New Release: DEVIL’S BREATH by G.M. Malliet

519-NHxK9uL._SY346_DEVIL’S BREATH A Max Tudor Mystery by G.M. Malliet

Mystery / Released April 11, 2017 by Minotaur Books

When the body of glamorous film star Margot Browne washes ashore, Max’s former colleague Patrice Logan, heavily pregnant, asks Max for help.  It’s a perfect “closed circle” murder since Margot must have been killed by one of the actors, stylists, screenwriters, or second-tier royalty aboard the yacht where she was vacationing.  Patrice suspects the yacht’s owner, a playboy film director she’s been keeping tabs on for smuggling, but Max isn’t so sure.  Max and DCI Cotton interview the suspects as they loll about one of the luxury hotels dotting the waterfront.  Tipped by the playboy director, Max uncovers the truth about the star’s life.  But would Margot kill – or be killed – to keep her lurid past in the past?

Max’s investigation uncovers a host of motives but only one killer:  it seems Margot is not the only person on board with a secret they’d kill to keep.

G.M. MALLIET’S first St. Just mystery won the 2008 Agatha Award for Best First Novel, and was chosen by Kirkus Reviews as a best book of the year.  It was nominated for several awards, including the Anthony, the Macavity, and a Left Coast Crime award for best police procedural.  She has since been nominated for nearly every major crime-writing award, including the Anthony (audiobook and short story).  Her series debut, Wicked Autumn, featuring a former MI% agent turned vicar of a small English village debuted in the autumn of 2011.  She attended graduate school in Cambridge and Oxford; she and her husband travel frequently to the U.K., the setting for her books.

Book Excerpt: WHITE WITH FISH, RED WITH MURDER by Harley Mazuk

51ZieRgHZBLWHITE WITH FISH, RED WITH MURDER by Harley Mazuk

Book Excerpt

When Cici came back down, she was in a silver satin men’s pajama top, long enough to come down to mid-thigh. Only the top button of the three it had was buttoned. “Oh, it’s good to get out of all those clothes after a long day.”

“All those clothes? You barely had on enough to ante up in a game of strip poker.”

“Sure I did, Frank. I had enough on because when I play cards, I win. Runs in the family.” Cici plopped down on the davenport next to me. She lifted her martini with her right hand, crossed one bare leg under her, and draped the other on my lap. She propped her left elbow on the back cushion and rested her head against her hand, smiling at me.

“I don’t know, doll. I saw Fenwick today. He doesn’t think the general lost all that money to Rusty.”

She sipped her drink and eyed me hard over the rim of the glass. “Fenwick don’t know nothing about it, Frank. I’ve got the paper. As a matter of fact, I want you to take those IOUs down to the probate court for me and file a claim. Now that Thursby’s dead, that’s the only way I can collect.”

“Well, that might have to wait a day or two.”

“Why wait, Frank?”

“I have to go up to Sonoma tomorrow. I’m going to go talk to Sally DeBains. I think I’d like to see the Blackbird vineyard too. I’ll have to take care of your claim on Thursby’s estate later in the week.”

She shrugged. “There’s time, I guess.”

“There’ll be plenty of time. I didn’t find any wine. There’s an abundance of good gin around, so I made martinis. How’s your drink?”

“It’s just what I needed. Thanks. There’s some wine in the cellar, but most of it’s at the restaurant. Rusty didn’t drink much wine. He liked his gin though.”

“Did he drink much when he gambled?”

She hesitated, and then nodded. “Sometimes.”

“Fenwick thinks he had plenty to drink when he was over there. You know, maybe his judgment wasn’t so good when he drank. Maybe he didn’t win all that money from Thursby.”

“Yeah? Well, maybe he did. What difference does it make what Fenwick thinks?” She sipped her martini. “Jesus, Frank, who says Fenwick thinks at all? He seems like . . . like such an animal.”

“He was okay when we dipped our bills today—just the two of us—in Thursby’s kitchen. Anyhow, I talked to some of the other suspects today too,” I said.

“Suspects?”

“People from the train. Suspects in the Thursby killing.”

She had another swallow of her martini and then set the glass down on the table. She leaned forward and wrapped her arms around my neck. The cool satin sleeves slid around me, just above the collar. “Frank, are the police hunting for any suspects in the Thursby killing?”

“No, they’ve got Vera.”

“Maybe you should just leave it that way.” She planted a kiss on my yap and gave me some icy cold tongue. Then she crammed a salty surprise, an olive, into my mouth.

“She didn’t do it.” I chewed the olive.

Book Excerpt: HONEYMOONS CAN BE MURDER by Heather Haven

honeymoons1 copyHONEYMOONS CAN BE MURDER by Heather Haven / Mystery /  Released March 1, 2017 by Wives of Bath Press

When PI Lee Alvarez goes on her honeymoon with bridegroom, Gurn Hanson, they find a dead woman practically on their doorstep. Kauai breezes may be soft, but there are gale force winds of accusation against Gurn. Will Lee find the real killer before her new hubby gets sent to a Hawaiian hoosegow?

