Posted in Cozy Wednesday Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2012

Cozy Wednesday With Beth Groundwater (Giveaway too!)

Welcome to Cozy Wednesday!!

In 2011 I chose Beth Groundwater’s A Real Basket Case (A Claire Hanover Mystery) as the Best Mystery I had read that year. You can find my full review here.

I then contacted her and she sent me the first book in her other series, Deadly Currents (An RM Outdoor Adventures Mystery). My review for that one is here. When I found out the second RM Outdoor Adventures Mystery, Wicked Eddies was being released this month, I knew I had to invite her to stop by for a visit. These mysteries are not technically cozies, they are more mystery adventures, but if you love cozies, I think you will love these books. They have a little more edge and the main character works with law enforcement to help solve the crime, plus Beth’s knowledge of rafting and fishing makes these extraordinary reads. I hope you will join me in welcoming Beth here today!

Hi Beth!

Hi Everyone!

Thanks, Dollycas, for inviting me to visit your blog!

The Most Dangerous Sport

I’d like to talk today about the most dangerous sport. Since my RM Outdoor Adventures Mystery series features whitewater rafting and stars a whitewater river ranger named Mandy Tanner, you and your blog readers may think that I mean the sport of whitewater rafting. But, you’d be wrong!

Yes, whitewater rafting can be risky, but smart rafters know how to control and manage those risks. Also, the number of participants in the sport are few, compared to many other popular sports such as baseball and football, so the total number of rafting deaths per year is usually fairly low. Actually, the most dangerous sport in the world, the one that results in the most deaths per year, is fishing.

Fishing?! Yes, fishing.

Why, you might ask. Primarily it’s from the volatile mixture of booze and boats. Yes, there are many cases of drunken fishermen who fall out of boats and drown. Or who, like drunken drivers, crash their motorboats.

There are other causes of fishing-related deaths, though. In Wicked Eddies,the second book of my RM Outdoor Adventures mystery series that was released May 8th, the cause of one fisherman’s death is murder. Mandy Tanner discovers the body of fisherman Howie Abbott in a riverside campground with a camping ax in his neck. Turns out the man was a suspected cheater in fly-fishing tournaments and a big tournament is scheduled to take place soon on the Arkansas River near Salida, Colorado, where Mandy lives. Could that have been the cause of his death? Or was there some other other reason?

Back to other causes of fishing deaths. Here’s an excerpt from an early scene in Wicked Eddies, where Mandy’s boss, Steve Hadley, is briefing a group of search and rescue personnel, including river rangers, on the upcoming fly-fishing tournament:

When Steve’s turn came, he started off with a question, “What’s one of the most deadly sports in the world?”

Mandy knew the answer, but stayed quiet. Someone yelled out, “whitewater rafting,” a good guess, but not good enough.

“It’s fishing,” Steve said, nodding while surprised murmurs filled the room, “usually from the fatal combination of boats, alcohol, and people who don’t know how to swim. Now, given that we have serious competitors participating in this event, I expect that alcohol won’t play a large part until after the award ceremony.”

A few snorts and chuckles punctuated that remark.

Fly Fishing on the Arkansas Near Salida, Colorado

“However,” Steve continued, “we still have boats on the float- fishing practice and competition days giving us the same problems whitewater rafting boats do—hitting underwater obstacles and pitching their occupants into the water. And most of these teams are unfamiliar with the upper Arkansas, its rapids, and its hazards. So, I’m increasing river ranger patrols on the river during the competition.

“And then there are wading fishermen on the shore fishing days.” Steve shook his head and tsked. “I hate waders. As the old- timers know, we usually have at least one fly-fisherman die each season, from either getting a foot trapped or tripping while standing in the river wearing waders. The fisherman falls in the river, the waders fill up with water, dragging the wearer underwater, and then he drowns.”

A solemn silence descended on the group.

Yes, fishermen face many hazards in their sport! Along with working with the Sheriff’s Department to investigate Howie Abbott’s

murder, Mandy Tanner will be kept busy with her river ranger cohorts patrolling the river during the tournament and rescuing fishermen who need help. She’ll also be on the lookout for a missing teenage girl and a missing fisherman. My hope is that all of that activity and a healthy sprinkling of clues and red herrings makes for an exciting read!

