I am so excited to welcome Julianne Holmes to Escapes With Dollycas today!
The 2nd Clock Shop Mystery, Clock and Dagger, was just released on August 2!
There’s No Escape for Writers
Ever since I said aloud “I want to be a published author”, vacation and escapes have taken on a different meaning. My writer brain is never shut off. This is a particular issue for us mystery authors, since our brains (even when cozy) go to odd places. “That is a great place for a body dump” or “Did you know that plant is poisonous?” or “No cell reception? This would be a great place for the final scene of a book” are not common conversation starters with friends and family. Vacation photos are typical poses, but also include alleyways, stores, houses, gardens, and other things that I want to add to my research pool. Since I’ve started writing the Clock Shop Mystery series, clocks are a “must” wherever I am. Visiting friends in Connecticut? A stop at the American Clock and Watch museum is a must.
I’ve given up trying to pretend I can shut that off. Instead, I make sure that I balance other activities in my getaways, but I also include my writerly pursuits. Of course I’ll go zip-lining with the nieces. On the way back, we need to go to this town library to see their grandfather clock. Family barbeque down the Cape? I’ll go take the tour of the clock tower beforehand, and be there a little late, very sweaty, and a little dusty.
A few years ago I was at a dinner party, making small talk with a friend’s husband, whom I had just met. I found out he was a doctor, and asked his opinion on a couple of types of poison. He looked horrified, so I explained that I wrote mysteries, and preferred poison to guns. He was still wary, but did call me a couple of days later with a few ideas. Within a few weeks he was my go-to on poison from a medical perspective, helping me figure out what a doctor might miss unless she was looking for it.
These days, since my first novel Just Killing Time was published last fall, my family and friends are co-conspirators in helping me plot. My friend Pat was telling me about a community gardening project she is coordinating. “Every time I see the compost pile I think of you,” she said. For others, that may be an insult. For me, it is the highest compliment. She is another source for plot surprises.
So how do I unplug? Seeing or being near water is always an escape for me. Since I live in New England, there are lakes, rivers, and the ocean very close by. I am going on vacation later this month, and heading to Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. One of my favorite things to do on vacation is to catch up on my reading. Binge reading for a week is a wonderful escape. Doing it with my feet up on a longue chair, seeing water between my feet, an icy cold drink at the ready? Perfection.
Daydreaming about committing a crime in paradise? Part of the vacation.
Clock and Dagger (A Clock Shop Mystery)
2nd in Series
Setting – Massachusetts
A Berkley Prime Mystery (October 6, 2015)
An Imprint of Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
E-Book ASIN: B01839Q4HM
Ruth has three days to pull off four events—including the grand reopening of Cog & Sprocket, the clock shop she inherited from her grandfather—so she doesn’t have time for Beckett Green’s nonsense. The competitive owner of a new bookstore, Green seems determined to put other businesses out of business by also carrying their specialty items. He’s trying to steal Ruth’s new watchmaker, Mark Pine, not to mention block her plans to renovate the town clock tower.
Ruth is already all wound up when she’s alarmed to discover Mark’s dead body. As the denizens of Orchard each chime in as to who they think the murderer is, Ruth needs to watch her back as she investigates on her own. Despite the danger, Ruth won’t stop until the killer is behind bars and serving time…
Ruth has been busy updating both the Cog & Sprocket and her apartment above the shop. She is still trying to restore the local clock tour but keeps getting waylaid by the city manager. The owner of the new bookstore, Beckett Green, is giving all the Orchard merchants headaches as he plans to open a place selling much more than books, competing with almost every business on Orchard by selling the similar merchandise. He even tries to lure one of Ruth’s employees away from her. Sadly the young man ends up dead, and Beckett Green is Ruth’s prime suspect, but the police have another suspect in mind. Ruth works well with the local police chief, but the city manager keeps calling in the “staties”, which doesn’t sit well with either of them.
A lot takes place within these pages. The story ticks right along at the perfect pace. The book starts out with Ruth needing party supplies for several events including the grand reopening of the clock shop she inherited from her grandfather, her step grandmother’s surprise birthday party, and an event featuring most of the shops on the street. Add in a murder, a bit a jealousy, and a stranger coming to town and you have one heck of a story.
I am impressed with all Ruth has taken on and happy to see she has surrounded herself with some great people. She does realize that she really needs to learn more about each of them because they are quickly becoming friends and not just mere acquaintances. The author is doing an excellent job at making the characters more three dimensional and engaging. I have grown to like most of them very much.
The small town of Orchard is a great setting. Of course, it has it share of troublemakers and small town politics. Ruth’s grandfather used to be a favorite of all and a peacemaker when the need arose and his presence is greatly missed.
The mystery itself was puzzling. I wasn’t sure who was our killer until a twist at the end that was absolutely perfect.
I found the bits of knowledge about clocks and watches captivating. I love the idea of making jewelry out of the cogs and sprockets.
Don’t waste any time, this series should be on the top of your To-Be-Read stack!
About The Author
Julie Hennrikus As Julianne Holmes, she is a mystery writer. Her Clock Shop Mystery series debuted in October 2015 with Just Killing Time, which was nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Clock and Dagger was released August 2, 2016. As J.A. Hennrikus she has had short stories published in Level Best Books anthologies: “Her Wish” in Dead Calm, “Tag, You’re Dead” in Thin Ice, “The Pendulum Swings, Until It Doesn’t” in Blood Moon. As Julie Hennrikus she runs StageSource, the service organization for the New England theater community. She is on Twitter (@JulieHennrikus), Instagram (@jahenn), Pinterest, and Facebook. She blogs with the Wicked Cozy Authors, Live to Write/Write to Live, and is on Killer Characters on the 20th of each month. Julie is a board member of Sisters in Crime and New England Chapter of Sisters in Crime. She is also a member of Mystery Writers of America and the Guppies. You can find out more about Julianne Holmes on her webpage here.
Thanks to the publisher I have 2 Copies to give away!
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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.”