Thursday, March 22, 2018

What Are You Reading?

I could tell you all about the books on my TBR pile. They've been waiting while I met my Library Journal deadline. But, here's the book Josh wanted me to read last night, Really Important Stuff My Cat Has Taught Me by Cynthia L. Copeland.

I don't remember books like that until Robert Fulghum came out with All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten. I loved that book. I used to use it for Readers' Theater. This book is broken down into chapters of advice with photos of cats providing simple examples of "Be the exception", "Take it all in", "Let your mind wonder". It should be fun.

What are you reading or listening to this week? I hope you're enjoying it.

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

Stop You're Killing Me!

Several months ago, when I told Charlotte, one of the blog's faithful readers, about the website Stop You're Killing Me!, she suggested I mention it here. She said there may be other readers who don't know about my favorite website.

The website says, "A website to die for...if you love mysteries", and it truly is. If you're looking for a mystery series, in order, with a link to the author's website, check here first. It also says, "Stop, You're Killing Me! is a resource for lovers of mystery, crime, thriller, spy, and suspense books. We list over 5,0000 authors, with chronological lists of their books (over 58,000 titles), both series (5,900+ and non-series." I have to say, though, that I use it most often to find the next book in a series.

Looking for a list of award winners? You’ll find the Edgars, Agathas, Macavities, and others listed. You can only remember the name of the character you like, but not the author? The index for the site is by author or character. Are you looking for a mystery set in the 1920s? Try the Historical Index. Find mysteries set in Arizona or Italy. That’s the Location Index. There’s a Genre Index to help you find Police Procedurals or Thrillers.There's a Diversity Index if you're looking for series characters who are Seniors or Gay or Lesbian.
Lucinda Surber and Stan Ulrich do a fantastic job with Stop, You're Killing Me! As I said, it's my favorite website. Everything a mystery reader could want, all in one place.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

I Am a Cat by Galia Bernstein

Once in a while, I come across a children's picture book that I love and want to share. I'm going to read Galia Bernstein's I Am a Cat to a group of third graders next month. I know it's a picture book, but its subtle message of diversity and similarity is too good not to read to my kids.

Simon is a cat. When he meets a group of cats, he introduces himself, and tells them he's a cat, "Just like you!" Here's their first reaction.

And, their second reaction.

The lion, cheetah, puma, panther, and tiger tell Simon he's nothing at all like them. But, Simon points out that none of them resemble each other, so how can they all be cats? When the lion points out the features they have in common, all the large cats realize Simon has small, perky ears, and a flat noise, and long whiskers, and a long tail, and sharp teeth and claws, "and big eyes that can see in the dark".

Despite the difference in size and coloration and abilities, Simon is just like the big cats.

Need I say more?

Galia Bernstein's I Am a Cat marks her debut as an author and illustrator. I love the facial expressions on her cats. I can't wait to share this book with my kids.

Galia Bernstein's website is

I Am a Cat by Galia Bernstein. Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2017. ISBN 9781418726439 (hardcover).

FTC Full Disclosure - Library book

Monday, March 19, 2018

Have You Heard? - A Toxic Trousseau by Juliet Blackwell

Sandie Herron caught my comment that I was reading Juliet Blackwell's A Toxic Trousseau, and she reminded me that she had reviewed the audio book. Thanks, Sandie. Here's her review of the last Witchcraft Mystery.

A TOXIC TROUSSEAU                                                          
Witchcraft Mysteries #8
Written by Juliet Blackwell, Narrated by Xe Sands
Unabridged Audiobook
Listening Length: 7 hours and 41 minutes
Publisher: Tantor Audio Release Date: July 5, 2016

Vintage clothing dealer Lily Ivory almost stumbles down the stairs 
from her second floor apartment to open Aunt Cora’s Closet only to 
open the front door and be served papers!  Autumn Jennings had 
visited Lily and her shop and had bothered Lily’s witch’s familiar 
Oscar in his public persona as a miniature pot-bellied pig so much 
that he head butted her!  She fell into a rack of clothing but was 
none the worse for wear until she decided to sue Lily.