Have you ever tried fishing? Did you get in any trouble or experience any dangers while doing so? I was lucky myself. When I took a fly-fishing lesson to research Wicked Eddies, the only harm I came to was when I managed to hook my thumb. 😉

~Beth

Thank you Beth so much for being here today! I used to fish with my grandpa when I was little, catching bullheads in a nearby lake. Such wonderful memories with my bamboo pole, bobs, night crawlers and PBJ’s for lunch. 🙂 So I do share one thing with Mandy.

About Beth Groundwater:

Beth Groundwater writes the Claire Hanover gift basket designer series (A Real Basket Case, a Best First Novel Agatha Award finalist, and To Hell in a Handbasket ) and the Rocky Mountain Outdoor Adventures series starring whitewater river ranger Mandy Tanner (Deadly Currents,March, 2011, and Wicked Eddies, May, 2012). The third books in both series will appear in 2013. Beth enjoys Colorado’s many outdoor activities, including skiing and whitewater rafting, and loves talking to book clubs. Please visit her website at bethgroundwater.com and her blog at bethgroundwater.blogspot.com.

Wicked Eddies
(An RM Outdoor Adventures Mystery)

2nd in the Series
Published by Midnight Ink
Llewellyn Worldwide, Ltd.
Cover Design by Lisa Novak

Salida Colorado is getting ready for its annual fly fishing tournament. The river rangers are checking all the spots up and down the mighty Arkansas River making sure everything is ready for the participants. Mandy thinks it should be a busy weekend but it shouldn’t be too dangerous. Then she finds the dead body, would-be competitor Howie Abbott and it wasn’t a fish that drove that hatchet through his neck.

As Mandy searches for clues she finds out Howie Abbott is Cynthia’s uncle and her least favorite person on earth. She is not surprised when Cynthia becomes a prime suspect but she knows her friend is not a murderer. She takes in upon herself to find the real killer while being careful not to be carried away by the undertow or plunges too deep into Wicked Eddies.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

Beth Groundwater writes what she knows. You can tell that by the way she writes. She takes us on a wild ride!

Cynthia was my favorite supporting character in Deadly Currents and she is center stage in this installment. She is so upset she is not even telling the blonde jokes that I loved. The author reveals Cynthia’s past and we get to see the person behind the jokes. The vulnerable Cynthia, a person I grew to care even more about.

Mandy is dealing with a lot in this story as well. She is still coming to terms with her own uncle’s death and trying to move forward which we know is never easy. Rob makes me a little mad as he continues to push her at times for his own agenda. Sometimes guys just don’t have a clue.

There are a couple of mysteries here, murder and missing persons along with the adventure of the fishing tournament that makes this a very fast paced story. Plenty of clues and plenty of distractions to keep the pages turning as we try to solve the mysteries ourselves.

You do not have to fish or ride the rapids to be hooked by this adventure, but you want to start after reading it! 

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

I am giving away my gently read review copy!!

U.S. and CANADIAN RESIDENTS
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.

Leave a comment for Beth for 5 Bonus Entries !

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End June 13, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winner Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winner Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted 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 Reviews 2012

Review: Deadly Currents by Beth Groundwater

Deadly Currents
(An RM Outdoor Adventures Mystery)

1st in the Series

Midnight Ink
Llewellyn Worldwide Ltd.
Cover Design by Lisa Novak

The Arkansas River is the heart and soul of Salida, Colorado. It also is a great tourist attraction for fishermen and white water rafting adventurists. For Mandy Tanner it is home. She grew up in Salida, raised by her Uncle Bill and working as a river guide for his white water rafting business. This Summer she is a Seasonal River Ranger for Arkansas Headwaters Recreation Area (AHRA). She has completed her training and  into her second week on the river when she takes part in tricky river rescue. She is able to get two people to shore but one of them dies anyway. Land developer Tom King died in the water but it wasn’t the rapids that killed him. There was nothing Mandy could have done to save him because he was murdered and there are a lot people that may have wanted him dead.

