Jul 192019
 

Gore in the Garden
(A Washington Whodunit)
by Colleen Shogan

I am very excited to have Colleen Shogan visit today!! 

Hi Colleen, 

Tell us a little bit about yourself.

I’m a political scientist and senior executive at the Library of Congress. I live outside Washington, D.C. with my husband and beagle mutt, Conan. My favorite pastime is reading by the pool.

What are three things most people don’t know about you?

  1. Most people think I’m an extrovert, but I also like spending time by myself.
  2. I’m a morning person and do my best work then.
  3.  I was the valedictorian of my high school.

What is the first book you remember reading?

An Encyclopedia Brown book.

What are you reading now?

There Will Be No Miracles Here” by Casey Gerald

What books have most inspired you?

Walter Isaacson’s “Steve Jobs” inspired me so much, I read it twice.

What made you decide you wanted to write mysteries?

I’ve always read mysteries for leisure and relaxation. One day, I took a walk in my neighborhood and came up with the plot for “Stabbing in the Senate,” the first book in my series. I decided to take a shot at writing my own mystery novel, and I haven’t stopped since.

Do you have a special place you like to write?

In the spring, summer, and fall, I write outside in my backyard on our deck next to our pool.

Where do the ideas for your books come from?

I work on Capitol Hill and there’s no shortage of intrigue. I’m observant and I pay attention to conflict, adversity, and behavior. Paying attention ensures that I have an unlimited supply of ideas for future books.

Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?

It can be difficult finding the time to write. Since I have a full-time job that sometimes extends into the evening hours, it’s hard to squeeze in time each day for writing.

What do you think makes a good story?

I start with the characters and the setting. Once I have those ingredients, the plot comes together in support of them.

Which, of all your characters, do you think is the most like you?

Most people assume that my main character, Kit Marshall, is based on me. She’s really not. There may be similarities, but I would likely never take the risks that Kit does. In some ways, Kit is aspirational for me.

What makes your books different from others out there in this genre?

Most cozies are set in a small town, and my series takes place in Washington, D.C., an urban setting. My books aren’t about politics, but they do reveal some of the inner workings of our nation’s capital. That affords them a slightly higher level of seriousness than other amateur sleuth mysteries. I also think my characters are more modern in their mannerisms, conduct, and behavior than most other books in the genre.

What’s next on the horizon for you?

I’m currently writing the sixth book in the series, tentatively titled “Larceny at the Library.”  I think it will be a real fan favorite in 2020.

Thank you, Colleen, for dropping by today!

Keep reading for my thoughts about Colleen’s new book, Gore in the Garden.

About Gore in the Garden

Gore in the Garden (A Washington Whodunit)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Camel Press (July 16, 2019)
Paperback: 224 pages
ISBN-10: 1603817239
ISBN-13: 978-1603817233
ASIN: B07S4F8XZZ

After her boss narrowly escaped political defeat, Kit Marshall is settling into life as a busy congressional staffer. While attending an evening reception at the United States Botanic Garden, Kit’s best friend stumbles upon the body of a high-ranking government official. The chairwoman of a congressional committee asks Kit to investigate, and she finds herself once again in the thick of a murder investigation. The complications keep coming with the unexpected arrival of Kit’s younger brother Sebastian, a hippie protestor who seems more concerned about corporate greed than the professional problems he causes for his sister. To make matters even worse, the romantic lives of Kit’s closest friends are driving her crazy, diverting her attention from the mystery she’s been tasked to solve. The search for the killer requires her to tussle with an investigative journalist right out of a noir novel, a congresswoman fixated on getting a statue of James Madison installed on the Capitol grounds and a bossy botanist who would do anything to protect the plants he loves. When the murderer sends a threatening message to Kit via a highly unusual delivery mechanism, Kit knows she must find the killer or risk the lives of her friends and loved ones.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Kit Marshall attends a reception with her boss, Congresswoman Maeve Dixon, best friend Meg, hubby Doug, and her brother Sebastian, at the United States Botanic Garden, just in time to witness the corpse flower bloom. As the group leaves the Garden Meg makes a quick stop to the bathroom. Her screams alert them back into the building where they find the Architect of the Capitol dead. Kit is quickly pegged to be the liaison between the police and Congress and conduct her own investigation. She also has to run interference when her brother becomes part of protests on the hill, reduce conflicts between her staff, and keep on top of her real job as Chief of Staff Dixon. All this plus she has to stay one step ahead of the killer or she will be their next victim.

________________________

This is another fabulous addition to this series. I loved the way the corpse flower played into the story. The University of Wisconsin had one and whenever it bloomed it was big news around here.

All the characters I have come to love return, including Kit’s pepperoni loving pup. We also meet Kit’s brother that was too busy along with her parents to attend Kit and Doug’s wedding. I have to say Kit is more forgiving than I would be but then again there is a murderer on the loose. I enjoyed that Doug is now working close enough that he can assist her in her investigation.

Because of Ms. Shogan’s experience, she gives what feels like a believable picture of life behind the scenes in a Congressperson’s office. With the current climate in Washington politics, a book like this is very current but not as divisive. The murder is Kit’s main focus and other things on her plate are the staff’s summer picnic, their love lives and trying to keep her brother out of trouble and may even stay in D.C. Shogan brings all the subplots together seamlessly and the story maintains a great flow until we get near the end, then the pace spikes as the killer is revealed. I was holding my breath for more than a few moments.

The author did an excellent job of describing Kit’s surroundings. It has been a long time since I have been to Washington and she introduced a few new sites I didn’t know existed but her words took me right where I needed to be.

While taking place in a big town, Colleen keeps things pretty cozy. Engaging characters, a captivating story, set in an awesome place, will have readers rapidly flipping the pages. The twists are exquisite and our protag has guts, knows how to think on her feet and doesn’t back down.

