Tag Archives: Poisoned Pen Press

My Musing ~ Brooklyn Wars by Triss Stein

Brooklyn Wars by Triss Stein is the fourth book in the “Erica Donato” mystery series. Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press, August 2017

From the earliest days of the Republic until the administration of LBJ, the Brooklyn Navy Yard was, proudly, both an arsenal of democracy, in FDR’s words, and the creator of 70,000 local jobs. In time it became best known as the scary place New Yorkers had to locate to rescue their impounded cars. And then it came back to life, but not without a war.

A public meeting becomes a battleground over plans to redevelop the once-proud Brooklyn Navy Yard. Local residents clamor for their own agenda in redeveloping 300 acres overlooking a sparkling downtown Manhattan, while business and real estate experts argue and city officials cower. Erica Donato, still writing her PhD dissertation about changes in city neighborhoods, witnesses the shocking murder of a power-broker that night on the Yard’s condemned Admirals’ Row.

Erica uncovers the dead man’s complicated history with the Yard, with his road to wealth and a high-flyer lifestyle, and with his wives and mistresses. When her daughter, Chris, visits her father’s relatives for a family history project, Erica goes along, and learns that the Donato clan was involved in the Navy Yard’s glory days and its slow, politics-ridden death. The story of Aunt Philomena, tall and blond, one of the proud Brooklyn girls who built ships in the Yard during World War II, captivates her. After the U.S. victory these women were told to give their jobs back to the men coming home. Philomena, so strong, so happy, mysteriously faded away and died young.

Under pressure to drop her chapter on the Naval Yard and finish her PhD dissertation on a final deadline, as well as from the police to step aside for safety, Erica once again discovers “what’s past is prologue” to murder. . .and to her life.

This is one of my favorite series that features my favorite borough. . .Brooklyn. Erica finds herself in the wrong place at the wrong time and this is where this adventure takes us. From the streets of Brooklyn to Buffalo and back again, the fast-paced drama took me on a journey that I did not want to see end. The history the author presented intertwined nicely with the mystery on the page, keeping me enthralled in all the small detail. The author did a great job in ratcheting up the suspense with some key elements that enhanced the telling of this tale. Mixed into all of this is the personal drama that Erica must deal to keep her life on track. With a great cast of characters, enticing dialogue and of course the perfect backdrop, this was the best book in this terrific series. I can’t wait to see where we go next with Erica and her friends.

A day in the life of Erica Donato by Triss Stein

All I really wanted to do was finish my dissertation. I would have a PhD in urban history if I could ever get to the end of my work on how Brooklyn neighborhoods change. It seemed like a good idea when I began. Now, not so much. My questions kept turning up people who had secrets they were determined to keep hidden forever. And my own life kept happening too. I was a single mother of a lovely, exasperating teen-age girl. My old house badly needed work. My occasional romantic life was mostly confusing.

The biggest distraction was that those Brooklyn neighborhoods were changing so fast, I could not keep up. Chapters of my work seemed outdated before I even finished writing them. My advisor was insisting I draw a line on the research and get my conclusion written, but there was always something I could not pass up. Just one more issue. Or incident. Or development. Or mystery.

I should have listened to her. Instead I went to a community meeting about the ongoing fate of the famous Brooklyn Navy Yard. In recent decades, it had been famous only as the scary, hard to find place where New Yorkers retrieved impounded cars, but it had a long and glorious history. Great ships were built there, including the Maine and the Arizona. During World War II it was a powerful engine for victory, operating around the clock., employing 70,000 men and – most interesting- women too, real life Rosie the Riveters. What historian could ignore the efforts to bring it back to productive life? Not this historian.

So I went to the meeting and it was contentious from the start, a battleground of different Brooklyns. Hipsters, gentrifiers, project residents, they were all there. And this is Brooklyn. Everyone in Brooklyn has an opinion. Only when a tough, abusive old man took charge was it calm enough to hear the official speakers.

Before I left, I wanted to sneak a peek at the rest of the yard, a significant underused piece of prime New York real estate. I’ve had better ideas. In no time the noisy meeting was behind me and the six lanes of circling expressway traffic was out of sight and almost out of hearing. I was alone on a dimly –lit road beside ghostly, deserted buildings.

And then I wasn’t alone after all. I saw something I should not have seen, and the next sound I heard was my own voice screaming.

Someone died that night, a prominent man with a lot of enemies. I didn’t know, then, that I had a connection to some of them, that my daughter’s family history project would immerse me ever deeper me in a Navy Yard story, and that I was about to learn far more than I could write about in my dissertation.


You can read more about Erica in Brooklyn Wars, the fourth book in the “Erica Donato” mystery series.