Mandy world is then turned inside out when tragedy hits closer to home. Could the events be connected? Mandy has to find out, the answers may be found in the Deadly Currents of the river.

Dollycas’s Thoughts

I love the way Beth Groundwater writes. You ride the rapids from the first page until the last.

The only rapids I have ran outside of a book have been at an amusement park or the family friendly ones in a canoe on the Crystal River here in Wisconsin. Groundwater’s descriptions are so vivid you can feel the bumps, currents and eddies. 

She has created flawed protagonist we can genuinely get behind and want to read about. Mandy has dealt with a lot in her life leaving her with commitment issues and she has a bit of a chip on her shoulder when people offer to help her.  The supporting characters are all real and very believable. I absolutely love Cynthia with her blonde jokes. 

It was really interesting to read a story where law enforcement actually worked together with the main character instead of all the random sleuthing going on behind the scenes. I am sure this relationship was embellished a bit for the story but it seams credible that the Park Service would work together with the Sheriff’s Office. 

The groundwork has been laid in this debut for what I know will be an exciting series. I know I am ready to hit the rapids again.

Beth Groundwater Will Be Here For Cozy Wednesday on May 30 and I will review the next book in the series Wicked Eddies (An RM Outdoor Adventures Mystery) and will be giving my review copy away. So be sure to mark your calendar and come back on Wednesday!!!

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


*This Book Was From My Personal Collection.

Posted in Reviews 2012

Review: Life Without Parole by Clare O’Donohue


Life Without Parole:
A Kate Conway Mystery (Kate Conway Mysteries)

2nd in Series
A Plume Book
Published by The Penguin Group

We first met Kate Conway, free lance television producer in Missing Persons, her soon to be ex-husband was killed and she was the prime suspect. Of course, she didn’t do it.

In Life Without Parole Kate is actually a little bored as her life returns to “normal”. Then she is offered two new jobs. One is a documentary about prison inmates sentenced to life without parole and the other is a reality show about a new restaurant.

She accepts both jobs and works out a schedule. Things go awry when one of the investor’s in the restaurants is murdered. Then become even poor intense as she digs deeper in to the minds of the prisoners. Can what she learns from these death row killers help her solve the murder mystery?

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I adore the way Clare O’Donohue writes. These stories are of the edge of your seat variety, face paced, exciting and can’t put down.

Kate Conway knows her job and she does it well. She gets in the heads of both the investors and the prisoners. There are a lot of mind games happening here giving this story some unexpected psychological elements. 

Clare O’Donohue is writing what she knows as she has worked in television. Her experience helps draw some awesome characters and plausible  plots. The dialogue rings true as do the relationships, even the most unlikely friendship between Kate and Vera.  In my review of Missing Persons I said I felt like I was watching a television drama and almost forgot I was reading a book. The same is true in this installment. 

Kate Conway continues to develop at a perfect pace. With her chosen profession the material for future stories is endless. That makes this reader very happy.


Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

To Find Out More About Clare Visit Her Website http://clareodonohue.com

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 Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Review: Stay Close by Harlan Coben

Stay Close
DUTTON
Published by The Penguin Group
Available Now

Detective Broome is so obsessed with a cold-case that he visits the family every year on the anniversary since a man went missing 17 years ago.

Megan is a suburban mom with 2 kids, a loving husband and a mother-in-law that all depend on her. She walked away from wild life she once had but she is always thinking about what would have happened if she made different choices.

Ray is a talented photographer, his life now as a posing paparazzo for rich kids is far from the life he had as a documentary photographer.

These three lives collide and secrets long hidden are revealed as another man goes missing. They find the past and present can be just a heartbeat away from each other. The lives that they have lived for the past seventeen years can vanish in an instant.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Harlan Coben is not called the master of suspense without good reason. He brings the gritty and chilling thrills to the page like no one else!

Megan bored with her suburban life thinks she can take a few steps back in the world she left behind but learns there are consequences for her actions. Ray is so unhappy, his life changed by one dramatic event, will he ever be a success again? Bromme still has feelings for his ex-wife/part-time partner and is dealing not only with a cold case but the fear an innocent man may have been sitting in jail for years.

