Posted in 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Literary Escapes New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

The Cider Shop Rules (A Cider Shop Mystery) by Julie Anne Lindsey #Review (Paradise Rating)


The Cider Shop Rules (A Cider Shop Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
3rd in Series
Setting – West Virginia
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Kensington (July 27, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback ‏ : ‎ 320 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1496723511
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1496723512
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08MBD78KS

Autumn in Blossom Valley means pumpkin patches are ripe and Winona Mae Montgomery and her Granny Smythe’s cider shop is flourishing. But with this season comes . . .

A FATAL HARVEST

The Fall Festival is in full swing. Civil War reenactors from three counties are partaking in Blossom Valley’s tribute to John Brown. Blue Ridge Mountain foliage is in full bloom. And best of all is Jacob Potter’s pumpkin farm where his hayrides, piglet races, pumpkin picking, and corn maze are time-honored draws for locals and tourists alike. That’s why it’s such a shock when Mr. Potter is found dead, hidden under a tarp in the back of Winnie’s pickup truck. This certainly betrays Potter’s reputation as one of the town’s most popular citizens. Fortunately, when it comes to solving a murder, no one has a patch on Winnie. Now, all eyes are on her to do it. Unfortunately, that includes those of the killer who’ll do anything to keep an orchard full of secrets buried.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

There are some great things happening in Blossom Valley. The Potter’s Pumpkin Farm is having a fall festival as is Smthye’s Orchard. There is a civil war reenactment that brings some wonderful guests to Blossom Valley and Winnie’s new cider shop has become a location to visit for cider and baked treats. It’s too bad one venue has to close when the owner is killed and his body is stashed under a tarp in the bed of Winnie’s beloved pickup truck. Sheriff Colton Wise is not happy when many Blossom Valley residents assume Winnie will pare down the suspects and serve up the killer. Sadly the killer knows that too and they are not the only one looking to harm Winnie and Colton.


Take a deep breath of the wonderful autumn air and look around to see all of the beautiful fall foliage. Amble over for a glass of Winnie’s delicious cider and sit back and relax.

Unless your want to trail along with Winnie as she pulls out the stops to catch Mr. Potter’s killer and help her to avoid a criminal from Sheriff Colton’s past. Winnie has her hands full this time trying to take care of everything that has been tossed on her plate.

I love this series. Winnie is a wonderful leading character. Her heart is always in the right place but she sometimes treads into situations she should have avoided. Thankfully Colton Wise is wise to Winnie’s ambitions and does his best to keep her safe. This time his brother Blake is in town to help him. But Blake is a notorious flirt and Winnie gets a little rattled with two Wise men in her life. The handsome brothers are also joined by their parents which adds some really nice things to the story. Best friend Dot is around to play Watson to Winnie’s Sherlock and Winnie’s grandmother is nearby with words of advice. Granny’s group of friends are great sources for local gossip. Ms. Lindsey has created such a wonderful group of truly genuine characters. They kept me engaged from the first page to the last.

Ms. Lindsey has wrapped these wonderful characters into an exciting mystery. Who killed Mr. Potter? Is there a fugitive lurking nearby? Twists, turns, flips, and a trip through the corn maze kept my eyes glued to my Kindle. I would have read the entire book in one sitting if my brain would not have demanded sleep. The author has done an excellent job dropping clues throughout the story but you could have knocked me over with a feather when the killer was disclosed during a thrilling reveal.

The Cider Shop Rules is a fantastic cozy mystery. Charming characters and an exhilarating mystery make this a must-read for cozy mystery lovers. I thoroughly enjoy my visit to Blossom Valley. This book exceeded my expectations and will take a slot on my Best Reads of 2021 list.

This story reads well all on its own but for maximum enjoyment, I recommend ready the series from the start.

 

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

You can read my review of Apple Cider Slaying here. and Pulp Friction here.

 

About the Author

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.

Author Links

Visit her online at www.JulieAnneLindsey.com

Facebook – Twitter – Pinterest – 


Coming Soon from Julie Anne Lindsey

Also by Julie Anne Lindsey

Find more by Julie Anne Lindsey here.

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.”

Posted in 2021 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring Dead as a Duck (A Washington Whodunit) by Colleen J Shogan #Review / #Giveaway – @cshogan276 – Great Escapes Book Tour

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am happy to share my thoughts today about Dead as a Duck!

About Dead as a Duck


Dead as a Duck (A Washington Whodunit)
Cozy Mystery
7th in Series
Setting – North Carolina
Publisher: Camel Press (July 14, 2021)
Paperback: 230 pages
ISBN-10: 1942078323
ISBN-13: 978-1942078326
Digital ASIN: B08WTPNBD6

Congressional staffer Kit Marshall is looking forward to a much-deserved summer vacation in the Outer Banks. When the mayor of the beach town turns up dead, Kit and her friends need to put their fun and relaxation on hold to help solve the crime.

August has been a busy month for congressional staffer Kit Marshall. She hit the road with her boss, Congresswoman Maeve Dixon, who is considering running for the United States Senate in North Carolina. After endless town halls and meet-and-greets, Kit is happy to end the tour in Duck, an upscale beach town in the Outer Banks.

Before Kit can relax on her much-deserved vacation with her husband Doug, brother Sebastian, best friend Meg, and beagle mutt Clarence, the body of Duck’s mayor is found floating in the shallow waters of the Currituck Sound.

Kit’s brother Sebastian, who got in a public kerfuffle with the victim the day before, becomes the prime suspect. Solving the mystery takes her to popular hotspots in the Outer Banks, including a private tour featuring the wild horses of Corolla.