From the earliest days of the Republic until the administration of LBJ, the Brooklyn Navy Yard was, proudly, both an arsenal of democracy, in FDR’s words, and the creator of 70,000 local jobs. In time it became best known as the scary place New Yorkers had to locate to rescue their impounded cars. And then it came back to life, but not without a war.

A public meeting becomes a battleground over plans to redevelop the once-proud Brooklyn Navy Yard. Local residents clamor for their own agenda in redeveloping 300 acres overlooking a sparkling downtown Manhattan, while business and real estate experts argue and city officials cower. Erica Donato, still writing her PhD dissertation about changes in city neighborhoods, witnesses the shocking murder of a power-broker that night on the Yard’s condemned Admirals’ Row.

Erica uncovers the dead man’s complicated history with the Yard, with his road to wealth and a high-flyer lifestyle, and with his wives and mistresses. When her daughter, Chris, visits her father’s relatives for a family history project, Erica goes along, and learns that the Donato clan was involved in the Navy Yard’s glory days and its slow, politics-ridden death. The story of Aunt Philomena, tall and blond, one of the proud Brooklyn girls who built ships in the Yard during World War II, captivates her. After the U.S. victory these women were told to give their jobs back to the men coming home. Philomena, so strong, so happy, mysteriously faded away and died young.

Under pressure to drop her chapter on the Naval Yard and finish her PhD dissertation on a final deadline, as well as from the police to step aside for safety, Erica once again discovers “what’s past is prologue” to murder. . .and to her life.

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About the author
Triss Stein is a small–town girl from New York farm country who has spent most of her adult life in Brooklyn. She writes mysteries about different Brooklyn neighborhoods and their unique histories, in her ever-fascinating, ever-changing, ever-challenging adopted home. In the new book, Brooklyn Wars, murder gets in the way as heroine, Erica Donato researches the proud history and slow death of the Brooklyn Navy Yard.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of one of the first three books (Brooklyn Bones, Brooklyn Graves or Brooklyn Secrets) in the “Erica Donato” series, (U.S. residents only), winner’s choice. The giveaway will end August 9, 2017. Good luck everyone!

A day in the life of David Randall by Jane Tesh

This day started with a simple case of hunting down another deadbeat dad. Not the most fulfilling of jobs, but, hey, it pays the bills. But things really began to get crazy when one of Camden’s friends, a Good Old Boy named Rufus Jackson, received a letter from his ex-wife, Bobbi, telling him he’s the father of her baby girl, Mary Rose. Since Rufus was reluctant to get involved, I agreed to check it out, even though I have mixed feelings about children. I lost my own daughter in a car accident, and my growing relationship with Kary Ingram involves her deep desire to adopt a child, something I’m still working on. But when I got to Bobbi’s house, the police were already there. Bobbi had been murdered and her baby was missing. Of course I had to take the case, even though I was warned off, as usual.

Doing Rufus a favor was the start of a never-ending series of bargains. When I took Camden to the Carlyle House to sing for a concert, we encountered Delores Carlyle, a troubled spirit trapped inside a huge mirror, who wanted to see her daughter Beverly one last time. Beverly Carlyle agreed to come to the house on two conditions: that I find a home for her surly teenage son, Kit, and a band for her obnoxious daughter, Frieda. We had room for Kit at 302 Grace Street, but to secure a spot for Frieda, I had to ask the Slotted Spoons, a friend’s girl group, if they’d take her on. They would, if I got them a gig at a local nightclub. The nightclub owner agreed to let them play if Camden, who can easily pass for a teenager, would spy on a rival club. Camden said he’d do it only if I took him back to the Green Valley Home for Boys to search for answers about his past. Is your head spinning yet? Mine certainly was. And I haven’t even mentioned the ghost haunting the hot dog restaurant, Rufus hell bent on revenge, and the return of Camden’s telekinesis.

Doing someone a favor? It can be murder.


Baby, Take a Bow is the fifth in the “Grace Street” mystery series featuring PI David Randall, his psychic friend, Camden, Randall’s love interest, Kary, and Camden’s career-driven wife, Ellin, as well as the many colorful Southern characters who move in and out of 302 Grace Street.

Camden’s friend Rufus Jackson receives a letter from his ex-wife, Bobbi, and he’s surprised to learn he’s the father of a baby. When Bobbi is found murdered in her home and her baby stolen, Rufus becomes suspect number one. PI David Randall immediately takes the case.

But Randall is almost sidetracked from the case by a series of what appears to be never-ending favors. When he takes his friend Cam to the Carlyle House to sing for a concert, Cam encounters Delores Carlyle, a troubled spirit trapped inside a huge mirror, who wants to see her daughter, Beverly, one last time. Beverly Carlyle will come to the house on one condition: that Randall find a home for her surly teenage son, Kit, and a band for her obnoxious daughter, Frieda. Kit is welcome at 302 Grace, but to secure a spot for Frieda, Randall has to get a local girl group a gig at a local nightclub. The owner agrees, if Cam will pose as a teenager and spy on a rival club. Cam agrees if Randall will take him to Green Valley to answer some questions about his past. And another ghost is haunting the hot dog restaurant, refusing to talk to Cam.

