Category Archives: Mystery

Harkness Book Tour Highlights

Harkness cover

Harkness isn’t your typical Western sheriff. Cowboy boots make his arches ache, he’s phobic of horses, but he does have a horse of sorts – a `39 Chevy pickup he calls Hoopie, and a sidekick – a neurotic wiener dog named Addison.

Harkness is a man of his times, shaped for both good and bad by his experiences in WWII. He deals with issues like bigotry and sexual suppression in a believable manner. We come to know him as a good man, but never a self-righteous one. The pursuit of justice is his job, and he’s good at it, but he never loses sight of where his next woman, or his next drink, is coming from. Harkness is the keeper of secrets in his little town and to solve the crime, he must decide which secrets to expose. One secret involves Judge Barnes, the county’s most powerful man. But Harkness had a secret of his own: he’s in love with the Judge’s wife. How much is Harkness willing to risk to catch a murderer?

Set on the Oregon High Desert in 1952, life in the small town of Barnesville has been easy-going for Matthew until a star-crossed teen-age couple disappears and he’s forced to deal with some horrific murders, one of which strikes very close to home, before finally confronting the killer man-to-man on the High Desert.

Praise for Harkness by Michael Bigham

“If you like western mysteries and conflicted heroes, you should give Harkness a try.” –The Book Connection

“Bigham has done an excellent job with his debut release. He has created a protagonist in Matt Harkness readers will want to visit with again and again.” –Thoughts in Progress

“Definitely a great series for those who love cowboys and the 50’s. I thoroughly enjoyed this story and couldn’t put it down until the killer was nabbed!” –Community Bookstop

“Overall readers who enjoy a fast paced story with more than a few plot twists set during a simpler time and place with down to earth characters that lend the story a sense of authenticity will certainly enjoy ‘Harkness.’ I only hope the author plans on continuing the adventures of Harkness!” –WV Stitcher

“A suspenseful, fun read…I do love a great mystery and this debut novel shouts ‘series’. I recommend it highly.” –CelticLady’s Reviews

“I rarely would give a debut novel a 5 star, but this one earned it fully. I look forward to reading more by this author and hope that this is just the first Harkness Mystery novel.” –Library at the End of the Universe

Guest post blurbs

Jahar Tsarnaev, a popular, seemingly carefree, dope-smoking college student at the University of Massachusetts held a dark secret. He and his older brother planned and executed the Boston Marathon bombings. Not even Jahar’s roommate had a hint that his friend had committed the crime. “I have had almost two weeks to think about it, and it makes no more sense than the day I found out it was him,“ Jason Rowe said in a New York Times interview. “Nothing seemed out of the ordinary.”

We all have secrets. They intrigue us, confound us and as in the case of Jahar they shock us. Secrets drive mystery fiction. Hannibal Lector has a secret passion for human flesh. Hercule Poirot is famous for pulling his mystery suspects together and revealing their secrets one by one until he reveals the biggest secret of all: who is the murderer. When you write your mystery, create secrets. Have your characters guard them closely. They add tension and suspense to your tale.

Read the full post at Murder by 4.

Located smack in the middle of Oregon, Prineville, a small cattle and mill town, is nestled in the Crooked River Valley beneath rimrock plateaus of the Oregon high desert. I grew up there, a small town boy, among cowboys and loggers. During my college years, I fought range fires for the Bureau of Land Management. We bunked in a guard station fifty miles east of nowhere. It was the most amazing experience of my life. Every day, we’d journey up into the pine forests of the Ochoco Mountains or down into the sagebrush and juniper flats of the lowlands. We fought fires on isolated cattle ranches and on farms in lush river valleys.

After college, I spent my working life as a cop. Even then I was a closet writer and, after leaving police work, I decided I wanted write full time. I attended Vermont College and earned an MFA in Creative Writing. When the time came to create my first novel I knew it had to be set on the high desert. With my cop background, the mystery genre was natural.

