Apple Cider Slaying (A Cider Shop Mystery)
by Julie Anne Lindsey
About Apple Cider Slaying
Apple Cider Slaying (A Cider Shop Mystery)
1st in Series
Setting – West Virginia
Kensington (October 29, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
Digital ASIN: B07NCQPSVW
Apples are at the core of the family business run by Winona Mae Montgomery and her Granny Smythe. But this year’s crop is unseasonably ripe with murder . . .
ONE ROTTEN APPLE
Blossom Valley, West Virginia, is home to Smythe Orchards, Winnie and her Granny’s beloved twenty-five-acre farm and family business. But any way you slice it, it’s struggling. That’s why they’re trying to drum up business with the “First Annual Christmas at the Orchard,” a good old-fashioned holiday festival with enough delicious draw to satisfy apple-picking locals and cider-loving tourists alike—until the whole endeavor takes a sour turn when the body of Nadine Cooper, Granny’s long-time, grudge-holding nemesis, is found lodged in the apple press. Now, with Granny the number one suspect, Winnie is hard-pressed to prove her innocence before the real killer delivers another murder . .
Welcome to Smythe Orchards in Blossom Valley, West Virginia. The orchard has been struggling since Grandpa Smythe passed away but Winnie Montgomery has a few ideas to bring her grandparents orchards back into the black. The orchard has never been open year-round and Winnie thinks her plans will bring locals and tourists to the orchard well past Thanksgiving. She decides a “First Annual Christmas at the Orchard” festival is just the thing to kick off her future plans. She also needs the orchard to be full of customers when the loan officer, Mr. Sherman comes to talk about a loan for her future endeavors.
On Mr. Sherman’s first visit to the orchard Winnie’s plans go horribly awry when her Granny’s neighbor and long-time nemesis is discovered squished in the apple press. Because of the ongoing conflicts between the woman, the sheriff quickly picks Granny as his prime suspect. Winnie is not going to stand for that. She is sure she can come up with a bushel basket full of people who could have pressed the cantankerous woman to death. The question is can she do it without getting herself killed in the process.
This series is off to an excellent start.
Ms. Lindsey has created a protagonist this is smart and persistent. She faces a lot of things that would shake most people’s resolve but she keeps pushing forward to save her family’s orchard. Finding a dead woman in the apple press is horrible but it doesn’t stop there, and yet she remains determined to catch a killer and pursue her dreams. She does have a vulnerable side she tries to keep under wraps but that just adds to the depth of her character. I loved the relationship she had with her grandmother and as we get to know Granny Smythe we see where Winnie gets her strength. That apple didn’t fall far from the tree.
There is one truly rotten apple in the rest of the characters we meet. The author delivers plenty of twists and turns along with intrigue and humor making it very hard to pick the right culprit. As we get to know the people of Blossom Valley my focus was drawn to several suspects That final twist was suspenseful and took me completely by surprise. The person was not even on my list but they were rotten to the core! My heart rate really accelerated as the scene played out. The author got me and I love it when that happens.
I enjoyed the holiday theme and life taking care of an apple orchard and making it profitable. Winnie has great ideas and I really want her to succeed. The author gives us wonderful descriptions, so much so apple cider was immediately added to my shopping list about 2 weeks earlier than normal. I wanted a nice warm taste as I finished reading this book. Thankfully, we have an awesome orchard near where we live, not quite as grand as Winnie’s plans but we love their cider, pies, apples, and other treats.
I found the characters to be fresh and engaging and the mystery was stellar, one you can really take a big bite of and still be wrong. The setting was pure bliss, someplace I would visit often.
Apple Cider Slaying is a great holiday mystery! Fast-paced and hard to put down. It comes with recipes too. Pick your copy up today and pick a bushel to share with your friends, Christmas is right around the corner and this cozy mystery would make an awesome gift.
Pulp Friction, book two in this series will be released April 28. 2020.
Tell us a little bit about yourself.
I’m Julie Anne Lindsey. I’m a full time author and mother of three living in Kent, Ohio. APPLE CIDER SLAYING is the first in my new cozy series with Kensington, but it’s not my first book or cozy. I’ve been writing for publication since 2013, and his makes my twenty-seventh novel. I also write romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue. My first three novels with them released in 2018 and they all won national awards including the National Excellence in Romance Fiction Award and the Daphne Du Maurier award for excellence in mystery and suspense. I also write other cozy series under pen names.
What are three things most people don’t know about you?
I hate driving (but have to do it all the time anyway).
I just built a house in the town where I went to college 20 years ago.
I’m hooked on all those fabulous CW shows with “teenage” casts. I don’t know why, specifically. but I LOVE THEM.
What is the first book you remember reading?
What are you reading now?
What books have most inspired you?
All of them. I’m constantly in awe of the way authors can put words from their minds onto paper and transport me to the places they made up. I want to do that too.
What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?
I don’t think it was a conscious choice. I was an only child with a stay-at-home mystery-loving mom. So shows like Murder She Wrote, Simon & Simon, Magnum PI, Silk Stalkings and Moonlighting play the backdrop to most of my childhood memories at home. And there was never a flat surface in in sight without an Agatha Christie or Sue Grafton novel on it.
Do you have a special place you like to write?
I’m fortunate enough to have a home office where I write every day and love it.
Where do the ideas for your books come from?
I have a busy mind. I blame my parents for only having one child. I spent most of my formative years making things up to pass the time, and I actually used to get in trouble for it at school! I’d love to tell some of those meanie elementary teachers I make a living at it today!
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?
Yes! Finding the time! I have a home, a husband, kids aged 11, 13 and 16, and all the responsibilities that go with those, from grocery shopping to laundry to the PTA. Sometimes finding a single hour for myself is impossible and I need 6-8 a day.
What do you think makes a good story?
Characters. Readers have to care about the characters or nothing else matters. Show me a character who resonates with my soul, tickles my funny bone or just “gets” me, and I will follow him or her anywhere.
Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?
All my heroines are like me in some way. They’re based on the worst and best parts of who I am or who I want to be.
What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?
I think my books are unique in the way I present and execute the romance and danger aspects. Many cozies today have romance, but I bring romance-writing experience to the table, and I do my best to create heroes that my readers will want for their next book boyfriend. As for the danger aspects, I’m basically afraid of my shadow, so I write those scenes with the authentic sweat, tears and adrenaline I shed while writing them. Believe me. I freak myself out when I write it!
What’s next on the horizon for you?
So much! I’ve already written the next two books in the Cider Shop Mysteries, which will hit shelves in 2020. Plus I’m writing romantic suspense for Harlequin Intrigue and two other cozy series under pen names. Plus I’ve got to finish those Fool’s Gold books!
More About Julie Anne Lindsey
Julie Anne Lindsey is a multi-genre author who writes the stories that keep her up at night. When she’s not creating new worlds and organizing the epic adventures of fictional characters, Julie can be found carpooling her three kids around Northeastern Ohio and plotting with her shamelessly enabling friends. Today, she hopes to make someone smile. One day she plans to change the world. Julie is a member of the International Thriller Writers, Romance Writers of America, and Sisters in Crime.
Visit her online at www.JulieAnneLindsey.com
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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.”