In addition to the tangle of deals, Randall has to contend with Rufus being hell-bent on revenge, the return of Cam’s telekinesis, and growing concern that if the baby-a girl named Mary Rose, as it turns out-is found, Rufus, might not want to keep her.

But where is Mary Rose?

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About the author
Jane Tesh, a retired media specialist, lives in Mt. Airy, North Carolina, Andy Griffith’s hometown, the real Mayberry. She is the author of the Madeline Maclin Mystery series featuring former beauty queen, Madeline “Mac” Maclin and her con man husband, Jerry Fairweather, as well as the Grace Street series, featuring struggling PI David Randall, his friend Camden, a reluctant psychic, and an ever-changing assortment of tenants who move in and out of Cam’s boarding house on Grace Street.

Her mysteries are set in fictional North Carolina towns and are on the light side with a little humor and romance. They are published by Poisoned Pen Press. She is also the author of three fantasy novels, Butterfly Waltz, A Small Holiday, and The Monsters of Spiders’ Rest, published by Silver Leaf Books. When she isn’t writing, Jane enjoys playing the piano and conducting the orchestra for productions at the Andy Griffith Playhouse.

Connect with Jane at www.janetesh.com, on Facebook, on Twitter, on her blog, her Amazon author page and see Pearl, the spokesChihuahua on Instagram.

All comments are welcomed.

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The glamorous life of race-car driver Kate Reilly by Tammy Kaehler

I’d already disappointed the radio host twice. Once because I didn’t fly on a private jet to races and once because I didn’t know Danica Patrick or Mario Andretti. After that, I did my best to live up to her expectations.

“Here’s a question from one of our listeners,” she began. “Shelly wants to know what city you’ve raced in is the most fun?”

“Long Beach, California, is great.” I paused. Is that exciting enough? Probably not. “But Surfer’s Paradise in Australia was probably the most fun environment.”

“And where would you like to race, given the chance?” Her voice was two degrees above tepid.

I wasn’t connecting with her, and I silently cursed Holly for setting me up to talk with a “lifestyle channel” in the first place. I told her this wouldn’t go well.

“Good question,” I returned, closing my eyes for a moment to the reality of my small Indianapolis apartment, currently torn up from a combination of spring cleaning and packing for the road trip I was setting out on that evening.

Charm the skeptic, Kate. “Two of my dream races are the 24 Hours of Le Mans, which takes place every June in the French countryside, and the Grand Prix of Monaco.”

“Monaco,” she cooed.

Gotcha.

“It must be such a glamorous life,” she went on, “traveling all over the world, tasting all kinds of wonderful foods, and meeting so many different people.” She made it a question.

I thought about my last trip: hauling own my bags through the Dallas airport at one in the morning, arriving at my hotel to find it overbooked, finding a room at another hotel by two, and getting up by five to spend a full day charming sponsors.

I thought about flying coach on crowded commercial flights to hotspots such as Birmingham and Columbus and Milwaukee. About endless jetlag and repetitive meals of tasteless chicken and vegetables. Sure, I’ve got your glamour right here.

“I’m very fortunate to do what I love and to be able to see the world along the way.” I smiled, meaning every word.

“Now, tell me something.” The interviewer lowered her voice, finally sounding more friendly. “You’ve been racing in the IndyCar series for a year now, correct?”

“Just over that, yes.” Thank goodness she’s warmed up. Maybe she’ll ask me something interesting, like how I got started or what I like about racing. What I think about anything.

“Another listener just tweeted wanting to know which driver in the series is the best looking.” The host giggled. “You can tell us, Kate.”

I’m going to kill Holly. I forced an awkward-sounding chuckle. “They’re like my co-workers—some of them are like brothers. I don’t think about them that way.” And I’d never hear the end of it if I gave you a name.

“I see.” Her voice told me clearly I’d let her down again. Three strikes and I’m out?

She gave me one last chance. “And what does the globe-trotting racing driver have on her plate today?”

I took a breath. “Tonight I’m heading out of town to be part of a grand-opening celebration for my national savings and loan sponsor. But before that, I’ve got a photo shoot for my cosmetics-company sponsor, Beauté, for a new ad campaign they’re putting together, which should debut by the end of summer. Look for it in major beauty magazines.”

The host warmed up after that, whether due to the cachet of national media or because the interview was over. After we made nice noises at each other and hung up, I pulled on long rubber gloves and hauled bleach and a scrub brush into my bathroom, reflecting on the nature of marketing, branding, and public relations.

