Julia Keller: The Cold Way Home Thursday, Aug 22 2019 

Keller’s returns with Bell Elkins in The Cold Way Home, and proves that the stories of Bell and her compatriots are still compelling even though their individual situations have vastly changed over the arc of the series.

Family is at the heart of this one, pride in one, what makes up one, and what we will do for ours. One of the strengths of this series is the realistic characters of rural West Virginia and Acker’s Gap, Bell’s hometown.

The former prosecutor is now a private investigator, helped by two other friends and compatriots: Nick Fogelsong and Jake Oakes, former sheriff and deputy respectively. There’s a missing girl they need to find, but there’s also a murder, with the body found on the burned-out grounds of a former psychiatric hospital.

Wellwood had a notoriety even before it burned to the ground, which is where the body of Darla Gilley, sister of Nick’s best friend, Joe, is found. These woods are where Bell and her sister Shirley played as children, and she knows them well, down to the nickname for a twisted tree.

Trying to find the root of the murder of Darla means going through all of her connections in town. It also means looking into the death of her grandmother, a former employee of Wellwood when it was functioning. Is it too much to believe there’s no coincidence between both murdered bodies being found at Wellwood?

While just a burned out shell now, the ghosts or Wellwood hang over the story and inhabit the investigation. And help will come to Bell from an unlikely source.

One of the best in a strong series, this could easily be read as a stand-alone if you aren’t already a fan of Bell Elkins and her crew.

AB Jewell: The Man Who Wouldn’t Die Wednesday, Aug 21 2019 

Welcome to the not-too-distant future of Silicon Valley, in AB Jewell’s satirical mystery, The Man Who Wouldn’t Die.

Picture Silicon Noir, a world of SnipChat, Starbacks, and the Video Game Olympic Training Center. It’s a place where being fast is a virtue and greed is the name of the game.

William Fitzgerald, former ATF agent, prefers Fitch, and his PI agency takes on the usual cases. Until the day a wealthy woman asks him to take on his most unusual case yet: she claims her father, Captain Don Donogue, sent her a tweep saying he was murdered. But he’s already been dead for two weeks…

There’s a black box involved, a host of nasty characters, and someone keeps trying to kill Fitch, who appears to be the only sane person in the Valley. And what of this woman who claims her father is communicating from the beyond? Does she have any brain cells besides money?

There will be car chases, kidnapping, murders, and all kinds of the usual things you’d find in Raymond Chandler, but set in a future where couples get on waiting lists for kindergarten as soon as they freeze their eggs.

Filled with wry humor, this clever plot spins the hardboiled detective mystery into high tech with a huge aside on tech dependency. Creative and original.

Donna Andrews: Terns of Endearment Sunday, Aug 18 2019 


Donna Andrews bring Meg Langlsow back in the 25th of the popular series with Terns of Endearment.

Filled with charming characters and brisk wit, Meg’s grandfather has a new gig: the naturalist been booked to give lectures on a cruise to Bermuda, and he’s grandly invited his family to join him. Only anything that could go wrong does, in short order.

When the cruise ship breaks down of course it’s in the Bermuda Triangle, but Meg and her fammily rise bravely to provide entertainment and keep the passengers occupied. That’s where the tern comes in, being cared for on the boat.

But when a woman jumps overboard, the note she leaves behind raises more questions than it answers. A former member of a writing group there on retreat after one of their members was driven to suicide, Desiree St. Christophe was not a favored person. She jumped leaving not only the note and her shawl, but a pair of pricey Christian Louboutin shoes.

Soon there’s dissention in the ranks of those who knew Desiree, divided on whether she would commit suicide. And when Grandfather’s assistant, Trevor, also goes missing, answers need to be found before the ship is repaired and they return to shore, losing all of their prime suspects.

Meg is the family’s glue and sometimes the voice of reason, too. The boat’s staff are unfazed and underwhelmed. And then a body is found.

A nicely twisted plot to herald the new setting on this 25th in a strong series.

