An Early Wake by Sheila Connolly

an_early_wakePub owner Maura Donovan may have Irish kin, but she doesn’t seem to have the luck of the Irish. Who could have foreseen that bringing live music back to Sullivan’s Pub would lead to a dead musician? Summer is ending in County Cork, Ireland, and with it the tourist season. Expat Maura Donovan is determined to keep Sullivan’s Pub in the black as the days grow shorter—but how? When she hears that the place was once a hot spot for Irish musicians who’d come play in the back room, she wonders if bringing back live music might be Sullivan’s salvation.

As word gets out, legendary musicians begin to appear at the pub, and the first impromptu jam session brings in scores of music lovers. But things hit a sour note when Maura finds a dead musician in the back room the next morning. With a slew of potential suspects, it’s going to take more than a pint and a good think to force a murderer to face the music.

 

“‘Tis a grand thing…The prolific Sheila Connolly…pays tribute to her Irish heritage…Connolly invests this leisurely series opener with a wealth of Irish color and background.” —Richmond Times-Dispatch

“Another winner of a series…Connolly’s latest is a captivating tale–sweet, nostalgic, and full of Irish charm, but also tightly plotted and full of twists, turns, and shocking reveals.” –The Maine Suspect

“[A] well-set and nicely paced cozy.” —Library Journal

During my long and varied career, I’ve been:

  • an art historian (medieval architecture)
  • an investment banker in San Francisco and Philadelphia
  • a non-profit fundraiser
  • a professional genealogist (I had my own business, Lost Ancestors)
  • and finally, a mystery writer

Sheila Connolly

Now I consider everything that came before as research that I was accumulating until the time was right. The funny thing is, I’ve used almost everything I’ve ever done in my books, which is great. I also have the opportunity to learn a lot of interesting new things, like how to grow apples or manage a pub in Ireland.

When I’m not writing, I love to travel (and that includes doing research for writing too), I can fix almost anything around an old house, and I’m passionate about genealogy (more on the genealogy later).

This Old Homicide: A Fixer-Upper Mystery by Kate Carlisle

ThisOldHomicideFrom the New York Times bestselling author of the Bibliophile Mysteries and A High-End Finish comes the second Fixer-Upper Mystery…

Contractor and part-time sleuth Shannon Hammer specializes in improving the quirks and flaws of the Victorian homes in Lighthouse Cove, California. The quirks and flaws of their residents are another story….

Valentine’s Day is approaching, and while Shannon is delighted to be friends with not one but two handsome men, not everyone in town is feeling the love. After her elderly neighbor Jesse Hennessey fails to make his daily appearance at the local diner, Shannon swings by his place to check on him. Not only does she find Jesse dead—of an apparent heart attack—but she also realizes that his home has been ransacked.

Someone suggests that a thief was searching for a priceless necklace Jesse claimed to have retrieved from a capsized sailing ship, but Shannon doesn’t believe it. Everyone knows Jesse had a penchant for constructing tall tales—like the one about him having a hot new girlfriend. But his death is soon ruled a homicide, and shady suspects begin popping out of the woodwork. When another victim turns up dead, Shannon is convinced she must find the killer before someone else gets nailed….

 

Visit Kate online at http://www.KateCarlisle.com or http://www.Facebook.com/KateCarlisleBooksKateCarlisleBestselling author Kate Carlisle spent over twenty years working in television production as an Associate Director for game and variety shows, including The Midnight Special, Solid Gold and The Gong Show. She traveled the world as a Dating Game chaperone and performed strange acts of silliness on The Gong Show. She also studied acting and singing, toiled in vineyards, collected books, joined a commune, sold fried chicken, modeled spring fashions and worked for a cruise ship line, but it was the year she spent in law school that finally drove her to begin writing fiction. It seemed the safest way to kill off her professors. Those professors are breathing easier now that Kate spends most of her time writing near the beach in Southern California where she lives with her perfect husband.

A lifelong love of old books and an appreciation of the art of bookbinding led Kate to create the Bibliophile Mysteries, featuring rare book expert Brooklyn Wainwright, whose bookbinding and restoration skills invariably uncover old secrets, treachery and murder. Kate is a member of Sisters in Crime, Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers and Romance Writers of America. She loves to drink good wine and watch other people cook.

The Real Story

For award-winning author Kate Carlisle, the gleaming brass ring of publication eluded her grasp for the longest time. People were starting to talk. Was it simply bad luck? Bad timing? Bad writing? Bad hair? A panel of experts were convened to analyze the details of Kate’s life and certain patterns began to emerge that clearly indicated…well, let’s just call them Bad Choices. Yes, Kate made some wrong moves on her personal path to publication, and in the interests of full disclosure–and as a cautionary tale–the highlights are listed below.