Read the full post at Marilyn’s Musings.

I must admit I’m a compulsive eavesdropper. I eavesdrop on parents talking to their children at the market, to friends chatting in coffee shops, to couples huddled together in a theater line.

Read the full post at Lori’s Reading Corner.

To succeed as writers, we must master the craft of revision. Not an easy task, as creation and revision require two completely different frames of mind. To create well, we must let our creative self run free and lock our internal editors in a little room, not letting them know what we’re doing. If not, they’ll stifle our process or block us. More than once I’ve rewritten a scene again and again, never being satisfied, never moving on because my internal editor knows I should do it better. So now, I lock her away until my creative self has expressed herself. When I revise, I unlock the door and let my editor out. She hacks and slashes, criticizes my word choice and works to smooth out my narrative.

Read the full post at Acme Authors Link.Michael Bigham photo

Raised in the mill town of Prineville in Central Oregon beneath blue skies and rimrocks, Michael Bigham attended the University of Oregon and during his collegiate summers, fought range fires on the Oregon high desert for the Bureau of Land Management. He worked as a police officer with the Port of Portland and after leaving police work, obtained an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Vermont College. Michael lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and daughter. Harkness is his first novel.

WEBSITE | GOODREADS | TWITTER

 

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Pump Up Your Book Announces Michael Bigham’s Harkness Blog Tour

Harkness banner

Join Michael Bigham, author of the mystery novel, Harkness, as he tours the blogosphere May 6 – June 28, 2013 on his first virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book!

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ABOUT HARKNESS

Harkness cover

Harkness isn’t your typical Western sheriff. Cowboy boots make his arches ache, he’s phobic of horses, but he does have a horse of sorts – a `39 Chevy pickup he calls Hoopie, and a sidekick – a neurotic wiener dog named Addison.

Harkness is a man of his times, shaped for both good and bad by his experiences in WWII. He deals with issues like bigotry and sexual suppression in a believable manner. We come to know him as a good man, but never a self-righteous one. The pursuit of justice is his job, and he’s good at it, but he never loses sight of where his next woman, or his next drink, is coming from. Harkness is the keeper of secrets in his little town and to solve the crime, he must decide which secrets to expose. One secret involves Judge Barnes, the county’s most powerful man. But Harkness had a secret of his own: he’s in love with the Judge’s wife. How much is Harkness willing to risk to catch a murderer?

Set on the Oregon High Desert in 1952, life in the small town of Barnesville has been easy-going for Matthew until a star-crossed teen-age couple disappears and he’s forced to deal with some horrific murders, one of which strikes very close to home, before finally confronting the killer man-to-man on the High Desert.

AMAZONBARNES & NOBLE

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Michael Bigham photoABOUT MICHAEL BIGHAM

Raised in the mill town of Prineville in Central Oregon beneath blue skies and rimrocks, Michael Bigham attended the University of Oregon and during his collegiate summers, fought range fires on the Oregon high desert for the Bureau of Land Management. He worked as a police officer with the Port of Portland and after leaving police work, obtained an MFA degree in Creative Writing from Vermont College. Michael lives in Portland, Oregon with his wife and daughter. Harkness is his first novel.

WEBSITEGOODREADS | TWITTER

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January Justice by Athol Dickson Book Blast and $25 Amazon Gift Card Giveaway

Reeling from his wife’s unsolved murder, Malcolm Cutter is just going through the motions as a chauffeur and bodyguard for Hollywood’s rich and famous. Then a pair of Guatemalan tough guys offer him a job. It’s an open question whether they’re patriotic revolutionaries or vicious terrorists. Either way, Cutter doesn’t much care until he gets a bomb through his window, a gangland beating on the streets of L.A., and three bullets in the chest. Now there’s another murder on Cutter’s Mind. His own.