Coben has put forth a real puzzler this time and it was fun to read as all the clues came together. He has also created wonderful, rich, multifaceted characters, several in addition to the main three, including one that will steal your heart and two that could scare your socks off. He has also included real settings like Steel Park,  and Lucy the Elephant in Atlantic City.

I have read everything Harlan Coben has written and enjoyed them all. This is one of his best. The man has yet to disappoint me. This novel is a page turner that you will not be able to put down. The twist at the end is a bombshell but I would expect no less from Mr. Coben! He definitely is the master!!

Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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 Giveaways Literary Escapes Reviews 2012 Virtual Book Tour

A Grand Murder by Stacy Verdick Case Virtual Blog Tour (Giveaway)

I am thrilled to be part of this tour and can’t believe I am one of her last stops.

Stacy Verdick Case was born in Willmar, Minnesota.  After a brief stint as a military brat, where she lived in Fort Sill Oklahoma and Fort Campbell, Kentucky, her family moved back to Minnesota.

Stacy currently lives in a suburb of St. Paul with her husband and her daughter.  Her Catherine O’Brien mystery, A Grand Murder, is available from Before the Fall Books.  Her second Catherine O’Brien mystery Murder is a Family Affair, will be released shortly.  Stacy is hard at work on her third book in the series

A Grand Murder
A Catherine O’Brien Mystery
1st in the series

Before The Fall Books
Available Now

Catherine O’Brien is a petite St. Paul Detective whose hair is never right, wears clothes that are more masculine than feminine, lives on Starbucks coffee, thinks laundry, cooking and housework are punishments to be avoided at all times, and has a husband who loves her just the way she is.

Louise Montgomery is her partner who never goes home yet her hair and clothes are always perfect. She is tech savvy and hell on wheels literally. Every time Catherine gets in the car with Louise behind the wheel she braces herself against the dash and says a prayer.

Their current case is that of Nathan Stanley, a prominent businessman, who was found dead on the front steps leading into his home. He is also a friend of the police chief so he wants the crime solved yesterday. They have very few clues but find that he wasn’t the most liked man around so they have plenty of suspects. Who would have actually killed the man? Catherine and Louise need to sort through the clues to get a clear picture and track down the perp that planned this grand murder.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
Catherine and Louise are like the Lucy and Ethel of police detectives. This book had my laughing so hard I had tears in my eyes. These characters are priceless.

The story is faced paced and the clues are well laid out with several twists and turns to keep the reader guessing. The police procedures were good but need some tightening. The humor is spot-on, these crime fighters show much promise going forward.

I am really looking forward to the next books in the series as each character develops and the author gets more comfortable with them and the setting. I hope she takes a few risks and steps a little farther out of her comfort zone. She has a unique voice but needs to be careful not to go overboard on the description of the places and things, for example fluorescent lighting. She has a great start with this delightful debut.


Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

I am giving away be gently read autographed copy to one lucky winner.
U.S. and CANADIAN RESIDENTS
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.

If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End May 10, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted Here.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the Partners in Crime Book Tours. 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 Reviews 2012 Virtual Book Tour

Love Thy Neighbor by Mark Gilleo Virtual Book Tour

Mark Gilleo holds a graduate degree in international business from the University of South Carolina and an undergraduate degree in business from George Mason University. He enjoys traveling, has lived and worked in Asia, and speaks fluent Japanese. A fourth-generation Washingtonian, he currently resides in the D.C. area.

I am pleased to welcome his book tour here today for Love Thy Neighbor.


Love Thy Neighbor
Published by The Story Plant

How well do you know your neighbors?

Clark Hayden, a graduate student, moves home to try to help his mother get through the loss of his father. The neighbors have been doing their best looking out for and taking care of her but her diminished mental status seems to be escalating. He knows it is time to come home. He gets there just in time for her holiday party and gets to thank the neighbors for what they have done. He also arrives home just in time to find out his mother is being audited by the IRS!