Kit must sacrifice sun-filled days of relaxation to clear her brother. In the end, Kit and Sebastian put their own lives on the line to secure a confession from the killer and make sure justice is served.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Congressional staffer Kit Marshall has hit the road for a listening tour as her boss, Congresswoman Maeve Dixon,  considers a run for Senate. The tour’s last stop is the town of Duck and Kit is looking forward to sticking around and vacationing in the outer banks with her husband, friends, and her brother. Oh, the dogs have come along too. The last town hall meeting gets out of hand when the mayor is put in the hot seat to answer questions about some of the plans he has initiated and his future plans. Congresswoman Dixon doesn’t get much time at all as the event breaks up when things get out of hand.

Kit barely gets to wind down and start her vacay when she finds the now dead mayor of Duck floating in the Currituck Sound. Because her environmental activist brother Sebastian got into it with the mayor at the town hall meeting and has no alibi matching the time of death he becomes the police’s number one suspect. So instead of hitting the beach Kit hits the town’s businesses and residents to find the real killer and clear her brother’s name. It isn’t an easy task and both she and her brother could end up dead instead of catching the killer.


The author takes her wonderful characters out of Washington D.C. to Duck, North Carolina and I enjoyed that very much. One of our best family vacations was in North Carolina. We did stay on our namesake Caswell Beach but did visit the outer banks on a day trip. We have wonderful memories of the area and I felt bad that Kit’s vacay was marred by murder. She did get to visit a few places but clearing Sebastien was her main focus.

It was fun to see the characters out of their high-pressure element and be able to kick back and relax a little bit.  The dogs had a good time too but one enjoyed the beach much more than the other. They did have to deal with the murder and a couple of characters are faced with a vital decisions so it wasn’t all sunshine and beaches. These characters are all very strong and well-developed. Their interactions are all believable. They really are a fun group of people.

The mystery is very well written. The mayor had ruffled a lot of Duck feathers and it really made sense that the suspect pool was drawn from its residents rather than a tourist after just one meeting but the police seemed remiss about pinning it on a member of the little town. With a more open pool Kit’s snooping lead to some nice twists and turns. I was really kept guessing right up to the very end.

I really enjoy Ms. Shogan’s writing style. It is comfortable and makes her books easy to escape into. Even though politics to a backseat to the mystery this time there was enough for those readers who like the political theme.

Dead as a Duck takes us to a wonderful place with fantastic characters wrapped up in a marvelous mystery. For me, it was definitely a Perfect Escape. The author took me on a nice little escape to Duck and the story had everything I look for is a stellar cozy mystery. Kit has some immense duties coming up as her boss makes a huge decision so I am really looking forward to the next installment of this series too.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Colleen J. Shogan

Colleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American politics at numerous universities. She previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate and as a senior executive at the Library of Congress. Currently, she’s a Senior Vice President at the White House Historical Association. A member of Sisters in Crime, Colleen splits her time between Arlington, VA and Duck, NC.

Authors Prior titles: STABBING IN THE SENATE, HOMICIDE IN THE HOUSE, CALAMITY AT THE CONTINENTAL CLUB, K STREET KILLING, GORE IN THE GARDEN, LARCENY AT THE LIBRARY

Author Links

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Praise for the Series

“The mystery is perplexing—for Kit and company, and for me—and well done. I was impressed by the complexity of the murder plot. I enjoyed the political theme, and all the details about lobbyists.” —Jane Reads

“To someone who has mastered that uniquely Washington skill of bobbling two cell phones and a glass of wine without spilling a drop, solving a murder is practically child’s play.” —HillRag

“A solid choice for political junkies and readers of ­Maggie ­Sefton, Fred Hunter, and Mike Lawson.” —Library Journal

“The fourth volume in author Colleen J. Shogan’s simply outstanding ‘Washington Whodunit’ series, K Street Killing is a consistently entertaining read with many an unexpected twist and turn by a true master of the genre.” —Midwest Book Review

“Shogan does a good job depicting the creaky, squeaky wheels of government, and Marshall plays politics and sleuth with equal dexterity in this capital Capitol Hill mystery.” —Publishers Weekly

“Loads of inside scoop about the workings of Senate offices—complete with all the gossiping, back-stabbing, and procedural maneuvering—plus an appealing young sleuth, sprightly pacing, and an edge-of-your-seat showdown on the Hart-Dirksen underground train.” —Literary Hill

“An excellent whodunit…. I was really impressed with this very smart story. The author is a former Senate staffer so she is writing what she knows, less the murder, I hope.”    —Escape with Dollycas Into a Good Book

“Readers who enjoy amateur sleuth mysteries written in the style of Agatha Christie will enjoy this promising debut mystery.” —The Washington Independent Review of Books

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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.”

Posted in 2021 Reviews Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Sand Trapped: Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series by Joanna Campbell Slan #Review / #Giveaway @joannaslan Great Escapes Book Tour


Sand Trapped: Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series
by Joanna Campbell Slan

About Sand Trapped


Sand Trapped: Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Setting – Florida
Publisher: Spot On Publishing (May 16, 2021)
Paperback: 292 pages
ISBN-13: 979-8503202564
Digital ASIN: B091S4S2MW

A Cozy Mystery That’s a Real Hit!

 

First they warned Jocelyn Johnson.

 

Then they ticketed Jocelyn Johnson.

 

Then someone murdered Jocelyn Johnson.

 

And Cara Mia Delgatto was looking for a lost ball when found Jocelyn “JJ” Johnson face down in a sand trap. Gave a whole new meaning to “take a drop.”

 

It wasn’t a surprise. The neighbors hated JJ for the reckless way she drove her golf cart. Sure, she lived on the grounds of a swanky golf club, and yes, she had tons of money, but JJ ruined flowerbeds, terrorized grandkids, and made a nuisance of herself.

 

Except…except…she’s quiet now. Lying there in the dirt at Hole #6. Someone bashed in JJ’s head. (Who would risk ruining an expensive Homna golf club like that?)

 

Cara doesn’t want to get involved. But when Gerta Hunsickler is named the prime suspect, and Gerta’s husband is so angry at his wife that he’s starting divorce proceedings, Cara can’t sit on her hands. She knows what it’s like to be unfairly accused. So she promises to take a swing at it and see if she can hit a long drive down the fairway of justice!

