Tag Archives: Minotaur Books

A day in the life with Kay Powell by E.J. Copperman

I don’t have a “typical” day. There’s just no such thing. Most days I have a client or two to see, potential clients to consider and sometimes I accompany a client to an audition. I do spend some time walking and cleaning up after my clients as well.

I’m Kay Powell of Powell and Associates (my only associate is actually my office manager Consuelo). I’m a theatrical agent whose clients are all animals. Not the Hollywood kind; the four-legged (usually) kind.

The story of how I got into this business is told elsewhere so I won’t take up your time. Suffice it to say I come from a showbiz family, didn’t want to perform on stage—anymore—and had a law degree with no desire to practice law. So the natural jump was to representing dogs, cats, birds and the occasional snake in movies, TV and theater, right?

Right?

I know it’s a little unusual, but the fact is most of my conflicts in business are with my clients’ human owners, not the animals themselves. Most of the clients—even the snake—are just as sweet as can be. It’s the people who can be problems.

For example, I had this client Bruno, the nicest big shaggy dog you ever met. Well okay, so you never met him, but I did and he was a gentleman and a terrific actor. But his owners, Trent and Louis Barclay, were a little less than charming. In fact, the director Les McMaster (yes, that Les McMaster!) was ready to give Bruno the role of Sandy in his hit revival of Annie on Broadway—but he insisted it be written into the contract that Trent especially could not be in the theater for rehearsals or have any contact at all with Les while Bruno was working in the show.

That became somewhat moot when they found Trent with a knife in his back and his face in Bruno’s water dish.

And that’s when my life started getting interesting. More interesting. No, I’ll go back to it: Interesting.

To tell the truth, I wasn’t that upset about what happened to Trent. But if anybody comes after Bruno, they’re going to have to go through me first.

Perhaps I should rephrase that.

It’s a long story, told elsewhere. Suffice it to say it wasn’t a typical day. Because I haven’t had one of those yet.


You can read more about Kay in Dog Dish of Doom, the first book in the NEW “Agent to the Paws” mystery series.

Cozy fans and animal lovers alike won’t be able to keep their paws off Dog Dish of Doom. Laugh-out-loud funny, E.J. Copperman’s series debut is “lots of fun” (Library Journal, starred).

Kay Powell wants to find that break-out client who will become a star. And she thinks she’s found him: His name is Bruno, and he has to be walked three times a day.

Kay is the Agent to the Paws, representing showbiz clients who aren’t exactly people. In fact: they’re dogs. Bruno’s humans, Trent and Louise, are pains in the you-know-what, and Les McMaster, the famous director mounting a revival of Annie, might not hire Bruno just because he can’t stand them.

This becomes less of an issue when Trent is discovered face down in Bruno’s water dish, with a kitchen knife in his back. Kay’s perfectly fine to let the NYPD handle the murder, but when the whole plot seems to center on Bruno, her protective instincts come into play. You can kill any people you want, but you’d better leave Kay’s clients alone.

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About the author
Kay Powell debuts in the Agent to the Paws mystery series with Dog Dish of Doom from Minotaur on August 15. E.J. Copperman is the author of the Agent to the Paws series, the Haunted Guesthouse mystery series, the Mysterious Detective mystery series and, with Jeff Cohen, the Asperger’s mystery series. E.J. has a beagle named Gizmo who does not perform on camera or onstage. But he does a heck of an act when he wants some chicken from your plate. Connect with E.J. at ejcopperman.com.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Cat About Town by Cat Conte

Cat About Town by Cat Conte is the first book in the NEW “Cat Cafe” mystery series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, August 2017

The first novel in a frisky new mystery series set in a small New England town, where an unlikely citizen is called in to solve the purrfect crime. . .

Maddie James has arrived in Daybreak Island, just off the coast of Massachusetts, eager to settle down and start her own business—and maybe even fall in love. When a stray orange tabby pounces into her life, she’s inspired to open a cat café. But little does Maddie know that she’s in for something a lot more catastrophic when her new furry companion finds the dead body of the town bully. Now all eyes are on Maddie: Who is this crazy cat-whisperer lady who’s come to town? If pet-hair-maintenance and crime-fighting weren’t keeping her busy enough, Maddie now has not one but two eligible bachelors who think she’s the cat’s pajamas . . . and will do anything to win her heart. But how can she even think about happily-ever-after while a killer remains on the loose—and on her path?