Trying to avoid the suit altogether, Lily visited Autumn across town.   This time Autumn looked rather ill and confused.  When Lily referenced the suit, they both went upstairs to Autumn’s apartment where Lily notices what appears to be a complete vintage trousseau.  Autumn spoke of the items being cursed and how the curse went back several generations.  The curse had been placed on one of Autumn’s male relations plus anyone born of the same line. It was a coincidence that found the trousseau for which  Autumn had spent decades searching.

The next day when Lily returned with some scrumptious cupcakes, she found Autumn dead upstairs.  Cause of death was the clothes from the trousseau!  Cursed or deliberate poisoning?  Plus now there was a charming dog with no owner.  As Lily and the women in her shop looked for a new home for the dog, they found a friendly dog park where they politely gathered more information and met more people involved in this peculiar case.

One of Lily’s best workers had a birthday for which her beau treated her and her entire coven to sleep over at a haunted house once owned by a very wealthy widow.  The woman had been renovating when her husband died, and she could never stop construction.  The mansion had 75 bedrooms, 6 kitchens, and 10,000 windows.  Along as protection for the coven, Lily and her beau Sailor, found doors opened onto walls and other peculiar features of the house.  When they inadvertently went to an area denied visitors, an alarm sounded in the caretaker’s home, who struck up a friendship with the lovebirds when he came to investigate.

Did I mention that Sailor’s nemesis Aidan, head of the magical community in San Francisco, left on a trip and left Lily in charge for which she needed his well-worn leather satchel.  The Mayor’s private number was included along with many slips from people who owed Aidan for some favor or deed.  Others feared the Satchel.  It held quite a lot of power that Lily might have known if so much else wasn’t going on in her life..

All of these items were figuratively blended and brewed until Lily figured out who was responsible for many of the calamities going around.  I was shocked when the main perpetrator revealed herself.  Enough clues had been dropped throughout the book that a more astute reader would have put to the open case, especially when the curse hit another outside the family.  Unfortunately, I did not so did not determine who the killer was until it was revealed in the book.  Lots of fun with full impact hitting me as it hit Lily!

I consider Xe Sands one of my favorite narrators.  Different characters have been given subtle changes from each other but never so much that could be considered overdone. She can switch gears from catching the murderer to a romantic scene that leaves Lily utterly speechless to another scene that leaves Aidan out of sorts.  It all makes up the eighth book of the Witchcraft Series by Juliet Blackwell.  Now, I need some juju to help me wait for number nine!

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Where I've Been

No video today. Instead, I'm going to invite you to a couple blogs where I've been spending time this weekend.

I've raved about my friend Kaye Wilkinson Barley before. She's my roommate for mystery conferences and even in Paris. We're already planning Bouchercon in Dallas next year! She was kind enough to invite me to read on her blog, Meanderings and Muses. Kaye's doing a feature called "Inside My Book Fort" in which she reads favorite passages from books. I'm sharing an essay from one of my all-time favorite books. Stop by to see what it is!

With Kaye in Paris

I was also at Jungle Red Writers with several blogger friends, Dru Ann Love and Cathy Cole. Author Jenn McKinlay invited us to talk about the three books we're anticipating in 2018. Stop by for our lists, and the lists of several readers who commented.

Once in a while, it's fun to appear on someone else's blog.

Saturday, March 17, 2018

The Irish Pub by James Fennell & Turtle Bunbury

What better book for St. Patrick's Day than The Irish Pub by James Fennell and Turtle Bunbury?
Fennell is the photographer of this gorgeous book with 201 color illustrations. And, Bunbury is the historian and writer who tells the story of a representative thirty-nine pubs in Ireland.

To tell the story of Irish pubs, the pair traveled to over 700 pubs through all thirty-two counties of Ireland. Then, they picked a small group to "celebrate, and document, pubs that epitomize that essential charm of old Ireland." According to the authors, the oldest pubs in the book date to the 17th century, and some of the most recent were built in the late 1990s when the economy was exploding.

The authors break the book into three sections. "Urban Retreat" features the more metropolitan pubs from the 19th and twentieth centuries. The threatened pubs are the ones in the chapter "Rural Charm". These are the more traditional country pubs, closing at a rate of one per day as of 2008 when the book was published. Bunbury explains the economy, the ban on smoking in public places, and the crackdown on drinking and driving have all combined to hurt the traditional pubs. The final section features four pubs, "Contemporary Heritage". Those pubs, created more recently, in the authors' opinions, reflect the best of Irish tradition.