 

Meanwhile, back at The Treasure Chest, Cara’s friends are busy creating fabulous and fun Mother’s Day gifts. There are two brides-to-be working for Cara, and their two mothers-in-law-to-be have decided not to play nice. Can you say, “Mama’s boy” ten times really fast? I thought you could.

 

If you love warm-hearted, clean books, that feature female amateur sleuths, fur babies, family, and friends, you’ll love this charming DIY/recycling/upcycling series set on the Southeast Coast of Florida.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Jocelyn Johnson wasn’t a good neighbor. She pushed people’s limits and she broke rule after rule. So when she is found dead in a sandtrap on the sixth hole not a lot of tears were shed. Cara is sorry she agreed to be her friend’s teammate in a golf tournament because again she finds herself knee-deep in another murder investigation. Just what she didn’t need as her store, The Treasure Chest is gearing up for Mother’s Day and the merchandise is flying off the shelves. She also has two brides to be on pins and needles as their future mothers-in-law are coming to town. She has done it before, she will just have to multitask and putt the murderer right into a jail cell while not shanking all her other duties.


Cara Mia Delgatto owns The Treasure Chest,  specializing in upcycled, recycled, and repurposed goods. She has a great group of friends working for her. It appears that over the course of the series they have become more like family. They support each other in everything they do, even helping Cara catch a killer. I enjoyed getting to know all the characters. They are well developed but still have room to grow as the series continues.

The Treasure Chest is a very interesting shop. It is well stocked with a variety of items but I was pleasantly surprised that they have pet memory items and Cara is working to increase the products she has to offer. I also enjoyed the descriptions of all the places Cara traveled, her home, her store, the Sandy Ridge Golf Club, and more. This area of Florida sounds like a wonderful place to live sans the crazy neighbors and the murder.

The murder mystery was very well done. Joanna Campbell Slan weaves the main plot together with the subplots very nicely. There is always something happening and the murder mystery has some really great twists. The big reveal was done in a fantastic way and I was surprised by whodunit.

I have read other books by this author but this is the first book in the series I have read but it won’t be my last. I am so happy that the author wrote the story so I new readers won’t feel lost or pressure to read the previous books in the series prior to reading Sand Trapped. I do hope to read the rest of this series and more books by this author.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Joanna Campbell Slan

“Our best friend, our next-door neighbor, and ourselves with just a touch of the outrageous.” That’s how RT Book Review describes Joanna’s protagonist, Kiki Lowenstein. The truth is that’s a pretty good description of Joanna Campbell Slan as well.

Joanna is a New York Times Bestselling, USA Today Bestselling, and Amazon Bestselling author as well as a woman prone to frequent bursts of crafting frenzy, leaving her with burns from her hot glue gun and paint on her clothes. And the mess? Let’s not even go there.

Otherwise, Joanna’s a productive author with more than 80 written projects to her credit. Her non-fiction work includes how to books, a college textbook for public speakers, and books of personal essays (think Chicken Soup for the Soul).

Currently, she writes five fiction series: The Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series (Agatha Award Finalist, contemporary, St. Louis setting, crafting), the Cara Mia Delgatto Mystery Series (contemporary, Florida setting, DIY, and recycling), the Jane Eyre Chronicles (Daphne du Maurier Award Winner, 1830s England, based on Charlotte Brontë’s classic), the Sherlock Holmes Fantasy Thrillers (late 1800s, based on Arthur Conan Doyle’s books), and the Zen Cozy Mystery Series (launch 2021).

A former TV talk show host, college teacher, and public relations specialist, Joanna was one of the early Chicken Soup for the Soul contributors. She won a Silver Anvil for her work on the original FarmAid concert to benefit farmers.

In her ongoing quest never to see snow again, Joanna lives with her husband and their Havanese puppy, Jax, on an island off the coast of Florida. You can email her at jcslan@joannaslan.com or visit her website at https://linktr.ee/jcslan

Author Links

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Purchase Links – Amazon 

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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.”

Posted in 2021 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways New Release Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting

Cozy Wednesday featuring Murder at the Lakeside Library: A Lakeside Library Mystery by Holly Danvers #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour


Murder at the Lakeside Library: A Lakeside Library Mystery
by Holly Danvers

About Murder at the Lakeside Library


Murder at the Lakeside Library: A Lakeside Library Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Wisconsin
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books (July 13, 2021)
Hardcover: 336 pages
ISBN-10: 1643856324
ISBN-13: 978-1643856322
Digital ASIN: B08L5VF4X5

In this series debut perfect for fans of Jenn McKinlay and Miranda James, Rain Wilmot must discover the killer, before the book closes on her life.

 

Rain Wilmot has just returned to her family’s waterfront log cabin in Lofty Pines, Wisconsin after the untimely death of her husband. The cabin is peaceful compared to Rain’s corporate job and comes with an informal library that Rain’s mother, Willow, used to run. But as Rain prepares for the re-opening of the library, all hopes for a peaceful life are shattered when she discovers the body of Thornton Hughes, a real estate buyer, on the premises.

 

The community of Lofty Pines starts pointing fingers at Willow, since she has been unusually absent from the library this summer. A fishy rumor surfaces when Rain learns that Willow had been spending a lot of time with Thornton. The town even thought they were having an affair.

 

While theories swirl about Thornton’s death, Rain takes it upon herself to solve the case to exonerate her mother. As more clues surface, Rain will have to piece together the mystery. But if she isn’t careful, she may be the next to end up dead in the water in Murder at the Lakeside Library, the first in Holly Danvers’ new Lakeside Library mysteries.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In this first Lakeside Library Mystery, we meet Rain Wilmot. She has come home to the family’s cabin in Lofty Pines where she reconnects with her childhood best friend Julia. She hopes for a relaxing solitary summer to start to heal from the grief of losing her husband. Her friend Julia has other ideas. She expects Rain to open the library that is part of the family’s cabin. Rain’s mother usually runs the library but is traveling with no plans to visit Lofty Pines this summer. Julia has big plans so she needs Rain on board and opening the library.

