Tag Archives: traditional mystery

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 Lizzie Jones by Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens

It’s been said Lizzie Jones is the very definition of an animal lover. My being a veterinary science student, a pet sitter, and volunteering at the vet clinic have made that accurate.

I’d taken extra time getting ready before heading to the clinic because my boyfriend, Tino Morales, was picking me up for lunch to celebrate his mamá’s birthday at the Lobster Pot. For the occasion, I’d worn my best and newest jeans and favorite blue sweater.

I was in the clinic’s back room, just about to put on a smock, when an agitated cry came over the intercom. “Lizzie, come quick!”

I bolted to the front. Holly, the receptionist, held the door open as Peter Buckley rushed in carrying Horatio, his German short-haired pointer.

“Lizzie,”—Peter thrust the big dog at me like the sixty-pound brute weighed no more than a sack of potatoes—“he’s hurt.”

Peter’s momentum and the weight of the dog staggered me, but I managed to stay upright, stumbling sideways like a drunken sailor before heading to an exam room.

“What happened?” I asked.

Peter fell in step beside me. His voice quivered. “We were out hunting. He went into the pond after a bird and came out bleeding—tree branch or something else cut him.”

Horatio was sopping wet and covered in mud from his nose to the tip of his tail, and since he was now plastered up against me, I was sopping wet and covered in mud too. His injured and bloody hind leg was up against my belly.

The dog shook and panted, whimpering deep in his throat. He tried to lick my face. Poor guy. My heart went out to him and Peter too.

Peter helped me lay Horatio gently on the table.

Horatio began to scrabble, trying to gain purchase on the slick stainless steel. I could see the gash on his right hind leg—trying to clot but still oozing.

Peter’s hands trembled as he tried to calm his dog.

“Doc Whitaker will take care of him.” I laid my hand on his, barely finishing before the door opened and Dr. Adam Whitaker, blond and movie-star handsome, rushed in.

He took a brief moment to question how the injury had been sustained then bent low over the dog. “Hold him for me, Lizzie.”

Poor Horatio went crazy trying to get up, like maybe he’d make a break for it. I spread myself over him. Adam examined the cut.

Now I was covered in mud and slime, and as I struggled with the terrified squirming dog, I caught a whiff of myself. I reeked of stagnant pond scum and wet dog.

Eventually Horatio’s leg was stitched up, and he was settled into a kennel until the anesthesia wore off.

I was heading to clean up the exam room when Tino walked in.

I couldn’t help noticing he looked great—hair perfect, face smooth and clean-shaven. He wore a pair of black jeans and a crisp white-collared shirt under a khaki blazer.

I spread my arms to display my favorite blue sweater and newest, best-fitting jeans in all their mud, blood, and dog hair and saliva glory.

“There was an emergency,” I said simply. “I. . .I. . .I’m so sorry. I know this day is important to you, and I feel like I’ve let you down.”

I was stone cold crazy about Tino Morales, my hot as a chili pepper, gentle as a Buddhist monk Latino, and the idea of disappointing him stung.

There was no way I could join Tino and his family. In my smelly, sorry state, I didn’t figure he’d even want me riding in his car.

“Let me down?” Tino stood blinking his beautiful brown eyes at me, his smile never wavering. “How can you think that? How’s the animal?”

“He’s doing well.”

“That’s good.”

Doc Whitaker walked out, quickly sizing things up. “Peter came in before you could change?”

I nodded.

“And you had plans for lunch?”

I nodded again.

Tino started to speak, but Doc Whitaker beat him to the punch. “Tino, how would you feel about escorting a woman dressed in scrubs to lunch?”

Tino grinned. “Scrubs? Lizzie’s beautiful no matter what she’s wearing, even mud and dog hair.”

My heart swelled.

“Lizzie,” Adam said, “why don’t you go in the back for a quick shower and pick out one of the newer sets of scrubs. That way Tino can show you off for the kind-hearted woman you are.”

“Do we have time?” I asked Tino.