I highly recommend this entire series, but each book can be read on its own.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Colleen J. Shogan

Colleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. She conceived of the plot of her first mystery, “Stabbing in the Senate,” one morning while taking a walk in her suburban Washington, D.C. neighborhood. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American politics at Yale, George Mason University, Georgetown, and Penn. She previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate and as the Deputy Director of the Congressional Research Service. She is currently a senior executive at the Library of Congress who works on great initiatives such as the National Book Festival. Colleen lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob and their beagle mutt Conan. Colleen’s first book won the Next Generation Indie Prize for Best Mystery. Her books have been RONE and Killer Nashville finalists in the mystery category.

Author Links – Webpage – Facebook – Twitter –  GoodReads 

Purchase Links
Amazon Paperback     Kindle   B&N         Kobo      Smashwords

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July 21 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
July 22 – Socrates Book Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 23 – Mysteries with Character – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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July 24 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW
July 25 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
July 26 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT
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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.”

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Jul 052019
 


Layover
Psychological Thrillers
Setting – Kentucky
Berkley (July 2, 2019)
Hardcover: 416 pages
ISBN-10: 0440000866
ISBN-13: 978-0440000860
Kindle ASIN: B07J47PGXN

Joshua Fields takes the same flights every week for work, his life a series of departures and arrivals, hotels and airports. During yet another layover, he meets Morgan, a beautiful stranger with whom he feels an immediate connection. When it’s time for their respective flights, Morgan kisses Joshua passionately, lamenting that they’ll never see each other again.

As soon as Morgan disappears in the crowd, Joshua is shocked to see her face on a nearby TV. The reason: Morgan is a missing person.

What follows is a whirlwind, fast-paced journey filled with lies, deceit, and secrets as Joshua tries to discover why Morgan has vanished from her own life. Every time he thinks one mystery is solved, another rears its head—and his worst enemy might be his own assumptions about those around him.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

A chance meeting at an airport. Joshua feels an instant connection to Morgan. She gives him a killer kiss good-bye, but he can’t just let her go. He chucks his plan to meet his father to close a business deal and follows Morgan. He knows she is on the run and hiding something huge but he just can’t leave her behind. Joshua is soon mentally trapped into Morgan’s web and he could end up making the ultimate sacrifice all the be with a girl he met on a LAYOVER.

David Bell is one of my favorite authors but this one didn’t blow me away as others have.

Joshua Fields appears to be a very intelligent young man who may need a vacation from work but he keeps making bad decisions. I understand being in a rut and wanting change but I had a hard time believing the lengths he went to for a woman he just met and knew for all of a few minutes. He is a good guy but his first move was almost stalkerish. After that, though I realized Morgan was a master manipulator who knew just how to pull Joshua’s strings as soon as he continued to follow wherever she led.

I realize the premise of this book from an encounter the author actually witnessed but I just couldn’t get on board with it all. Maybe if the woman was a someone from his past, that he hadn’t seen in years I would have found it believable because they would have had a smidgen of history to build on.

Putting their meeting aside the story itself was complicated as Morgan’s story was revealed piece by piece from several viewpoints. The key was learning the true story and for that to come out there were several twists. Readers are treated to some suspenseful moments as the chase of Morgan and now Joshua continues. The author’s writing style of short chapters with mini-cliffhangers and alternate points of view worked very well. Those little teasers had me doing the just one more chapter thing over and over again. For me, the ending was unexpected and made me glad I had kept reading.

Aside from wanting to jump into the book several times to try to stop Joshua making stupid choices, this was a largely entertaining read.

Of course, I am looking forward to David Bell’s next thriller.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can find out more about David Bell and his books visit his webpage here



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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.”

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Jun 272019
 

 

About the Book


Death by Dissertation (Cassandra Sato)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Nebraska
Emerald Prairie Press (April 17, 2019)
Paperback: 355 pages
ISBN-10: 1733742409
ISBN-13: 978-1733742405
Digital ASIN: B07PKRD658

Ambitious Cassandra Sato traded her life in Hawai’i for a dream position as Student Affairs VP at Morton College in tiny Carson, Nebraska. She expected the Midwestern church casseroles, land-locked cornfields, and face-freezing winters would be her biggest challenges, but it’s her job that’s rapidly becoming a nightmare.

A deaf student is dead and the investigation reveals a complicated trail of connections between campus food service, a local farmer’s beef, and the science lab’s cancer research. Together with her few allies, Cassandra must protect the students caught up in the entanglement.

Dealing with homesickness, vandalism, and a stalker, Cassandra is trapped in a public relations disaster that could cost her job, or more. No one said college was easy.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

There are many cozy mystery series set on college campuses, so authors have to work hard to make their stories unique. In Death by Dissertation, our protagonist Cassandra Soto have left Hawai’i for a job in Carson, Nebraska. I know winter there is milder than in the Upper Midwest where I live, but come on Hawai’i!!! It was that hook that first caught my attention.

As Student Affairs VP at Morton College, I am sure Cassandra can handle the weather and cornfields instead of the ocean, but I bet she never imagined finding one of her students dead. A deaf student that was working in a science lab doing cancer research.

His death is suspicious and Cassandra finds herself in the middle of the investigation while trying to do her job and her boss’s job because he has traveled to China and stay on top of all the homecoming week festivities. Worried that she could lose her position she keeps pushing forward but is put to a real test as she tries to discover who killed her student and why.

Cassandra Sato waded through everything that was thrown at her like a rockstar. To take the job of Student Affairs VP it is a given that she is ambitious and smart, but she is having a hard time fitting in in small-town Nebraska. She looks different than anyone else in town and she dresses more formally. Her home is vandalized and she is threatened and told to go back where she came from. But she handles it because this is her dream job and if she is ever going to be a college president she needs to stay calm and deal with all types of people.

Meg O’Brien is Cassandra’s longtime friend and an ASL interpreter at Morton College. My daughter uses American Sign Language at work, in fact, my grandsons can sign and understand many words too, although it is not part of their daily lives. I have always been interested in it. The author is an ASL interpreter herself and I like the way she puts that part of herself into the story and the character of Meg while raising an understanding of what deaf students encounter in college and going into the workforce.