As the holidays wind down things turn dicey as neighbors go missing, some are found dead and Clark is learning way to much about secret government operations, deadly chemicals and terrorist cells. This is not the neighborhood Clark grew up in and he may hold the key that could save hundreds of thousands of lives in the nation’s capital.

 

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This is a very well written story for a debut novel and it has an extremely complex plot with several characters. While quick paced it is not a book you can read quickly. It needs to be savored so you can catch all of the nuances to the characters and the settings. At times the dialogue becomes so graphic it shines in your mind’s eye like a movie.

In the world today, post 9/11, this story could actually happen, which makes it all the more enticing. There is one twist with a character that was extremely unexpected due to what we have learned about about Middle Eastern culture, but I can tell that the author has done extensive research for this novel and that makes the twist very credible in my eyes.

If you enjoy a good mystery I can promise you will enjoy this book. It will keep you guessing until the very end and will stick with you long after you have read the last word. Mark Gilleo is an author to watch, quality this good in a debut novel is no fluke, I can’t wait for his next suspenseful tale.


Dollycas
Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent



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 Reviews 2012

Heads You Lose by Lisa Lutz + David Hayward

Heads You Lose
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group
Paperback Release: April 3, 2012

Ever wonder how co-writers work to create a book, a mystery book no less. This book is just one example and maybe this isn’t the best way to do it. Each author writes one chapter after reading and critiquing the previous one. This unique book lets us actually see the process as all the author notes are included for our reading pleasure. Maybe choosing an old boyfriend as your co-writer is not a good idea either especially when you can’t agree on anything including major aspects of the story or the characters, let alone who the killer is.

Now the story features Paul and Lacey Hansen, twenty something siblings who find a headless corpse on their property. They can’t chance calling the police because you see, these kids main source of income is the marijuana growing in their basement. The don’t want any cops tripping over their very illegal operation. So of course they just move the dead body to another place and hope it is found quickly with no evidence tracking back to them. Their plans go awry when the body reappears at their curb. Now what??

With these two authors battling each other you just have to read it and find out!

Dollycas’s Thoughts 

I can’t believe this story even came together. This tag team writing mirrored tag team wrestling. It was a wild ride. Funny too, with each one trying to show up the other or teach the other a lesson.  A character killed in one chapter, then revived in the next. This book was definitely a journey.

As amazing as it sounds a really good mystery was created by this chaos. I really enjoyed it. I didn’t know at times if the heads lost were the just the corpse found or the authors as well. You just have to roll with it and enjoy it for what it is. Mystery/therapy sessions. I am glad I don’t know these authors personally because I would have bash their heads together. How did these two even date?

It is a very clever concept for one story. I definitely wouldn’t want a repeat performance because at times it was a bit distracting but it was a very entertaining read. Need an escape from the heavy suspense thrillers or the romance novels, try the one out, you will not lose your head, just rest on your tail and win an enjoyable time spent between the pages of this good book!

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

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 Alphabet Soup - A - Z Reading Challenge Reviews 2012

Redemption Day by Steve O’Brien

Redemption Day
A & N Publishing
Available March 22, 2012

Supreme Court Justice Silvio Caprelli is kidnapped on a Washington D.C. parkway. The nation is spellbound as the airwaves fill with speculation that international terrorists are responsible.

Nick James is a contractor for the government or was until today. He is terminated due to the loss of funding but his day is going to get much worse. He finds himself between a terrorist group and the government. One side wants him captured and the other wants him dead. Nick believes the terrorists reside much closer to home. He just needs to find the proof to save both himself, the judge and the United States government.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
You will read this book all in one sitting. I couldn’t put it down. This story is alarmingly real which makes it downright scary.

The domestic terrorist group, Posse Comitatus is very real. Several years ago I worked with a woman whose husband was very involved with the group, so I know the lengths they go to stay off the map. Posse members believe that there is no legitimate form of government above that of the county level and no higher law authority than the county sheriff. If the sheriff refuses to carry out the will of the county’s citizens:

…he shall be removed by the Posse to the most populated intersection of streets in the township and at high noon be hung by the neck, the body remaining until sundown as an example to those who would subvert the law. *

O’Brien has created believable characters, in a setting we are all familiar with, and extraordinarily credible plot. The story is told from several points of view which takes you into the minds of all the players. He also weaves in actual historical events and terrorists making the story even more real. I know the author is a lawyer but he has inside information that makes me suspect he may have actually worked for the government or did some incredible research.