Julia’s plans go seriously awry when they find a very dead Thorton Hughes on the property. Hughes, a real estate developer, had some big plans of his own and had made a few enemies around the area but he was apparently close to Rain’s mother, Willow. Her absence in Lofty Pines this year is questioned and some people think she had something to do with the man’s murder.

Rain decides to do some investigating of her own while rumors fly. She needs to be careful of she could be the next dead body found in Lofty Pines.


I was immediately drawn into this story by the author’s descriptions of Wisconsin’s beautiful Northwoods. I have been to several places like Lofty Pines, none that had a library in one of the cabins, but Ms. Danvers’s descriptions rang true and made it very easy to picture the setting.

I liked Rain and totally understood her need for a quiet place. I also understood Julia’s quest to not allow her friend to wallow in her pain, but boy, that Julia is a pushy woman. She made plans and expected Rain to just fall in line. There was one scene where Rain spends the night in the library and Julia arrives the next morning like a bull in a china shop. I wish Rain would have responded in a stronger way. More insight into Rain and her adult life would have been helpful. We know that the cabin was a special place for her but because her husband didn’t appreciate the area they rarely went there. Again, she allowed another person to make decisions for her. Her behavior really does show a pattern.

I did love the “Laker” attitude. The people that own property in the area and spend every summer there or live there full time are a very cool group. They reach out to help each other whether it be doing a little yard work or bringing treats to share on the deck or just have a listening ear when needed.

The mystery was a little murky for me. There was a bit of repetition and Rain seemed unfocused at times but again she is dealing with a loss and then found a dead body that was oddly connected to her family. Of course, she does get some assistance from Julia, and an elderly library volunteer Marge. They know the people and all the connections that Rain is now unfamiliar with because she has been away so long. The author has a very descriptive writing style but here some of the narration and descriptions get to be too much. I found the treasure found in the library to be a very interesting twist, revealing something important that did move the story forward.

I did have a few issues with the story but Murder at the Lakeside Library was a very entertaining read. It has laid the groundwork for what I hope will be a long-running series. I really liked how important literacy was to Rain’s family going back to her great grandfather, himself an author. The library is a wonderful family legacy. That gives this series a grand uniqueness that cozy readers will love.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Holly Danvers 

Holly Danvers grew up devouring every mystery novel on the shelf of her local library. She lives in the Midwest with her husband and 3 chickens, where she’s already plotting her next novel.

Author Links – 
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Coming in February 2022

Written as Holly Quinn

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Great Escapes Praise for Murder at the Lakeside Library: A Lakeside Library Mystery
by Holly Danvers

Author Holly Danvers has created an appealing physical environment and cast of characters that cozy mystery fans will want to revisit time and again.
~Book Club Librarian

Murder at the Lakeside Library is a blithe cozy mystery with a lakeside library, a curious corpse, a firm friend, uncertain rumors, and a boatload of books.
~The Avid Reader

I loved the cozy setting and the whole idea of “Lakers” (not the basketball team) and running a summer library. It gave me that On Golden Pond feeling but with a delicious cozy mystery wrapped up in it!
~Books To The Ceiling

What a fabulously fun start to a new cozy series. . . a fun delightful read full of clues mixed with characters you can really picture while getting to know them. 5/5 stars.
~Books a Plenty Book Reviews

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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.”

Posted in 2021 Reviews Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

The Question Is Murder by Mark Willen #Review


The Question Is Murder
Mystery
Setting – Washington D.C.
Publisher ‏ : ‎ Pen-L Publishing (May 14, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 322 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1683132246
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1683132240
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B091RNCRQ7

Washington D.C. newspaper columnist Sam Turner, known to his readers as Mr. Ethics, faces his toughest moral dilemma yet: Can murder ever be justified?

That’s the question posed to him by a mysterious young woman who says she is being stalked and harassed by an ex-lover too powerful to be stopped any other way. Sam knows that journalists should never get personally involved in a story, but he finds he is being drawn deeper and deeper into this one whether he wants it or not.

So when Senator Wade Morgan turns up murdered, Sam fears the worst. Worried about his own involvement, the man who normally has all the answers is now the one making questionable decisions.

As his investigation into the Senator’s death begins to spin out of control, Sam finds he can’t let go—even as the case grows more complicated and the threats against his life become more immediate. With the fate of a young woman at stake and his own life in jeopardy, Sam can’t back down until the killer—whoever that may be—is brought to justice.

But this is D.C., and justice can be in short supply.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Can murder ever be justified? That is the question Sam Turner aka Mr. Ethics, a Washington D.C. newspaper columnist is asked in an email from “Truly Desperate”. He feels compelled to learn the mystery woman’s story even though he shouldn’t get personally involved. She tells him the man harassing her is a powerful Washington insider and she believes the only way to stop him is to kill him. No names are revealed but when Senator Wade Morgan is murdered he has a bad feeling that he was the man referred to in the email and his involvement may come back to bite him big time. Instead of backing off, he jumps all in on his own investigation putting his job, his life, and the mysterious woman’s life in danger.


Sam Turner receives many emails for his Mr. Ethics newspaper column but this one draws him in and he makes some terrible decisions which he tries to justify throughout the entire story. Told from multiple points of view the author takes the reader on quite a journey as Sam gets deeper and deeper into the case. The suspect’s first-person accounts really give the story depth but there is some repetition that messed with the flow.