Lauren North: The Perfect Son Saturday, Aug 17 2019 

Lauren North will startle readers with her new psychological suspense thriller, The Perfect Son. This debut packs a wallop, making North a writer to watch.

Tess Clarke wakes up in the hospital after being stabbed, yet her only concern is for her missing son. Readers learn what led up to this event, and why she mistrusts Shelley, the grief counselor who’d become her friend.

Tess has been moving through the sludge of grief after the shocking death of her husband. Caring for son Jamie alone, trying to find a new rhythm to her days, she comes to depend on the friendship of the grief counselor her mother recommended. Even Jaime likes Shelley, a good thing, surely. But does Shelley have an ulterior motive?

Missing Mark terribly, his brother Ian can’t stop harrassing Tess for money he insists Mark borrowed that he needs repaid immediately. Tess can’t find any record of this supposed loan. Was Mark keeping secrets from her? Or is Ian lying?

With Tess’s world coming apart at the seams, she can’t trust anyone. And who could blame her? Soon she’s convinced the very people she should be able to trust are the ones she should be afraid of. Is she being paranoid, or careful?

With the sense of isolation Tess feels apparent on every page, North’s story lurches from unknown to unknown, while all the time there is a searing truth hiding just out of sight.

A skillful debut that ends with a resounding twist, that then turns back on itself. Worth every moment of lost sleep.

Theodore Carter: Stealing the Scream Wednesday, Aug 14 2019 

Theodore Carter takes art theft to new heights with a creative plot an a host of highly original characters in Stealing the Scream.

Inspired by the 2004 theft from an Oslo museum of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” Carter offers a fictional version of what led to that theft by introducing a most unusual character to lead.

Percival Davenport has decided to retire. He has more money than he can spend, and tired of the whole corporate world, he moves house to London to explore art and study painting, which he does with a vengence while mastering different schools of art.

He brings his house manager, Lucinda, an attractive woman who keeps him sane, and his personal cook and sets off on an adventure that will have readers smiling at the same time they admire Percival’s schemes.

For scheming is what Percival comes up with, and he carries his idea off with panache and with the help of someone he pays well to carry out his ideas. Only Leonard, a security guard at the Smithsonian’s National Gallery, figures out what Percival is up to.

With a startling climax, readers will be amused by Percival’s antics, the museum bureaucrats who pepper the plot, and the way Carter wraps it all up.

Joshilyn Jackson: Never Have I Ever Tuesday, Aug 13 2019 

Never Have I Ever, the old party game, takes on a sinister meaning in Joshilyn Jackson’s new thriller.

Hiding an old secret, Amy Whey has a husband, baby and step-daughter she adores. Giving diving lessons soothes her and keeps her past compartmentalized. She has a circle of local friends who participate in a book club, run by best friend Charlotte, held at Amy’s larger home as the group has expanded.

When a renting neighbor shows up unexpectedly, everything changes in that evening. Roux is charming but has an unsettling quality that both beguiles Amy yet puts her on high alert. It’s her idea to pour the drinks more liberally and entice the women into playing “The Game.”

Roux’s ulterior motive is to blackmail Amy over the secret she knows. It will take all of Amy’s wits to challenge Roux and beat her at the game she’s playing that will ruin Amy’s life, one she’s yearned for, one she’s finally built.
And in order to do that, she must find out just what secrets Roux is keeping——because we all have secrets.

Visual and with building suspense, Jackson keeps this cat-and-mouse game between the two women on high tension as the secrets of both women’s pasts come back to haunt them. Who will be the victor? Because betrayal is rife on both sides, yet love is, too.

A complex character dissection with startling results.

Elizabeth J. Duncan: The Marmalade Murders Sunday, Aug 11 2019 


Elizabeth Duncan’s Penny Brannigan series, set in Wales, brings the amateur sleuth and spa owner a new mystery in The Marmalade Murders.