Link to purchase: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00AGAW6EC

Athol Dickson’s mystery, suspense, and literary novels have won three Christy Awards and an Audie Award. Suspense fans who enjoyed Athol’s They Shall See God will love his latest novel, January Justice, the first installment in a new mystery series called The Malcolm Cutter Memoirs. The second and third novels in the series, Free Fall in February, and A March Murder, are coming in 2013.

Critics have favorably compared Athol’s work to such diverse authors as Octavia Butler (Publisher’s Weekly), Hermann Hesse (The New York Journal of Books) and Flannery O’Connor (The New York Times). Athol lives with his wife in southern California.

Website: http://www.malcolmcutter.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/AtholDickson

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Athol-Dickson/416622918355206

Pump Up Your Book and Athol Dickson are teaming up to give you a chance to win a fabulous prize!

Here’s how it works:

Each person will enter this giveaway by liking, following, subscribing and tweeting about this giveaway through the Rafflecopter form placed on blogs throughout the tour. This promotion will run from March 18 – Mar 22. The winner will be chosen randomly by Rafflecopter, contacted by email, and announced on March 25, 2013. Visit each blog stop below to gain more entries as the Rafflecopter widget will be placed on each blog for the duration of the tour. Good luck everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

If the Rafflecopter form doesn’t load, please visit the JANUARY JUSTICE TOUR PAGE to enter the giveaway: http://www.pumpupyourbook.com/2013/02/27/pump-up-your-book-presents-athol-dicksons-january-justice-book-blast-%E2%80%93-win-25-amazon-gift-card/

JANUARY JUSTICE BOOK BLAST SCHEDULE
Monday, March 18th
Tuesday, March 19th
Wednesday, March 20th
Thursday, March 21st
Friday, March 22nd

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Book Spotlight: Next Year in Jerusalem by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

You may be wondering why I chose the title Next Year in Jerusalem! for my new novel.

Why not Forbidden Romance or Romantic Travel or Spiritual Awakenings or Lust, Memories and Old Friends on Facebook? After all Natalie and Maggie are two women, both caught up in issues that many of us face: a somewhat dull but faithful husband; a bad marriage leading finally to a divorce; a desire for adventure; unsatisfied spiritual longings. They have a great friendship with each other, something research keeps confirming, keeps us young and emotionally happy, but life is far from easy for either women.
So again, why would I focus on a strange title that comes out of a book written thousands of years ago?

Here is one of the reasons. Next Year in Jerusalem! is actually a phrase that shows up at the end of the Haggadah. Those of you who are not Jewish may wonder what that is. The Haggadah is a book that the Jews have used for thousands of years to celebrate and relive the Passover experience. Many people know that the central theme of the story is how the Jews, who were slaves in Egypt, were finally able to escape and began their long journey of 40 years to get to the promised Land, which was Israel. However, what a lot of people don’t realize is that this theme is universal and can be taken metaphorically for all of us. That is why when the Haggadah ends with the fourth glass of wine being drunk, and the words, Next Year in Jerusalem! the phrase becomes so significant.

Read an excerpt!

Natalie didn’t tell David (her husband)about her other dream, the one about Jack, the Jewish fellow from Chicago who’d been around to save her from despair after she decided she wasn’t moving to Iraq. A diamond salesman, Jack now lived in London and traveled back and forth to Israel all the time.

Natalie prided herself on staying in touch with lots of people from her past. Jack was one of them. Occasionally they e-mailed and he’d friended her on Facebook two years ago. Although they hadn’t written recently, if he read her Facebook page he would know she was going to Jerusalem. What if he tried to see her? What if there was still an attraction? Would she tell David? Would he care? Would she act out?

Her life with David was so good and stable and predictable. And boring!

Did I just say boring?

No, she must have meant solid. Or did she mean solid?

Oh, I’m a wreck. I’m miserable and I can’t sleep, she continued to obsess. What about that cute secretary at the college? The one who has a sparkle in her eye whenever she talks to David? How old is she? Forty-two? Divorced and sexy. How would I know if something’s going on there?