This was a fun book that kept me entertained throughout the telling of this tale. Maddie arrives in town on somber note, but things get quite interesting with a new idea and with the discovery of a dead body.

This was a fast-paced drama that I could not put down until it was all said and done. The author has a way with the narrative putting me in the middle of all the action. The mystery was set-up with plenty of suspects and enough clues to keep me pondering who had the strongest motive for murder. It was that final piece of the puzzle that gave me the aha moment and I enjoyed watching how it all came to fruition with each character playing a pivotal role that led to the identity and apprehension of the killer. The dialogue was engaging and I love this wonderful cast of characters, especially JJ, who delight me in their interactions within this whodunit. This was a nice story in this debut series and I can’t wait to read the next book.

A day in the life of Maddie James by Cate Conte

I have no idea how these things happen to me.

I mean, seriously. Here I am, minding my own business, home for the first time in nearly a year for my grandmother’s funeral, and all of a sudden I’m tasked with saving my grandfather’s house from a conniving, chauvinistic turd of a man. As if that weren’t bad enough, when said turd gets himself dead, it opens up a whole world of problems—for all of us.

My name is Maddie James, and home is Daybreak Island, Massachusetts. It’s a beautiful island, and I’m so blessed to have grown up here. Over the years, more and more people realized how beautiful it was, and now it’s crammed to the gills with tourists all summer long. But there are worse problems to have, especially since the tourists spend a lot of money here. A savvy businessperson can work for four months of the year and make his or her living, if they’re good with money the remainder of the time.

But like a lot of island kids, I thought it was too small for me. I left for college in New York, then headed west. I never thought I’d be back for any length of time. Two weeks max to see to the funeral and spend some time with Grandpa Leo, the love of my life, and make sure he was doing okay before returning to my sunny life in San Francisco, where I owned a juice bar.

The best laid plans, right? Instead, I’m heading into week three with no end in sight, on my way to Bean for coffee and to meet my high-school-boyfriend-turned-cop Craig Tomlin, hoping to pick his brain about why the department was harassing my grandfather—the former police chief!—about Frank O’Malley’s murder.

Sure, my grandfather had every right to want to see Frank gone. As head of the island Chamber of Commerce, Frank considered himself the unofficial head of tourism—and king of everything related. Frank was intent on getting Grandpa’s property to be the site of a transportation center, which meant taking his house and using unsavory tactics to do so. But seriously? My grandpa had spent his life protecting this island and its people, so just the thought of him killing someone was ludicrous. Even though Frank had it coming, I have to say.

My best friend Becky, the editor of the Daybreak Island Chronicle, says the police are just bluffing. But I get the sense she’s worried too, even though she won’t admit it to me. It was all so crazy. Grandpa doesn’t need any of this now. He’s just lost his best friend in the world, and now he has to worry about losing his house and being a murder suspect?

I was happy to have my new friend, JJ the cat, with me to take some of the stress away. He walked so well on his harness, you’d have thought he’d been born wearing one. But really, he’d appeared from behind a tree at my grandmother’s grave last week, and decided to come home with me. I don’t think people around here are used to seeing cats on harnesses; we’re getting some funny looks as we walk through town. But I don’t care. He’s my pal.

I paused outside Bean, my eyes scanning the patrons sitting at tables for Craig. There he was, by himself, intent on something he read on his phone. He hadn’t seen me yet. I used the time to do a quick breathing exercise my guru, Cass, had taught me years ago, hoping to approach this conversation calmly.

Then I heard someone say my name.

I opened my eyes to find Lucas, the hot dog groomer and new boy in town, smiling at me. All thoughts of calm flew out of my head.

“Hey,” I said, glancing nervously inside at Craig again. He still hadn’t noticed me.

“It’s good to see you again. Want to grab a cup of coffee?” Lucas asked.

At that moment I wished fervently for the whole Frank mess to vanish so I could say yes and sit down with this hot guy and have a conversation about nothing important. But the timing was terrible.

“I wish I could,” I said. “Really. But I’m meeting someone here.”

Craig noticed me just then. I could feel his eyes boring into us through the glass and shifted uncomfortably. Lucas noticed too, and the smile dimmed a bit.

“Oh. Sure. No problem,” he said. “I’ll see you around.” He started to walk away.

“Lucas!”

He turned. “Yeah?”

I smiled weakly. “Another time?”

He nodded. “Sure.”

I watched him go, cursing the universe for not being on my side, then went in to deal with Craig.