I did enjoy some of the unique phrases of speech used by Cassandra, some were easily translated but some left me scratching my head. The interactions between Meg and Cassandra were realistic and some were laugh out loud funny. Their shopping trip to get Cassandra proper clothing for Nebraska was full of humor.

Ms. Brakenhoff is a very detailed writer which I felt was very necessary for this story due to the scientific theme. Many parts of the college and community are connected and play into solving the mystery with a wide variety of suspects. Her details also helped me to get a clear picture of all the characters. The pace she sets is relaxed until it starts to ramp up as more and more clues start to fall into place,

This series is off to a marvelous start. I can’t believe this is Kelly Brankenhoff’s first novel. She is an author to watch.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

 

About Kelly Brankenhoff

 

Kelly Brakenhoff is an American Sign Language Interpreter whose motivation for learning ASL began in high school when she wanted to converse with her deaf friends. As an American Sign Language Interpreter with more than twenty years of experience, Kelly’s worked in college classrooms for fifteen different majors. From traipsing across muddy farm fields to stomach-churning medical procedures, and stage interpreting for famous figures, Kelly’s community interpreting interactions number in the thousands. Unfortunately, once she’s stepped away from the job, she usually forgets 90% of what happened. Which helps her keep confidential information safe, but also makes it really hard to grocery shop for more than 5 items without a written list.

Kelly wants to live in a world filled with peace, love, and joy, where people who can hear learn enough sign language to include deaf people in everyday conversations and work. Where every deaf child has early access to language and books with characters like them, and dark chocolate is cheap and plentiful.

When she’s not interpreting or writing, you can find Kelly cheering for her favorite Husker teams or training for half-marathons because she really likes dessert.

Her first mystery, Death by Dissertation, released April 22, 2019.

Author Links

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Purchase Link – Amazon

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Praise forDeath by Dissertation (Cassandra Sato)
by Kelly Brakenhoff

Death by Dissertation is a great start for a debut author and I can’t wait to see what other adventures await Cassandra Sato.
~Only By Grace Reviews

Death by Dissertation was so great!!! I love cozies but I’m always looking for something different that stands out. Death by Dissertation didn’t disappoint in any sense.
~The Layaway Dragon

If you’ve ever struggled to fit in at a new job, or if you just enjoy a wry and compelling mystery, pick up Death By Dissertation. The academic personalities were so recognizable that I couldn’t help but laugh (and cringe). I can’t wait for the next installment!
~Island Confidential

Death by Dissertation has collegiate spirit, a complex crime, scientific exploration, an avaricious killer, and a gifted gumshoe.
~The Avid Reader

Death by Dissertation is an engaging mystery with puzzling clues that introduces readers to a plucky protagonist . . . Author Kelly Brakenhoff is to be commended for her insider observations and realistic portrayal of campus politics and life in a small college town.
~Book Club Librarian

Find yourself caught up in this heartwarming academic cozy mystery featuring a strong and determined female sleuth.
~Mallory Heart’s Cozies

This story is engaging and keeps you a bit on the edge of your seat as you watch for clues and try to figure out just what was up.
~My Reading Journeys

This book is very detailed and I thought the author did a good job on character development and providing just enough information to keep the reader engaged but not so much detail that a reader might lose interest.
~Storeybook Reviews

Wow! What a brilliant start to what I hope will be a long series! Kelly Brakenhoff pulled out the Cozy stops and wrote a page-turner and a half.
~A Wytch’s Book Review Blog

 

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June 17 – The Layaway Dragon – REVIEW
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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.”

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Jun 212019
 


On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.


Murder on the Last Frontier (A Charlotte Brody Mystery)
Historial Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Alaska
Kensington (November 24, 2015)
Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1496700546
ISBN-13: 978-1496700544
Kindle ASIN: B00U7LIZCW

There’s many who feel the Alaska Territory is no place for a woman on her own. But Charlotte Brody, suffragette and journalist, has never let public opinion dictate her life choices. She’s come to the frontier town of Cordova, where her brother Michael practices medicine, for the same reason many come to Alaska—to start over.

Cordova is gradually getting civilized, but the town is still rougher than Charlotte imagined. And when a local prostitute—one of the working girls her brother has been treating—is found brutally murdered, Charlotte learns firsthand how rough the frontier can be. Although the town may not consider the murder of a prostitute worthy of investigation, Charlotte’s feminist beliefs motivate her to seek justice for the woman. And there’s something else—the woman was hiding a secret, one that reminds Charlotte of her own painful past.

As Charlotte searches for answers, she soon finds her own life in danger from a cold-blooded killer desperate to keep dark secrets from seeing the light of day…

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Cordova, Alaska Territory 1919

Journalist and suffragette Charlotte Brody travels from Younkers, New York to Alaska to visit her brother and report on women in the territory for a series of articles to appear in The Modern Woman Review. The trip was not ideal but she is thrilled to see her brother Michael, who is a very busy doctor. He gets her settled in at Sullivan’s Boarding House but their visit gets off to a bumpy start. He brother has changed and so has she.

Their differences get cast aside when one of the girls from a local brothel is tragically murdered near the rooming house where Charlotte is staying. She may have even heard some of the victim’s last moments. Feeling guilty that she may have been able to do something to save the woman and the fact that a prostitutes death is a low priority for the authorities, Charlotte follows her heart and beliefs to investigate the woman’s death on her own. When a key piece of evidence is found, she finds herself in the killer’s sights putting herself and several others in danger. Will she survive her trip to Alaska or will a Murder on the Last Frontier be her last protest?

I loved this story. I wish I had read it when it was first released. The author takes on social issues of the day, many of which are still hot topics today.

Charlotte Brody is a very likable protagonist. She is smart and curious about her new surroundings and the people that inhabit it. She realizes the town is more primitive than what she imagined but she is up for the challenge. She is independent and open to meeting everyone for the mayor to the working girls. Everyone knows her brother, any are his patients, so she is welcomed in all the circles. But she has a secret.

