, escort the aspiring authors to a nearby ski resort, hoping some fresh cold air will wake up their creative muses. But instead of hitting the slopes, they hit the bar—and before long, a tipsy romance novelist named Christina is keeping herself warm with a local ski bum who might have neglected to tell her about his upcoming wedding.

Next thing Cat knows, her uncle, the town sheriff, informs her that the young man’s been found dead in a hot tub—and Christina shows up crying and covered in blood. Now, between a murder mystery, the theft of a rare Hemingway edition, and the arrival of a black-clad stranger in snowy Aspen Hills, Cat’s afraid everything’s going downhill . . .

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About the author
Lynn Cahoon is the author of the NYT and USA Today best-selling Tourist Trap cozy mystery series. LynnCGuidebook to Murder, book 1 of the series won the Reader’s Crown for Mystery Fiction in 2015. She’s also pens the recently released, Cat Latimer series. A Story To Kill, book 1, came out in mass market paperback September 2016.She lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and two fur babies. Sign up for her newsletter at www.lynncahoon.com.

Connect with Lynn on Goodreads, Twitter, Facebook and Amazon.

All comments are welcomed.

Fatality By Firelight is available at retail and online booksellers.