Tuesday, June 27, 2017

An Interview with Susan M. Boyer

It's hard to believe that Susan M. Boyer is already on her sixth Liz Talbot mystery. It seems as if it was just yesterday that she won the Agatha Award for Best First Novel for Lowcountry Boil. Today's release date for her latest book, Lowcountry Bonfire, but she took the time from a busy schedule to answer a few questions. Thank you, Susan.




Susan, would you introduce yourself to the readers?
Hey everyone! I’m Susan Boyer, and I write the Liz Talbot Mystery Series. I’m originally from North Carolina, but have lived in South Carolina for nearly thirty years. I’ve had a lifelong love affair with books, mysteries in particular. But before I wrote them, my day job was in computer business systems. My husband, Jim, and I have four grown children. We live in the Upstate of South Carolina, but spend a good bit of time in the Lowcountry, near Charleston.
I can’t believe you’re already up to #6 in the Liz Talbot series. Would you introduce us to Liz Talbot and Nate Andrews?

Liz Talbot was born and raised in the small town of Stella Maris, on the coast of South Carolina. She graduated from Clemson University (folks from South Carolina, I sent her brother, Blake, to Carolina) and she met her partner, Nate Andrews, there. After graduation, she and Nate interned with the same private investigator in Greenville, and later started their own firm. Nate grew up in Greenville, and he has some trouble with their eventual transition to the Lowcountry. Liz and Nate are very good at their job. But they have some challenges with her quirky extended family. Oh, and her best friend, Colleen, who’s been dead for eighteen years.  
Tell us about Lowcountry Bonfire, without spoilers.
Tammy Sue Lyerly, a Stella Maris resident, hires Liz and Nate because Tammy suspects her husband, Zeke, of infidelity. She’s hired them before, and they’ve caught Zeke red-handed engaging in some crazy shenanigans, but not adultery. But this time is different. The day after Liz and Nate deliver the incriminating photos, Tammy Sue piles his clothes inside his classic Mustang convertible and lights a match. When Zeke turns up dead, Tammy Sue is the prime suspect. Liz and Nate are hired by the town of Stella Maris to help with the investigation. They’re convinced Tammy Sue is innocent, but everyone liked Zeke. It’s a real puzzle who might’ve killed him.
Tell us about Stella Maris, please.
Stella Maris is an island in my imagination. It sits just north of Isle of Palms, near Charleston, South Carolina. The town that occupies the island is a quintessential small Southern town—a modern Mayberry—but it’s on a beautiful island. I created Stella Maris because I wanted Liz Talbot to have a small-town background, but I wanted her to live at the beach because I love the beach so much. I situated the town close enough to Charleston so that Liz could work many of her cases there. I knew I could only drop so many bodies in my small town before it became unbelievable.
Can you give us a hint about the next book in the series?
I’m working on that now. Lowcountry Bonfire takes place mostly in Stella Maris, with only a few scenes in Charleston. In the next book, Liz and Nate will be working in Charleston again. I have out my list of words that start with “bo” and I'm trying to zero in on a title. A couple I’m toying with are boondoggle and boomerang.
Your first book, Lowcountry Boil, won the Agatha Award for Best First Novel. Tell us about learning about the nomination. I’m sure you remember where you were, and how you reacted. Who did you tell first?
Oh my stars! I’ll never forget that as long as I live. Jim and I were at our friends’ house watching the Super Bowl. I left the room to take the call, which came to my cell phone. I was so stunned and excited. I was jumping up and down. Of course I told Jim and our friends. Then I called Kendel Lynn, my editor at Henery Press.
When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?
It was my dream as a child. When it was time to go to college, I understood that I couldn't study writing and then graduate and have a guaranteed paycheck publishing novels. Even then I knew publishing didn't work that way. And I had no interest in journalism. I wanted to make things up. At first I thought I might teach English and write in the summer. But computer programming was more practical.
It’s obvious you love South Carolina. Where do you take people when they come to visit?
In Greenville, we go downtown and have dinner in one of the Main Street restaurants, then drive up to the mountains. Sometimes we’ll see a musical at The Peace Center. In Charleston it’s usually the beach.
What author would you like to recommend who you think has been underappreciated?
I love Gretchen Archer’s casino capers. They’re hilarious escapism, but often she also works in thought-provoking topics. She’s sneaky like that.
Because I’m a librarian, I always end with the same question. Would you tell me a story about you and libraries or librarians.
I’ve always loved libraries! As a child, I begged to go, and as soon as I was old enough to be left, my mother would let me spend the afternoons there on Sundays. I would browse and browse and come home at closing with as many books as I could carry. The librarians were wonderfully patient with me, answering every question, looking through the returns for the new release I wanted but was probably too young to be reading in the first place. I explored a great many genres in the library, always returning to my first love, mysteries.
Thank you, Susan. Susan's website is http://www.susanmboyer.com/
Lowcountry Bonfire by Susan M. Boyer. Henery Press. 2017. ISBN 9781635112276 (paperback), 234p.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Booked 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton

A "cursed book". An Arizona setting. An outrageous, slapstick gathering of suspects. They're all part  of J.C. Eaton's first Sophie Kimball cozy mystery, Booked 4 Murder.

When Harriet Plunkett calls her daughter, Sophie, she insists Sophie must fly out to Arizona and investigate the multiple deaths in her book club. Too many of Harriet's friends in the Booked 4 Murder group have died while reading their latest selection. The book is cursed! Sophie reminds her mother that she works for the police department in accounting and payroll, not as a detective, but Harriet won't listen. Phee must have picked up some pointers while working there. It doesn't help that a police detective agrees Phee should investigate. To placate her mother, Sophie flies out, with a trip that ends in Sun City West, a retirement community. But, these seniors are active, walking dogs at 6 in the morning at the dog park, laying around at the pool, attending programs and Bingo. Phee finds herself tracking suspects all over the community, following cars, while her "mother compiled more data than the IRS and DMV combined."

When a senior takes a fall or has a golf cart hit by a car, it may seem natural. But, one of the deaths seems suspicious to Phee. She can't accept that the book might be cursed, but she does suspect someone is pushing the book as there's more and more media attention around the little-known title. Soon, she's as caught up in the investigation as her mother is, and the reluctant, disbelieving amateur sleuth plans an Agatha Christie-type reveal with all the suspects gathered.

Looking for a cozy mystery featuring a group of active seniors and a reluctant sleuth? Eaton's first Sophie Kimball mystery is for all those who loved Maddy Hunter's Passport to Peril Mystery series. This time, readers don't have to travel any farther than Sun City West, Arizona to find humor and death.

J.C. Eaton's website is www.jceatonauthor.com

Booked 4 Murder by J.C. Eaton. Kensington. 2017. ISBN 9781496708557 (paperback), 320p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - The authors sent me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Devil's Triangle by Howard Owen

I'm a sucker for a good mystery featuring a journalist as sleuth. So why hadn't I heard of Howard Owen? The Devil's Triangle is the sixth Willie Black mystery set in Richmond, Virginia. I feel as if I've been missing a good series. In fact, Owen's first Willie Black book, Oregon Hill, won the 2012 Hammett Prize.

Who would expect a twin-engine Beechcraft to crash through the plate-glass window of a popular Richmond bar on a Friday afternoon when Happy Hour draws lawyers and others from downtown? In fact, the husband of Willie Brown's third ex-wife was in the bar, along with many of the partners of the firm. Willie, the night police reporter for Richmond's daily newspaper, suspects the crash was more than an accident. The first reports of the pilot say he was a loner, probably off his meds. But, where did he get the money for a half million dollar life insurance policy? As Willie digs for answers, he only uncovers more questions.

Owen's latest mystery features a driven newspaperman, determined to find answers, even if it puts him at odds with his girlfriend, the police chief, the paper's publisher, and the pilot's only friend. As in any good story about the newspaper world, Black deals with sources and witnesses from every strata of life in Richmond. The mystery brings "The Devil's Triangle" area of Richmond into focus.