“Of course,” he said.

Later when we walked into the Lobster Pot, Tino’s family was already there. No one seemed to notice the scrubs with puppies all over them—no one but the waiter.

He asked, “And what can I get for you, Doctor?”

I began. “Not doctor.”

Tino finished. “Not yet, but soon she’ll be the best veterinarian in the state.”

I leaned over, kissing him.

“Nice,” he said. “BTW, you look adorable in those scrubs.”

“Well,” I said, “at least I smell better.”


You can read more about Lizzie in Divas, Diamonds & Death, the 15th book in the “Danger Cove” (Pet Sitter) mystery series.

This little piggy may not be coming home.

This little piggy went to market. This little piggy stayed home. And this little piggy got kidnapped, and her diamond collar was swiped, and then there was a murder and false accusations. . .and. . ..and. . .oh my goodness!

Pet Sitter turned sleuth, Lizzie Jones is excited about the upcoming Second Chance Animal Rescue fundraiser. The celebrity draw, Sabrina Ramirez, is a pet psychic famous for her TV show The Critter Communicator. Sabrina arrives with her entourage that includes Rosie, an adorable teacup pig that Sabrina treats like royalty, Sabrina’s buff bodyguard, her devoted nephew, and unexpectedly, her estranged ex-husband.

When Sabrina needs a pet sitter Lizzie is thrilled to take on the job. That is until the little piglet is pignapped on Lizzie’s watch—along with her diamond collar! But things go from bad to worse when the fundraiser turns deadly and Lizzie’s granddad is high on the murder suspect list. Lizzie jumps headlong into clearing her granddad’s name and finding the pignapper and the killer. Are they one and the same, or is she looking for two separate types of swine? And will she find them first. . .or will the killer be the one frying Lizzie’s bacon?

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Giveaway: Two readers selected at random will receive their choice of any of Jean and Sally’s books (e-book, everywhere or print, US only). Leave a comment below for your chance to win. The giveaway ends August 21, 2017. Good luck everyone!

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Meet the author
Sally J. Smith and Jean Steffens, are partners in crime—crime writing, that is. They live in the Valley of the Sun in Arizona, awesome for eight months out of the year, an inferno the other four. They write bloody murder, flirty romance, and wicked humor all in one package.

Connect with them at smithandsteffens.com, on Facebook, and on Twitter.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Keisha Thornberry by Judy Alter

José, my husband of less than a year, and I start the day at seven by going to breakfast at the Old Neighborhood Grill and catchin’ up on local news with Peter, the owner. If I didn’t have that breakfast with José, I couldn’t face what I do these days.

Today it’s jeans and an electric pink top that’s like a shortened muumuu—big, loose, and flowing. Last night I colored the tips of my spike-cut hair the same pink and painted my nails. A pair of pink stiletto heels, and I’m all set. José frowns at me. He doesn’t like the heels, ‘cause then I’m taller than he is. He’s tall and thin. I’m tall and big. We look like Jack Sprat and his wife—you know, “Jack Sprat could eat no fat/his wife could eat no lean/So between the two of them/They licked the platter clean.”

We’re still newlyweds, but my dream is well on its way. I set myself certain goals—gonna be married by the time I’m twenty-six. Made that. Gonna have my own home by twenty-seven, made that. We got a cute two-bedroom Craftsman. Got it at a steal, because, you see, I’m in the real estate business. That is, I work for Kelly O’Connell. She owns O’Connell and Spencer Real Estate agency where my official title is office manager, but it’s just her and me, and these days she’s barely interested in real estate, busy playing mama to her new baby, Cynthia Grace Shandy. That Gracie has brought more joy than I can tell you to Kelly, her husband Mike, and her two girls from a previous disaster with Tim Spencer, Maggie and Em.

I love my job, but these days it’s less real estate than it is taking care of Kelly and her family. You see, I got the sixth sense, so I know when something bad’s on the way, and I’ve saved Kelly more than once. Even Mike, a jaded police by-the-book police officer, is beginning to believe in my sixth sense. This time, it tells me real trouble is right around the corner—or across the street.