You can read more about Maddie in Cat About Town, the first book in the NEW “Cat Café” mystery series.

The first novel in a frisky new mystery series set in a small New England town, where an unlikely citizen is called in to solve the purrfect crime. . .

Maddie James has arrived in Daybreak Island, just off the coast of Massachusetts, eager to settle down and start her own business―and maybe even fall in love. When a stray orange tabby pounces into her life, she’s inspired to open a cat café. But little does Maddie know that she’s in for something a lot more catastrophic when her new furry companion finds the dead body of the town bully. Now all eyes are on Maddie: Who is this crazy cat-whisperer lady who’s come to town? If pet-hair-maintenance and crime-fighting weren’t keeping her busy enough, Maddie now has not one but two eligible bachelors who think she’s the cat’s pajamas . . . and will do anything to win her heart. But how can she even think about happily-ever-after while a killer remains on the loose―and on her path?

Buy Link

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About the author
Liz Mugavero writes the Pawsitively Organic Mysteries, the first of which was an Agatha Award nominee for Best First Novel. The sixth book in the series, Purring Around the Christmas Tree, is out in October of this year. As Cate Conte, Liz also writes the Cat Cafe Mysteries, the first of which, Cat About Town, was released August 1. She lives in Connecticut with her rescue pals.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Hank Worth by Claire Booth

“Where you goin’?”

I froze. Caught. I should’ve thought to grab a file folder off my desk – then it’d look like I was on my way to a meeting. Instead, all I had in my hands was a set of car keys. Which quite plainly indicated that I was making a break for it. I slowly turned around.

It wasn’t Sheila, my chief deputy. Instead, Sam stood in the hallway with a puzzled look on his face. Then he saw the keys and laughed.

“Sheila said you were working on the deputy duty schedule.” My pup of a deputy grinned. “She said I couldn’t bother you, because you needed your full concentration. To finally figure out how to do it proper.”

Sheila was technically not wrong about that. I’d been here almost nine months, and I still hadn’t managed to do it correctly. But it was a task that drove me crazy. Actually, anything that involved being trapped in an office with the paperwork equivalent of the Leaning Tower of Pisa drove me crazy. Especially on such a beautiful day in the Ozarks. When a Branson County Sheriff’s Department cruiser sat right outside, just waiting to be driven somewhere.

“I thought I’d do a little patrol work. There’ve been some speeding problems out on that stretch of Highway 76 near Powersite.”

I shrugged nonchalantly and took a step toward the door. Sammy started laughing full out.

“She’s not going to buy that,” he said.

“I know,” I said. “But if I can get out of here before she catches me…”

I could see him thinking about it. His young face was so transparent, so eager. He scratched behind his ear, then turned back the way he’d come. “I never saw you. Just make sure you drive out the back way. I think she’s in the front of the building.”

I took the steps down to the parking lot two at a time, feeling ridiculously like a kid just let out on summer vacation. I pulled out of the parking lot and headed south over the bridge at Bull Shoals Lake. Free to finally do some real police work.

An hour later, I’d stopped two people for speeding and had a nice chat with an elderly couple sitting out on their front porch. And I was feeling much better. I really did need to get out and do this more often.

To me, that was what being the county sheriff was all about – not sitting in meetings or pouring over budget documents. Those things made me feel like a paper pusher. Which was not what I was expecting when I accepted the job.

I’d planned to apply for a position as a regular deputy when we moved down here from Kansas City to help out my widowed father-in-law. But just when we’d gotten the kids settled in their new preschool classes, the former sheriff resigned his post and the county commissioners offered me the job.

Apparently they were dazzled by my big city-ness. They have since come to regret that. Possibly because I’m not quite the yes man they expected. I also might have called one of them names.

But they’re stuck with me. At least until the next election, when the sheriff’s position will be up for grabs. I’m going to have to run. I need to keep my job. There are no other open law enforcement positions in southern Missouri, so going somewhere else isn’t an option. No one has filed to run against me, though, so I think I might be able to skate through without actually having to do anything horrible, like campaign.

I’d almost reached Kirbyville when an idiot in a Camaro cut in front of me and then disappeared over a rise in the road. I was reaching to flip on my lights when I saw the sign. Billboard big and star-spangled gaudy.

“Gerald Tucker for Sheriff. Put Your Trust in the Local Boy.”