Charlotte’s brother, Michael is a generous man with his time, which is a requirement for an Alaskan physician. He has made a life for himself and seems happy. Charlotte is a little surprised that his very small home is also his office, which is why she is staying at Sullivan’s. But he too has secrets.

We are introduced to many residents of Cordova in this first installment. The author does an excellent job of making them feel real, believable, interesting, and memorable. There are many reasons people have come to Cordova but for most, it was to start over or get a second chance. I enjoyed the depth that has already been created for these characters.

What I really enjoyed was Cathy Pegau’s descriptive writing style. She brought Alaska, the town of Cordova and all the people in this story to life, in a carefree way. Sometimes author’s descriptions go way over the top, taking away from the actual story. That is definitely not the case here.  I could picture everything I needed to easily. Not only the places and people but the extra hours of sunlight, the neverending rain, the muddy paths, and the boots worn by everyone due to the muddy paths. The balance was superb. Readers are totally transported to 1919 Alaska.

The mystery was very well-plotted with many surprising twists. The pacing was exactly right and kept me engaged from beginning to end. I was surprised by the final twist setting up a perfect ending.

Even before I reached the end of this book I knew I wanted to read more of this series. I was surprised to find the other two books in this series already on my Kindle. I hope to be reading and reviewing them soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

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Jun 142019
 


On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

Game of Scones (A Sugar & Spice Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Iowa
Lyrical Underground (December 4, 2018)
Paperback: 194 pages
ISBN-10: 1516105052
ISBN-13: 978-1516105052
Kindle ASIN: B07BD1XJ8V

As co-owner of Sugar and Spice Cookbooks, Sugar Calloway has seen simple confections bring friends together and spark fiery feuds. Except this time, the recipe truly is to die for . . .

After losing her job as food editor at a glossy magazine, Rosetta Sugarbaker Calloway—aka “Sugar” to friends—isn’t sweet on accepting defeat and crawling back to her gossipy southern hometown. So when she has an opportunity to launch a community cookbook business with blue-ribbon baker Dixie Spicer in peaceful St. Ignatius, Iowa, she jumps at the chance to start over from scratch . . .

But as Sugar assembles recipes for the local centennial celebration, it’s not long before she’s up to her oven mitts in explosive threats, too-hot-to-handle scandals, and a dead body belonging to the moody matriarch of the town’s first family. With suspicions running wild, Sugar and Spice must solve the murder before someone innocent takes the heat—and the real culprit gathers enough ingredients to strike again . . .

* Includes delicious recipes! *

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Rosetta Sugarbaker Calloway and Dixie Spicer aka “Sugar” and “Spice” have teamed up and opened a community cookbook business, Sugar & Spice Publishing. Former food editor Sugar handles the logistics and blue-ribbon baker Spice tests the recipes.

Their first client is the committee for the local Founder’s Day Centennial Celebration. Sugar meets with the committee to discuss a duplicate scone recipe. Working with adult women, Dixie’s Aunt Bertie and Ellie Farmer, she is sure they can work it out. What happens is a shouting match that almost comes to blows. The meeting ends with no resolution. Hoping individual meetings with the bakers will solve the issue Sugar sets up a meeting with Ellie. But she finds the woman dead clutching a scone.  With the ladies’ ongoing feud Bertie quickly becomes the prime suspect. When Bertie leaves town telling no one of her plans Sheriff Terrance Griffin turns up the heat while Sugar and Dixie worry if someone has hurt Bertie too.

___

This was a delightful cozy mystery. I have been on a few fundraiser cookbook committees so this story excited me from the start. Thankfully our cookbooks were completed without any dead bodies but there were some heated conversations. People take their recipes seriously! The author includes 3 recipes at the end of the book.

Sugar and Dixie have their work cut out for them in making a business like this flourish, especially if this one is any indication. Both women have the expertise needed except they need to bring in a photographer. Enter Max Windsor, a friend of Dixie’s brother. We also meet Sugar’s pain-in-the-butt neighbor and her landlord who recently moved to a senior living community. There is a palpable tension between Dixie and the sheriff, which plays out throughout the story. These characters have a real small-town feel with gossip running rampant and a bit of Southern charm from Dixie. The dialogue is strong. While we have been given a great introduction to these characters, the author has left a lot of room for them to grow.

A little cooperation from Bertie would have removed her from the suspect list but in lieu of that Sugar and Dixie find themselves right in the middle of the investigation. It was easy to find additional suspects because the victim rubbed several people the wrong way. I enjoyed tagging along for each clue, twist, and turn. The pace had a couple of dips but quickly got back on track. The ending was exciting.

I love that this series is set in Iowa. Not too far from home for me and not a common setting for cozy mysteries even though it is full of small towns that could host this genre.

I found Game of Scones to be a very entertaining story. I am excited to see where Ms. Ashford takes her character next. Risky Biscuits will be out July 9.

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About Mary Lee Ashford

Mary Lee Ashford is a lifelong bibliophile, an avid reader, and a supporter of public libraries. In addition to writing the Sugar and Spice series for Kensington Books, she also writes as half of the writing team of Sparkle Abbey, author of the national bestselling Pampered Pets mystery series from Bell Bridge Books.

Prior to publishing Mary Lee won first place in the Daphne du Maurier contest, sponsored by the Kiss of Death chapter of RWA, and was a finalist in Murder in the Grove’s mystery contest, as well as Killer Nashville’s Claymore Dagger contest.

She is the founding president of Sisters in Crime – Iowa and a board member of the Mystery Writers of America Midwest chapter, as well as a member of Novelists, Inc., Romance Writers of America, Kiss of Death the RWA Mystery Suspense chapter, Sisters in Crime, and the SinC internet group Guppies.

She loves encouraging writers and is a frequent lecturer and workshop presenter for writers’ groups. Mary Lee has a passionate interest in creativity and teaches a university level course in Creative Management to MPA candidates, as well as presenting workshops and blogging about creativity.