Dark wood, large or small pubs, former groceries, centers of music. In their books, the authors attempt to capture a disappearing Ireland. They make the comment "The upshot is that if you want to see what a traditional Irish bar looks like, you might have better luck in Chicago or Sydney than in Dublin, Galway or Tipperary." But, I think they've found some to write about and photograph. As I said when I reviewed Vanishing Ireland, Bunbury's words are pure poetry. The stories and pictures in this book are magic, capturing pubs that exemplify Ireland for some many of us.

James Fennell's website is Turtle Bunbury's website is There's also a Facebook page that salutes many of the people of Ireland, a page called Vanishing Ireland.

The Irish Pub by James Fennell and Turtle Bunbury. Thames & Hudson, 2008. 9780500514283 (hardcover), 192p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I bought my copy of the book.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Winners and Cozy Wedding Blues

Congratulations to the winners of the last contest. Kara M. from Adrian, MI won The Lost Order. Deanna S. of Carlisle, MA will receive Breaking Point. The books will go out in the mail today.

This week, I'm giving away cozy mysteries involving weddings. The first is Death, Taxes, and a Shot Gun Wedding by Diane Kelly. For IRS Special Agent Tara Holloway, this case is personal She and her soon-to-be-husband are preparing for their wedding day. But along with all the RSVP cards are a series of death threats from an unknown source. Tara has run across too many lawbreakers to narrow down the list of suspects.

Belfast McGrath is the chef at Shamrock Manor, her family's wedding center. Bel, Book and Scandal by Maggie McConnon finds Bel helping with wedding planning while looking into a story from her own past. Bel has been unable to forget the long ago disappearance of her best friend, but a newspaper clipping sends Bel on a search. Amy Mitchell might still be alive.

Which wedding mystery would you like to win? You can enter to win both, but I need separate entries. Email me at Those titles are long, so let's use the authors' names. Your subject line should read either "Win Kelly" or "Win McConnon." Please include your name and mailing address. The giveaway will end Thursday, March 22 at 5 PM Ct. Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

What Are You Reading?

Thursday, Thursday! I look forward to Thursday all week. I love to see what you're all reading.

I'm playing catch-up. I'm reading Juliet Blackwell's A Toxic Trousseau because A Magical Match, the next one in her Witchcraft Mystery series, is out on April 3. Somehow I missed A Toxic Trousseau. It's a cozy mystery series featuring a witch who runs a vintage clothing shop in San Francisco. As much as I like Lily Ivory, I love her familiar, Oscar. When he's around other people, he takes the form of a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig.

What are you reading or listening to this week? We're interested!

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Sandie's Corner - Dead Cold Brew by Cleo Coyle

When Sandie Herron first started sending occasional reviews to Lesa's Book Critiques, we called it Sandie's Corner. Then, she switched to reviewing audio books for "Have You Heard?". Today, she has a book review for us, last year's Coffeehouse Mystery, Dead Cold Brew by Cleo Coyle, now out in paperback. Thank you, Sandie.

Dead Cold Brew                                                                             

By Cleo Coyle (Alice Alfonsi & Marc Cerasini)
Berkley; Paperback reprint edition (March 6, 2018)

“Friendship has no legal status.”  Clare Cosi didn’t know what significance that statement would have when her boyfriend, New York City Detective Mike Quinn, pushed her back into the shadows of The Village Blend, the coffee shop Clare co-managed.  A sniper was taking shots at New York’s finest including Mike and his squad.  When one member of the squad was hit, Clare and Mike went to the hospital after the paramedics, and the nurse would talk to Mike as commanding officer, but she would tell Clare nothing since she was “just a friend.”  

Clare’s ex-husband Matt Allegro, also co-manager of The Village Blend, brought Clare a newspaper about all the recent cop shootings as well as news of a special opportunity.  Clare had recently created an exquisite coffee blend with the many kinds of coffee that Matt scouted around the globe.  Available on a limited basis, the Billionaire’s Blend held just the qualities the owners of the newly replicated Andrea Doria were seeking.  An exclusive blend was needed for her maiden voyage; could Clare do it?