And, it also brings Willie Black to life. He may be a stereotypical newspaper reporter, dogged in the search for a story, hard-drinking, a smoker, and married multiple times. Despite the failing newspaper business, Black is a reporter who is still optimistic. He's hopeful a fifty-six-year-old man will still be able to keep his job. He's sure he can find the story behind the airplane crash. And, by the end, he's hoping he'll live to write another story for the paper.

And, I'm going to be optimistic. I'm hopeful that I can find the other books in Howard Owen's Willie Black series. The Devil's Triangle should please readers who enjoy Bruce DeSilva's work, and other mysteries featuring investigative reporters.

Howard Owen's website is www.howardowenbooks.com

The Devil's Triangle by Howard Owen. The Permanent Press. 2017. ISBN 9781579624996 (hardcover), 240p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - I was sent the book to review for a journal.

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Matchup edited by Lee Child

International Thriller Writers (ITW) supports itself by publishing anthologies. This year's book is edited by Lee Child. Matchup teams up some of the most recognizable names in the writing business. Each author, a male and a female, brings one of their characters to the crime story. And, every one of the stories is entertaining.

Child points out that many of the teams had not met before. In each of the introductions, he tells about the authors, the characters in the story, and provides a little background as to how they wrote the story. Val McDermid and Peter James' story, "Footloose", features a killer who is obsessed with the victims' feet. And, the authors managed to insert quite a number of feet puns into that one. Child and Kathy Reichs teamed up for a case featuring Dr. Temperance Brennan and Jack Reacher. In "Faking a Murderer", Reacher's just passing through town when he hears a story on the radio that makes him turn around. He has a story that will help Brennan save her career.

Readers can travel back in time with Steve Berry's Cotton Malone, to a Scotland where he meets Diana Gabaldon's Jamie Fraser. Karin Slaughter and Michael Koryta bring together some of their police characters in one of my favorite stories, "Short Story". And, editor Lee Child will give attentive readers a hint as to how Koryta pays off a bet with Alafair Burke

As a fan of crime fiction short stories, it's a pleasure to see these characters in uncommon situations, forced to team up with an unlikely ally. If you're a fan of some of the biggest names in the thriller field, and their characters, Matchup is a fun choice.

Matchup edited by Lee Child. Simon & Schuster. 2017. ISBN 9781501141591 (hardcover), 445p.

*****
FTC Full Disclosure - Library book

Friday, June 23, 2017

Winners and a "Give Me a C" Giveaway

Congratulations to the winners of the last contest. Willetta H. of Dearborn, MI won Larry D. Sweazy's Where I Can See You. Adrian McKinty's Police at the Station and They Don't Look Friendly will go to Donna W. of Sun City West, AZ. The books are going out in the mail today.

This week, I have Advanced Readers' Copies (ARCs) of two books with authors whose name begins with "C". Cold Earth is the seventh Shetland Island book by Ann Cleeves. In the dark days of a Shetland winter, a torrential rain triggers a landslide. Jimmy Perez watches the mud and water destroy a house in its path. But, inside the house is a body of a woman. And, Perez becomes obsessed with discovering her identity.







Julia Chapman's Date with Death is not a cozy mystery, no matter what the cover looks like. It's the first Dales Detective mystery. Samson O'Brien's hometown doesn't exactly welcome him back when he opens a detective agency. And, Delilah Metcalfe probably gave him the worst welcome, until she learned murder victims had also been clients at her Dales Dating Agency. Then, she hires Samson to find a killer, and save her business.



Which mystery would you like to win? You can enter to win both, but I need separate entries. Email me at Lesa.Holstine@gmail.com. Your subject heading should read either "Win A Date with Death" or "Win Cold Earth." (Sounds a little morbid, doesn't it?) Please include your name and mailing address. Entries from the U.S. only, please. The giveaway will end Thursday, June 29 at 6 PM CT.