I’d omitted the “boring” bits of my travel plans, namely that I’d be driving myself to Cleveland for tomorrow’s event. And I’d fudged about the photo shoot, which would happen the following week, not that day. But no one wants to see how the sausage gets made, and no one wants to know about my day scrubbing my own sinks.

I looked at myself in the bathroom mirror—wearing sweats and a sloppy tee-shirt, my hair caught up haphazardly in a scrunchie. It’s not all photo shoots and pit lanes. This is the dirty secret of my glam life. I laughed, and got to work.


You can read more about Kate in Kiss The Bricks, the fifth book in the “Kate Reilly” mystery series.

At the end of the first practice session for the iconic Indianapolis 500 race, Kate Reilly is stunned to discover she was the fastest driver on the track. She’s even more surprised to learn she wasn’t the first woman to top the speed charts in the race’s 106-year history. That feat was accomplished in 1987 by PJ Rodriguez-steady, dedicated, immensely promising-who shocked the racing world and the wider one by committing suicide ten days later.

When the press, bloggers, and social media go crazy over the connection between PJ and Kate, Kate begins to lose her identity-suddenly everyone’s comparing Kate and PJ, calling Kate PJ, and wondering if Kate will kill herself, too. Under siege from various trolls live and digital, Kate feel PJ’s story deeply. So she’s impelled to listen to PJ’s family-which claims PJ did not jump, but was murdered. And she agrees to help them find PJ’s killer and restore her reputation. . .30 years after the fact.

PJ’s death was a great tragedy; Kate feels it in her bones and believes she is the best person, perhaps the only person, to investigate PJ’s story. What evidence is there? She can interview people at the track who were there in 1987. She can consult the press coverage. And she can marshal up help from “Special Team Kate.” They work in an atmosphere of prejudice and chauvinism, the same that surrounded PJ.

But Kate is at the Indy to run the biggest race of her career. To prepare she fills her days with driving on the track for practice, fulfilling sponsor obligations, promoting the IndyCar Series and as ever, playing peacemaker between the warring sides of her maternal and paternal families.

Before long one suspect in PJ’s death turns up dead, all but confirming PJ was killed. So as Kate prepares to run the biggest race of her life she must narrow down the clues to not one but two murders, all while fighting for her own voice and identity through the storm of media attention. Will the past stay buried? Or will history repeat itself and leave Kate dead?

Kiss the Bricks is the 5th Kate Reilly mystery and takes its title from the Indy winner’s tradition of kissing the track’s Yard of Bricks in tribute to its legendary history.

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About the author
When Tammy Kaehler discovered the racing world, she was hooked by the contrast between its top-dollar, high-drama competition, and friendly, family atmosphere. Mystery fans and racing insiders alike have praised her award-winning Kate Reilly Mystery Series (Dead Man’s Switch, Braking Points, Avoidable Contact, and Red Flags), and Tammy takes readers back behind the wheel in her fifth entry, Kiss The Bricks. She works as a freelance writer in Southern California, where she lives with her husband and many cars. Find out more at www.tammykaehler.com.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Dead Man’s Switch. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends May 16, 2017. Good luck everyone!

A day in the life with Allie Harper by Annie Hogsett

Last August I would have told you that my life would be perfect if I could find myself a nice, smart, hot, guy and enough money to get my car fixed. Well, bingo. As luck would have it, all I needed to do was show up at the bus stop across the street from Joe’s Super Market and wait. I didn’t even have to pay attention. While my fate was unfolding out on Lake Shore Boulevard, I was busy admiring my new red sneakers and wondering whether my credit card was going to self-destruct because I’d gone ahead and bought both of them instead of the one of them I could have almost afforded. “Shut up and enjoy your shoes, Allie Harper,” I was scolding myself, “It’s too late to take them back anyhow.”

Shoe-focused as I was, I was unaware of the blind man across the street, following his white cane off the curb and into the crosswalk. I thereby missed my first ever opportunity to appreciate the extreme hotness of Thomas Bennington III, handsome, blind PhD-in-English-literature.

It took the blast from a horn—relentlessly leaned on by a blonde in a Hummer—to jar me out of my reverie and right on into what turned out to be the best/worst/best/worse, etc. etc. etc. three weeks of my entire life up to that point. In a matter of seconds I had retrieved Tom Bennington and his grocery bag from the middle of the street where he’d been frozen by the cacophony of the honking Hummer and the honking drivers who were honking their disapproval at the honking blonde. Tough town, Cleveland.

I got Tom into my bus stop, exchanged lip-synched epithets with Ms. Outrageously Rude & Impatient, and started trying to make a favorable impression on this brilliant, gorgeous guy who was never going to be wowed by my awesome red shoes.