When we eat at the Old Neighborhood Grill, Peter greets me by asking how Kelly’s holding up. He’s one of the few that knows the secret fear we’re hiding.

You see, Kelly and Mike got two, not one but two kidnapping threats against sweet little Gracie, and they’re devastated. And scared. We live in an armed camp—security alarms, inside bars across the doors, a dog that José swears is a guard dog. And we wait—that’s the worst of it. Nothing’s happened, and yet fear rules our lives like a storm cloud hanging over us.

Oh, yeah, we think we know who sent the notes. My sixth sense helps there. But it ain’t telling me what’s goin’ to happen next, and I’m as frightened as everyone else. Not for me, but for that sweet little Gracie. Who would hurt an innocent baby?

About my goals. I’m gonna have a baby by the time I’m thirty. Guess I should tell José pretty soon.


You can read more about Keisha in Color of Fear, the seventh book in the “Kelly O’Connell” mystery series.

The Color of Fear marks Judy Alter’s return to mystery fiction and the Kelly O’Connell series after an absence of more than a year. This time, the indomitable Keisha narrates the short tale wherein Kelly and her family live under the threat of infant Gracie’s kidnapping. The story serves as a reprise of many of the previous novels in the series, as Keisha, in her search for the kidnapper, recalls Kelly’s earlier adventures.

Keisha remains outspoken and independent as she balances her need to protect Kelly and her family with her love for new husband, José Thornberry. Some but not all of Kelly’s friends and foes from previous stories appear here, along with such new characters as Clyde, the guard dog, and Cowboy, the homeless guy with a soft heart.

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About the author
An award-winning novelist, Judy Alter is the author of several fictional biographies of women of the American West. In The Gilded Cage she has turned her attention to the late nineteenth century in her home town, Chicago, to tell the story of the lives of Potter and Cissy Palmer, a high society couple with differing views on philanthropy and workers’ right. She is also the author of six books in the “Kelly O’Connell” Mystery series and three books in the “Blue Plate Café” Mystery series. With the 2014 publication of The Perfect Coed, she introduced the “Oak Grove” Mysteries.

Her work has been recognized with awards from the Western Writers of America, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame. She has been honored with the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement by WWA and inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame and the WWA Hall of Fame.

Connect with Judy at judyalter.com, on her blog and on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life with Dayna Anderson by Kellye Garrett

My name is Dayna Anderson and I used to be famous. But unlike Cinderella and Snow White, my fairy tale didn’t end with happily ever after. Instead, it came crashing down a year and a half ago, and I joined the rest of the mere mortals.

Having had fleeting fame, I’m not recognizable as much as familiar. They just can’t figure out how they know me, so they assume it’s from home. I’ve been from places like Seattle, Omaha, and in one case Wasilla, Alaska. I’ve always said there is at least one black person everywhere. Folks all seem to think that lone integrationist is me.

The familiarity is courtesy of the Chubby’s Chicken chain. For almost two years, I somehow ended every situation—and commercial—with the catch phrase “Don’t think so, boo.” Eighteen months ago, Chubby’s abruptly ended my contract with the all-too-standard “we’re going in a new direction” spiel to my now-former agent. I was fine with it—at first. I just knew there was more in my future than just chicken wings.

I was wrong. Dead wrong. So wrong that I am officially unofficially retired from acting. I’m also officially broke, which especially sucks because my parents’ house is going into foreclosure. It’s not like I’m not looking for a job. I am. I just can’t get hired—not even as a bikini barista.

That’s the only reason I got involved in all of this, I swear. To help Mama and Daddy. I was running out of options. There aren’t too many job opportunities for someone whose only skill is the ability to juggle while speaking in a German accent.

So when I drove past that hit-and-run and saw that LAPD billboard offering a $15,000 for information on the accident, I figured I had two choices: get the reward or become a stripper. And I don’t possess nearly enough inner thigh strength needed to properly work a pole.