The author brings many ethical questions to light as his characters try to validate what was done. All the characters have flaws and I did have sympathy for their plight. Sam really is at a crossroads in his life and the email plus the suspects are a challenge to him.  Truly Desperate is also struggling but is she guilty?  Is the Senator’s wife involved? What other enemies did the Senator have? I did enjoy the chase. Sam involves his co-workers and other contacts to try to find answers but the entire investigation was a little fuzzy. For that reason, I felt the ending was a little abrupt. Questions were answered but after the ride we had been taken on I just expected more. I felt like the author noticed his word/page count and felt like he just needed to wrap things up.

The theme of The Question is Murder is fantastic, ethics in D.C. is always a slippery slope. I was just very disappointed in the ending. I am open to reading more by this author because this story had a great start but the author seems to have lost his way heading into the conclusion. For me, this is a 3-Star book which is a conundrum because my rating system states those are a Satisfactory Excursion but I was not satisfied with the way the story played out at all.



Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About the Author

Mark Willen has been a reporter, editor, producer, columnist, and blogger at The Voice of America, National Public Radio, Congressional Quarterly, Bloomberg News, and Kiplinger. He has published and broadcast hundreds of nonfiction articles from datelines as varied as New York, Concord, N.H., Moscow, Jerusalem, Cairo, Beijing, Tokyo, Buenos Aires, and Cape Town, South Africa.

Mark retired from full-time journalism in December 2010 to devote his energies to writing fiction. His short stories have been published in The Rusty Nail, Corner Club Press, and The Boiler Review. The Question Is Murder is his fourth novel.

Mark also leads a writer’s workshop for teenagers and serves as a volunteer tax preparer for elderly and low-income clients. He lives in Silver Spring, Maryland, with his wife, Janet.

Visit Mark’s Website here.


Also by Mark Willen

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.”

Posted in 2021 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies Giveaways New Release Challenge Read The Printed Word Challenge Wisconsin Author Wisconsin Setting You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring The Weaver’s Revenge (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery) by Kathleen Ernst #Review / #Giveaway

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday! 

I am excited to share my thoughts about The Weaver’s Revenge today!

The Weaver’s Revenge (A Chloe Ellefson Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
11th in Series
Setting – Wisconsin/Upper Michigan
Three Towers Press (an imprint of HenschelHAUS) (May 15, 2021)
Paperback ‏ : ‎ 398 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1595988106
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1595988102
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B09471KLGN

A Killer Weaves a Deadly Blend of Betrayal and Revenge that Threatens Chloe’s Work … and Her Life

When offered a rare opportunity to help develop a fledgling historic site dedicated to Finnish American history and heritage, curator Chloe Ellefson journeys to the remote Northwoods of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

In addition to the consultant job, she’s on a personal quest to learn about the enduring tradition of rag rug weaving. Encountering a dead body upon arrival, however, immediately puts that goal in jeopardy. Although suspicion soon falls on her new colleagues, Chloe is determined to persevere … even if it means ignoring the advice of her new husband, police officer Roelke McKenna. Can she identify the killer and complete her mission, or will all her dreams unravel?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Chloe Ellefson has been given an exciting opportunity to get in on the ground floor of a new historic site in Upper Michigan. This site is featuring Finish American History and Chole jumps at the chance to consult and make program recommendations to the people involved in developing this new historic site. She is also excited to meet some rag rug weavers as that was popular in Finnish history and continues to be in the area.

Chloe arrives at one weaver’s home just in time to discover a dead body. She had such high hopes to tap into the woman’s knowledge, her death has her questioning her whole journey. But she can’t back away from her commitment even when there may be a murderer in her midst. Her new husband, police officer Roelke McKenna is not pleased with her decision especially when he is not there to protect her but he knows Chloe is a strong independent woman and that while she may listen to his advice he knows she isn’t coming back to their home in Wisconsin until all her commitments are fulfilled and now that includes murder.


History and mystery come together in the precise way I expect when I pick up a book by Kathleen Ernst.

Chloe’s part of the story takes place in the 1980s, a time where cell phones, GPS., and the internet are still a dream. She is consulting on rebuilding the Hanka Homestead as of 1920 in the Upper Penisula of Michigan. We go back in time to Finland in May of 1915/16 when Matti Peltoniemi immigrates to the United States. His young wife Liana follows when his letters stop coming. She is on a quest to find her husband who should be in the U.P. The characters we are introduced to in this story are so interesting and believable. I quickly became invested in their lives, especially Liana as she endures a lot and stays strong to find the man she loves. Her journey is full of tough and scary times. My heart broke for her so strongly at one point.

The characters in Chloe’s time are also incredibly written with secrets and strife of their own. Chloe meets many people and attends some community events to learn more about the weaving craft and the Hanka’s time period so that she can get the new historic site off to a good start. She imparts her knowledge about collections and uses elbow grease on some wonderful finds. She also uses her sleuthing skills to ferret out a killer.

The investigation into the death of the weaver is compounded by another death. The author has plotted out a tightly woven mystery full of twists and turns. Clues were difficult to pin down. I had just a little feeling as to where I thought the story was heading. I was only slightly right. The ending ended up totally taking me by surprise. Roelke had a mystery of how one to solve back in Eagle and I eagled out that solution fairly quickly even though he had to deal with an over-the-top victim.

Kathleen Ernst is a terrific storyteller and I credit a lot of that to her time spent at Old World Wisconsin.  Finding and overseeing collections that tell historic stories, this series and her young reader mysteries feel like a natural offshoot for a person who loves history as much as this author does. I always learn something new when reading her stories. I took a great interest in the weaving theme this time because that has been a craft I have been interested in forever. I never had anything wonderful like the looms in this story but I did make a few creations with my tabletop loom.

This is the 11th book in this series and I have loved every one of them. I am so happy Ms. Ernst found a new home for this series! It was well worth the wait to find the right fit. I am looking forward to many more journeys with Chloe. I love her plan for the future.

