Review: Try Not to Breathe by Holly Seddon

trynottobreatheTry Not to Breathe -5 Stars

Holly Seddon

Ballantine Books, 2016, 368  Pages

ISBN No.   978-1101885864holly-seddon-bw-300x300

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid



Alex Dale and Amy Stevenson might be referred to as two lost souls.  Alex Dale’s problem is alcohol.  Alcohol is the main factor that destroyed Alex’s marriage and destroyed Alex’s career as a journalist.  Alex fights her addiction but so far, it is a losing battle.  Alex’s ex-husband is remarried and has a child.  Alex is surviving as a freelance writer but just barely getting by.


Amy Stevenson was attacked 15 years ago.  She is in a coma and has been silent the entire 15 years.  Her only visitor is Jacob, her boy friend from 15 years ago.  Jacob is married and his wife is pregnant but she is unaware of Jacob’s visits to Amy.


Alex is writing a freelance article about patients that are in a coma and the doctor who is trying to communicate with patients that he feels are functioning on some level.  She visits the hospital and recognizes Amy from the story of her abduction fifteen years ago.   Alex makes a decision to try to find out the true story behind what happened to Amy.  Part of that decision is to make a stronger attempt to curb her desire for alcohol.


Amy as well as Jacob and Alex speak to the reader from the various chapters of Try Not to Breathe.  Alex feels that she is reaching Amy and notices little changes in her.


The book is well written and an exciting read.  I look forward to more books by Holly Seddon.

Review: A Portrait to Die For by Radine Trees Nehring

A_Portrait_to_Die_For_Rev_smA Portrait to Die For

Radine Trees Nehring

Dark Oak Mysteries, 2016, 289 Pages

ISBN-13: 978-1610092227

Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid



Carrie McCrite and her husband Henry King have had several adventures that have brought them both close to danger and now Henry has put his foot down.   He is insisting that Carrie stop getting the couple involved in criminal activities.  Carrie has a habit of noticing things that others might overlook and so she has managed to get the couple in some tight spots.   Carrie has promised that she will abide by Henry’s wishes.


That promise lasted just about as long as it took Carrie to get to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art where she was volunteering.  First she ran into a woman who was trying to get away from a man and she asked Carrie to say she had gone the other way.


As Carrie wondered around the museum viewing some of the new items she stopped to study “Twins With Daisies” by Marie Forneau. This was part of the items on loan from Port View Historical Society’s collection.  Carrie immediately noticed what she took to be a discrepancy in the picture but decided to keep it to herself.  Valerie Knight, the museum’s director of communications requested that Carrie speak with Maylynn Brewer, a reporter, who was interested in Carrie’s observations as a volunteer.


The two didn’t hit it off right away but that changed when Maylynn suddenly disappeared.  It turned out that Carrie’s son Rob was an old friend of Maylynn’s. In addition, Catherine who is engaged to Rob was also acquainted with Maylynn.   Rob also informed Carrie and Henry that Maylynn had a twin brother who had some problems that arose from his duty in the service overseas.  In spite of all the promises not to get involved, Carrie and Henry are trying to find out what has happened to Maylynn and how it might be connected to “Twins With Daisies” since Maylynn had also mentioned noticing a discrepancy in the picture.  Rob and Catherine decide to join in the hunt for Maylynn and soon they are all four in more trouble than they ever thought of.


I enjoyed this book and looking forward to more from this author.


Review: Blue Moon by Wendy Corsi Staub

51t4ndgzleL.SX316Blue Moon-5 Stars

Mundy’s Landing Book 2

Wendy Corsi Staub,

William Morrow, 2016, 448 Pages

ISBN No. 13: 978-0062349750


Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid



Mundy’s Landing is famous for the murders that occurred years ago.  Three girls were found dead in three different houses and the murderer was never found.  The houses came to be known as the Murder Houses.


Even though they had second thoughts about purchasing a “Murder House”  they went ahead and bought the house.   Annabelle Bingham and her husband Trib were thrilled with all the room the house provided for the couple and their son Oliver.  The couple felt they could put the bad memories of the house behind them.


That is hard to do in Mundy’s Landing particularly at the time of Mundy’s Landing Sestercentennial Vault to be opened in 2016.  People are gathering to see the town and stare at the Murder Houses which isn’t making Annabelle Bingham very comfortable but living where she does she is bound to have tourists coming around.


But girls are disappearing again in Mundy’s Landing.  No way could the killer of years ago return but it seems there is a pattern being followed and there will be murder before the festivities are over.


I am anxiously awaiting Book 3 “Bone White”.

The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook

The Mystery Writers of America Cookbook MWA Cookbook

Edited by Kate White

Wickedly Good Recipes -From Many Favorite Writers

Quirk Books, 2015, 176 Pages

ISBN-13: 978-1594747571


Reviewed by Patricia E. Reid



This cookbook contains more than 100 recipes, from breakfast to cocktails, great photography and commentary from legendary authors and fun mystery facts.  This book will make a wonderful gift for some lucky friend if you can bring yourself to let go.  You might as well just order two because once you see this recipe book you won’t want to let go of it.


The introduction includes a reminder of the murder weapon used in Roald Dahl’s 1953 short story “Lamb to the Slaughter”.


The proceeds of the sale of this cookbook go to MWA, an organization founded in 1945 and dedicated to promoting higher regard for crime writing and recognition and respect for those who write within the genre.  MWA sponsors the annual Edgar Awards named for Edgar Allan Poe and considered the Academy Awards of mystery writers.


Breakfast includes recipes ranging from Ellie Hatcher’s Rum-Soaked Nutella French Toast to Max Allan Collins and Barbara Collins Holiday Eggs.   Richard Castle gives us his recipe for Morning-After Hotcakes.


For the Appetizer section Nelson DeMille has contributed Male Chauvinist Pigs in the Blanket.  This is followed up by Kate White’s A Very Sneaky Bean Dip.    There are a number of excellent sounding appetizers to choose from.


The Soup and Salad section contains several recipes that I would like to try right now.


Kate White gives the reader a very good definition of “What Exactly Is A Red Herring?”  This refers to a Red Herring in a mystery and not in a recipe.


There is a large section of entrees headed up by David Morrrell’s Thomas De Quincey’s Pasta -Less Pasta.  I won’t tell you what takes the place of the pasta so you will need to get the book. I am sure everyone will want Sue Grafton’s Kinsey Millhone’s Famous Peanut Butter and Pickle Sandwich.


The book contains a chapter on Side Dishes, Desserts and Cocktails.   The book contains Metric Conversions which is a very helpful addition.  I haven’t named many of the authors in this review but there are so many I know every reader will find at least one favorite author.


Lee Child presents very exact instructions for making Coffee, Pot of One.  The recipe even includes the type of coffee and mug to use.


You can’t go wrong with this cookbook.  There is a little bit of everything included and some insight into the likes of many of your favorite authors.

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 or 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