The Early Years

Kate was born in Los Angeles, California. Need we say more? Name one famous author who was born in Los Angeles. You can’t do it. Why? Because all really famous authors are born somewhere else. A rural town in upstate Michigan, a crab shack on the Eastern shore, somewhere on the prairie, in a bayou, on the frozen tundra. Anywhere but LA.

And yet, despite this almost overwhelming handicap, Kate was born with good skin and a naturally attractive telephone voice which led her parents to wonder if she might have a future in either cosmetology or telephone solicitation.

Growing up, Kate and her family moved every few years. She would tell new teachers she was a Navy brat, but the truth is, her father’s mounting gambling debts often forced the family to escape in the night with whatever they could carry on their backs. Kate learned to sleep with her favorite toys clutched in her arms, which may explain why her beloved Baldhead Barbie remains in Kate’s special toy collection to this day.

Kate’s creativity with scissors, not to mention her uncanny ability to tell great whopping lies, alarmed her parents enough that they sent Kate off to be educated by the nuns.

When Good Things Happen to Bad Girls

Thus began Kate’s long and desperate search for a creative outlet and a good haircut. Chafing under the authoritarian rule of Sister Mary Cletus at Holy Rosary Academy, Kate escaped by making up stories. One of her favorites was a tale about a wild pony who rescued a strange, lonely farm girl with a bad haircut. Given their daughter’s fascination with ponies, Kate’s parents thought she might grow up to be a bookie like her Uncle Jerry.

As a teenager, Kate fell in with the wrong crowd. She grew big hair and started flirting with boys, but her school spirit never waned. In fact, Kate’s sophomore class at Holy Rosary won a trip to Safari World for selling the most chocolate almond bars, due mainly to Kate’s strategy of selling her candy bars to sailors at the downtown bus station. When Kate would ask if they’d like to buy some candy, the sailors would invariably respond, “Is your name Candy?” Her mother held out hope that Kate might someday find her niche in Sales.

Lying For Fun and Profit

But Sales weren’t on Kate’s radar. Instead, a friend got her a job on a game show and Kate grabbed that opportunity with both hands. She dropped out of college, bleached her hair and went on to spend years in production working on countless films and television shows, hanging out with rock stars and partying with the beautiful people.

But Kate realized she was losing her grip on what was truly important in life. She quit show biz and gave herself a permanent wave. Forsaking her worldly goods, she joined a cult. It worked out well at first. The cult leader owned a vineyard. But within months, the grapes were picked, the wine was drunk, and Kate’s hair was losing its wave. It was time to move on. But where to go? What to do? Kate decided to seek professional guidance. After relating her life story to her therapist and lamenting that she’d run out of options, the woman gave her a dirty look and called her a big fat liar. Liar? Kate shouted “Eureka!” and applied to law school.

All The Right Moves…Really

During her first year of law school, Kate again turned to writing as a way of escaping the drudgery of studying because, let’s face it, she wasn’t the greatest student in the world. But this time there were no stories of wild ponies or lonely little girls with bad haircuts. No, this time her stories were filled with hot, lusty men and smart, spunky women investigating murders and falling in love. There was danger and adventure and treachery…and sex!

Faster than you can say res ipsa loquitur, Kate dropped out of law school and signed up for writing classes. She joined Sisters in Crime and Romance Writers of America where she met lots of wonderful writers and made fabulous friends. She wrote books and attended writers’ conferences and sent out query letters and entered writing contests in hopes of selling her manuscripts to the perfect publisher.

And one day, Kate walked out of the hair salon with the best haircut she’d ever received. The sun was shining, the air was clean, the planets were aligned, and suddenly her phone rang. It was “The Call.” Kate became a published author that day. Her destiny was fulfilled. And her hair was perfect.

 

Desolation Row by Kay Kendall

DesolationRowDesolation Row by Kay Kendall

 

Back in the Vietnam War Era (and yes it was a war-no matter that the powers that be never declared it as such) many young Americans left for Canada to avoid the draft, never knowing whether they would ever be able to walk on American soil again. It was a tumultuous time. Bob Dylan wrote a song called Desolation Row back then-the words to that song can be found here . None of the guys I knew ever went to Canada-some went to Vietnam and came back but were never the same, others didn’t make it back. Some were just plain lucky and their number never came up.

This is the story of a young couple who went to Canada as graduate students before his number came up, knowing they would never return. The young man got involved in the anti war movement with other ex-patriots. Then the unthinkable happened–one of the movements leaders was murdered and the young man was accused of it and sent to jail. Austin, his wife knows he is innocent and goes about proving it–collecting facts and very interesting people along the way. I have to admit I was caught off guard until the killer’s identity was revealed! This is the first book in the Austin Starr mysteries and I really want to know where this series is headed. 5 Star for this authors first book!