Underneath the writing was a photo of the fifty-two-year-old, paunchy, badly mustached “boy.” I slammed on the brakes.

Tucker? The deputy who abandoned his guard post when the Branson Beauty showboat sank and then mysteriously exploded? The deputy who was, at every turn, a complete jerk? The deputy who everybody in the county knew because he’d lived here his whole life? I groaned and bonked my head on the steering wheel. I should’ve just stayed in the office.


You can read more about Hank in Another Man’s Ground, the second book in the “Sheriff Hank Worth” mystery series.

It starts out as an interesting little theft case. Branson, Missouri’s new Sheriff Hank Worth is called out to look at stands of trees that have been stripped of their bark, which the property owner had planned to harvest for the booming herbal supplement market. At first, Hank easily balances the demands of the investigation with his fledging political career. He was appointed several months earlier to the vacant sheriff position, but he needs to win the fast-approaching election in order to keep his job. He thinks the campaign will go well, as long as he’s able to keep secret the fact that a group of undocumented immigrants – hired to cut down the stripped trees – have fled into the forest and he’s deliberately not looking for them.

But then the discovery of a murder victim deep in the Ozark backwoods sets him in the middle of a generations-old feud that explodes into danger not only for him, but also for the immigrants, his deputies, and his family. He must rush to find a murderer before election day, and protect the vulnerable in Branson County, where politicking is hell and trespassing can get you killed.

In Another Man’s Ground, her next novel featuring Sheriff Hank Worth, acclaimed author Claire Booth delivers a taut, witty mystery that will grip readers from the opening pages to the breathless conclusion.

Buy link

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About the author
Claire Booth spent more than a decade as a daily newspaper reporter, much of it covering crimes so convoluted and strange they seemed more like fiction than reality. Eventually, she had enough of the real world and decided to write novels instead. Her Sheriff Hank Worth mystery series takes place in Branson, Missouri, where small-town Ozark politics and big-city country music tourism clash in, yes, strange and convoluted ways. For more about Claire, her books, and some of the true crimes she’s covered, please visit www.clairebooth.com. Or connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, or at her Amazon author page.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Campbell Hale by Peggy O’Neal Peden

My name is Campbell Hale. I manage a travel agency in Nashville called Get Out of Town. Have you been to Nashville? You should know it’s more than j bachelorette parties on Broadway. It’s a great place to live, decent weather –most of the time. We can’t drive well in the rain. So? We have a church on every corner, but they all get out in time to cheer on the Titans on Sundays. Two lakes, several rivers, lots of parks and greenways, professional sports with good colors, college sports (it’s called the Athens of the South), and music. Lots of music. You know about the Opry and country music, but we have all kinds, from the honkytonks on Lower Broad to the indie rockers in East Nashville. Even when you walk from your gate to baggage claim, there’s live music. And good food. New restaurants seem to be the only thing we have more of than construction cranes. Not to mention some excellent old favorites where you’re bound to bump shoulders with the likes of Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, Jack White, Carrie Underwood, Chris Stapleton or Dan Auerbach. Did I mention our excellent police force with detective Sam Davis?

I’ve lived in or near Nashville all my life, but I love to travel. Besides the travel (you have to try out the hotels, the beaches, the ships, the restaurants. . . ), I like the challenge of building a good trip for the right clients. I even like tracking down the luggage that should have gone to nonstop to London but changed planes in Madrid before winding up in Oslo.

The best part of the job is the people you meet, like I met Doug Elliott when I planned a post-divorce trip for him. I found him cheap airfare, a good beachfront hotel, a fishing guide who always found the huge fish and would ship the frozen catch, and suggestions for where to find the best fresh grouper, oysters, and Gulf shrimp. Give me a call, and I’ll tell you, too. I’d like to say that we rode off into a romantic sunset. That’s not exactly the way it’s happened, though. He became my attorney. My friend, too, but our relationship keeps hitting roadblocks – or something.

Part of what gets me up in the morning is the challenge of solving the problems. A few weeks ago I was scheduled to fly out late in the afternoon to connect in Chicago with a flight to London for a familiarization trip through England and Scotland. I planned to work until lunch. I went to the bank when it opened to get my passport from my safe deposit box. Everything went as planned, except that, when I picked up my passport, it had expired. A week before! Those things are good for ten years.