Thursday, June 22, 2017

What Are You Reading?

It's Thursday! Better than almost the end of the week, it's the day we talk about what we're reading. I'm excited about a book of essays. I've only read the introduction and two essays, but it's a wonderful book. I'm going to Paris in September, with three other women. So, this is the perfect book. It's called A Paris All Your Own: Bestselling Women Writers on the City of Light, and it's edited by Eleanor Brown, author of The Light of Paris. Why are so many books about Paris written by female, heterosexual, white women? Brown wanted to discover what draws women to Paris. Eighteen women, including Brown, have eighteen different answers. I read Meg Waite Clayton's romantic essay about Paris first. There are essays by Cara Black, Susan Vreeland, Paula McLain, Lauren Willig, among others. And, I'm reading the book in between mysteries read for deadline for Library Journal.


So, what are you reading right now? I can't wait to see your answers. It's Thursday. That means I also have a couple meetings, but I'll find time to check on your answers. We're all waiting to see what you're reading, have read, or are listening to this week.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Have You Heard? - The Audie Award Winners for 2017

Each year, the Audio Publishers Association sponsors The Audie Awards to recognize distinction in audiobooks and spoken word entertainment. Because Sandie Herron listens to so many audiobooks, she passed the information on for "Have You Heard".

**There are a few formatting issues. I'm sorry. It's my fault, but it was cut and paste, and didn't always format correctly.

2017 Audie Awards -
Audiobook of the Year

Hamilton: The Revolution





Be Frank with Me AudiobookBe Frank with Me: A Novel


Jerusalem Audiobook
Jerusalem

A Life in Parts AudiobookA Life in Parts



The Brink AudiobookThe Brink: Stories


Geek Feminist Revolution: Essays on Subversion, Tactical Profanity, and the Power of MediaGeek Feminist Revolution Audiobook

Battlefield Earth AudiobookBattlefield Earth: Post-Apocalyptic Sci-Fi and New York Times Bestseller

Alien: Out of the Shadows PerformanceAlien: Out of the Shadows: An Audible Original Drama


Small Great Things AudiobookSmall Great Things: A Novel



The Dispatcher AudiobookThe Dispatcher


Salt to the Sea Audiobook
Salt to the Sea




How to Fight a Dragon's Fury AudiobookHow to Fight a Dragon's Fury: How to Train Your Dragon, Book 12




In the Embers: The Great Northern Audio TheatreIn the Embers Radio/TV Program

28 Days Audiobook28 Days: Moments in Black History That Changed the World

 Fiction
Sister of Mine AudiobookSister of Mine: A Novel
Publisher: Brilliance Audio



Homegoing AudiobookHomegoing: A Novel





Cross Justice AudiobookCross Justice





 Mystery
The Crossing AudiobookThe Crossing


 Romance
Dirty AudiobookDirty: A Dive Bar Novel



 Erotica
Marriage Games: The Games DuetMarriage Games Audiobook






Star Wars: The Force Awakens


The Hike Audiobook
 Fantasy
The Hike


Risen: The Novelization of the Major Motion PictureRisen Audiobook
Publisher: christianaudio.com

The Awakening of H.K. Derryberry AudiobookThe Awakening of H.K. Derryberry: My Unlikely Friendship with the Boy Who Remembers Everything



 Humor
I'm Judging You: The Do-Better ManualI'm Judging You Audiobook



The Greatest AudiobookThe Greatest: My Own Story




In Harm's Way AudiobookIn Harm's Way: The Sinking of the U.S.S. Indianapolis and the Extraordinary Story of Its Survivors



Humans Need Not Apply Audiobook
Humans Need Not Apply: A Guide to Wealth and Work in the Age of Artificial Intelligence
  • Written by: Jerry Kaplan
  • Narrated by: John Pruden
  • Length: 5 hrs and 58 mins 

  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Release Date:03-15-16
Publisher: Tantor Audio



Hillbilly Elegy: A Memoir of a Family and Culture in Crisis