Spotlight on Honey Baked Homicide by Gayle Leesom

The owner of a delightful Southern café tastes the sharp sting of suspicion in this delectable comfort food mystery . . .
 
It’s fall in Winter Garden, Virginia, and business at Amy Flowers’ Down South Café has never been better. So when struggling beekeeper Stuart Landon asks Amy to sell some of his honey, she’s happy to help. The jars of honey are a sweet success, but their partnership is cut short when Amy discovers Landon’s body outside the café early one morning.
 
As Amy tries to figure out who could possibly have wanted to harm the unassuming beekeeper, she discovers an ever-expanding list of suspects—and they’re all buzzing mad. She’ll have to use all of her skills—and her Southern charm—to find her way out of this sticky situation…

Excerpt from HONEY-BAKED HOMICIDE by Gayle Leeson

 

We were on our way back home when we saw an old pickup truck speeding in the direction of Landon’s Farm. In fact, it appeared to be Mr. Landon’s truck, but neither Ryan nor I could see well enough in the dark to determine if it was.

Ryan drove until there was a wide enough space on the shoulder of the road to pull over. Then he took out his cell phone and called the police station.

“Hi, it’s Ryan. I’m out on Route 11 just outside of Winter Garden. What appeared to be an antique Chevy truck just passed me going in the opposite direction. The vehicle is speeding, and I’d like for you to alert the officer on call—maybe contact the county dispatch as well.”

He ended the call and placed the phone back in the car’s center console.

“I’d hate for Mr. Landon to get a speeding ticket,” I said.

“We’re not sure that was Mr. Landon . . . or even if that was his truck. If it was, whoever was driving it took the expression drive it like you stole it to heart and deserves a ticket.”

“I hadn’t thought of that—that it could be his truck but not him driving. Maybe someone did steal Mr. Landon’s truck. How awful.”

Ryan picked up my hand and kissed it. “We don’t know anything for sure right now. Given what we know about Mr. Landon, I doubt that was him or his truck.”

“But we don’t know for sure. There could be something wrong. Let’s turn around and drive out to Mr. Landon’s place to see if we can help.”

“We can’t. I’m off duty, and we’ve already sent help his way. If anything’s wrong, the police will get Mr. Landon the help he needs.”

“I hope so,” I said. “I’ve got a really bad feeling about this. I can’t imagine Mr. Landon ever speeding down the road like that.”

“Would it make you feel better to call the man?”

“No. He might think I was crazy to call him at this time of night to ask him if he was speeding down the road. And like you said, it probably wasn’t him . . . or his truck.”

When I arrived at the café the next morning, I was surprised to see Stu Landon’s truck haphazardly parked at the far right corner of the lot. I took my usual spot in the parking space farthest away from the front door to the left of the building. Gathering my keys and purse and stepping out of the car, I could see Mr. Landon sitting in the driver’s seat of his truck. I gave him a smile and a wave, wishing he’d have let me know he’d planned on being here this early so I wouldn’t have kept him waiting.

He didn’t wave back, and I wondered if he was angry. Or maybe he hadn’t seen me. Then again, he could simply be preoccupied.

I unlocked the door, put my purse under the counter, and waited for Mr. Landon to bring in the honey I’d requested yesterday. When he hadn’t come inside after a couple of minutes, I went to check on him. Maybe he really hadn’t seen me arrive . . . or noticed my car in the parking lot. Unlikely, but I guess it was possible.

I walked over to Mr. Landon’s truck. No wonder he hadn’t seen me. His straw hat had slid down over his eyes. Had he been waiting on me for so long he’d fallen asleep?

I rapped my knuckles lightly on the window. “Mr. Landon?”

When he didn’t respond, I knocked a little harder. Still, no response. I was getting concerned. What if Mr. Landon had suffered a stroke or something?

I heard a car pull into the lot. I glanced over my shoulder and was glad to see Luis parking beside my Beetle. Luis was our busboy and dishwasher. He could help me get Mr. Landon out of the truck and inside the café if need be.

After knocking on the window again and still getting no response from Mr. Landon, I carefully opened the door of the truck. Mr. Landon began sliding out onto the pavement. Was that blood on his shirt?