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About the Author

Kathleen Ernst is a social historian, educator, and author. Her Chloe Ellefson mysteries reflect the decade she spent as a curator at a large outdoor museum, and feature historic sites in the Upper Midwest. Library Journal says, “Ernst keeps getting better with each entry in this fascinating series.” Kathleen has also written many mysteries for young readers. Honors for her work include a LOVEY Award and Agatha and Edgar nominations. Kathleen lives and writes in Wisconsin.

 Author Links – Website    Blog   Facebook

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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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The Mountain View Murder (A Wintergreen Mystery) by Patrick Kelly #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @pkfiction


The Mountain View Murder (A Wintergreen Mystery)
by Patrick Kelly

About The Mountain View Murder

The Mountain View Murder (A Wintergreen Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Virginia
Publisher: Chaparral Press LLC
Paperback: 270 pages
ISBN-10: 1734239220
ISBN-13: 978-1734239225
Digital – ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0977C7WVL

Guess who cried at Lou Thorpe’s funeral

 

No one. His wife, grown children, and best friends all attended the service, but no one shed a single tear. Poor Lou. He was out for his morning walk when a crazed driver knocked him out of life. Crazed? With no car, no driver, and no witnesses, it’s difficult to say. Was it an accident or intentional?

 

Until that morning, Bill O’Shea was living the dream. After a career of fighting crime in the big city, Bill bought a condo in the beautiful mountain resort community of Wintergreen, Virginia. When he met his attractive new neighbor, Bill knew his retirement was off to a great start. But then the short-staffed police department asked Bill to help them investigate Thorpe’s death.

 

Soon, Bill fell into an old routine. Interviewing suspects. Checking alibis. Everyone had a secret to hide, but Bill lacked evidence to tie any of the suspects to the crime. He was missing something–like he had an itch he couldn’t reach to scratch.

 

Will Bill and his new friends solve the case, or will the murder of Lou Thorpe remain a mystery forever?

 

If you love beautiful mountain settings, a charming cast, and intriguing plot twists, you’re going to love this new series!

 

Clean read: no graphic violence, sex, or strong language.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

“In the dead of the summer night, harsh winds blow from the north into the Shenandoah Valley.” Plagued by insomnia Lou Thorpe heads out for his usual early morning walk never to return home again. The apparent victim of a hit and run the police have no witnesses to say if it was an accident or intentional. The local force is short-handed and the temporary man in charge has no clue where to start his investigation. Enter Bill O’Shea, a retired cop from the big city who has recently moved to the resort community of Wintergreen. He quickly starts checking alibis and talking to suspects but there is nothing to pin anyone with the crime. Frustrated that he is missing an important piece of the puzzle. Maybe his new neighbor can help him uncover something to get the investigation moving again but no one really seems distraught that the man is dead. Bill could be looking at a case he just may not be able to solve.


I really enjoyed Mr. Kelly’s descriptive writing style. From the first line, he whisked me away to the beautiful area of Wintergreen, Virginia. The mountains and their trails are traversed throughout the story and I could easily picture every step along the way. This added so much to the story.

The victim, Lou Thorpe was a longtime resident of the community and he had a clear routine that everyone was aware of, but he wasn’t a nice man. I was a little shocked by the number of suspects that were revealed as the retired Bill O’Shea digs into Thorpe’s life. Bill is an excellent protagonist. He is a smart man and his heart is in the right place. He was asked to assist on this case and he truly gave it his all. He interacts with a wide variety of people and at times he truly had the patience of a saint. Everyone seems to have a secret and some are pretty big. He does have an instant connection with his new neighbor Cindy but she worries me a bit after some of her reactions. I am interested to see how this relationship plays out. All the other characters we meet have issues that make them unique and memorable. It is a very interesting community.

The mystery is very well-plotted with a lot of moving parts. I really enjoyed following along with Bill and witnessing his thought process. The ending did surprise me and played out in an unusual way. The characters were believable for the most part the ending was not. I was not left with that satisfied feeling I usually have when finishing books in this genre. I can only assume the author had a very good reason for writing it the way he did.

While the ending felt off I found The Mountain View Murder to be an entertaining read. I really like Bill O’Shea and would definitely read more stories featuring him. I also really like the Shenandoah Valley and the Appalachian Trail setting and the way the author brought the area to life. I am curious to see where the author takes these characters.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Patrick Kelly

Pat Kelly was raised in the idyllic suburb of Yorktown, Virginia, where children ran barefoot through the grass and fished in the York River. After graduating from UVA, he left the state to pursue a career in finance. He settled in Texas, married a wonderful woman (Susie), and together they raised two daughters in Austin.

With the girls now grown and gone, Pat has pursued a lifelong love of writing stories. Countless hours at the keyboard have produced the Joe Robbins Thriller Series, two book awards, and four standalone novels.

A few years ago, Pat and Susie bought a summer home in the bucolic mountaintop resort of Wintergreen, Virginia. The beautiful vistas there inspired Pat to write a cozy mystery series featuring the reluctant detective Bill O’Shea. Join Pat’s newsletter to follow Bill’s adventures as he dodges irrepressible bears, pursues romance, and solves mysteries.

Author Links

Webpage     Blog    Facebook    Twitter     Goodreads   Instagram

Purchase Links

Amazon Paperback  – Amazon Kindle – Books2Read   –  Barnes & Noble –   Kobo 

Also by Patrick Kelly


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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.”

Posted in 2021 Reviews E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Choir Loft Murder: Frankie Shep Suspense Novellas by Karen Randau #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @klrandau


Choir Loft Murder: Frankie Shep Suspense Novellas
by Karen Randau

About Choir Loft Murder


Choir Loft Murder: Frankie Shep Suspense Novellas
Mystery/Thriller
3rd in Series
Setting – Wyoming
Independently Published – June 22 (print) and August 24 (ebook)
Print Length – 134 Pages
Digital ASIN: B08XY8HW26

Her fiance a murderer? As she digs for the truth, she must fight to survive a plot to frame the man she loves.