Chapter One 

“Gurn, darling, wasn’t that woman lying in exactly the same position when we left for breakfast?”

Shading my eyes, I looked in the direction of a chaise lounge about seventy yards away sitting half in the lapping waves of the Pacific and half on the warm sands of Hanalei Bay. Dragged into position by sunbathers looking to have the best of both worlds, it seemed to be a common practice on the island. Ten or fifteen others dotted the Hanalei Bay coastline near their respective beachfront rooms.

I’d noticed the woman around seven o’clock in the morning when I stepped outside with my coffee and the morning’s newspaper. I would have liked to take a run along the beach before breakfast, but was recuperating from a sprained ankle, so instead I read “USA Today” while slurping my latte. A poor substitute.

Our honeymoon bungalow was set off in a corner of the Royal Kauai Hotel’s expansive beachfront property. Other than the mandatory public access, which allowed for occasional wanderings by guests along the beach, it was private, quiet, and heaven.

The slender woman was lying on her back in a rather racy red bikini. Legs outstretched, arms by her side, large floppy black hat covering her face, neck and hair, she hadn’t moved in over three hours. I unwrapped myself from my own lounge chair and stood.

“She was, wasn’t she? In exactly the same position.”

My husband of less than a week remained seated in one of the two turquoise and white beach chairs on our lanai. But he leaned forward, removed his sunglasses, his grey-green eyes focusing on her.

“You could be right, but I wasn’t paying attention to her, not really.” He reached up and grabbed me around the waist, pulling me on his lap. “I only have eyes for you, sweetheart.” He then proceeded to kiss my neck with loud, smacking noises, intentionally more comical than romantic.

“Yes, darling,” I said, wiggling within his embrace. “But seriously, I don’t think she’s moved in hours.”

Gurn glanced in her direction in earnest. “She could be sleeping one off.”

“She could.” My tone was doubtful.

“You think she might be sick or something? Why don’t you walk down there and have a chat with her? But if you wake her up and she gets a mad on, remember I told you so.”

“Why don’t we go together?”

I flashed him what I hoped was a winning smile. It must have been along the winning lines because he let out a sigh of resignation and released me. I removed myself from his lap and got to my feet. Gurn looked at me, the lopsided smile springing to his face.

“You’re lucky you’re so gorgeous I’ll do anything you want. You and your twilight colored eyes,” he added.

“Aw, I’m not so gorgeous,” I said modestly, batting said eyes at him.

“If you say so.” He shrugged.

I feigned shock at his words, gave him a playful smack on the arm, and we both laughed. Gurn stood, and with a groan stretched his now tanned six foot one frame. We’d been married right after he returned from a covert mission a little on the banged up side. It was just a few scrapes, bruises, and a black eye, nothing serious, but he’d made one weird looking groom.

To civilians, he was known as Mr. Hanson, CPA extraordinaire and owner of Hanson Accounting Firm. To the U.S. Navy, he was known as Lt. Commander Hanson, ex-navy SEAL, often called away on highly classified and secretive missions. To me, he was Gurn, the man I loved.

In fairness, I was a little on the banged up side, too, having just completed a case where the villain was unwilling to see my side of things i.e. going to jail for murder. I was for; villain against. After a few rounds, I had my way but not without sustaining a sprained ankle and a black and blue hand. The ankle was currently embraced by a support boot. The hand was on its own. Everything hurt, so I was either icing various parts, taking Advil, or downing the occasional Mai Tai. Rum can be very medicinal.

I studied the lone woman lying on the chaise. So did Gurn. Without saying a word, we walked hand in hand in her direction. Actually, Gurn walked. I hobbled in the cumbersome boot I was relegated to wearing for the next four to six weeks.

Once there, we unlocked hands, Gurn going around to the far side of the lounge. I looked at him and he looked at me. Raising his forefinger, he tapped the air in the woman’s direction, indicating it was time for me to do something.

I cleared my throat.

Nothing.

“Ah, miss?”

Still nothing.

“Excuse me,” I said louder then waited.

“Miss?” This time I jostled the chaise lounge with my knee. The movement caused the sandal to drop off her left foot and land in the water. It bobbed on gentle waves.