She currently resides in the midwest with her husband, Tim, and Sparkle, the rescue cat namesake of the Sparkle Abbey pseudonym. Her delights are reading and enjoying her two sons and daughters-in-law, and six grandchildren.

For more information, visit her website at www.MaryLeeAshford.com

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and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

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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.”

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Jun 062019
 

I am thrilled to kick-off this tour!!

Sconed to Death
(A Cat Latimer Mystery)
by Lynn Cahoon

About the Book


Sconed to Death (A Cat Latimer Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
5th in Series
Setting – Colorado
Kensington (May 28, 2019)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 1496716833
ISBN-13: 978-1496716835
Kindle ASIN: B07H1ZCS2Z

Cat Latimer pursues a scone-cold killer who iced a top chef in a local bakery . . .

Cat has a full plate at her Aspen Hills Warm Springs Resort, as a group of aspiring cozy mystery authors arrives for a writers retreat. So when baker Dee Dee Meyer stirs up trouble by filing a false complaint with the health inspector against the B&B—all because she insists Cat’s best friend Shauna stole her recipes—Cat marches into the shop to confront her.

But Dee Dee’s about to have her own batch of trouble. Greyson Finn—a celebrity chef and, until today, one of Denver’s most eligible bachelors—has been found dead in her bakery. Cat’s uncle Pete, who happens to be the chief of police, warns her not to engage in any half-baked sleuthing. But as her curiosity rises, Cat’s determined to discover who served the chef his just desserts—before the killer takes a powder . . .

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

A group of cozy mystery writers from Chicago arrives for the latest retreat at the Aspen Hills Warm Springs Resort and they are excited about everything Cat and Shauna have planned. A cooking demonstration, a trip to the college library, a couple of lectures, some speed writing games, and plenty of time to write.

Cat and Shauna get a little sidetracked when the health inspector shows up at the door in answer to a complaint. A complaint by Dee Dee Meyer, owner of the local bakery, all because she thinks Shauna is stealing her recipes. Really the woman is just out for attention. And attention is just what she gets when a body is found in her bakery. Why would celebrity chef Greyson Finn even be there? He has restaurants in Denver and is one of the city’s most eligible bachelors. He and Dee Dee? . . . No way! She wouldn’t kill him in HER bakery, would she?

Cat’s uncle/the chief of police tells her to take care of her retreat and he will take care of HIS investigation.  She just can’t do it though, especially when he shows up for dinner every night and the retreat authors are even throwing around their own theories about the crime. But can she catch the scone-cold killer or will she be the next one on their list?

__________

This is my new favorite book in this series. I loved this group of cozy mystery writers! They were fun to read about because they had fun with each other and they care about each other. One author is dealing with a situation at home that has followed them to the retreat. The others try to be understanding and give the author some space but step in with advice when the time is right. They also welcome the retreater from the college with open arms. Mollie is a huge fan of Cat’s books so she was thrilled to be chosen to participate in this retreat. She was equally as thrilled about all the new author friends she quickly makes. The best thing was them hashing out puny titles for books and discussing fresh new ways to kill their victims. Fiction imitating real life, I am sure.

The core characters Cat, Shauna, Seth, and Uncle Pete have all continued to grow. The subplots dealing with real-life issues mix in nicely with the main murder plot. Cat, Shauna, and Seth love hosting the retreats but are starting to feel the need for some time away from Aspen Hills. Shauna connects with her brother in New York and makes plans for a trip when this retreat ends. Cat and Seth are planning for a getaway when she returns. Uncle Pete’s is missing his Alaska girlfriend and he may be spending more time there in the future. I think Shauna had the most growth as she is getting so much better at handling the grief after the recent death of her boyfriend. Some furry felines make great listeners and cuddlers.

That main mystery is very well-plotted. Cat tempers her curiosity better this time, making smarter decisions, but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t put herself in harm’s way. There were several red herrings to twist things up. I had a great time following along with Cat as she did her sleuthing. With plenty of rumors about the chef, I understood both Uncle Pete’s and Cat’s difficulty pinning down the killer. I changed my mind a few times myself.

Great characters and realistic dialogue made this book a joy to read. I was captivated from beginning to end.

There is a Cranberry Scone recipe at the back of the book, but Shauna deals with several bushels of apples throughout the entire book. By the time I turned the last page I was craving apple pie and apple butter. So much so they were added to our grocery list until we can get fresh apples this fall.

I recommend reading this series in order for maximum enjoyment.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of A Story to Kill here and my review of Fatality by Firelight here,
my review for Of Murder and Men here and my review of Slay in Character here.

About the Author

Lynn Cahoon is the award-winning author of several New York Times and USA Today bestselling cozy mystery series. The Tourist Trap series is set in central coastal California with six holiday novellas releasing in 2018–2019. She also pens the Cat Latimer series available in mass market paperback. Her newest series, the Farm to Fork mystery series, debuted in 2018. She lives in a small town like the ones she loves to write about with her husband and two fur babies.

Author Links –  Goodreads – Twitter – Facebook –  Amazon author page –  Website 

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKoboGoogle Play 

Also by Lynn Cahoon


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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.”

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May 232019
 

Drowning Lessons
(A Red Frog Beach Mystery)
by Rachel Neuburger Reynolds

About the Book


Drowning Lessons (A Red Frog Beach Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Bocas del Toro, a remote chain of islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama
Self-Published (May 21, 2019)
Number of Pages: ~290
Digital ASIN: B07PZRR8WC

You are cordially invited to a destination wedding to die for…

Welcome to Bocas del Toro, a remote chain of islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama. Five days of glorious sun and lush rainforest await the forty guests celebrating Bridezilla Olivia’s dream wedding—but will a murder sink the catered affair? Before anyone’s got time to start working on a tan, an unfortunate snorkeling accident eliminates a member of the wedding party. Maid of honor Lexie Marino smells trouble, and is thrust into the responsibility of investigating, needing to solve the case before her bestie’s trip down the aisle gets tropically derailed. The show must go on.