I’m going crazy lying here, she began again. Where’s the Xanax? Already packed. Oh, that was dumb.

Purchase Next Year in Jerusalem at Amazon!

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, internationally known positive psychologist, inspires thousands with her ENCHANTED SELF®. Around the world people benefit from her techniques to enhance well-being, and to live up to their potential. Known for her ability to make complex psychological concepts easy to understand and to implement, she has now turned her talents to novel writing. “A great fiction read is a great escape, and yet, it is more! It is the gateway to new ways of thinking and behaving.”

Dr. Holstein received her Doctorate in Education from Boston University and her BA degree from Barnard College. Dr. Holstein has been a school psychologist and taught first and second grades. She is in private practice with her husband, Dr. Russell M. Holstein, in Long Branch, New Jersey. Find her at www.enchantedself.com and www.next-year-in-jerusalem.com.


Her previous books include:
THE ENCHANTED SELF, A Positive Therapy
Recipes for Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is YOU!
The Truth (I’m a girl, I’m smart and I know everything)
Seven Gateways to Happiness: Freeing Your Enchanted Self.

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New Book for Review: Bears With Us by Marilyn Meredith

Bears with Us coverMulti-published, award-winning author Marilyn Meredith is touring during the month of October with the latest installment in her Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, Bears With Us.

A burglar turns out to be a bear and Deputy Tempe Crabtree and her pastor husband, Hutch, chase the bear out of the house. This is their first encounter with a bear and the occupants of the home, an elderly couple and their daughter—and it isn’t the last.

A bear turns up at the school, at a restaurant, an apple orchard and two more homes. That is only part of what Tempe is called to handle. A teenager’s suicide, a mother who doesn’t like her daughter’s boyfriend, a wandering senior with a strange form of Alzheimer’s, and a long ago love affair keep Tempe hopping.

220 pages

Visit Marilyn online at http://fictionforyou.com/

If you would like to review Bears With Us or host Marilyn during her virtual book tour, please contact Cheryl Malandrinos at cg20pm00(at)gmail(dot)com. The deadline for inquiries is September 15, 2011 or until the tour is filled. Thank you!

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New Book for Review: ‘Julius Katz and Archie’ by Dave Zeltserman

Julius Katz and ArchieDave Zeltserman is touring in June 2011 with his mystery novel, Julius Katz and Archie.

The award-winning Julius Katz mysteries have delighted thousands of mystery fans since first appearing on the pages of Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine in 2009, winning a Shamus, Derringer and Ellery Queen’s Readers Choice Award . ‘Julius Katz’ introduced readers to Boston’s most brilliant, eccentric and possibly laziest detective, Julius Katz, as well as his sidekick, Archie, a tiny marvel of whizbang computer technology with the heart and soul of a hard-boiled PI. Now in Julius Katz and Archie’s first full novel, the stakes have never been higher when a famous Boston mystery, Kenneth Kingston, tells Julius he wants to find out who’s planning to kill him. The problem is almost everyone in Kingston’s life has good reason to want to kill him, and this case soon plunges Julius and Archie deep into the world of murder and publishing.

250 pages

You can visit his website at www.davezeltserman.com.

Please Note: Julius Katz and Archie is only available in electronic format for review.

If you would like to review Julius Katz and Archie, email us by clicking here or email Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife@yahoo.com. Deadline for inquiries end May 25 or until the tour is filled. Thank you!