Review: MURDER AT THE MANSION by Janet Finsilver

515ogsanePL            From Wisconsin we go to California, for Murder at the Mansion, by Janet Finsilver (Kensington,2016,$15.00). Kelly Jackson has returned to take up her post as manger of a B&B at Redwood Cove, where the annual whale-watching festival has attracted a slew of tourists. Since the B&B isn’t quite finished, Kelly is asked to catalog the antiques left in the old Victorian mansion at Redwood Heights. It sounds like an easy job, but when one of the tourists is murdered, Kelly is among the suspects. To clear her name, she enlists the “Silver Sentinels”, a groups of senior citizens with a lot of savvy and a dogged sense of justice, to help clear her name and find the killer. Old sins have a long reach, and a local legend has roots in fact, as Kelly uncovers murderers in both past and present. Kelly’s love life gets more complicated as she untangles the threads of local history. We may expect more mayhem in this corner of Northern California.

 

Janet Finsilver is the USA TODAY best-selling author of the Kelly Jackson mystery series. She worked in education for many years as a teacher, a program administrator, and a workshop presenter. Janet majored in English and earned a Master’s Degree in Education. She loves animals and has two dogs—Kylie and Ellie. Janet has ridden western style since she was a child and was a member of the National Ski Patrol. One of the highlights of her life was touching whales in the San Ignacio Lagoon. MURDER AT REDWOOD COVE, her debut mystery, was released on October 13, 2015. Her second book, MURDER AT THE MANSION, became available on June 7, 2016. MURDER AT THE FORTUNE TELLER’S TABLE is scheduled to be out in March 2017

New Release: SNOWED IN WITH MURDER by Auralee Wallace

SNOWED-IN-WITH-MURDER-COVER2SNOWED IN WITH MURDER (An Otter Lake Mystery Vol 3) by Auralee Wallace / Mystery / Released Feb 2017 by St. Martin’s Press.

Erica Bloom is home again in small town Otter Lake, this time to save her struggling relationship with local sheriff, Grady Forrester.  The timing is perfect:  her mother is away, the retreat is closed for the season, and Erica has just beaten the storm of the century into town.

Erica is determined to make this visit both sleuthing and hijinks free, but when she arrives at the retreat she finds the lodge swarming with guests.  Her mother has re-opened Earth, Moons, and Stars in a last ditch effort to reunite the wealthy but feuding Boatright Family.  To make matters worse, the weather is stopping anyone from making it on or off the island.

When a guest is murdered, Erica once again must muster up some investigative skills to unravel all the Boatright’s twisted family secrets to reveal the clan’s killer … or this proverbial dark and stormy night might well become her last.

AURALEE WALLACE is the author of The Otter Lake Mystery series which includes, Skinny Dipping with Murder and Pumpkin Pickling with Murder.  She has played many roles in her life, including college professor, balloon seller, and collection agent.  When this semi-natural blonde mother of three children (and psychiatric nurse to two rescue cats) isn’t writing humorous novels about quirky characters, she can often be found pontificating about the Golden Age of soap operas or warring with a family of peregrine falcons for the rights to her backyard.

Review of ANTIQUES FATE by Barbara Allan

51pqjr1zlul-_sx303_bo1204203200_ANTIQUES FATE (A Trash ‘n’ Treasures Mystery) by Barbara Allan / Released 2016 by Kensington

Barbara Allen ( a husband and wife team) has come up with another romp for antiques dealer Brandy Borne and her theatrical mother, Vivian.

ANTIQUES FATE finds the duo in Old York, a neighboring town that relies heavily on its Olde Worlde British background for tourist trade. Vivian’s one-woman show of “the Scottish Play” has been booked for the annual, fete, and Brandy comes along to make sure all goes well. Alas, all does not go well… but it it the famous “Macbeth curse” or something more contemporary that is causing all the mayhem? Is the young and handsome clergyman all he claims to be? Is the overly aggressive real estate promoter going to extremes to get the land deal he wants? And who is selling off the valuable antiques in the town theater? It’s up to Brenda and Vivian (with some help from their Shih Tzu, Sushi) to uncover the dirty secrets of this picture-perfect town. Antiques tips from Brenda and a lasagna recipe are included.

Review: INHERIT THE BONES by Emily Littlejohn

51vnbqzmual-_sy344_bo1204203200_INHERIT THE BONES by Emily Littlejohn / A Detective Gemma Monroe Novel / Released Nov 1, 2016 by Minotaur Books

Review by Heather Haven

This is a debut novel, but you’d never know it by the writing. There is an ease and confidence to the story, characters, and prose that dominate the novel. Ms. Littlejohn has created real people and situations at once familiar, yet slightly off-kilter. On the surface, all seems normal. Almost. But then, how normal is murder?

The protagonist, Detective Gemma Monroe, is six months pregnant, filled with doubts about herself, her lover, her job, and the small Colorado town in which she lives. And then there are the dreams, the recurring dreams about children long dead. They call to her, taunt her, until the very end of the book. Then the truth is revealed in the most astonishing way. As the reader, we follow this storyteller, Emily Littlejohn, and become as haunted as Gemma by the past, present, and future. Such is the legacy of fine writing.