 

About the Book: (from Amazon)

The flight to avoid the killing…
It’s 1968. The Cold War is hot, the Vietnam War is raging, and the women’s movement is beating a far-distant drum. When Austin Starr’s husband decides to protest the war by emigrating from Texas to Canada, she goes along, with the biblical dictate of “whither-thou-goest I will go” ringing in her ears.

Leads to murder…
No activist herself, Austin is homesick, drowning in culture shock, and now, her husband has been accused of murdering a fellow draft resister, the black-sheep son of a U.S. Senator. Alone and ill-equipped to negotiate in a foreign country, she is befriended by Larissa Klimenko, the daughter of Austin’s Russian history professor.

A desperate race to find the truth…
The Mounties aren’t supposed to harass draft-age boys but the truth is very different, especially when political pressure is applied by both the victim’s father and the Canadian prime minister’s office. They may have a reputation for always getting their man, but Austin is convinced this time they have the wrong one. Once courted by the CIA, and a lover of mystery and espionage novels, Austin launches her own investigation into the murder. When ominous letters warning her to stop her sleuthing turn into death threats, Austin must find the real killer or risk losing everything. Her love—and her life—are on the line.

Read a chapter or two here

Purchase the book here

KayKendallAbout the Author: (from Amazon)
Kay Kendall is an international award-winning public relations executive who lives in Texas with her husband, five house rabbits, and spaniel Wills. Growing up during the Cold War, she recalls being excited when an ICBM (intercontinental ballistic missile) was installed near her hometown in Kansas. A fan of historical mysteries and the brilliant spy novels of John le Carré, she set her debut mystery during the Vietnam War, a key conflict of last century not already overrun with novels.

The author says her mysteries will feature women caught in their own battles during that unusual war era. “In Desolation Row I explore what life was like for a typical young woman–not a headline maker, not a Hanoi Jane or Angela Davis, but a moderate who nonetheless got swept up by history’s tides during the turbulent sixties. All that turmoil lends itself to drama, intrigue, and murder.” Kendall’s now working on her second Austin Starr mystery, Rainy Day Women. – originally published on Miki’s Hope by Michele Bodenheimer

Speak of Ashes by Christine McGovern

speak of ashesSpeak of Ashes

Christine McGovern

ISBN 1500550531/ASIN B00LV00TJA

Amazon Digital Services, Inc.

Kindle, 383 pages

July 15, 2014, $4.99ChristineMcGovern

Gina R Metz

 

Gwen Hawthorne barely survived an attack by an Infernal who killed her friends.  Infernals are immortal, supernaturally strong and feed on the energy of living souls.  Gwen lives in Ash that is surrounded by a border that most believe keeps them safe from the Infernals.  When Gwen was attacked most believed her story of a demon attack as a lie but the Church knows the truth that the border isn’t keeping the Infernals out.  Infernals look just like any other human and only attract the Church’s attention when they get sloppy and start leaving bodies behind or people start going missing around them.

 

The Templars who work for the Church brought Gwen in after her attack.  The Church provided free medical help and after Gwen regained her strength the Church trained Gwen to secretly assassinate demons found in Ash.

 

Gwen works for a messenger service to pay for her living expenses and hide her other job.  But suddenly Gwen’s life is turned upside down when she’s given a package to deliver that someone doesn’t want delivered and results in her being attacked.

 

Speak of Ashes is an exciting action packed page turner.  Now I must impatiently await book two in the series.  Hoping it will be out soon.

 

Stages of Grey by Clea Simon

StagesofGreyrevisedStages of Grey

Clea Simon

ISBN-10: 0727883933

ISBN-13: 978-0727883933

Severn House

Hardcover, 224 pages

Also available in Kindle format

 

 

 

This is the 8th book in the Dulcie Schwartz Feline Mystery series. It is the first I have read and I think I want to go back and see what Mr. Grey, Dulcie’s deceased cat who makes appearances in ghostly form on occasion when needed the most, was like when alive. Her current cat-Esmee reminds me of my own cat–right down to the biting of my ankle if she is angry at me for one reason or another.
Dulcie is attempting to write her graduate thesis–her adviser is not exactly helpful. She is attempting to figure out the authorship of snippets of pages of literary writings and prove that the same author wrote them. These snippets are definitely from Gothic or Historical type romances as I am sure you will realize as you read them! Meanwhile her roommate and boyfriend–she thinks he’s a werewolf but cannot prove it.