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New Book for Review: A New Prospect by Wayne Zurl

A New ProspectWayne Zurl is touring in June & July 2011 with his mystery detective novel, A New Prospect. Finding a killer in a small Appalachian community doesn’t look that difficult to gritty ex-New York Detective Lieutenant Sam Jenkins. Adjusting to the culture of rural Tennessee , dealing with shady politicians, powerful rich families, and colorful residents, makes Sam feel like a fish out of water, or a cop out of bourbon. But A NEW PROSPECT isn’t just about a homicide. Jenkins, the new police chief, is busy coping with his mid-life crisis, trying to patch the cracks in a department shattered by scandal, and looking for a new purpose in life. He barely finds time to concentrate on a murder investigation that requires him to revive his old skills as a detective. The victim, Cecil Lovejoy, a wealthy real estate developer, couldn’t have deserved it more. His death was the inexorable result of years misspent. And it appears to be no great loss to anyone, except the prime suspect is Sam’s personal friend. To resolve an impossible situation, Sam turns common police practice on its ear to insure an innocent man doesn’t fall prey to an imperfect system and the guilty party receives appropriate justice. Jenkins’ first adventure at Prospect PD is fictional, but the authentic procedures are based on Zurl’s twenty years of investigative and supervisory experience with the Suffolk County Police, one of the largest municipal departments in New York and the nation.

276 pages

You can visit Wayne on the web at www.waynezurlbooks.net.

If you would like to review A New Prospect, email us by clicking here or email Dorothy Thompson at thewriterslife@yahoo.com. Deadline for inquiries end June 25 or until the tour is filled. Thank you!

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The Crypto-Capers in The Case of the Missing Sock

Crypto-Capers cover pic 001The Crypto-Capers in The Case of The Missing Sock
Author: Renée Hand
Publisher: North Star Press of St. Cloud, Inc.

Rating: 
Reviewed by:  Cheryl Malandrinos 

What do you get when you cross an accident prone computer genius, an expert puzzle solver, a flamboyant grandmother who loves knitting–even though she’s terrible at it, and a young detective who can solve crimes that stump senior members of Scotland Yard?

A great new interactive mystery series that your children will love!

Sibling detectives Max and Mia Holmes reside on Baker Street in London. Along with their Granny Nellie Holmes and their technology wizard best friend, Morris, they make up the Crypto-Capers.

In Book 1 of this series, The Case of the Missing Sock, the Crypto-Capers travel to Florida, where Mr. Delacomb hires them to locate a stolen antique sock with a specially made pair of Prada sunglasses tucked inside. With new suspects popping up everywhere they turn, the Crypto-Capers must use Max’s great skills at reasoning and deduction, Mia’s ability to solve puzzles, and Morris’s penchant for technology, to help them solve the crime. And just in case you think Granny has wandered off for no good reason, you’ll discover her wanderings are usually very productive.


Before I say anything else, I have to tell you that my daughters–ages 7 and 5–are already bugging me to get done reviewing these books so that they can have them. I have both Book 1 and Book 2 – The Case of the Red Rock Canyon, and Granny is definitely a favorite character based upon the cover art from Book 2. My girls are starting to make up their own stories without having even read these; so illustrator Alla Dubrovich deserves a huge nod for creating attention-grabbing covers.

The Case of the Missing Sock actually opens in London, with Max in the middle of something good. I don’t want to destroy the surprise, so I won’t say much more on that, but Hand wastes no time in getting right to the action.

Then we get to meet the rest of the team and get some backstory on the family. The backstory is trickled in between the current day happenings, so it doesn’t have a chance to take over the storyline or distract the reader. Hand does an excellent job of sharing just the right amount of detail to make the reader feel like he is experiencing everything along with the Crypto-Capers, while not overloading him with unnecessary junk that weighs the story down.

What I enjoyed most about this book and the plans for other books in the series, is that it gives readers, especially reluctant ones, a reason to pick up a book. By having the reader decipher cryptograms along with the team, The Case of the Missing Sock becomes more than just a book; it becomes an interactive adventure.

The Crypto-Capers by Renee Hand is one series of children’s books that I plan to keep an eye on!