First, I panicked. Then I started checking where passport offices are. Not in Nashville, of course. Lo and behold, there’s a passport office in Chicago! And I was connecting through Chicago! I changed my reservation to the next flight. When I got to O’Hare, I put my luggage in a locker in the international terminal and found that the L ran from inside the airport to a stop very near the passport office. I had called both senators’ and my U. S. representative’s offices. Staffers in all three offices said they would call the passport office (they often speed up passports).

At the passport office, I explained my stupidity to the agent and asked if he had heard from Washington. He told me to take a number and have a seat. I did. And I waited. I looked at my watch every two minutes and waited. I went back to the counter and explained my dilemma again. He said he hadn’t talked to anybody in Washington. I sat. I hadn’t charged my phone battery in the morning’s craziness; it was dead. I watched the lines get shorter as people got their passports and left. I knew I had to reach someone before offices closed at five. Finally, I asked if there was a payphone nearby. “Out in the hall,” he said. As the door closed behind me, it locked! This office closed at 4:30, which the friendly, helpful agent hadn’t mentioned.

I started calling. My Congressman, my senators, the U.S. Passport office. I finally got an answer at the U.S. Passport office. Closed, but the Director was still there. After a short laugh, he said, “Is there anywhere you can sit?” I sat. After a few minutes, my friendly agent came out into the hall. “Ms. Hale,” he said deferentially, “please come in. I’ll have your passport renewal in just a few minutes. Can I get you a cup of coffee?” I didn’t gloat. Except inside. I went in and sat. For fifteen minutes! Passport in hand, I went back to the L station, back to O’Hare – and to London. A wonderful trip.

Since then, I’ve kept my passport up to date.

Check yours. Now.


You can read more about Campbell in Your Killin’ Heart, the first book in the NEW “Nashville” mystery series.

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone in Nashville is an aspiring country music star. Campbell Hale, for one, just wants to get her travel agency off the ground and move on from a break-up. But when she gets the opportunity to visit the mansion of mysterious country icon Jake Miller, she jumps at the chance. After all, who knows what clues are lurking around the long-dead star’s last home?

But as Campbell pokes around, she discovers more than a few sequined suits and priceless memorabilia. She finds Hazel Miller, Jake’s widow, quietly resting in a bedroom on the main floor. But Hazel might just be dead quiet. And Campbell might just be the last person to have seen her alive.

Juggling the twisty plots of high-profile country stars with her blossoming business―not to mention the tattered remains of her love life―Campbell thinks she’s got everything figured out. But when the danger becomes personal, she must uncover a killer who will stop at nothing to get what they want―or face the music.

With Your Killin’ Heart, award-winning author Peggy O’Neal Peden has given us a witty debut full of Nashville charm and generous heart.

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Meet the author
Peggy O’Neal Peden grew up in Middle Tennessee and has lived in and around Nashville for most of her life. She has taught English at high school and college levels, owned a travel agency, been published in regional magazines, and written award-winning advertising copy. She is a member of the Nashville Artist Guild and lives in Nashville. Your Killin’ Heart is her first novel.

All comments are welcomed.

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My Musing ~ Sticks and Bone by Carolyn Haines

Sticks and Bones is the 17th book in the “Sarah Booth Delaney” mystery series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, May 2017

Private investigator Sarah Booth Delaney and her friends are celebrating New Year’s Eve at the party of the year, a smashing Winter Garden party at the Prince Albert Hotel. It’s a dazzling success…until Frangelica “Sister” McFee walks through the door. Sarah Booth knew Sister in college, before Sister became a bestselling author and moved to New York, and fame and fortune don’t seem to have tempered her arrogance and cruelty.

Sister’s latest book is a memoir about the death of her mother and brother many years ago. Now, a film about the book is in the works, and a film crew has descended upon Zinnia, Mississippi, to tell the complete tale. The film crew soon realizes there may be more to the story than meets the eye―or is told in Sister’s memoir―and they hire Sarah Booth to discover the absolute truth about those deaths so many years ago. But Sarah Booth quickly realizes that someone is desperate to keep the truth hidden and will go to any lengths necessary to protect a long-held secret.

Carolyn Haines’s next Sarah Booth Delaney novel, Sticks and Bones, is sure to delight series fans and newcomers alike.

I love, love, love Sticks and Bones. This book kept me engrossed and enthralled in all aspects in the telling of this tale. The mystery was enjoyable and the interaction with the main cast and the visitors kept me glued to the pages. The narrative was visually appealing, putting me smack dab in the middle of that was happening in this fast-paced drama that oozes southern charm. All the major characters play pivotal roles and one of my favorite scenes featured Sarah Booth, Coleman and Tinkie. Yes, I’m still smiling at the remembrance. With an eccentrically quirky cast of characters and engaging dialogue, this is the best book in the series thus far and I can’t wait for the next one in this delightfully endearing series.