It’s time for the annual agricultures how in Llanelen, and while there are plenty of animals, there are also the goodies on display to be judged, from veggies, fruits and flowers, to the talents of baked good, jame and jellies, and even chutneys.

Falling under the “domestic arts” banner, the homemade goodies need to be logged in and assigned a number for judging, which is where Penny comes in. Asked to help sign in the entries the night before the big event, she’s also a judge for the children’s pet competition the next day.

But when the family of the president of the local woman’s group isn’t there to cheer her granddaughter on, her body turns up under the cake table. And Penny soon finds herself involved in finding the killer.

Penny follows the clues she’s given and digs out more herself as she figures things out, leaping from idea to idea. She refuses to believe a transgender woman new to town is the culprit, even when a second body turns up. Several secondary subplots add to the complexity and confuse the murder issue for Penny and readers alike.

Duncan mixes twists and intrigue with small town people, recognizable the world over, and throws in interest with her character-driven plot. There are plenty of local details in the idyllic setting, which makes Auntie M want to get to Wales soon, too. This award-winning author keeps her readers satisfied with a clever mystery and its solution in a delightful setting.

Hallie Ephron: Careful What You Wish For Friday, Aug 9 2019 


Five-time Mary Higgins Clark finalist Hallie Ephron returns with a new mystery that’s as timely as it is realistic in Careful What You Wish For.

With the influence of Marie Kondo and her little organization book and show, it’s no small surprise that people everywhere are putting more tidying in their lives. Emily Harlow has a natural bent for that, just short of OCD, and with a partner, Becca Jain, has started a business the two women call Freeze-Frame Clutter Kickers.

One caveat they use is: the client is only allowed to declutter his or her own crap. She’s learned that the hard way, keeping her marriage to a hoarder-collector lawyer by following this rule of thumb.

Emily uses videos of her own decluttering to attract new clients, and she’s in the middle of her closet reorganization when she needs to meet Becca to see a new client, an elderly woman who’s husband has died and left her a storage unit to sort through. The contents have Emily on instantly on alert.

And then her husband’s partner brings them a new client: a much-younger wife whose new husband, a pack rat, hasn’t allowed her to bring her own things from the garage into his house. Quinn Newell has decided to dump the lot and be done with it, but brings out the prosecco on her way to show Emily the garage, and soon both women has had a bit too much bubbly and are giggling about losing their hoarding husbands——for good.

It’s a line Emily never crosses, blurring professional and personal relationships, but she figures it couldn’t really hurt——until it does, in ways unexpected and dangerous.

Soon Emily is trying to figure out who to believe, and who’s exactly whose mess she needs to be clearing out. With several surprising turns, this has a nicely twisted plot and a likeable main character. Ephron adds a touch of sly humor that makes this a refreshing and enjoyable read.

Joseph Terrell: Deadly Dreams of Summer Wednesday, Aug 7 2019 

Please welcome NC author Joseph Terrell, to talk about his Harrison Weaver series:

You know how it is during the fading days of summer. One day tends to meld into the next, and you can’t recall whether the rain was yesterday or three days ago. It’s not that there’s nothing to distinguish one day from the next, but you do get used to an evolving slower pace as the summer winds down…even here on the Outer Banks…
So one day begins to shuffle into the next like cards from a well-thumbed deck, a tad wilted from the summer’s humidity.
But then suddenly one day slips out of that deck of cards.
And you realize, maybe not that day but soon, that nothing will ever be the same.
Your view of the human condition has changed.
Forever.

That’s the beginning of my seventh in the mystery series featuring crime writer Harrison Weaver. The story—DEADLY DREAMS OF SUMMER—deals with human trafficking. Yes, and here on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. More of that vile crime goes on that we may realize. And of course a beach area in the summer is ripe for it.

Now that that book is out this summer, I’ve started work on number eight in the series. As in all of them, the primary setting is the Outer Banks. The readers here, and the thousands of tourists who come here—plus the local booksellers—want and expect the Outer Banks setting. As for many of us, the setting becomes an integral part of the story.