While the cop shootings remain unsolved, Clare enticed Mike to an evening of sheer delight after a 36-hour shift.  She began to ask him to propose again while Mike began to break things off for a while to help her worry less.  She professed that she would only worry more.  What will they do now? 

In researching the possible Andrea Doria coffee blend, Clare went straight to a good source: Matt’s Italian godfather, Gus Campana, who was on the ship when it sank.  In today’s world Gus is a world-famous jeweler running his family business in the Diamond District of New York City.  It seemed odd that shortly after that visit, Matt received a summons to meet an attorney in the massive complex of vaults embedded in Manhattan’s bedrock underneath the Diamond District.  The summons was issued on behalf of Gus Campana and Silvio Allegro, Matt’s godfather and father. What could they have had in common that would bring this attorney, Matt, and Gus’ daughter Sophia together sixty years later in a tiny room of private safe-deposit boxes guarded by Lyons Global Security guards?

If you want to answer these questions and more, enjoy this 16th entry in the coffeehouse mystery series by Cleo Coyle, real-life husband and wife team Alice Alfonsi and Marc Cerasini.  I asked them the oft-asked question about a series – “Do I need to read them in order?”  Their answer is no.  They told me what this means to them:  “When we sit down to write a new Coffeehouse Mystery, we do our best to provide enough background on the characters and storylines to give longtime readers a quick refresher and new readers the chance to enjoy our work without feeling lost … anyone can feel comfortable picking up each book as standalone reads.”    I believe they do a beautiful job of this by writing an intriguing mystery with charming characters in a city large enough to house any number of stories.  I think this series has longevity because the authors make each entry a self-contained story but leave the long-term relationships flowing from book to book.  Each book carries a different theme while they all engage in a bit of social satire and have a biting sense of humor.  

We even get a clue what is coming up since for the first time, the paperback release of DEAD COLD BREW includes a bonus teaser of the first chapter from the 17th in the series – SHOT IN THE DARK due out April 17, 2018.  All I’m going to say is don’t miss it!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Southern Sympathy Cookbook by Perre Coleman Magness

I was hoping for a cookbook with recipes I could take to potlucks (carry-ins in southwestern Indiana).
Instead, I found a cookbook that made a number of changes to traditional recipes, so they weren't quite what I expected. But, I did enjoy the obituary clips and the stories in Perre Coleman Magness' The Southern Sympathy Cookbook: Funeral Food with a Twist.

Magness' cookbook has an interesting format. Because it's supposed to feature comfort food to take when someone dies, or when someone needs carry-in food for sickness or birth, but mostly funeral food, the chapters are broken down into interesting titles. There's "The Great Awakening: Breakfast and Bread"; "The Pearly Gates: Starters and Snacks"; "The Eternal Garden: Fruit and Vegetables". "The Gospel Bird" has chicken recipes. "Crowning Glory" is meat. And, naturally, "The Sweet Hereafter" is desserts and sweets.

The author adapted recipes to fit her own tastes or to make them healthier. She also admits her cakes aren't quite what people would expect because she doesn't make the towering layer cakes expected by Southerners. But, I was pleasantly surprised to see a recipe for Divinity, a candy my grandmother used to make.

For me, the highlight of the cookbook were actually the anecdotes about food, and the obituary notes. Here's one from an obituary in Columbia, Tennessee. "(She) epitomized the Southernn Lady in her life's three ambitions. As a wife, her support was without limits. As a mother, her love was without condition. As a friend, her hospitality was without distinction."

What I was really looking for in The Southern Sympathy Cookbook, and failed to find, was what I see as comfort food. And, maybe my tastes are different than Magness' because I'm from the Midwest. But, I was also raised to take food to the recently bereaved, or to someone's house when they are sick. I just don't think this cookbook epitomized what I was thinking of when I read this quote. It's from Garden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hays, Being Dead is No Excuse. "Nobody in the world eats better than the bereaved Southerner."

The Southern Sympathy Cookbook: Funeral Food with a Twist by Perre Coleman Magness. The Countryman Press, 2018. ISBN 9781682680384 (paperback), 174p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I bought a copy of the book.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Deja Moo by Kirsten Weiss

Although I guessed the killer within the first fifty pages of Kirsten Weiss' Deja Moo, the third in the Perfectly Proper Paranormal Museum Mystery series was worth reading. The likable team of sleuths, along with the paranormal museum added up to a fun story.