“Luis! Can you help me?”

I heard Luis’s feet pounding the pavement as he ran to us. “What’s going on?” He gasped. “Amy, he’s bleeding.”

“I see that. And right now, he’s falling out of the truck. Could you help me get him?”

“I don’t think we should. Let’s put him back inside the truck and call for help.” He stepped between the door and Mr. Landon and gently pushed the man toward the passenger side of the truck.

Mr. Landon fell over and I could see that his throat had been cut. I was barely aware that I was screaming until I felt Luis’s hands on my shoulders.

“I don’t think there’s anything we can do for him,” he said. “Let’s get you inside.”

“No. No, we have to stay with him. We have to wait here until help comes.”

I heard Luis talking, but it wasn’t to me. He’d called 9-1-1.

“Thank you,” I said as he returned his phone to his pocket.

“You shouldn’t be looking at this.” He gently turned me away from Mr. Landon’s truck. “The man is dead.”

We walked a few feet away from the truck.

“You’re shaking,” he said. “You need to sit down.”

He needed to sit as badly as I did. Still, I wasn’t about to leave Mr. Landon until after the paramedics arrived.

“I’m fine,” I told him, knowing fully well that neither of us was fine.

I was relieved when I heard sirens approaching. Poor Mr. Landon was almost out of my incapable care.

Gayle Leeson is a pseudonym for Gayle Trent. I also write as Amanda Lee. As Gayle Trent, I write the Daphne Martin Cake Mystery series and the Myrtle Crumb Mystery series. As Amanda Lee, I write the Embroidery Mystery series.

 

I live in Virginia with my family, which includes her own “Angus” who is not an Irish wolfhound but a Great Pyrenees who provides plenty of inspiration for the character of Mr. O’Ruff. I’m having a blast writing this new series!

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The Last Deception by DV Berkom

What is The Last Deception about?

The Last Deception is the latest Leine Basso crime thriller, which pits the former assassin against a Russian general in the GRU, with help from a billionaire arms dealer. As with the other books in the series, the settings are international with scenes in Moscow, Athens, and Washington, DC. This time, though, instead of working a case for the anti-trafficking organization, SHEN, Leine learns of a deception that could lead to nuclear war, and must try to convince the powers that be to take her warning seriously. Here’s the blurb:

Lies. Deception. A nation on the brink of war.

In the Cold War, you knew who your friends and enemies were. In war today, there’s no difference. Just when Leine Basso thinks she’s free from the business of murder and deception, a desperate call from a friend drags her back into the dark world of espionage and arms dealers.

Leine uncovers information that implicates a well-known Russian businessman in a horrendous deception that affects national security and could have global repercussions. It’s up to the former assassin to persuade the powers that be to ignore the obvious and trust her, or disregard the information and bring the world to the brink of a devastating war. Can she make it in time to stop The Last Deception?

 

Why did you choose The Last Deception for the title?

 

I was looking for something that communicated how dire the choices in the novel would be, and also give a hint to its espionage component. Readers who have followed Leine through the series have come to expect a certain kind of thriller (e.g., anti-trafficking, smuggling, organized crime, etc.) but I wanted to take her in a different direction and bring back some recurring characters from her early life. Since she used to work as a black ops assassin and has been attempting to cut all ties from her former life, I thought it was time for her former bosses to return and try to drag her back into that world.

 

Why an espionage novel?

 

Why not? Ever since I discovered spy novels at the age of nine, I’ve devoured as many as I can get my hands on. Maybe it’s the heart-in-your-throat, mortal danger of a double-cross, or maybe it’s the twisted logic of the end justifying the means that accompanies so many of the operations I’ve studied and read about—agents, double agents, lies, deception, tricks, and games, many of them deadly, all to achieve some end. It’s endlessly fascinating, and way too much fun to write.

 

You mention a terrorist organization called Izz Al-Din in the book. Are they real? And what do they have to do with Russia?

 

No, Izz Al-Din is entirely fictional, but certainly based on terrorist groups operating in the world today. Bringing Russia into the mix was a natural, especially when you consider both the US and Russia have fought proxy wars against each other using various warring factions. It’s certainly not a stretch to imagine the events that happen in the book.