 

Frankie Shep has endured too many tragedies in her life. When she finally dares to love again, a revengeful plot threatens to cancel her wedding plans and send her fiance to death row. But this feisty modern-day rancher won’t stand for it.

 

A member of the church choir dies from a blowgun dart to a vital artery, and the murder weapon implicates Quint. Frankie is shocked to discover Quint was a champion blowgun competitor but quit the sport after a family disaster. And now he’s refusing to talk about his fate.

 

So she takes it on herself to track down the killer before Quint accepts a life-altering plea deal. She’s devastated when she unearths his motive for the crime. But someone else lurks in the shadows, and that’s who she’s determined to find. Little does she know the killer follows her every move, ready to strike her down when she gets too close.

Can she unravel the vindictive plot before she becomes a crazed killer’s next victim?

Dollycas’s Thoughts

This third book in the series has Frankie and Pastor Quint planning their life together when a choir rehearsal goes horribly wrong. A new member of the choir with an angelic voice that can hit those amazing high notes is struck down by a dart from a blowgun. The murderer opens the door just wide enough to do the deed and disappears as the resulting chaos ensues.

Frankie is stunned when her fiance is arrested for the crime. She had no idea the man had mad skills with a blowgun and could have easily made the precise shot. He seems to accept his fate but Frankie knows the man she loves is no killer and she is going to prove it. She knows he is being set up but she learns he did have a viable motive.

The trouble is the real killer is watching her every move and is never going to let her find the truth and if she does what’s one more body. Can Frankie free her fiance? Or will she be the next person the kills blows away?


I was on the edge of my seat for most of this story. At just 134 pages the pace is brisk and revenge is on the songchart.

Frankie works tirelessly to follow every clue even if it means traveling miles before she sleeps. She does not give up even when things she uncovers do not make sense. She battled on through each twist and turn. I admired the way she kept investigating even when Quint was about to give up and take a plea. I was a little disappointed in Quint’s behavior but don’t want to say too much and ruin the book for anyone.

Ms. Randau plotted an excellent mystery which led up to a very suspenseful reveal. I was totally blindsided when the killer was revealed. I am embarrassed because I fell into a trap I shouldn’t have and that led me astray.

The author knows how to pack the pages full of intrigue and excitement. I read this story incredibly fast and I never had a moment when I wanted to put it down.

Choir Loft Murder was a true Perfect Escape. I am looking forward to visiting these characters again soon.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

About Karen Randau

Karen Randau authors fast-paced mystery, suspense, and thriller books featuring intricate plots, told from the point of view of strong female protagonists. In addition to the Frankie Shep Suspense series set on a fictional ranch in Wyoming, her Rim Country Mystery Series are set in the quaint fictional mountain town of Rim Vista, Arizona. She is also one of seven authors of novellas in the Tawnee Mountain Mystery Series. She lives in the mountains of Arizona with her multigenerational family.

Author Links

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Purchase Links

Choir Loft Murder
Also by Karen Randau

Entire Series Page

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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.”

Posted in 2021 Reviews Cozy Wednesday Craving For Cozies Cruisin Thru Cozies E-Book Challenge Giveaways Great Escapes Book Tours New Release Challenge Purrfect Reading Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Cozy Wednesday featuring The Moonshine Shack Murder (A Southern Homebrew Mystery) by Diane Kelly #Review / #Giveaway – Great Escapes Book Tour @BerkleyMystery @DianeKellyBooks


Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!
I am so happy to feature The Moonshine Shack Murder today!

The Moonshine Shack Murder (A Southern Homebrew Mystery)
by Diane Kelly

About The Moonshine Shack Murder


The Moonshine Shack Murder (A Southern Homebrew Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Tennessee
Publisher: Berkley (July 6, 2021)
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 0593333225
ISBN-13: 978-0593333228
Digital ASIN : B08KPKD22T

In this intoxicating new cozy mystery series, the future for modern-day moonshiner Hattie Hayes looks bright–until death darkens the doorstep of her Moonshine Shack.

 

The Hayes family has made moonshine in Chattanooga since the days of Prohibition, and Hattie is happy to continue the tradition, serving up fun, fruity flavors in mason jars for locals and tourists alike. All signs indicate her new ‘shine shop will be a smashing success. What’s more, mounted police officer Marlon Landers has taken a shine to Hattie. For the first time ever, the stars seemed to have aligned in both her work and romantic life. But when a body ends up on her store’s doorstep alongside a broken jar of her Firefly Moonshine, it just might be lights out for her fledgling business.

 

The homicide detective can’t seem to identify the person who killed the owner of a nearby bar. The only witness is Hattie’s longhaired gray cat, and Smoky isn’t talking. When the detective learns that the victim and Hattie had a heated exchange shortly before his murder, she becomes her prime suspect.

 

Lest Hattie end up behind bars like her bootlegging great-grandfather a century before, she must distill the evidence herself and serve the killer a swift shot of justice.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Hattie (love that name, it was my grandma’s) Hayes comes from a long line of moonshiners and now she is keeping the tradition alive with The Moonshine Shack where she will sell her grandfather’s shine along with her own brand with fruity flavors. She hopes her “Shack” and her “Shine” will be a hit with tourists and locals.

Hattie holds a grand opening party where she meets the tavern owner from across the street. She thought she had him convinced to carry her “shine” but when she goes to deliver his first order he backs out of the deal. Then a few nights later he is found dead on the Shack’s porch with a smashed jar of her moonshine nearby. She was upset by his deceit but she would never have killed the man. The only witness appears to be Hattie’s cat but he isn’t talking so she becomes the homicide detective’s #1 suspect. Officer Landers is on her side and tries to help her distill the evidence to clear her name and put the real killer behind bars.


Ms. Kelly has given her new Southern Homebrew Mystery a fantastic start. I liked these characters immediately, okay I loved her grandfather. He leaves the senior home every day to help her out at the store. When the customers are scarce he sits in the rocker on the front porch and whittles the cutest little animals. He also takes a nap here and there and there is a scene that had me giggling and you will too. I love the close relationship he has with his granddaughter. He is so proud of her for carrying on the family tradition. She is smart and savvy and knows how to market her product. Those characteristics come in handy when trying to sleuth out a killer.