Maddie Koslowski's reliable truck broke down, so she didn't make it to the thirty-foot straw Christmas Cow display to help her mother guard it. She missed the four gingerbread men and Santa Claus who attacked the cow with flaming arrows. But, she and sexy police detective Jason Slate arrive in time to discover a body. The president of the San Benedetto Dairy Association is dead, with an arrow in his chest. And, Leo, Maddie's employee at the Paranormal Museum, filmed the entire event. It's too bad the killer was in costume.

With Maddie's mother in protective custody, it's up to her to ask enough questions to protect her mom and find a killer. But, it's the busy season at the museum with plenty of customers to see the haunted Christmas displays. That includes the haunted cowbells from Sweden that arrived when the Dairy Association and Ladies Aid brought the tradition of the Christmas Cow to the small community. Now, the town is in a panic, with stories of the "cursed" cowbells. Maddie's determined to protect her mother and save her museum's business. But, when Slate is injured, pushing Maddie out of the way when a car aims at her, it's up to Maddie and a small group of her mother's quirky friends to find out who is behind the rumors and a murder.

I loved Maddie, her mother, and the other characters in this humorous cozy. The confrontational ending was marvelous. My only problems with the book were probably ones of proofreading because I read an Advanced Reader's Copy. Several key points were missing in my copy, ones that were crucial to the story. It felt as if they had been overlooked in the editing process.

Despite the editing issues, Deja Moo is exactly was a cozy mystery should be, the story of a community split by a murder, and the amateur sleuths who work to restore that feeling of unity.

Kirsten Weiss' website is

Deja Moo by Kirsten Weiss. Midnight Ink, 2018. ISBN 9780738750361 (paperback), 360p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received the book to review for a journal.

Sunday, March 11, 2018

Sunday Reading Corner

This week, Sunday Reading Corner also includes Berkley Prime Crime's April releases. Enjoy those, because Jinx was sleeping through the video.

The five books to be released April 3 by Berkley Prime Crime are:

Cinco de Murder by Rebecca Adler (3rd Taste of Mexico Mystery)
Queen Anne's Lace by Susan Wittig Albert (26th China Bayles Mystery)
A Magical Match by Juliet Blackwell (9th Witchcraft Mystery)
Wedding Cake Crumble by Jenn McKinlay (10th Cupcake Bakery Mystery)
Murder in the Bowery by Victoria Thompson (20th Gaslight Mystery, 1st time in paperback)

Saturday, March 10, 2018

The Night of the Flood edited by E.A. Aymar and Sarah M. Chen

In a series of linked stories, fourteen crime authors tell the story of a disastrous night in one town. The Night of the Flood is a dark, disturbing book with an open-ended conclusion that allows readers to imagine what might have happened after.

The town of Everton, Pennsylvania was warned. Maggie Wilbourne had been found guilty and sentenced to death for killing the two men who raped her. A secret group of women from Everton, calling themselves "The Daughters" promised they would blow up the dam and flood the town if Maggie was executed. Just minutes after her death, they followed through. It was a night to live in infamy, as the poor and beaten down took their revenge. The resulting chaos and violence affected everyone in town - from the wealthy whose homes perched above the floodwaters, to businesspeople, the police and The Daughters themselves. It wasn't just looters who took advantage of the darkness and lawlessness that night. Spouses, children, strangers took their opportunities to right perceived wrongs.

The gritty, intense compilation may be a source of discovery for some readers. Most of these authors who wrote the dark stories are not as well-known as other thriller writers. While readers may recognize names such as Jenny Milchman, Alan Orloff, Hilary Davidson, there are other writers whose noir stories stand out in this book. J.J. Hensley's "The Copy Man" was one of my favorites, with the unusual voice of the narrator. Gwen Florio's "Marta" also stands out. But, every one of these stories served to tie the collection together.

The Night of the Flood is an unconventional, action-packed novel. If you don't mind a disturbing, gritty collection, try this one.

The Night of the Flood edited by E.A. Aymar and Sarah M. Chen. Down & Out Books, 2018. ISBN 9781946502513 (paperback), 318p.