Lexie’s a little too tall, a little too awkward, and a little too brokenhearted, but she’s determined to nail the real killer. Can this unlikely sleuth stay afloat as she’s hit by wave after wave of wildly entertaining characters, including an alpha bride, surfing detectives, and a high school flame long forgotten?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

We arrive on Bocas del Toro, a remote chain of islands off the Caribbean coast of Panama for the destination wedding of Olivia Fowlers. Alexandra ‘Lexie’ Martone is her maid of honor and is at the bride’s beck and call, as are all of the bridesmaids. Each one has received a binder/dossier with details about all 40 guests and all the activities the bride has planned for the week. Each bridesmaid has been assigned a group of people to watch over and certain events they are each in charge of.

The first event, snorkeling is all fun and games until one of the guests failed to come out of the water on their own. The bride quickly informs Lexie to handle it, a dead body is not going to ruin her big day. When the authorities determine the person was actually murdered the bride’s Zilla claws come out and she tells Lexie to keep everything a secret until her wedding goes off without a hitch. Lexie isn’t sure if the island detectives can solve the case since they seem more focused on surfing instead of the murder, so she starts to do a little snooping on her own. Even she knows this could end badly.

‘Lexie’ Martone has the patience of a saint. She is trying to recover from a bad breakup, doesn’t know how to swim, has put on a few pounds, and has always been the tallest girl in the crowd. She knows nothing about investigating a murder but she is going to give her the old college try. Everyone is a suspect and she doesn’t know who she can trust. Her time on the island is going to be the farthest thing from a delightful vacation. Lexie shows a lot of growth over these pages which makes me excited about this character.

In addition to Lexie, the author introduces us to a mixed bag of characters. New friends, old friends, a few relatives, work colleagues and one very wealthy character who is paying for this extravaganza. One ends up dead and then another and all those remaining land on the suspect list. Truthfully, with the exception of one or two, they weren’t a likable bunch for me or Lexie, so it wasn’t hard to believe that one or more of them could be a murderer.

Our protagonist didn’t do too much actual investigating. She leaned on her observations, overhearing conversations, and making a pest of herself, just being on the scene while trying to keep up with all her wedding chores. In my mind, she put herself in some risky situations for very little knowledge gained, but somehow it all came together by the end in a very enjoyable way.

This story is much more than a cozy mystery. It is a dramedy where literally everything that can go wrong does. Twists, turns, craziness, and good old mayhem fill these pages all on an idyllic chain of islands. A virtual beach escape or grab a copy and head to the beach.  This was a fun book to read and a great start for this series. I am looking forward to the next book.

About the Author

RACHEL NEUBURGER REYNOLDS is the author of The Red Frog Beach Mystery Series. As a playwright, her plays have had been produced in London, Edinburgh and New York. After 25-years in New York City, she now resides with her husband between London and St Leonards-on-Sea in England. For news about Rachel and the upcoming Red Frog Beach Mysteries, check her out at RachelNeuburger.com.

Author Links

Webpage and Blog: RachelNeuburger.com

FaceBook Twitter: @rainyday11

Instagram: @rainydaywrites   Goodreads:    Pinterest

Purchase Links 

Amazon – Kindle


Thanks to the author I have 1 e-copy to give away!
The contest is open to anyone over 18 years old.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
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Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

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5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End June 4, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

 

TOUR PARTICIPANTS – Please visit all the stops. 
May 21 – Readeropolis – GUEST POST
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May 27 – Cozy Up With Kathy – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
May 28 – 4covert2overt ☼ A Place In The Spotlight ☼ – CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 29 – Baroness’ Book Trove – REVIEW  
May 29 – Kelly P’s Blog – SPOTLIGHT
May 30 – Ruff Drafts – SPOTLIGHT
May 30 – Christa Reads and Writes – REVIEW
May 31 – ⒾⓃⓉⓇⓄⓈⓅⒺⒸⓉⒾⓋⒺ ⓅⓇⒺⓈⓈ – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
June 1 – Socrates Book Reviews – REVIEW
June 1 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
June 2 – LibriAmoriMiei – REVIEW
June 3 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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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.”

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May 212019
 

Caught Up in It
(Blu Carraway Mystery)
by David Burnsworth

About the Book


Caught Up in It (Blu Carraway Mystery)
Hard-Boiled Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – South Carolina – Trips to Malaysia, Hollywood, and Las Vegas
Henery Press (April 23, 2019)
Hardcover: 286 pages
ISBN-10: 1635114780
ISBN-13: 978-1635114782
Digital ASIN: B07N7LW9WS

The award-winning diva, C, has got a big problem: someone wants her dead. A team of mercenaries attempts to gun her down in Kuala Lumpur. Lucky for her, Lowcountry Private Investigator, Blu Carraway, is already on the job there for a different client.

Double-lucky for C, they make their move when she’s chit-chatting with him in a bar. Unlucky for the mercenaries, four of them end up dead.

The hunt is on now for the mega-pop star. Where does she go to hide out? The sleepy islands around Charleston, South Carolina—Blu’s backyard. He’s already proven himself once, so C hires the Blu Carraway Investigation Agency to protect her for real.

The job takes Blu halfway around the world and several cities in between. The search for the truth reveals what could drive a person to want someone else dead.

And Blu Carraway ends up right in the way.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Private Investigator Blu Carraway is in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia protecting pop star “C” from an unknown element who wants her dead. Believing she is being watched by another team Blu is taking some downtime in a local bar. Then C walks in and soon the bad guys follow. Blu takes control and leaves four bodies behind.

He returns home to the Lowcountry and is surprised when the diva shows up on his turf begging him to protect her again. He takes her on with some rules of his own. Before long he is using all his resources to keep her safe. Over the course of just a few days, chaos ensues. Blu starts to question who he can trust. He and his team travel hither and yon trying to ascertain who is behind the hit put out on C. Amidst all the action Blu is also dealing with a very sick horse.