A day in the life with Macy Greeley by Karin Salvalaggio

I can see them now. My son Luke and my boyfriend Aiden are a hundred yards ahead, resting in the shade of a thin stand of pine trees. We’re on a high mountain trail in Montana’s Glacier National Park. I’ve been trying to catch up with them for hours. My legs feel so heavy I can barely lift them, my rucksack is warm against my back and a heavy summer sun is making me thirsty. I’m losing patience with the man I love. Luke is only four years old so he can be forgiven but I don’t understand why Aiden won’t wait for me.

The alarm clock I’ve set on my cellphone wakes me from my dream.

The hotel room is pitch dark and full of unfamiliar smells ― carpeting, cleaning fluid and something I can only describe as salami, which is troubling. The sheets are so crisp they pin me down to the bed like an envelope. The hotel is one of many dotted along Route 89 that cater to tourists in the summer and unlucky souls like myself in the winter. It is bitterly cold outside. The curtains are cracked open a fraction. I can just make out the hotel’s vacancy sign.

It feels like I’ve been living in hotels forever, but it has only been a week since I kissed my son and boyfriend goodbye. Wilmington Creek, the town I now call home, seems a lifetime away. I’m heading north into the heart of the Black Feet Indian Reservation where I’m hoping to get information on the whereabouts of a Native American girl who’s gone missing whilst hitchhiking the rural roads that lace the northern part of the state. She is one of many, but I don’t know that yet.

My cellphone rings again. I try to paw it into silence with my hand, but it isn’t the alarm so it doesn’t stop. Someone is calling me. I clear my throat but still croak.

“Special Investigator Macy Greeley, Montana Department of Justice,” I say. “How can I help?”

“You can cut the formalities for a start,” says Ryan.

I am now wide-awake. Ryan is a senior forensics investigator and one of my best friends. We’ve been working cases together for more than a dozen years. Hearing from him is a mixed blessing. It’s usually bad news.

“We’ve found a body – young, female and in all probability your missing person’s case. I’ve just emailed my preliminary findings. We’ve put in a request for dental records. Should know for sure if it’s Tamara Creek by the end of the day.”

I switch on the bedside lamp and reach for my laptop. It’s 6am and this is how I’m starting my day.

“Crap,” I say. “When she sent those text messages to her mother a couple of days ago I was feeling hopeful.”

“It wasn’t her. She’s been dead at least a week.”

“A week? Are you absolutely sure?”

“Yep.”

“So, some sick fuck has been making her friends and family believe she’s been alive all this time?”

“Looks that way. The hotel manager here called it in. No one was supposed to be in the room so he had no idea she’s been lying dead here all week. The guests that checked in late last night had a nasty shock. How soon can you get down to Great Falls?”

“An hour tops. Cause of death?”

I have the file Ryan sent me open on my computer but I can’t focus once I’ve read that the victim had a tattoo of a humming bird on her shoulder. I’ll have to wait for dental confirmation before informing the family, but I already know it’s Tamara, a 14 year old high school student from Missoula whose mother refused to accept that her daughter was a runaway. It was only by chance that a security camera had caught her being forced into a dark colored SUV.

“We’re not sure at this point but I’m guessing strangulation. There’s evidence of rape.”

I close my laptop and slip out from under the covers.

“I’m on my way,” I say.

I put on the coffee maker and throw on my clothes. Ten minutes later I’m on the road. The rest of the day goes by in a blur of interviews, heartache and takeaway food. I will drink 5 cups of coffee and 3 Diet Cokes. A Snickers Bar will see me through an afternoon lull. I will drive more than 400 miles but I never tire of the views and how they unfold. Montana’s snow covered mountains, valleys and rivers shimmer under an endless blue sky.

I end my day back home in Wilmington Creek. The house is quiet when I park my state issue four-by-four in the garage. Our Springer Spaniels come find me in the kitchen where I’m pouring myself a strong drink. The whiskey burns but in a good way. Luke has left a few drawings out on the dining table for me to see. Stick figures of Aiden, Luke and me stand in front of our small house. Against all odds we are now a family.

