Today I am pleased to welcome new author J.J. Cook to tell us about their new series.
Cozy fans will be pleased to know that while this is a new name
this author team is very familiar to us.
Jim and Joyce Lavene have written several fantastic mysteries and other genres as well.
One half of J.J. Cook is here today!
Stella Griffin and the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries
Our main character in the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries is Fire Chief Stella Griffin. Stella is part of a strong Irish family that has served the fire department in Chicago, Illinois for many years. She understands the rigors of the life, but when it came time for her to make her choice of career, she knew it was what she wanted.
Firefighters are a strange breed of men, my grandfather used to tell me. They run into the fire instead of away from it. My grandfather, Henry Koch, was a firefighter. He was part of the team that fought the Our Lady of the Angel’s Fire, one of the most devastating because it killed so many children in a Catholic school. That was one fire he wouldn’t talk or joke about.
My great-grandfather, Michael Sebastian, was also with the CFD. In the late 1800s, he drove a team of white horses that hauled the fire wagon. The job was even harder when he was a firefighter because they had no special equipment, no protection.
My husband and my father have both been volunteer firefighters. Basically, this means they get all the danger and the hard work without getting paid. Volunteers have to train for hours every week, as much as the professional firefighters. They have to go out at all hours of the day and night, in every kind of weather, never knowing what’s waiting for them. They do it for their communities.
I wanted to be a firefighter when I was 14. I thought it was the noblest profession in the world. Everyone laughed because GIRLS weren’t firefighters. I cried for days. That’s changed now, for the better of the firefighting community, and probably the food!
Now, I’ve found a way of honoring the people in my family who have fought fires, lost some, and grieved over victims. Stella is the chief of a volunteer fire brigade in the Smoky Mountains. She is who I imagined I could be, at one time. She’s strong and brave, loyal to her volunteers, concerned about people.
She came to life for me in Sweet Pepper. In the first book, That Old Flame of Mine, she goes to the small town in Tennessee after a bad break-up with her boyfriend and an injury that has put her off the job. She doesn’t realize how raw her recruits are or how different being a volunteer firefighter is, but she learns.
She always plans on going back to Chicago, but Sweet Pepper, and the resident ghost in her log cabin there, may change her mind.
I hope this book will be something that would’ve made my family of firefighters proud.
About This Author
Joyce Lavene, and her husband/partner, Jim, write the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries as J.J. Cook. They have written and published more than 60 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family. Visit them at www.joyceandjimlavene.com or www.jjcook.net plus on
That Old Flame of Mine
(A Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade)
Brand New Series
Release Date: April 2, 2013
A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Cover Illustration by Mary Ann Lasher
Cover Design by George Long
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
E-Book File Size: 738 KB
After knocking the lights out of her boyfriend when she catches him cheating on her, Chicago fire fighter Stella Griffin hops on her Harley and heads for Sweet Pepper, Tennessee, where she ends up becoming the small town’s fire chief. When her dear friend Tory Lambert dies after her gingerbread-style house is set ablaze, Stella suspects arson and foul play.
As Stella investigates, she gets help from a most unlikely source—the ghost of Eric Gamlyn, Sweet Pepper’s old fire chief. And if that isn’t enough to rattle her, attractive police officer John Trump seems to have taken an interest in her. But Stella’s got to stay focused if she hopes to smoke out a killer before her own life is extinguished.
As the daughter of a firefighter I was thrilled with this book. My dad passed away 25 years ago and it still seems like yesterday. I wish he would haunt his old firehouse, maybe he does? He did not die on “a scene” but he was a chief too just like Eric Gamlyn and I so wanted to be a firefighter and work side by side with him. At that time female firefighters were few and far between. Ladies were on the auxiliary and handled bake sales and delivered food and drink to the big fires. I would have loved Stella’s life even with the crummy boyfriend.
The story is so well written and full of wonderful real characters. The drill/practice sessions ring true to me as someone who has observed many. Chief Eric’s haunts struck my heart. Another firefighter lost too soon with so many plans and dedication. Stella has a lot on her plate in Sweet Pepper and with a bit of “help” she comes out on top. A sassy, smart, sleuth that this reader plans to enjoy tagging along with for a very long time.
J.J. Cook has written an extraordinary debut. This book will be burning up bookstore shelves next Tuesday. It’s hotter than a 5 alarm fire!! Respond and extricate your copy as soon as possible.
Would you like to win a copy of this wonderful book?
Thanks to the people at Berkley Prime Crime
I have 2 copies to giveaway!!
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Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Receiving a complimentary copy in no way reflected my review of this book. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”