FTC Full Disclosure - I received this to read for a journal.

Friday, March 09, 2018

Winners and Give Me a B Giveaway

Congratulations to the winners of the last giveaway. Tari H. from Mount Sterling, OH won Curses, Boiled Again. Linda L. from Louisville, KY will receive Honey-Baked Homicide. The books go out in the mail today.

This week, I have two thrillers to give away. The authors' names begin with B.  Breaking Point by
Allison Brennan features FBI Special Agent Lucy Kincaid. JT Caruso asks Kincaid for help when he learns his sister Bella is working undercover to find a missing girl involved in a dangerous prostitution ring. Bella Caruso survived a nightmare of abuse and betrayal. Now, she dedicates her life to saving other young women from the hell that almost killed her. Lucy has experience finding human traffickers, but the undercover Bella doesn't want to be found.

Steve Berry's The Lost Order thrusts former Justice Department agent Cotton Malone into an adventure that takes him from the Senate floor and the backrooms of the Smithsonian Institution to the deepest woods in rural Arkansas and the rugged mountains of New Mexico. He's on the trail of the stolen gold and silver once owned by the Knights of the Golden Circle. The Knights were the largest and most dangerous clandestine organization in American history. News that their buried, hidden treasures have been discovered sends remaining Knights rushing to seize their fair share.

Which book would you like to win? You can enter to win both, but I need separate entries. Email me at Your subject line should read either "Win Breaking Point" or "Win The Lost Order." Please include your name and mailing address. The giveaway will end Thursday, March 15 at 5 PM CT. Entries from the U.S. only, please.

Thursday, March 08, 2018

What Are You Reading?

After we all talk about what we're reading this week, you might want to back up and read the blog I posted earlier today about CrimeReads. Some of you might be interested in the new site. It looks like there's a wealth of interesting reading there.

I've just started Ian Rankin's first Rebus mystery, Knots and Crosses. I've never read one of his books, as much as I like police procedurals. He's going to be the keynote speaker at a Poisoned Pen Conference at the beginning of September. It's a two-day conference, and I already registered. I understand that Rebus and Rankin may not have come into their own until partway through the series. And, there have even been recent discussions as to whether you should start at the beginning, or as Hank Phillippi Ryan says, meet characters as adults, and learn they have a whole backstory. As much as I love Hank, I still like to start at the beginning, if possible. So, it's Knots and Crosses for me right now.

What are you reading or listening to this week? Thursdays (Wednesdays when the schedule forces me to do it then) are really my favorite day of the week. I love to see what you're all reading. Tell us about your recent books, please.


Announcing CrimeReads, a new site from the makers of Literary Hub, at

On March 7th, Literary Hub launched CrimeReads, a new website showcasing the best writing from the worlds of crime, mystery, and thrillers.

Crime writing is more popular than ever before. From psychological thrillers to true crime to international noir, these titles fill the world’s bookshelves. Every year, new masters of suspense come to the fore, and with the rising popularity of podcasts, TV, and film adaptations, we consume more crime and mystery stories all the time. The culture that has sprung up around these stories is vibrant, diverse, and growing.

CrimeReads will be the singular online destination where readers can find the highest quality crime content from across the web, the publishing world, and the crime community. With help from its partners, CrimeReads will publish a daily slate of features, profiles, and excerpts from established and emerging writers, as well as a weekly newsletter, curating the best of today’s crime, mystery, and thriller scene.

"It's been exciting to watch the success and growth of Literary Hub,” said Morgan Entrekin, the site’s co-founder and Publisher of Grove Atlantic. “Now, using the same model of partnering with content producers and having our editors commission original work, we’re expanding to cover crime writing.”

CrimeReads will partner with major publishers and independent presses, booksellers, librarians, thriller festivals, author organizations, journals, blogs, crime-solving communities, and more. CrimeReads will be advised by a board of authors, among the most widely read and influential voices in the field, including Megan Abbott, Lee Child, Lyndsay Faye, Meg Gardiner, Alison Gaylin, Rachel Howzell Hall, Carl Hiaasen, Joe Ide, Craig Johnson, Ausma Zehanat Khan, Laura Lippman, Attica Locke, Val McDermid, Kyle Mills, Walter Mosley, Lori Rader-Day, Ruth Ware, and Daniel Woodrell.