When I pick up a David Burnsworth novel I know I am in for non-stop action and more than a few dead bodies. This series was originally was a spin-off of the author’s other series, but by the end of this story the two series are now completely blended together. This made me very happy because Brack from the Heat Series and Blu from this series are both such strong characters working around and out of Charleston, South Carolina and I had no idea how the author could keep both series going. Brack and Blu have worked together and characters from the other series have crossed over to this one. Bringing Blu, Brack, Crome, and the ladies in their lives together makes perfect sense and makes this series so strong and compelling.

These characters are so well written, they are intriguing and we learn more about them throughout the story and in each new book. Readers can see their growth and witness their life’s journeys. The dialogue is fantastic and realistic for people who have known each other for a long time and who have seen what they have seen.  The relationships are strong and understanding.  They are not just teammates, they are friends and they care about each other. The accepted their client into their fold and went to extreme lengths to keep her safe at their own peril and I would expect no less from the characters we have come to know over the course of these stories.

Mr. Burnsworth also knows how to set a scene. His island home, complete with his herd of wild horses and swarms of mosquitos, along with every location his characters travel is vividly described. His words take readers right there on the front lines of the mayhem that seems to follow Blu and his team everywhere they go.

Fast-paced, action, suspense, and drama. Burnsworth keeps the reader’s eyes glued to the pages hardly giving us time to come up for air. I loved it. While the story reached a great ending I was sorry to see the book come to an end. These characters really grab ahold, it’s hard to let them go.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Click on the links below to read my reviews for other books by this author.
IN IT FOR THE MONEY
BAD TIME TO BE IN IT
SOUTHERN HEAT
BURNING HEAT
BIG CITY HEAT

About the Author

David Burnsworth became fascinated with the Deep South at a young age. After a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Tennessee and fifteen years in the corporate world, he made the decision to write a novel. He is the author of both the Brack Pelton and the Blu Carraway Mystery Series. Having lived in Charleston on Sullivan’s Island for five years, the setting was a foregone conclusion. He and his wife call South Carolina home.

Author Links

Website   Facebook  Twitter   GoodReads

Purchase Links – AmazonB&NKobo


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May 20 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW, CHARACTER GUEST POST
May 21 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – REVIEW
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May 27 – 4covert2overt ☼ A Place In The Spotlight ☼ – AUTHOR INTERVIEW
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May 29 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT
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June 1 – ❧Defining Ways❧ – CHARACTER INTERVIEW
June 2 – T’s Stuff – SPOTLIGHT

 

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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.”

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May 172019
 


On Flashback Fridays I will share with you
the books I was not able to review
when they were first released that have been screaming at me
from my To-Be-Read bookshelf.

The first book in this series received my Paradise Rating but
I made a huge mistake with this book and scheduled its release date on my calendar wrong.
My calendar was packed and I finally gave up trying to fit it into the regular schedule and scheduled it for the Flashback Friday feature so I could read the book that wasn’t
just screaming at me it was reaching out and hitting me over the head.

My apologies to Krista Davis for my delay in sharing this wonderful book with you. 


The Coloring Crook (Pen & Ink)
Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Setting – Washington D.C.
Kensington (November 27, 2018)
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496716426
ISBN-13: 978-1496716422
Kindle ASIN: B07B78THTP

Includes A Front and Back Cover for You to Color!

Life is looking rosy for Florrie Fox, manager of the Color Me Read bookstore in Georgetown, Washington D.C. She’s working on an adult coloring book of gardens, her romance with Sergeant Eric Jonquille has entered a new chapter, and the bookstore’s weekly coloring club is a source of friendship and entertainment. No member is more vibrant than Dolly Cavanaugh. Dolly likes to say she was blessed with beauty and cursed with lousy husbands, but at least she has a grown daughter and a stunning brownstone to show for it!

When Dolly’s love of garage sales results in her showing up at Color Me Read with a rare book in hand, Florrie is astounded. The Florist, the earliest known coloring book, was first published in 1760. An original copy would be worth a fortune—and someone else knows it. That same evening, Florrie finds Dolly dead on the floor of her apartment, a corner of a coloring book page clutched in her hand. As Florrie delves into Dolly’s past and her personal effects, she discovers a skeleton in the closet—literally—and a whole lot of shady suspects. One of them is an expert in the fine art of murder, but can Florrie draw the right conclusion?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Florrie Fox is happy. She is working a Color Me Read where she has started a coloring book club. She looks over and sees coloring books she has created on the shelves. She is working on one now featuring beautiful gardens. Her relationship with Sergeant Eric Jonquille is entering a new phase, and she has settled in nicely to her boss John Maxwell’s guest house.

In The Coloring Crook, Dolly Cavanaugh, a member of the coloring book group, takes Florrie to an estate sale. Later Dolly comes into the bookstore showing off one of her purchases. A very rare coloring book, which Florrie does her best to authenticate. This book could be worth a fortune. Dolly makes a HUGE mistake by touting her amazing purchase on social media. People start coming out of the woodwork wanting to buy this book, including the woman who sold the book at the estate sale.

Florrie stops by Dolly’s home after work and finds poor Dolly on the floor dead with a piece of a page of the 1760 coloring book in her hand. The rest of the book is missing. The police believe she died of natural causes but Florrie believes it was clearly murder. She feels responsible for not warning Dolly to keep her prize safe and secret until it could be sold through a reputable party. She decides to do a little sleuthing on her own and she makes some surprising discoveries.  She also has compiled a good list of suspects. When the police finally get on board she thinks their suspect is being set up. She must be right because now she has a target on her back.

Because we share a name, this Dolly immediately had a soft spot for Dolly Cavanaugh. We have a few things in common but I am very close to my children and have one wonderful husband. I do like a good garage sale find and am enjoying the adult coloring book craze. I was sorry she had to be the victim but I loved that story the evolved from her death.

The book had a perfect pace and was well-written. The characters were very engaging and developed. The author has taken the core characters in a very pleasing direction. The story was complex with more than one mystery to solve. Ms. Davis did take a few legal sidesteps with no will being produced or read while Dolly’s daughter started disposing of her mother’s belongings and was giving tenants notice because she was selling the house very quickly. The case was still open and one new discovery should have stopped her actions in their tracks. That aside I truly enjoyed the story and am looking forward to the next book.