Hattie has her two besties helping her out too but one is due to have a baby any day so that means she will have less time to help out. Officer Landers is such a nice man and good at his job. He takes a special interest in keeping Hattie safe and his horse is adorable. I love that this relationship is taking a romantic turn. Marlon and Hattie’s families have a history but I don’t think some old feud will come between them. I also approve highly of Hattie bringing her kitty Smoky to the shop each day. Seeing him lying in the window in the sunshine each day gives the place a real homey feel.

The mystery is very well-plotted and it quickly becomes apparent that the former barkeep has his fair share of enemies which really opened up the suspect pool. Some of his employees/girlfriends rank high on Hattie’s list but a local lawyer and other shopkeepers and a certain restaurant owner all had motives to kill the man. Hattie works hard to pare down the suspects and catch the killer because when the case wraps she has a special event she is looking forward to. I did enjoy the way she did her investigating but I took a shine to one person early on and never eliminated them. Sure I missed something I was surprised by how the ending played out and that I actually picked the right character.

As I said this series is off to a fantastic start. The location is ideal and the characters are interesting. I am excited because the author has just scratched the surface and can take this series in so many directions. I want to get to know all the characters better. I can’t wait to return to Chattanooga and The Moonshine Shack for a sample or two and whatever trouble Hattie gets herself wrapped up in.

The Moonshine Shack Murder was a pure pleasure to read and I enjoyed it very much.

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About Diane Kelly

Diane Kelly writes stories that feature feisty female lead characters and their furry, four-footed friends. Diane is the author of over 30 novels and novellas, including the Death & Taxes, Paw Enforcement, and House Flipper mystery series. In 2021, she’ll launch two new series, the Southern Homebrew moonshine series and the Mountain Lodge Mysteries.

Author Links: 

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Also by Diane Kelly

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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.”

Posted in 2021 Reviews Cloak and Dagger Challenge E-Book Challenge New Release Challenge You Read How Many Books Challenge

Kill All Your Darlings by David Bell #Review @BerkleyMystery @DavidBellNovels

Kill All Your Darlings
Psychological Thriller
Setting – Kentucky
Berkley (July 6, 2021)
Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 416 pages
ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0593198662
ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0593198667
Kindle ASIN ‏ : ‎ B08MBPPXC3

When a student disappears and is presumed dead, her professor passes off her manuscript as his own—only to find out it implicates him in an unsolved murder in this new thriller from the USA Today bestselling author of The Request.

After years of struggling to write following the deaths of his wife and son, English professor Connor Nye publishes his first novel, a thriller about the murder of a young woman.

There’s just one problem: Connor didn’t write the book. His missing student did. And then she appears on his doorstep, alive and well, threatening to expose him.

Connor’s problems escalate when the police insist details in the novel implicate him in an unsolved murder from two years ago. Soon Connor discovers the crime is part of a disturbing scandal on campus and faces an impossible dilemma—admit he didn’t write the book and lose his job or keep up the lie and risk everything. When another murder occurs, Connor must clear his name by unraveling the horrifying secrets buried in his student’s manuscript.

This is a suspenseful, provocative novel about the sexual harassment that still runs rampant in academia—and the lengths those in power will go to cover it up.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

In this David Bell thriller English professor Connor Nye is still grieving the loss of his wife and child while the college is pushing the “publish or perish” mantra. A couple of years ago one of his students disappeared right after turning in her novel thesis. The man clearly was not thinking rationally when he submitted the student’s book for publication as his own. Then he gets a major surprise after the book is released – the student has returned and she gives him an ultimatum. If he doesn’t give her what she wants she vows to expose him and blow up his life. Then things get worse when the police arrive at his door questioning him about an unsolved murder that happened exactly like the murder in his book. So he has a huge decision, out himself, admitting he didn’t write the book and face unemployment or stick to the lie and try to convince the police of his innocence. As he ponders his decision another person is murdered and he starts to dig into the deaths himself and uncovers some surprising connections that all seem to lead back to the college.


Each year I anxiously await David Bell’s next book and as always he has created a very complicated mystery.

Again he introduces readers to some very interesting characters. I really wanted to like Connor Nye and pull for him. I understand the sudden loss of a loved one and losing two people you love has to be twice as hard, but he made a horrible decision. A decision that truly had me questioning his intelligence. It was bad enough to submit that novel as his own but was crazy stupid to submit that novel without changing a single word. Change some names. Change some locations. Make even just a little bit of effort just to give yourself a chance. Even if had not been ripped from an actual murder, even a much less educated person would have changed something.

I did feel for Madeleine almost immediately because I knew there was more to her story. She was so close to graduating when she disappeared. I really needed to know her involvement in the traumatic events that happened in her book especially when we learned it pertained to an actual murder.  Was she responsible or did she just see something she shouldn’t? Was it a case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time or was she actively investigating the murder?

Telling the story from each of the character’s points of view and going back and forth in time really gave the story depth and the pages rapidly turning. Another student enters the narrative later as events start to get even more disturbing. Because of the way the author presented the book, there are some repetitive passages but it didn’t really detract too much from the flow.

This mystery really takes a real warped journey before it wraps up. As Connor continues to struggle he continues to make bad decisions. Bell has always used supporting characters to move the story along and he does that here in a compelling way. He also shines a light on the pains and pressure of academia and the ways it pushes both professors and students and the ugly underbelly that can arise when stress takes over.

Kill All Your Darlings was a thriller that kept me entertained and had me physically moving to the edge of my seat a couple of times. David Bell continues to be one of my favorite authors in this genre. I am excited to see what he will bring his readers next summer.

Your Escape Into A Good Book Travel Agent

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



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.”