Aiden wanders in a few minutes later. His face is thick with sleep. His hair is pressed to the side of his head. I’d called him earlier so he already knows how difficult my day has been. It is only when he takes me in his arms and holds me tight that I finally allow myself to cry.


You can read more about Macy in Silent Rain, the fourth book in the “Macy Greeley” mystery series.

Grace Adams has spent three years trying to move on―mentally, physically, emotionally―from the traumatizing events of her past. But it’s not easy when the world is morbidly curious about the crimes that shaped her childhood, when despite her changed name, people still track her down for the sensational details. Now in college in Bolton, Montana, the one person Grace has trusted with the truth about her past has betrayed her. The bestselling novelist Peter Granger wants to use Grace’s story in his next book, regardless of how desperate Grace is to keep the details to herself. And then, on Halloween night, Peter Granger’s house burns to the ground and his and his wife’s bodies are found inside.

Montana state detective Macy Greeley is sent to Bolton to handle the investigation into the fire and deaths. . .which soon appear to be arson and murder. It doesn’t take Macy long to realize that Grace isn’t the only one whom Peter Granger has betrayed, and there are no shortage of others in town who took issue with him and his wife. What at first looked like a straightforward investigation is poised to expose some of Bolton’s darkest secrets, and the fallout may put more than one life in danger.

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About the author
Karin Salvalaggio received an MA in Creative Writing from Birkbeck at the University of London. Born in West Virginia and raised in an Air Force family, she grew up on a number of military bases around the United States. She now lives in London with her two children.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Frangelica “Sister” McFee by Carolyn Haines

My days are always extraordinarily busy and filled with exciting events and people, smart and beautiful people not dullards and ugly people. As a very famous author, I’m always in demand. Before we go any further, I want to be sure you’re pronouncing my name correctly. No one in Zinnia calls me Frangelica. They call me Sista. Not Sister. Sis-ta! Sis-ta McFee.

My daddy is running for the U.S. Senate seat from Mississippi and he’s going to win big. People adore him. He’s almost as popular as I am, and even though he’s married to that gold-digger Susan Simpson McFee—who has gotten herself pregnant just to be sure she gets a share of the McFee fortune—he’s going to make the best senator ever. I hope he leaves Susan in Memphis to raise her spawn of Satan child. My daddy will be so much more effective if she isn’t hanging on his coattails.

I told you I was a wealthy novelist. I write fiery romances that capture the hearts and minds of millions of women. I’m really a household name. More of a brand really. Say my name to any woman who’s ever read a romance, and she’ll tell you how wonderful I am. A lot of writers would be satisfied to have cornered the romance market and become a beloved figure of fiction, but I know I have so much more to give my public. I’ve recently published a memoir about my family.

I’m a child of tragedy. Which makes it even more remarkable that I’ve accomplished all I have. Yes, it’s true that I had the best private schools and more money than Midas could spend, but I have suffered. I’ve suffered bigly. My daddy loves me but sometimes he forgets I even exist. My mother and brother, Daryl, mostly called Son, died in a tragic automobile accident several years ago. It was my brother’s fault. He was high and drove off into the Sunflower River during a terrible flood. They both died, but Son’s body was never found. Which at least saved us the cost of a funeral. That may sound bitter to you, but think about it. My mother could never see Son for what he was—a common addict. He was always the golden child, the star athlete, the business genius. I was just a plump, dumpy girl, emphasis on the gender part. The McFee family has great pride in the male children and heirs, but not so much with the girls.

Strange as it may seem, I’m going to be the only McFee heir now. There are no males, unless that contortionist Susan Simpson McFee shoots out a male brat. But it will be too late by then. I’ll already have taken control of Great-Grandfather Jamie’s trust. And it will all be mine. The Delta mansion, the stocks, the bonds, the land, the utilities—the whole she-bang.

And if that’s not enough, they’ll be filming the movie based on my tell-all book about my family. The movie crew is already in town scouting for locations. It’s going to be wonderful. Really wonderful. And I can tell the whole world how worthless Son was and how I have finally become the real winner in my family. Except for Daddy, of course. He’s going to be a U.S. Senator. He’ll have power and I’ll have money. What a combo!

The only flies in the ointment are Stinky Tinkie Richmond and her sidekick, that awful Sarah Booth Delaney. They think they’re private investigators or some such idiocy. And they are everywhere I turn. They’re at my home, they’re in town, they’re stuffing their faces at the local café. They are intolerable, and Stinky Tinkie had better watch out or I’ll tell all about her college days. You know, it’s really special to come home and realize how far superior I am to all of the people I grew up with. They just can’t hold a candle to me. I shine like an LED super lantern to their Triple A battery light.