“The crime fiction community has always been friendly, engaged and deeply passionate,” said author Megan Abbott. “CrimeReads promises to offer a ‘gathering place’ (a corner bar, if you will) to discuss and debate, to share ideas and talk craft, and to discover new books and new writers. I can't wait.”

Literary Hub was launched in 2015 and has become the world’s most popular independent literary site, with over 2 million monthly readers and 250+ partners.

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Elaine Viets, Guest Author - A Reboot

The Dead-End Jobs Re-release
By Elaine Viets

            I can't believe it's been 15 years since Shop till You Drop, my first Dead-End Job mystery, was published. I can't believe all the jobs Helen and I have worked. Telemarketer for Dying to Call You was the worst. The boiler room where we made the calls was dirty, the staff was desperate, and the people we called – bothered, if the truth be told – were rude and angry. If I go to hell, I'll be a telemarketer.
            We were booksellers for Murder Between the Covers. That job – and it's definitely not a dead-end one – was my favorite.
            The Dead-End Job mysteries are now classics. The first 13 novels were re-released by JABberwocky Literary March 6 as e-books. JABberwocky represents award-winning authors including Charlaine Harris, Brandon Sanderson, and Toni Kelner and has made books available from two dozen of its clients within in its e-book program.
            Now the Dead-End Job mysteries have new covers by the award-winning Jenn Reese at Tiger Bright Studios. Inside, you'll find your favorite adventures of Helen Hawthorne, the
St. Louis woman who had a high-finance job, a beautiful home— and a good-for-nothing husband she caught in the act with their neighbor. When she divorced the bum, the judge saddled Helen with alimony. Helen refused to pay her ex, tossed her wedding ring in the Mississippi River, and went on the run.
            She wound up in Fort Lauderdale, working dead-end jobs for cash under the table. Follow Helen as she learns to thrive in subtropical South Florida. In these 13 novels, Helen changes. She goes from a bitter woman who distrusts men to a happily married bride. She becomes a private eye. She still works those low-paying jobs, but now she's undercover.
            Helen also finds a new family at the Coronado Tropic Apartments, with Margery, her purple-wearing landlady, Peggy and her parrot Pete, and the other colorful characters.
            Now you can read the first 13 Dead-End Job mysteries as e-books (the paperbacks will come out this summer). Helen's in-depth exploration of the pink-collar world has become timelier since the series started.

(1) In Shop till You Drop, Helen sells bustiers to bimbos.  

(2) Next, she works as a bookseller in Murder Between the Covers.

(3) Then she's a telemarketer selling septic tank cleaner in Dying to Call You. (Yes, I really sold it. Wanna hear my spiel?)

(4) After that, Helen works at a bridal salon for Just Murdered. After I sold wedding dresses – when emotions run strong – I wondered why there aren't more murders.

(5) During a hurricane, Helen tracks down a killer at a posh dog grooming salon in Murder Unleashed.

(6) In Murder with Reservations Helen is a hotel maid, and finds out why you shouldn't use a hotel coffee pot. (Ask me if you dare.)
            (7) In Clubbed to Death, Helen works at a country club, solving the problems of people who have no problems. The club's motto should be "Do you know who I am?"
            (8) From there, she's a gofer at a high-end hair salon where a color and cut cost more than a car payment in Killer Cuts.
            (9) In Half-Price Homicide, Helen's working at a resale boutique where trophy wives with controlling husbands get their folding money.
(10) In Pumped for Murder, Helen explores the fascinating world of women's competition body building, where "ripped and stripped" competitors live on three ounces of chicken – a day.
            (11) Next, Helen is a stewardess on a luxury yacht for Final Sail, and learns to vacuum in the tracks. (It's an art.)
            (12) Life's a beach in South Florida, but the friendly folks selling parasailing and paddle boarding are in cutthroat businesses. Helen's role in Board Stiff is no day at the beach.
            (13) The fur flies when Helen is a groomer for pedigreed show cats in Catnapped!

Get the whole set or treat yourself to the books you missed. Prices start at $2.99 and go up. Check them out here.

            Remember, there are no calories in binge reads.