Plus, it’s not like I’m trying to solve murder. I’m just trying to remember the car so I can give a description to the police and help them solve it. I’m pretty sure I saw the car that hit Haley Joseph. Problem is I can’t remember what the dang thing looks like. Not that I’m willing to let that stop me from getting that reward money for my parents. I’ve even recruited my best friends Sienna and Emme to help but so far we aren’t having much luck.

Of course, this all would be easier if I wasn’t avoiding him—not so easy when your longtime crush is now Hollywood’s current It Boy and star of the new CBS hit LAPD 90036. I can’t look up without seeing him on a billboard or on my TV. He was there when we drove past the accident. But we haven’t spoken since that night Haley died and it’s all because of a slight misunderstanding involving his hand and my non-stripper-worthy thigh. My friends aren’t even allowed to mutter his name. He’s like Voldemort, except with a nose.

So now I’m doing everything I can to remember the car. Heading back to the crime scene. Talking to witnesses. I even tried hypnosis. I’m determined to get this reward.

I mean, what’s the worst that can happen? Right?

But just as a safety net, maybe I should sign up for the clinical trial that hangs you upside down for two straight hours.


You can read more about Dayna in Hollywood Homicide, the first book in the NEW “Detective by Day” mystery series.

Library Journal’s August Debut of the Month!

Dayna Anderson doesn’t set out to solve a murder. All the semi-famous, mega-broke black actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. After witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she figures pursuing the fifteen-grand reward isn’t the craziest thing a Hollywood actress has done for some cash.

But what starts as simply trying to remember a speeding car soon blossoms into a full-on investigation. As Dayna digs deeper into the victim’s life, she wants more than just reward money. She’s determined to find the poor woman’s killer too. When she connects the accident to a notorious Hollywood crime spree, Dayna chases down leads at paparazzi hot spots, celeb homes and movie premieres. She loves every second—until someone tries to kill her.

And there are no second takes in real life.

Buy Link

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Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Hollywood Homicide. U.S. entries only, please. The giveaway ends August 10, 2017. Good luck everyone!

Meet the author
Kellye Garrett spent 8 years working in Hollywood, including a stint writing for the CBS drama Cold Case. People were always surprised to learn what she did for a living—probably because she seemed way too happy to be brainstorming ways to murder people. A former magazine editor, Kellye holds a B.S. in magazine writing from Florida A&M and an MFA in screenwriting from USC’s famed film school. Having moved back to her native New Jersey, she spends her mornings commuting to Manhattan for her job at a leading media company—while still happily brainstorming ways to commit murder. Her first novel, Hollywood Homicide, is released by Midnight Ink on August 8, 2017.

Connect with Kellye at kellyegarrett.com.

All comments are welcomed.

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!

My Musing ~ Hollywood Homicide by Kellye Garrett

Hollywood Homicide by Kellye Garrett is the first book in the NEW “Detective by Day” mystery series. Publisher: Midnight Ink, coming August 8, 2017

hollywood-homicideDayna Anderson doesn’t set out to solve a murder. All the semi-famous, mega-broke black actress wants is to help her parents keep their house. After witnessing a deadly hit-and-run, she figures pursuing the fifteen-grand reward isn’t the craziest thing a Hollywood actress has done for some cash.

But what starts as simply trying to remember a speeding car soon blossoms into a full-on investigation. As Dayna digs deeper into the victim’s life, she wants more than just reward money. She’s determined to find the poor woman’s killer too. When she connects the accident to a notorious Hollywood crime spree, Dayna chases down leads at paparazzi hot spots, celeb homes and movie premieres. She loves every second―until someone tries to kill her.

And there are no second takes in real life.

From the first page to the exhilarating escapades to that last line, this book took me on a fun ride where a simple desire turns into more than just that and took our heroine and friends on an adventure that kept me entertained and engaged in all aspects of this well-executed drama.