The author informs readers that the coloring book referenced in her story, The Florist is real and that one of the copies is at the Peter F. Raven Library/Missouri Botanical Gardens. So short of a lengthy road trip I just had to look the book up online and found several pages. You can check out pictures here. I love reading fiction stories where I can learn something too.

This book can be read on its own but I recommend starting with Color Me Murder. Both books have covers ready for you to color.

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Color Me Murder here.

Krista Davis is the New York Times bestselling author of the Domestic Diva Mysteries, the Paws & Claws Mysteries, and the Pen & Ink Mysteries. Several of her books have been nominated for the Agatha Award. Krista lives in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia with two cats and a brood of dogs. Her friends and family complain about being guinea pigs for her recipes, but she notices they keep coming back for more.

Author Links:
Website   Facebook   Pinterest Mystery Lovers Kitchen    Twitter    Killer Characters

 


GIVEAWAY

 Thanks to the publisher I have 1 Kindle copy to give away!
Book with be sent directly from Amazon.

Duplicate entries will be deleted. Void where prohibited.

You do not have to be a follower to enter but I hope you will find
something you like here and become a follower.

Followers Will Receive 2 Bonus Entries For Each Way They Follow.
Plus 2 Bonus Entries For Liking My Facebook Fan Page.

Add this book to your WANT TO READ shelf on GoodReads for 3 Bonus Entries.

Sign Up for Krista’s Newsletter for 5 Bonus Entries.

Pin this giveaway to Pinterest for 3 Bonus Entries.

If you publicize the giveaway on Twitter or Facebook or anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End May 31, 2019, at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here In The Sidebar.

Click Here For Entry Form

 

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.”

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May 092019
 


The Good Detective
Suspense/Thriller
Police Procedural
Setting – Georgia
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons (March 19, 2019)
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 0525535535
ISBN-13: 978-0525535539
Kindle ASIN: B07F63ZJT7

How can you solve a crime if you’ve killed the prime suspect?

Detective P.T. Marsh was a rising star on the police force of Mason Falls, Georgia–until his wife and young son died in an accident. Since that night, he’s lost the ability to see the line between smart moves and disastrous decisions. Such as when he agrees to help out a woman by confronting her abusive boyfriend. When the next morning he gets called to the scene of his newest murder case, he is stunned to arrive at the house of the very man he beat up the night before. He could swear the guy was alive when he left, but can he be sure? What’s certain is that his fingerprints are all over the crime scene.

The trouble is only beginning. When the dead body of a black teenager is found in a burned-out field with a portion of a blackened rope around his neck, P.T. realizes he might have killed the number-one suspect of this horrific crime.

Amid rising racial tension and media scrutiny, P.T. uncovers something sinister at the heart of the boy’s murder–a conspiracy leading all the way back to the time of the Civil War. Risking everything to unravel the puzzle even as he fights his own personal demons, P.T. races headlong toward an incendiary and life-altering showdown.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This is a gritty, compelling, emotional, terrifying story that I escaped right into and only came out for air when I had to get some sleep. I dove back in the next day as soon as I was able and stayed there even after I stopped reading the author’s words. This story has stuck with me since.

Detective P.T. Marsh is still trying to recover after losing his wife and son in an accident almost 2 years ago. He had always had good instincts but he is seriously off his game, drinking too much and having blackouts. His poor judgment leads him to the home of an abusive boyfriend after meeting his girlfriend and noticing the bruises covering her body. After beating the guy to shreds he leaves him with a deadly warning. Back on the job the next day he and his partner are called to a murder. Soon he realizes they are headed on the same path he took to the victim of his beat-down. Did he blackout and kill the guy? No way, but can he really be sure? Especially when the techs are going to find evidence he was there the night before.

While he tries to cover his tracks he makes a huge discovery in the victim’s garage. Evidence of arson that leads them to a field that been burned. As he looks over the fire scene he makes another grisly discovery. A young black teen’s body with a noose around his neck. Did the abusive boyfriend lynch this kid and light the field on fire to cover his crime?

P.T. takes on the case while trying to keep his involvement secret from everyone. What he finds is appalling and shocking and could rock the town of Mason Falls to its core.

The author has created vivid characters P.T. Marsh is a strong man. Flawed, smart, a complicated man facing demons of his own. Finding himself wrapped up, in this case, may be the thing that finally breaks him. His partner Remy is a young rookie who knows something is up with her partner but he shuts her out at every turn. His chief and the other officers have faith in him, but he is holding on to his job by the tips of his fingers. He made a stupid decision to try to scare off an abuser and it could be the final nail in his coffin.

Mr. McMahon takes on serious issues in his debut novel. A layered story featuring the racial divide found in Mason Falls, Georgia dating back decades, back even as far the civil war. Little clues lead to huge reveals. With the current climate these days it wasn’t as hard to wrap my head around these ghastly acts as it would have been just a couple of years ago. So sadly, this story definitely had a ripped from the headlines feel. Something you could see on the nightly news today.

McMahon does an excellent job of setting each scene taking the reader right into the drama. This story was an emotional journey both for the characters and for me as the reader. Anger, repulsion, fear, heartbreak, and more. The story had a slow build but soon following P.T. step by step was riveting. The dialogue was true to life with a few curses as expected in this genre.

For me, John McMahon is now an author to watch. He ends his acknowledgment with “P.T. Marsh will be back. Stay tuned.” That makes me happy because I believe the man has turned a corner and I would like to see where the author takes this character.

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About the Author

John McMahon studied Creative Writing at The University of Arizona. In his role as an ad agency creative director, his work has won a Gold Clio for Fiat, and he’s written a Superbowl spot for Alfa Romeo. He currently lives in Southern California with his family and two rescue animals. He’s hard at work on another P.T. Marsh book and dreams of splitting his time between Cabo San Lucas and Lake Lanier, Georgia.

 


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