But enough about them and back to me, a far more worthy subject. When I inherit everything, I’m going to write a new series of young adult fantasy books. I have the perfect idea. I just have to get this movie behind me and make sure my daddy gets his heart’s desire and is elected. Maybe I’ll buy my own Hollywood studio and make movies from all of my books. Now that would be a great cause. The world needs more romance and adventure, and I’m just the woman to give it to them.

So much to do; so little time. I’m off to tackle the winds of war. Be sure and learn all about me in Sticks and Bones. I really am worth your time.


You can read more about Sis-ta McFee in Sticks and Bones, the 17th book in the “Sarah Booth Delaney” mystery series.

Private investigator Sarah Booth Delaney and her friends are celebrating New Year’s Eve at the party of the year, a smashing Winter Garden party at the Prince Albert Hotel. It’s a dazzling success…until Frangelica “Sister” McFee walks through the door. Sarah Booth knew Sister in college, before Sister became a bestselling author and moved to New York, and fame and fortune don’t seem to have tempered her arrogance and cruelty.

Sister’s latest book is a memoir about the death of her mother and brother many years ago. Now, a film about the book is in the works, and a film crew has descended upon Zinnia, Mississippi, to tell the complete tale. The film crew soon realizes there may be more to the story than meets the eye―or is told in Sister’s memoir―and they hire Sarah Booth to discover the absolute truth about those deaths so many years ago. But Sarah Booth quickly realizes that someone is desperate to keep the truth hidden and will go to any lengths necessary to protect a long-held secret.

Carolyn Haines’s next Sarah Booth Delaney novel, Sticks and Bones, is sure to delight series fans and newcomers alike.

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About the author
Carolyn Haines is the author of the Sarah Booth Delaney Mysteries. She is the recipient of both the Harper Lee Distinguished Writing Award and the Richard Wright Award for Literary Excellence. Born and raised in Mississippi, she now lives in Semmes, Alabama on a farm with more dogs, cats, and horses than she can possibly keep track of.

Connect with Carolyn at carolynhaines.com, on Twitter, on Instagram, on her Amazon Author page, on BookBub, and on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

My Musing ~ Your Killin’ Heart by Peggy O’Neal Peden

Your Killin’ Heart by Peggy O’Neal Peden is the first book in the NEW “Nashville” mystery series. Publisher: Minotaur Books, May 2017

Contrary to popular belief, not everyone in Nashville is an aspiring country music star. Campbell Hale, for one, just wants to get her travel agency off the ground and move on from a break-up. But when she gets the opportunity to visit the mansion of mysterious country icon Jake Miller, she jumps at the chance. After all, who knows what clues are lurking around the long-dead star’s last home?

But as Campbell pokes around, she discovers more than a few sequined suits and priceless memorabilia. She finds Hazel Miller, Jake’s widow, quietly resting in a bedroom on the main floor. But Hazel might just be dead quiet. And Campbell might just be the last person to have seen her alive.

Juggling the twisty plots of high-profile country stars with her blossoming business―not to mention the tattered remains of her love life―Campbell thinks she’s got everything figured out. But when the danger becomes personal, she must uncover a killer who will stop at nothing to get what they want―or face the music.

With Your Killin’ Heart, award-winning author Peggy O’Neal Peden has given us a witty debut full of Nashville charm and generous heart.

We are introduced to Campbell Hale who had the misfortune of being slightly inquisitive and found herself involved in a murder investigation, one of which she was not suited to perform. This was a fast-paced and action-packed whodunit that pulled me in immediately and I couldn’t put this book down until it was all said and done. The author did a great job in staging this production with Nashville serving as the backdrop as insider information was spouted during the course of this story. Who killed Hazel? That’s the story and I liked how the author presented the suspects where some were easy to spot, others not so much, and that’s is what kept me engrossed in what was happening on the pages. The narrative was visually descriptive putting me in the middle of all the action as I gasped here and there at the various mishaps that plagued Campbell as she sought a killer’s identity, coming a bit too close to losing her own. Boasting a likable cast of characters that includes Campbell, Sam and MaryNell and engaging dialogue, this was an enjoyable read and I can’t wait for the next book in this pleasant appealing series.