The author took great care in telling this story with a nice tempo that set the stage as the visually appealing narrative kept me glued to the pages as Dayna’s search for a killer took me through the hills of Hollywood with Sienna, Emme and Aubrey bringing up the rear. From a hit and run, to murder, to consignment shopping, to finding clues to calling tip lines to car chases to role-playing to solving a murder to all that Hollywood has to offer is what you’ll find in this enticingly frolicking mystery. A kaleidoscope of amusingly energetic antics provided merriment that enhanced the telling of this tale. Boasting a likable cast of characters, friendly banter and Hollywood as the backdrop, this was very enjoyable and I look forward to more exciting adventures with Dayna and her friends.

Buy Link


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

A day in the life with Gethsemane Brown by Alexia Gordon

I’m in a mess, in real danger of losing Carraigfaire Cottage. My landlord plans to sell it to a slick hotel developer who wants to turn this lovely, historic home into a tacky tourist trap. So, instead of resting over the Christmas holidays—my reward after I solved a string of murders and won an important music competition—I’m trying to find a way to stop the sale.

My one hope to nix the deal is to scare the developer away. He’s terrified of ghosts and Carraigfaire is haunted. Was haunted. I haven’t seen my ghost—Eamon McCarthy, the famous composer—since I proved he didn’t murder his wife or kill himself. This is no time for him to rest in peace. He shared Carraigfaire with his wife until they were murdered and he loved it. I know he’d want to save it. But I’ve no idea how to get him back. I tried a conjuring spell Father Tim gave me but, so far, it hasn’t worked. Other than a few disembodied footsteps upstairs, I’ve gotten nothing. It’s like a recipe with a few key ingredients missing.

As if all that weren’t bad enough, my brother-in-law, Jackson, is coming for a visit. He’s curator of a textile museum back in Virginia. He’s coming here to bid in an auction on an antique sampler embroidered by a free black schoolgirl in the eighteenth century in Williamsburg, Virginia. The sampler’s priceless. I hope Jackson’s too busy trying to win the sampler to pay attention to my ghost conjuring. He’s a skeptic, like I used to be. I’d never be able to explain Eamon to him. If the auction isn’t enough to distract him, maybe I can get him to help Niall—Inspector O’Reilly—with his art fraud investigation. Seems a gang of art thieves is stealing genuine antiques and paintings and replacing them with forgeries. Honest customers are unknowingly buying the forgeries. Dishonest ones are cooperating with the gang to buy the fakes cheap, have the gang steal them back, then file bogus insurance claims. It’s a complex scheme and, if the prices in Jackson’s auction catalogs are anything to judge by, a lot of money is involved. The kind of money people would kill for.

On second thought, maybe I don’t want Jackson to help with the investigation. I’ve dealt with enough murders for a lifetime. I don’t want to be even peripherally mixed up in another one. With my luck, someone would try to pin it on me. So I’ll let Jackson stick to museum work and I’ll stick to trying to save Carraigfaire. If I could just figure out the secret to making this spell work. I’d hate to mess things up and conjure the wrong ghost.


You can read more about Gethsemane in Death in D Minor, the second book in the “Gethsemane Brown” mystery series.

Gethsemane Brown, African-American classical musician and expatriate to an Irish village, solved a string of murders, led a school orchestra to victory in a major competition, and got used to living with a snarky ghost. She can rest easy over the Christmas holiday. Right? Wrong. The ghost has disappeared, her landlord’s about to sell her cottage to a hotel developer, and her brother-in-law is coming for a visit—with one day’s notice.

She scrambles to call her spectral roomie back from beyond and find a way to save the cottage from certain destruction. But real estate takes a backseat when her brother-in-law is accused of stealing a valuable antique. Gethsemane strikes a deal with a garda investigator to go undercover as a musician at a charity ball and snoop for evidence linking antiques to a forgery/theft ring in exchange for the investigator’s help clearing her brother-in-law. At the party, she accidentally conjures the ghost of an eighteenth-century sea captain, then ends up the prime suspect in the party host’s murder. With the captain’s help, she races to untangle a web of phony art and stolen antiques to exonerate herself and her brother-in-law. Then the killer targets her. Will she save herself and bring a thief and murderer to justice, or will her encore investigation become her swan song?