But on this next one—tentatively titled CALLING CARDS OF DEATH—a big chunk of it is set in Paris, with a return for the final scenes back at the Outer Banks. I look forward to the Paris section. That’ll be fun.

I’ll be back in Paris for the month of October (and a few days into November). I love Paris and have been spending some time once or twice a year for 11 years now. Ah, the haunts of the heroes of my youth—Hemingway, Fitzgerald and the others. The apartment we rent is right there on the Left Bank, only a block and a half from Shakespeare and Company.

When in Paris, and when working, I aim for 1,000 words a day. Hope for the first 20,000 words on the new book in October.

Wish me luck and please come and visit the Outer Banks, and get to meet Harrison Weaver and his friends.


Joseph in Paris!

Joseph L S.Terrell is the published author of thirteen books. He has an award-winning publishing history that spans more than forty years.

A graduate in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he was awarded a full scholarship to the famed University of Iowa Writers Workshop, but the Korean War interrupted his studies. After service as a Special Agent in the Army’s Counter Intelligence Corps, Joseph returned to UNC to pursue graduate studies in journalism. He began his career as a staff writer for United Press International, then went on to The Wall Street Journal’s Washington bureau covering the Pentagon. Most of his career has been spent in Washington, but he has also worked for publications in North Carolina and Virginia.

Today Joseph makes his home in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, with periodic writing trips to his beloved Paris. You can find his books through his publisher, Bella Rosa Books, or ask for them wherever books are sold, including Amazon, Kindle and Nook. Joseph can be contacted at jlsterrell@aol.com or at his website http://www.JosephTerrellWriter.com.

Stacie Giles for Deadly Southern Charm Monday, Aug 5 2019 

Please welcome Stacie Giles, to talk about the new anthology, Deadly Southern Charm:

Deadly Southern Charm is a celebration of Southern women and a labor of love. Proceeds from this collection of 18 mystery short stories, mostly by fledgling authors (like me!), go to the Sisters in Crime chapter here in Central Virginia (SinC-CVa). Stories are under a 4000 word limit, are set in the South, and a woman is the main character. The stories range from real estate troubles in the Outer Banks to feuds in the hills; from spooky swamp stories to winery shenanigans. All are engaging and clever, with varying levels of whimsy and twistiness, but amazingly different. My story is historical, and the crime isn’t even murder – lots of crimes out there threaten women!

Mary Burton and Mary Miley, both prolific authors with many publications and awards as well as past presidents of SinC-CVa, donated their time, their reputations, and their expertise to promote more junior authors and the chapter. The editors selected 14 stories out of submissions nearly double that number. They served as editors and liaised with the publisher, Wildside Press, and also invited 4 well-known authors to join the effort. Mollie Cox Bryan, Lynn Cahoon, Barb Goffman, and Sherry Harris contributed great stories. The remaining 14 authors not only had the benefit of the editors’ helpful comments on their writing, they have also been coached on the business side of writing, everything from social media marketing to tax law. Authors like Hank Phillippi Ryan – who called the volume “deliciously devious” – and Ellery Adams – who said it is “a keep-you-up-all-night collection”– graciously praised the book with their comments.

My story, “Southern Sisters Stick Together,” is set in a tea shop in Memphis in 1920. That was a time of rapid social change — Tennessee ratified the 19th Amendment in August 1920, finally giving women the right to vote – and I use the culture, society, and crime of that time to consider how a young woman fresh from the farm can protect herself and her friends against big city slickers. My heroine faces questions of submission versus defiance, proof versus suspicion, and keeping her job versus exposing a villain preying on women.

There are times when you need a woman to get justice. Now THAT is a theme that comes up over and over in this collection.

Stacie Giles: after a career as a political scientist, linguist, and CIA analyst, is now writing historical cozies with a twist. Her first short story is in honor of her grandfather who was a policeman in Memphis in the 1920s.
amazon.com/author/staciegiles tiny.cc/StacieGWriteNow

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