When she takes an evening off with her friends to see a very modern interpretation of an old play things start happening. It is the tightrope walking cat that really gets her attention. Then one of the actresses gets murdered and in the ensuing fray the cat escapes the theater. It is winter and it is cold and Dulcie is worried enough about the cat to try to find him. Strange things keep happening and Dulcie keeps getting involved even though she is told not to!

This is really a tangled web of lies and deceit which can only be untangled by reading the entire book which I encourage you to do. – Reviewed by Michele Bodenheimer at Miki’s Hope

Fat Cat at Large by Janet Cantrell

Fat_Cat_At_LargeFat Cat at Large

By Janet Cantrell

ISBN-10: 0425267423

ISBN-13: 978-0425267424

Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages

Publisher: Berkley

September 2, 2014 $7.19

 

The title of this book alone grabbed me–I have a fat cat of my own! She used to be skinny or at least weighed what she should when I first adopted her—but like Quincey she had other ideas when it came to eating and when.

This is a murder mystery where Chase (who is owned by Quincey) is somehow caught up in some murders thanks to Quincey who is really good at escaping to hunt out food. Chase is always in the wrong place at the wrong time. But before I get ahead of myself Chase and Anna are co-owners of a bakery which makes dessert bars. Gabe Naughily has been trying everything to get them to sell the store to him. He has called the health department and even attempted to put rats in and around the store! Chase and Gabe have a verbal argument in the store and Chase kicks him out. Next thing you know our escape artist has escaped and made his way to Gabe’s condo where the door is conveniently slightly open so that a paw can open it. Chase finally locates Quincey who is eating some freshly made meatloaf while Gabe lies dead on the floor! Chase is now a murder suspect!

Meanwhile Quinceys vet thinks he should lose weight. Not easy since Anna sneaks him treats all day long! This vet always seems to be around when dead bodies are found –yup there are more. In desperation Chase dreams up kitty snacks–healthy kitty snacks. Thankfully Quincey approves these and will even eat his diet food as long as it is sprinkled with this delightful morsel his wonderful owner has finally found for him. Not that this is going to stop him from escaping every chance he gets!

Meanwhile the two employees of the bakery do not get along!! Thus, between trying to keep them from fighting in front of customers, and trying to prove that she is not the one murdering people-poor Chase is worn out.

There are lots of twists and turns and don’t even bother to figure out who committed those murders-it will surprise you! This could even be termed a cosy book-and now to wait for the next episodes of Quincey and his human. – Reviewed by Michele Bodemeier/Miki’s Hope

The Perfect Coed by Judy Alter

perfectcoedThe Perfect Coed

Judy Alter

Alter Ego Publishing

ISBN 978-0-9960131-1-6 (digital)

ISBN 978-0-9960131-0-9 (trade paperback)

 

 

Few mysteries open with a single paragraph of eye-popping intrigue, but The Perfect Coed is full of such moments and its introduction is apt warning that readers will rapidly become involved in something far from mundane or predictable: “Susan Hogan drove around Oak Grove, Texas, for two days before she realized there was a dead body in the trunk of her car. And it was another three days before she knew that someone was trying to kill her.”

 

True, The Perfect Coed‘s title sounds more like chic lit than a mystery; plus, it tends to not follow the standard formula writing of the mystery genre. And that’s where it gets interesting.

 

Protagonist Susan is both intelligent and combative. She’s abrasive with those who love her, let alone when a coed’s body is discovered in the trunk of her car, effectively placing her under suspicion of murder.

 

There’s only one solution to this dilemma: become a self-made investigator. And so the process of Susan’s name-clearing begins: a move which eventually invites the inevitable when someone on campus begins to stalk her.

 

The stalker obviously doesn’t know who he’s dealing with, however, and Susan’s feisty personality serves her well as she finds herself struggling not only to solve a murder, but to prevent her own demise.

 

Up till now, The Perfect Coed sounds somewhat predictable. After all, a plethora of murder mysteries center on protagonists who are not professionals and who take on the task of investigation only because they (or loved ones) are threatened.

 

But a big ‘plus’ of Judy Alter’s approach lies in its ability to gently lead readers up the garden path of predictability, then take a sudden turn. Ergo, what begins as a murder investigation turns into something much more complex as readers discover that Susan’s singular purpose has turned into an unbelievably complex series of events that threatens more than her own life.

 

It’s the hallmark of a good murder mystery that the stage is properly set, the personalities of all the players are well-developed, and the plot evolves into something much more than a standard read.

 

Susan’s discoveries on what was a quiet Texas college campus hold far greater ramifications than a single sociopath’s intentions, and will involve readers in a growing web of terror and tension that’s delightfully well-wrought.

 

Original publication: D. Donovan, Senior E-Book Reviewer, Midwest Book Reviews