This is an excellent read that would make an awesome movie. Get your copy today, this will be a book you will not soon forget. 


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

*quote from wikipedia

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 Giveaways Guest Posts Reviews 2012

Special Guest Rebecca M. Hale (Giveaway too!)

I am super thrilled to welcome Rebecca here today. Her book How to Moon a Cat was my pick for Best Cozy of 2011. Her new series, Mystery In The Islands, is quite different from the Cats and Curios Mysteries. I am excited that she is here to tell us how the new series new series came to “fruition.”

Welcome Rebecca!

Hi Everyone!

I first traveled to St. John in September, 2007. A good friend of mine planned to get married on the beach, so several of us decided to fly down for the ceremony. I had never been to the Caribbean, and this seemed like the perfect excuse to check it out.

Of course, I had a fabulous time. I fell in love with the beaches, the water, and the jaw-dropping landscape. But the end of that journey came far too soon. I knew there was much more there for me to explore.

As soon as I got home, I booked a return ticket. A few weeks later, I boarded a plane for my first official island research trip.

It was during that second visit that I met many of the people who inspired the fictional characters in Adrift on St. John (Mystery in the Islands)

There was the crazy-eyed hippie with a beat up guitar case who slid into the bench seat behind me on a stormy ferry ride from Charlotte Amalie to Cruz Bay. The scrawny little man chatted at me the entire way across the Pillsbury Sound. He had been coming down to St. John for the last twenty years, and each time, he assured me, he stayed at the Maho Bay Eco Resort – in his favorite cabin that he fondly called the “Teepee Tent.”

Then there was the group of ex-pats I met outside a local bar at a table positioned uncomfortably close to a large refuse bin. On the day I joined them, the Dumpster table crowd included a chubby Puerto Rican sous chef, a frizzy-haired deckhand from one of the local dive shops, and a short muscular contractor whose wife had left him several years earlier after a failed migration from Minnesota to St. Croix. The conversation soon drifted to the sad fate of Kaka, a previous resident of the sous chef’s and deck hand’s moldy basement apartment.

The most significant inspiration, however, occurred late one night while riding into town on the back bed of a truck taxi. A housemaid from the resort sat a few feet away, complaining bitterly about the water taxi she would soon be boarding for her trip home to St. Thomas. Something had come up at the resort, and she’d had to work past the departure time of the last regular ferry out of Cruz Bay.

I can still remember her indignant, heavily accented voice, lamenting the consequences of her late night shift.

“What-ter taxi…what-ter taxi…ohhh, no…
Eye doon nut lyke thuh what-ter taxi…
Beeg sheep go down slowe…
Small sheep go down fest….
Eye wurk und Eye wurk,
But steel Eye’ve gut to tek thuh what-ter taxi…
Ack, Eye doon nut lyke the what-ter taxi…”

Water taxi…water taxi…oh, no…
I do not like the water taxi…
Big ship go down slow…
Small ship go down fast…
I work and I work,
But still I’ve got to take the water taxi…
Ack, I do not like the water taxi…

It was then that I knew I had to write a book based on these experiences. It’s taken several years to come to fruition, but I hope you enjoy sharing my journey Adrift on St. John (Mystery in the Islands).

About This Author

Rebecca M. Hale is the NY Times bestselling author of How to Wash a Cat. The series, starring Rebecca’s cats Rupert and Isabella, takes place at an antique shop in San Francisco’s historic Jackson Square. While fictional, each book features a different aspect of California history — from the Gold Rush (How to Wash a Cat), to the San Francisco exploits of Mark Twain (Nine Lives Last Forever), to the Bear Flag Revolt (How to Moon a Cat). The fourth book in the series, How to Tail a Cat, is due out September, 2012.