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About the author
A writer since childhood, I put literary endeavors on hold to finish medical school and Family Medicine residency training. Medical career established, I returned to writing fiction. I completed SMU’s Writer’s Path program in Dallas, Texas. Henery Press published my first novel, Murder in G Major, book one of the Gethsemane Brown mysteries, in September 2016. Book two, Death in D Minor, released July 11, 2017.

Murder in G Major won the Lefty Award for Best Debut Novel, was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best New Novel, and was selected one of Suspense Magazine’s Best Debuts.

I listen to classical music, drink whiskey, and blog at www.missdemeanors.com, voted one of Writers’ Digest magazine’s 101 best websites for writers.

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.

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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 new day in the life with Carol Childs by Nancy Cole Silverman

Hi, my name is Carol Childs, and I’ve just been given a tremendous opportunity. Something I’ve been working towards for the last several years. You see, I’m an on-air reporter at a talk radio station in Los Angeles and my boss, Tyler Hunter, who up until recently had referred to me as the World’s Oldest Cub Reporter, has assigned me to a show of my own on Sundays nights. This is a big deal, and I’m really excited about it. Particularly since the station is under new ownership and I want to make sure they like me.

The trouble is, a couple days ago, I got called out to report about a body on the Hollywood Sign. I think it was a murder, but the police have been quick to call it a suicide. Which means the station wouldn’t be following up on it. We don’t cover suicides. However, it appears I’m not alone in my suspicion. There’s this private detective, named Gerhardt Chasen, Chase for short, who’s a bit of a conspiracy theorist, and he’s been nosing around. He’s convinced the police are covering something up. Even worse, now that he knows I have a live radio show, he’s pestering me to put him on the air so he can talk about it. He’s convinced someone out in radio-land might know something about it.

No way was I going to put some crazy conspiracy theorist on the air, but my show was dying. I was forty-five minutes into a report on the LA River Project – a subject Tyler had assigned me to cover and drier than the riverbed itself – when the switchboard lit up. Thinking I might have a live caller on the line, I answered. It was Chase, the crazy PI, along with a queue of callers he’d lined up to talk about the body on the Hollywood Sign.

Believe me, there was plenty of Room For Doubt, for what I was about to hear. And it would forever change how I viewed my job as a reporter. Stay tuned.


You can read more about Carol in Room For Doubt, the fourth book in the “Carol Childs” mystery series.

When radio reporter Carol Childs is called to a crime scene in the Hollywood Hills at five thirty in the morning, she’s convinced it must be a publicity stunt to promote a new movie. That is, until she sees the body hanging from the center of the Hollywood sign. The police are quick to rule it a suicide, but something doesn’t add up for Carol. Particularly after a mysterious caller named Mustang Sally confesses to the murder on the air and threatens to kill again.

With the help of an incorrigible PI, her best friend, and a kooky psychic, Carol is drawn into the world of contract killers and women scorned. As she races to find the real killer, she finds herself faced with a decision that will challenge everything she thought she knew.

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About the author
Nancy Cole Silverman credits the fact both she and Edgar Allen Poe share the same birthday, along with her twenty-five years in talk radio, for helping her to develop an ear for storytelling. After writing everything from commercial copy to news Silverman retired from radio in 2001 to write fiction. Today, Silverman has written numerous short stories and novelettes some of which have been produced as audio books. Silverman’s new series, the Carol Childs Mysteries (Henery Press) takes place inside a busy Los Angles Radio station. Silverman lives in Los Angeles with her husband, four adult children, and thoroughly pampered standard poodle. Connect with Nancy at nancycolesilverman.com.

All comments are welcomed.