What happened after that was a three-week crash course in luck. Crazily, wonderfully, improbably good luck. Horribly, unpredictably, deadly bad. How deadly bad? Does “murder, murder, murder, murder, murder, murder, murder” give you an idea? Tom had picked lottery numbers to prove to a kid that gambling is a losing game. The ticket was in his grocery bag, and that very evening, right in the middle of the Allie/Tom Very First Kiss, it turned out to be the $550 million MondoMegaJackpot winner. And guess who found out all about Tom and his jackpot that very evening? Just about every evil, scheming, weasel in the City of Cleveland.

Lucky? Huh. It was as if my fairy godmother had offered me three wishes. Knowing what I know now, I’d definitely still wish for Tom. I might even wish for the money. But I’ll tell you what: I would be Mondo Mega Careful with my third wish.

Everything that happened in the last two weeks in August and the first week of September is over and done. If not even slightly forgotten. Now it’s March. Now Tom and I are living in a rented lakeside mansion in the ultra-exclusive, historically venerable, lakeside community of Bratenahl. This mansion, which we rented because of its kickass security system, among other things, is about a mile and a half—and $550 million ill-fated-yet-sometimes-handy dollars—away from the very tiny lakeside cottage where I’d been living quite happily until the blonde in the Hummer honked at Tom. We discovered early on that it takes a lot of money to protect you from the complications of winning a lot of money.

I’ve given up my job at the Memorial-Nottingham Branch of the Cleveland Public Library. Tom is still teaching English 203. But we’ve both embarked on a new endeavor: solving mysteries for people for free. Mysteries of the heart, I’d guess you’d call them. Answers for the kind of questions that leave cavernous holes in people’s lives if they never get answered.

We’re the T&A Detectives now. When I first suggested to Tom that he and I might become the T&A Detective Agency and use his money to help people solve their mysteries, he recommended we put my initial first, so as to prevent folks from thinking we only investigate in strip clubs. By now we’ve realized that we will never be a real detective agency with a logo and a business card, so I’ve decided we should leave it the way it is. It gives us something to chuckle about. Which is always an asset in your business name, as far as I’m concerned.

We know we’re still amateurs in the detective game, so we’ve got an actual, authentic, licensed P.I. on our team. Make no mistake, a mondo-mega-big jackpot always casts the shadow of murder and mayhem over your day. We never, ever stop looking over our shoulder (me) or using our uncanny sixth sense (Tom) to determine if the next moment is going to be a red, hot romantic one. Or the run for your life kind.

That’s just how it goes. You never know if somebody’s going to get lucky. Or wind up dead.


You can read more about Allie and Tom in Too Lucky to Live, the first book in the NEW “Somebody’s Bound To Wind Up Dead” mystery series.

Lonely and broke, Allie Harper has just rescued herself a hot blind guy who’s got a one-way ticket to 550 million dollars’ worth of murder and mayhem in his grocery bag.

What kind of luck is that? Really, really good. Really, really bad.

Allie’s a smart, sassy, part-time librarian. Tom is a handsome, sexy, blind PhD. Tom’s about to win the MondoMegaJackpot – by accident.

Gambling on the odds (175 million to one) that his ticket will be a big loser, Tom has played to show Rune, a kid from the projects, that there’s nothing special about a “special picked” number. Now Rune is missing and every evil, scheming weasel in the City of Cleveland is after Allie, Tom, and their MondoMegaJackpot millions.

On the run from one fancy hotel to another and from one threatening confrontation to the next—with only Allie’s landlady, Margo, and, maybe, a couple of Cleveland cops for back-up—Allie and Tom take charge. Allie, the feisty, impulsive, wildcard, and Tom, the self-contained professor, must evolve into a clever, capable crime-solving team, tough and resourceful enough to survive.

Until Tuesday night, Allie believed all her problems would be solved if she could find a nice, smart, hot guy and enough money to get her car fixed. Now she’s hoping they’ll live happily ever after—at least until the end of the week.

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Meet the author
Although Annie Hogsett has been writing for as long as she can remember and enjoyed a long career as an advertising copywriter, Too Lucky To Live, (Poisoned Pen Press) will be her first published novel. Ask her about the three others still sleeping unpublished in their digital files.

Annie’s finding the learning curve for new authors to be pretty darned steep. So much to know, do, think through, be terrified about, get over being terrified about . . . She has always promised herself that if she ever got published, she’d 1) be a booster-in-print of her City of Cleveland, OH and 2) be the friend and encourager of writers that writers have been for her along her (fairly lengthy) journey. You can learn more about Annie by checking out her blog. Look for Annie on Facebook and Twitter.

All comments are welcomed.

Too Lucky To Live is available at retail and online booksellers or you can ask your local library to get it for you.

My Musing ~ Too Lucky to Live by Annie Hogsett

Too Lucky to Live by Annie Hogsett is the first book in the “Somebody’s Bound to Wind Up Dead” mystery series. Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press, May 2, 2017

Lonely and broke, Cleveland divorce-survivor Allie Harper believes all her problems would be solved if she could find a nice, smart, hot guy and enough money to get her car fixed.