Rebecca just released a new Mystery in the Islands series, set in the US Virgin Islands, which starts with Adrift on St. John.  The second book in the series, AFOOT ON ST. CROIX, is scheduled for 2013 release

Adrift on St. John
(Mystery in the Islands)

A Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
The Berkley Publishing Group
Published by The Penguin Group

Available Now!

Pen Hoffstra made a huge decision four years ago to escape the rat race and relocate to paradise. She quickly realized the idea of a tropical paradise is really just an illusion.

When a young woman, Hannah Sheridan, a new resident of St. John, disappears and a water taxi mysteriously sinks off the island, she is not surprised that all is not what it seems. Hannah had an uncanny resemblance to the Amina Slave Princess from the 1733 Slave Revolt on St. John.  The ghost of the princess is said to haunt the island. The residents of St. John start to believe she is the reason for the sinking of the taxi and Hannah’s disappearance.

Only one person really knows the truth, the whole truth, and it is definitely not what anyone suspects.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
This story is another Rebecca M. Hale story that it is steeped in history but it takes a little different turn. It is a very complicated mystery full of deception, denial, and some delightful duplicity. The author takes us on a wild spin around this small island where everyone seems to have a secret and nothing is really as it appears.

The setting seems so ideal but while this may be a great place to visit I can see why it may not be the best place to live. Everything is quite pricey, the population is only a few thousand and area is really small, just 19 square miles. However it is a magical place for an obscure mystery.  A mystery where no one really knows anybody, where sometimes the price for living in paradise is just too great. 

This is perfect story to escape into, escape to the paradise of St. John, just beware just when you think you have everything figured out, you don’t.  Enjoy!!

p.s. You are going to love Fred!!!

 

Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent

Thanks to the people at Penguin I have
2 copies of this wonderful book to giveaway,

but thanks to the generosity of Rebecca I have some awesome swag to giveaway.

In addition to the book, two winners will receive
matted photo from Rebecca’s research trip to St. John!

Three additional people will win 2 matted photos
and 5 more will receive a set of picture postcards.

These picture are amazing!!!

U.S. & Canadian Residents
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.

Leave a comment for Rebecca for 5 Bonus Entries.

Tell your friends and family about this book!
If you publicize the giveaway anywhere you will receive
5 Bonus Entries For Each Link.

Contest Will End March 22, 2012 at 11:59 PM CST
Winners Will Be Chosen By Random.org
Winners Will Be Notified By Email
and Will Be Posted 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 Literary Escapes Reviews 2012

Bent Road by Lori Roy

Bent Road: A Novel
Plume
Published by The Penguin Group
Set in 1967. The Detroit riots push Arthur Scott to move his family back to his hometown in Kansas. He has not lived there for more than 20 years. His wife, Celia, knows he has secrets. Secrets that have burdened him for years. She fears moving back will be too much for her family. Celia knows his sister Eve died all those years ago but doesn’t know the details. She acquiesces to her husband’s wishes and packs up her family to return to Bent Road.

Life there is difficult, a local girl disappears and many believe that the same man took her that killed Arthur’s sister all those years ago. The man who is now married to his other sister Ruth is suspected of both crimes. Arthur’s daughter Evie looks remarkably like her deceased aunt and becomes fascinated by the clothes left behind in her aunt’s closet. Their son is unsure where he fits within the family. Arthur’s mother wants the past to stay in the past. Celia is just getting to know her in-laws and doing her best to keep her family together and safe. Life on Bent Road is just as unsettling as she suspected.

Dollycas’s Thoughts
I know why the was nominated for an Edgar Award. It is a fascinating debut and not your typical mystery. It is really a story of family relationships and struggles during a critical time in American history with mystery and suspense woven throughout the story. The characters are captivating and genuine. The family itself is very dysfunctional but so is the entire community. The drama is very real and intense in places, laid back in others. The story ebbs and flows at a comfortable pace, but on the whole is very dark. The author has a gift of drawing you in to the murky waters of this Kansas town. This book was not what I had expected at first but I am very glad I took the journey down Bent Road.


Your Escape With A Good Book Travel Agent


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.”