 

How do you research this stuff? Have you ever worked as an assassin?

 

I’m sorry but if I told you, I’d have to kill you…

 

Seriously, though, when I first started writing about organized crime and assassins, I’d traveled a lot and had some understanding of how things worked, but certainly not enough. So, I quickly began my search for people who would be able to fill in the blanks for me. In the course of writing these books, I’ve met some amazing people, many of whom I never would have had the opportunity to know if it wasn’t for the wonders of social media and networking with other authors. I’m lucky in that I find people fascinating—what drives them? what makes them who they are? and I believe I communicate that when I approach folks for information. I love to put myself into another person’s shoes, especially someone with an entirely different worldview than my own. I’ve been fortunate to have interviewed and worked with some amazing folks, many of whom were generous in sharing detailed aspects of their lives. Serendipity has played a role in my research, too. The perfect contact always seems to appear just when I need them.

 

What’s next for Leine?

 

Currently I’m working on the as-yet unnamed Leine Basso thriller #7. I’ve got a new antagonist for this book, one who is unlike any of Leine’s previous nemeses. It’s sure to be a page-turner, and quite explosive, if I do say so myself.

 

When will The Last Deception be available?

 

The Last Deception is available for pre-order right now across all platforms for $2.99 (USD), with a publication date of September 20. (The price will increase at that time.) Go to http://www.dvberkom.com/tld/ to find out more.

 

To connect with me online:

 

Website: http://www.dvberkom.com

 

Blog: http://dvberkom.blogspot.com

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/DvBerkomAuthor

 

Twitter: https://twitter.com/dvberkom

 

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/dvberkom/

 

Google+: google.com/+DVBerkom

 

Instagram: https://instagram.com/dvberkom/

 

Amazon Author Page:

US: http://amzn.to/oMUb1Z

 

UK: http://amzn.to/pBwClD

 

Smashwords Profile: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/dvberkom

 

 

New release: Mistletoe and Murder by S.L. Smith

A lifelong resident of Minnesota, S.L. Smith was born in Saint Cloud and attended Saint Catherine University in Saint Paul. During her thirty-two years with the state department of public safety, she worked with law enforcement and fire officials at the state, county and municipal levels. Those interactions assisted her with writing mysteries, but were just the starting point. Without the help of a friend who spent thirty-five years as a cop, she might never have ventured into writing police procedurals. He contributed to her understanding of the perspectives of her two protagonists, Pete Culnane and Martin Tierney. Thankfully, this friend is still a resource. He proofreads each manuscript and performs a reality check on the law enforcement aspects.

All three of her previous books include a social issue. In Blinded by the Sight, it’s homelessness. For book two, Running Scared, it’s the impacts of a failing marriage on the kids. Book three, Murder on a Stick, addresses a plight faced by many of the elderly. Smith is a member of Sisters in Crime (an organization that supports mystery writers). She divides her time between Minnesota and Florida, to care for her mother.

http://slsmithbooks.com

Book trailer

 

Buy link for Mistletoe and Murder:

https://www.amazon.com/Mistletoe-Murder-Culnane-Mystery-Mysteries/dp/0996464050/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1501614151&sr=8-2

 

Auld Lang Syne with a Twist

As Collette Hammond orchestrates an elaborate New Year’s Eve wedding reception for her brother in St. Paul’s historic Union Depot, she never anticipates the evening might end in her own mysterious death. She collapses just before midnight. A fresh needle mark suggests narcotics. St. Paul police detectives Pete Culnane and Martin Tierney are called away from their holiday celebrations to investigate, launching a trip through a labyrinth of intrigue and deception.

 

“Like its title, Mistletoe and Murder is a story that combines elements which might, at first, seem at odds. But S.L. Smith delivers a tale that interweaves both the bright promise of this iconic season and the dark reality of what it can deliver, especially where police work is involved. Smith understands the territory and mines it to good effect. For those who know the Twin Cities, there’s extra delight in tracking the action across familiar terrain. Don’t wait until Christmas to open this one.”