The hot guy arrives first: he’s in a crosswalk clutching a bag of groceries while a blonde in a Hummer is learning hard on her horn, sending the man’s groceries and white cane flying. How has this woman missed that fact that the man is blind? From the curb, an outraged Allie jumps to his rescue, rebagging the groceries as well.

The money is in the bag. Literally- Thomas Bennington III, for that’s who the handsome guy proves to be, has bought a MondoMegaJackpot ticket along with canned tomatoes. Allie takes him home and turns his groceries into dinner for two. Later that night, Tom hears the numbers announced. He’s won. And he’s less than thrilled. PhD Tom had gambled on the odds of losing (175 million to one) to prove a point to Rune, a kid from the projects he’s befriended, that only losers buy lottery tickets. Instead, Rune, who’d helped pick the Mondo numbers, will share Tom’s jackpot.

Allie and Tom grasp two things: one, they’re hot for each other, and two, the ticket is a hot target, and now so are they. Every scheming weasel in Cleveland will be after Tom’s millions. $550 of them. Yes, once the Mondo ball drops, it’s game on with killers and kidnappers as players.

Allie and Tom need to get smarter about the threats all around them. On the run from one fancy hotel refuge to another and from one danger moment to the next, with only Allie s feisty landlady, Margo, and a couple of Cleveland cops for back-up, Allie and Tom evolve a strategy. First, turn in the ticket and claim the jackpot. Second, set up accounts to manage the millions. Third, stay alive to the end of the week…if they can.

Too Lucky to Live debuts a talented writer in Annie Hogsett and a couple in Allie and Tom, a modern Nick and Nora Charles, who can power a compelling, amusing series with an excellent future

This was a fun book. When our hero and heroine meet, mayhem follows them all because Thomas Bennington the Third won a huge lottery and someone is bent on retrieving it for themselves and in the process, death lurks and this dynamic duo must use their wit and know-how to survive another day.

This was a fast-paced and action packed drama that grabbed my attention immediately, quickly becoming a page turner as I had to know what happens next. The writing style and tone created a comfortable story that was easy to follow. The narrative was descriptively eye catching and the dialogue engaging as the duo were racing against time and the unknown. The author did a great job in presenting a good story with elements of romance intertwined with a solid mystery filled with intrigue, suspense and a few strategically placed distractions that kept this reader glued to the pages as I had to know how this was all going to play out and boy did it ever. The character development of the duo was perfectly matched with what was happening with their interactions and that added to how well this story unfolded. This was a terrific read and I can’t wait for my next adventures with Tom, Allie and their friends.

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

Cover Reveal ~ Kiss The Bricks by Tammy Kaehler

I’m excited to reveal the cover for the fifth book in the “Kate Reilly” mystery series, coming May 2, 2017.

kiss the bricks

Title: KISS THE BRICKS
Series: Kate Reilly
Genre: Mystery
Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
Website: Tammy Kaehler

After the first practice session for the legendary Indianapolis 500 motor race, Kate Reilly is stunned to discover she was the fastest driver—but she’s more surprised to learn she wasn’t the first woman to top the speed charts in the race’s 106-year history. That feat was accomplished in 1987 by PJ Rodriguez—who shocked everyone by committing suicide ten days later.

When the press, bloggers, and social media go crazy over the connection, Kate loses her identity—suddenly everyone’s comparing Kate and PJ, calling Kate PJ, and wondering if Kate will kill herself, too. Except that PJ’s family claim PJ was murdered, and they want Kate’s help finding her killer and restoring her reputation. Thirty years after the fact.

In the days leading up to the iconic race, Kate takes to the track for practice sessions, fulfills sponsor obligations, promotes the race for the IndyCar series, and plays peacemaker between the warring sides of her family. She also digs into PJ’s experience in the Indy 500 paddock and uncovers pervasive prejudice and chauvinism—then and now. With investigative help from “Special Team Kate,” she’s on the trail of potential suspects for PJ’s murder…and then one of them turns up dead.

Kate prepares to run the biggest race of her life at the same time as she narrows down the clues to two murders, all while fighting for her voice and identity in the storm of media attention. But will the past stay buried or will history repeat itself and leave Kate fighting for her own life?