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Kindred Spirits

Kindred Spirits 
Author: Marilyn Meredith
Publisher: Mundania Press, LLC.
Rating: 
Reviewed by:  Cheryl C. Malandrinos

 

 

Murder, ghostly visions, and a quest for justice are woven together to create an engaging story in Kindred Spirits, the latest in Marilyn Meredith‘s Deputy Tempe Crabtree series.

A forest fire rushes through the mountains of Bear Creek as Tempe searches for local artist Vanessa Ainsworth. When Vanessa’s body turns up inside her burnt out studio with a bullet hole, Detectives Morrison and Richards seek Tempe’s help in finding out who could have behind what might have been a perfect murder.

Even though Tempe and Hutch’s marriage is on the rocks, Tempe takes a trip to Crescent City to visit with Vanessa’s family and friends to see if she can find any clues to who might have wanted Vanessa dead. Tempe’s involvement in the case puts her in danger, but she knows she’ll never be rid of the ghostly visions haunting her until she brings Vanessa’s killer to justice.

In this installment of the Deputy Tempe Crabtree series, Meredith brings back Tempe, Hutch, and members of the Bear Creek Sheriff’s Office and gives them a mission: to prove who killed local artist, Vanessa Ainsworth. While in Judgment Fire–the book before this one in the series that I reviewed here–Tempe and the gang had a full slate of suspects, in Kindred Spirits their efforts are combined to prove the one person who couldn’t possibly have committed the crime, did it. And even though I typically prefer a “who done it” kind of mystery, this novel had me on the edge of my seat as Tempe dodged threat after threat to bring Vanessa’s murderer to justice.

Again Meredith has woven Native American history, small town charm, and a quest for the truth to provide an entertaining read for mystery and crime fans. And while Tempe is still dealing with the prejudice of being the only woman in the Bear Creek Sheriff’s Office, she finds Detective Morrison an unexpected ally in this latest installment, perhaps forever changing their working relationship and making me eager to see what the next book will bring for Morrison and Tempe. True to form, Meredith has made the personal lives of her characters an integral part of the story and the reader is eager to see if Tempe and Hutch, her minister husband, can find their way back to each other. Involving Hutch in Tempe’s case makes for many tense moments as they each deal with concern for the other’s safety, even though they are worlds apart on issues that might have forever changed their marriage.

A great read that mystery and crime readers will certainly enjoy, Kindred Spirits proves why Marilyn Meredith‘s fans keep coming back for more!

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Beneath a Buried House

Beneath a Buried House
Author: Bob Avey
Publisher: Deadly Niche Press
Rating: 
Reviewed by:  Cheryl Malandrinos

If you enjoy unusual mysteries with multiple twists and turns, then check out Bob Avey’s latest novel, Beneath a Buried House.

Tulsa Police Detective Kenny Elliot has a keen sense for the unusual. The death of a John Doe from an overdose seems like an easy case–to everyone except Elliot. He’s sure there is more to it than meets the eye. His mission to discover the truth finds him deceived at every turn and makes him the target of an unknown danger.

In this second book of Avey’s Detective Elliot series I found much to enjoy. The characters are well-developed and complex; the plot thickens as the list of potential suspects increases; and I never expected the ending.

I haven’t read the first book in this series, Twisted Perception, but now I’m more curious than ever to see where Elliot got his start and how he solved his first case.

This book started off a bit slow because it is told from several points of view. The reader is introduced to eight characters who play a significant role in the book within the first six chapters and there is also a reference to a person from Elliot’s past that plays a role in forming Elliot’s relationship with women. But at a certain point the story picks up as the clues come together and Beneath a Buried House becomes a real page-turner. I couldn’t put it down until I finished the last page.

My only disappointment is that Avey ignored an important event towards the end that intefered with how the rest of the story played out. No matter how I tried to get around it, I couldn’t, and it spoiled what could have been a perfect ending.

Beneath a Buried House is a thrilling, suspenseful mystery that will have you waiting to see what case Elliot has to solve next.

 

 

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