William Kent Krueger, New York Times bestselling author

Walking on my Grave by Carolyn Hart

Series: A Death on Demand Mysteries (Book 26)

Hardcover: 256 pages

Publisher: Berkley (May 2, 2017)

ISBN-10: 0451488539

ISBN-13: 978-0451488534

 

In the latest Death on Demand Mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of Don’t Go Home, book seller Annie Darling learns murder and money go hand in hand…

Annie’s friend and fellow shop owner Ves Roundtree is a very wealthy woman. Her rich brother entrusted her with his estate, and upon her death, his fortune is to be divided. Several cash-strapped islanders are in line to collect life-changing inheritances. The problem is, Ves is very much alive.

Ves hosts a dinner for the prospective beneficiaries and feels a chill in the air that has nothing to do with the wintry season. Not long after, she suffers a bad fall that was no accident. Everyone at the table had a motive but not a shred of evidence was left behind.

When one of the suspects is found floating in the harbor and Ves disappears, Annie and her husband Max spring into action to catch a calculating killer before greed takes another life.

A Frying Shame by Linda Reilly

Series: Deep Fried Mystery, A (Book 3)

Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Berkley (April 4, 2017)

ISBN-10: 0425274152

ISBN-13: 978-0425274156

 

 

A cooking contest becomes a fry to the finish in the new Deep Fried Mystery from the author of Out of the Dying Pan.

Fry another day.

The town of Wrensdale is abuzz with excitement when Steeltop Foods sponsors a cooking contest to promote its new product, the Flavor Dial. With a $25,000 prize at stake, all the contestants are on edge, including Talia Marby, owner of Fry Me A Sliver. She hopes her mini deep-fried apple pies will win her the money to pay off the renovations on her restaurant. But when Norma Ferguson wins with her flaky-top chicken stew, the tensions dial up even more.

After Norma is found dead at her cooking station, the police suspect a losing contestant got a little too hot under the collar. Now it’s crunch time as Talia works to catch the killer and clear her name before another cook gets burned.

The Last Chance Olive Ranch (China Bayles Mystery) by Susan Wittig Albert

Series: China Bayles Mystery (Book 25)

Hardcover: 304 pages

Publisher: Berkley (April 4, 2017)

Language: English

ISBN-10: 0425280039

ISBN-13: 978-0425280034

In this exciting new mystery from New York Times bestselling author Susan Wittig Albert, China Bayles fears for her husband’s life as an escaped convict targets him…
 
Max Mantel, the killer McQuaid put away years ago, has busted out of the Huntsville prison and appears to be headed for Pecan Springs. McQuaid knows there’s only one way to stop the vengeful convict—set a trap with himself as bait.

China wants to stay by her husband’s side and keep him from harm. But McQuaid  insists that she get out of town and go to the Last Chance Olive Ranch, where she’s agreed to teach a workshop on herbs.

When China and her best friend arrive at the ranch, she learns the owner, Maddie Haskell, has her own troubles. She inherited the ranch and olive oil business from the late matriarch, Eliza Butler, but Eliza’s nephew is contesting the will.

While China throws herself into helping Maddie, McQuaid’s plan backfires when Mantel executes a counter move he never saw coming. Now McQuaid’s life is not the only one at stake—and this time may really be his last chance…

Mission Impawsible by Krista Davis

missionimpawsibleFrom the New York Times bestselling author of Murder Most Howl comes the fourth Paws & Claws mystery…

In the pet-friendly town of Wagtail, Virginia, there’s no love lost when Holly Miller meets her match in a murderer…
 
Holly and her grandmother, Oma, are working their tails off to prepare the Sugar Maple Inn for an upcoming matchmaking event for pet owners. While Holly has no interest in pairing up, Oma plans on playing Cupid and finding someone to warm her reluctant granddaughter’s heart.

Unfortunately, one man Holly does meet is cold—dead cold—and he has a personal letter from Oma in his pocket. As suspicion is cast over the inn’s guests, Holly—with the help of her furry friends, Trixie the Jack Russell and Twinkletoes the cat—must fetch the real killer, or she may soon have a date in court.

Delicious recipes for owners and pets included!