“Smooth, quick, and punchy, KISS THE BRICKS pulls readers into the high-octane drama of the Indianapolis 500. The racing feels authentic and intense, but what propels this novel is the compelling mystery. Kate Reilly is a great heroine—smart, gutsy, and caring. Her quest to solve a thirty-year-old mystery surrounding the death of one of Indy’s first female drivers is gripping and poignant. The pace, like Kate, never lets up.”
—Meg Gardiner, Edgar Award-winning author of the Evan Delaney novels


About the author
Before trying her hand at fiction, Tammy Kaehler established a career writing marketing materials, feature articles, executive speeches, and technical documentation. A fateful stint in corporate hospitality introduced her to the racing world, which inspired the first Kate Reilly racing mystery. Tammy works as a technical writer in the Los Angeles area, where she lives with her husband and many cars.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win an advanced reader copy of Kiss The Bricks (US entries only) or a kindle or nook copy of Dead Man’s Switch (open to everyone), winner’s choice. The giveaway ends January 24, 2017. Good luck everyone!

All comments are welcomed.

A Rude Awakening to a Day in the Life of Inez Stannert by Ann Parker

What Gold BuysI awake with a start, my hand reaching for the heavy Navy Colt revolver I keep under my pillow for protection. The air is cold this early October morn. . . My breath coalesces and disperses. My heart pounds faster than the hooves of a runaway horse on Harrison Avenue.

I wait, listening. Half-light sneaks past the heavy velvet curtains in my sleeping room above the Silver Queen Saloon, which is strategically located on the corner of the business and red-light districts in the silver rush boomtown of Leadville, Colorado.

What awakened me?

Was someone testing the knob of my door?

If so, more fool he.

It is the invariable rule in Leadville to shoot first and count the cost later. I abide by that rule.

Besides, my door is locked. I have the key.

My inamorato, the Reverend Justice Sands, has another, true, but we would have prearranged any tryst. He knows better than to enter my sleeping quarters unannounced. Too, we are circumspect with our liaison. Even at this hour, there’s a chance he would be seen leaving, and that would do neither of us any good. Leadville may be a wide-open Western city, but there are still expectations, and proprieties, and I am a proper woman.

You may raise your eyebrows, given that I run a saloon and have a reputation for speaking my mind and for, shall we say, not eschewing a round of high-stakes poker nor the occasional (well, I shall be more forthright with you and say “frequent”) glass of brandy or measure of whiskey in my coffee. Still, I would not be so foolish as to give the women of the church more to gossip about than they have already.

I sit up, listening.

Not a sound, besides those expected to be found at first light—the rumble of feet upon the Harrison Avenue boardwalk outside my window, the rattle and creek of wagons and jingling of harnesses in the street. I resist the impulse to arise, peek through the lace curtains filming the pane behind the heavy drapes, and see if perhaps I had been awakened by a gunshot out on the street. Perhaps some poor soul, even now, breathes his last in the slick-ice mud, dreams of elusive silver wealth and instant riches dying with him.

No, the sound of a revolver or shotgun would have been instantly recognizable to me.

Truth to tell, I have not slept well since the ragamuffin newsie Tony took a potshot at one of the remittance men from Colorado Springs who visit and spend freely at the Silver Queen when their monthly funds arrive from overseas. The “Lads from London” are all known and dear to me. Tony took poor aim at Lord Percy and pulled the trigger in my saloon. . . in MY saloon, mind you. . . and put a neat hole in the tin ceiling.

But now all holy Hades has broken loose, and the Lads vow vengeance. To make matters worse, Tony’s mother Drina Gizzi—a fortuneteller, and a gypsy, I have been told—was found murdered in the French Row section of Stillborn Alley, a disreputable, desperate part of town. We know she was dead because Tony, myself, and Reverend Sands saw her poor body. I touched the strangling silver-and-gold corded corset laces still about her neck. (You may wonder what the Reverend and I were doing in Stillborn Alley, but that is a tale for another time.)

Yet, when we returned with the local law, Drina’s corpse had vanished!

As it happens, none care about a woman who disappears while working in the shadows of such parts of town. None care about what happened to Drina but Tony, and now me.

You see, Tony is no boy, but a girl, dressed in boy’s clothing. Small, slight, young she passes muster with most; however, it didn’t take me but a moment to see through her disguise.

Now, Tony is missing. And I find myself worried past all reason. She makes me think on my young son, still a toddler, safe and coddled back East, removed from all the dangers of this rough-and-tumble town. She reminds me of myself. I am no stranger to donning trousers when I must travel invisible through this town where ninety percent of the population is men.

There! That sound again!

Now I recognize it.

It’s the heavy iron door of the oven, clanging shut, in the kitchen below.

Relief floods through me. Bridgette, our cook, apparently arrived earlier than usual and is downstairs preparing breakfast.

I smell bacon in the pan, and buttermilk biscuits on the bake and rising.

It is time for me to rise as well.

Replacing the gun under the pillow, I begin to work the pearl buttons on my nightgown. I am thankful for this moment with you, dear reader. Now, forward, to face whatever the day may bring.


What Gold Buys is the fifth book in the Silver Rush mystery series, published by Poisoned Pen Press, September 2016.

Autumn 1880 in the Rocky Mountains brings frost, snow, and the return of Silver Queen Saloon owner Inez Stannert to Leadville, Colorado.

In this silver rush boomtown, those who are hungry for material riches seek their fortunes in precious metals. Others, hungry for spiritual relief, seek to pierce the veil between life and death with the help of fortunetellers, mediums, and occultists. Deep in the twisted byways of Leadville’s Stillborn Alley, soothsayer Drina Gizzi awaits the promised arrival of her benefactor, the mysterious Mr. Brown. When she is found murdered, strangled with a set of silver and gold corset laces, no one seems to care except the three who find her body―Inez, her lover Reverend Sands, and Drina’s young daughter, Antonia. The mystery surrounding Drina’s death deepens when her body vanishes without a trace.

As Inez and Antonia band together to seek out Drina’s killer, they unearth disturbing evidence of underground resurrectionists, long-held grievances, and white-hot revenge. Meanwhile, Inez’s husband, Mark Stannert, true to his word that he only “plays to win,” contrives to drive Inez and Sands apart, gambling that he can convince her to abandon her plans for divorce. But what can gold buy, after all? A new life? Freedom from the past? Truth and justice for those murdered and unmourned? Or a final passage for Inez and Antonia into an unmarked grave and the world of the dead?

And what of Mr. Brown, whose missing presence hovers over all, like a spirit from beyond?

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Meet the author
Ann Parker earned degrees in Physics and English Literature at the University of California, Berkeley, before taking up a career as a science writer. These days, she slings science and technical verbiage for a living during the day and writes historical mysteries at night. Ann lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, but her heart is in Colorado. Her ancestors include a great-grandfather who was a blacksmith in Leadville, a grandmother who worked at the bindery of Leadville’s Herald Democrat newspaper, a grandfather who was a Colorado School of Mines professor, and another grandfather who worked as a gandy dancer on the Colorado railroads.

Her award-winning Silver Rush historical mystery series, published by Poisoned Pen Press, is set in the 1880s silver boomtown of Leadville, Colorado, and features Silver Queen Saloon owner Inez Stannert—a woman with a mysterious past, a complicated present, and an uncertain future. The books, in series order first to recent, are Silver Lies, Iron Ties, Leaden Skies, Mercury’s Rise, and What Gold Buys.

For more about Ann and her books, wander on over to www.annparker.net.

All comments are welcomed.

Ann is offering up a giveaway! You choose which book to start with! Want to read about the mystery of Drina Gizzi’s death? Read What Gold Buys. Curious about the whole Inez Stannert “saga?” Best to begin with Silver Lies. Leave a comment below for your chance to win. US entries only, please. The giveaway will end September 10, 2016 at 12 AM (midnight) EST. Good luck everyone!

My Musing ~ Santorini Caesars by Jeffrey Siger

Santorini Caesars by Jeffrey Siger is the eighth book in the “Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis” mystery series. Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press, September 2016

Santorini CaesarsWhen a young demonstrator is publicly singled out and assassinated by highly trained killers in the heart of protest-charged Athens, Chief Inspector Andreas Kaldis is convinced the killing was meant not to take out a target, but as a message. A message from whom? To whom? And why?

Kaldis’ search for answers leads him and his team to the breathtakingly beautiful island of Santorini, heralded in legend as the lost island of Atlantis, and to eavesdrop on a hush-hush gathering of Greece’s top military leaders looking to come up with their own response to the overwhelming crises and uncertainties their country faces.

Is it a coup d’état, or something else? Greece is no stranger to violence upending duly elected governments and memories of the nation’s last junta dictatorship years still burn in the minds of all who lived through the Regime of the Colonels. The answer is by no means clear, but as suspects emerge and international intrigues evolve, the threat of another, far more dramatic assassination grows ever more likely―as does the realization that only Kaldis can stop it.

But at what price? Greece’s government is in chaos, its goals and leadership are suspect, and Kaldis is forever at odds with its methods. Life is not the same, nor is it likely to return to better days any time soon. With a new child on the way, and their young son coming face-to-face with the harsh nature of the world around him, Kaldis and his wife wonder if carrying on the fight matters anymore.

It is a time for testing character, commitment, and the common good. And for saving the nation from chaos.

This is the first time I’m reading this author and the more I read, the more I became involved in all that was happening on the pages of this riveting story. The mystery kept me busy as I followed the clues that were peppered throughout until that moment when it became clear who was responsible. Kaldis is a very likable fellow and I liked how he pursued the case giving the reader just enough to keep up with him, and then wham, we’re off in another direction. I like that in a mystery. The author did a great job in bridging the social climate in Greece into the narrative of this drama. I also enjoyed seeing Greece through the eyes of the author, making me feel like I was there in the middle of all the action. This engaging tale boasts great dialogue, a likable cast, good camaraderie and an intriguing plot that was masterly accomplished.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) book from publisher and NetGalley.