Leigh Russell: DI Geraldine Steel Sunday, Jan 26 2014 

Leigh Russell’s Geraldine Steel series is finally available in the US, in paper back on Amazon.com and now through the Witness Impulse series as ebooks. Jeffrey Deaver calls the debut of the series: “A stylish top-of-the-line crime tale” and readers on both sides of the pond are quick to agree.

These are intricately plotted crime novels that  find readers quickly flipping pages as the stories race along, and all in the psychological style of Ruth Rendell or Frances Fyfield. Steel is likeable and human, with her own ghosts that haunt her, and her insecurities and errors in relationships feel realistically drawn.

First in the series is Cut Short, which introduces Geraldine and her complicated background as she starts a new job in Kent.  cut-short

Relocating near the small village of Woolmarsh, Steel fully expects her life to take a quiet turn. Still smarting from the end of a six-year relationship to a man who couldn’t handle her commitment to her work, Steel moves into a new flat and prepares to turn a page and start a new chapter. Her flat on a pretty tree-lined street promises to become a haven at the end of her work day for the mobile Murder Investigation Team based in southeast England.

Steel is still unpacking boxes when the call comes to attend the Incident Room being set up in Woolmarsh, a lucky break for Steel for it means she can stay at home instead of traveling to a different site. She’s introduced to her new colleagues, and the DCI she’ll be working with, Kathryn Gordon, a tough but fair detective.

The body of 22 yr-old Angela Waters has been found by children with their nanny, partially hidden in the leaves and shrubs of a nearby park. The crime scene has been compromised by the children, the nanny, and a variety of small animals that have been at the corpse in the day and night she’s lain there.

This is the first of a series of murders by a sick mind preying on young woman. In an interesting twist, several chapters are from the killer’s point of view, so the reader has a very different feel for the motives behind what Steel and her team think is a typical serial murderer.

A great start to an interesting series, with Steel finding her footing in a new environment amongst a new team who may or may not be watching out for her. And of course, one very sick killer who may just get away with murder unless Steel can figure out the culprit.

road-closed-coverRoad Closed finds Steel and her team called in after a gas explosion takes the life of a man in his home. Was this a case of arson or that of a desperate woman trapped in a hasty marriage finding a way to end it?

In the midst of the new case, Steel’s affair with a young man seems to waffle. Is that on her end or his? And what of the grieving widow Sophie? Was her husband’s death the result of a pair of bumbling burglars or did he die at her own hand?

An old woman falls down the stairs during a burglary. Or was she pushed? And are these incidents in any way related?

These are some of the questions facing Steel and her team as they try to pick apart what is real and what is not in this second outing that starts with the death of Steel’s mother.

At the funeral, she is forced to face the ambivalence she felt toward her mother as her older sister’s mourning takes its toll. With her small family reduced to just her sister Celia and her husband and their daughter, Steel ponders what it means to have felt throughout her life as an outsider in her own family. the answer will shock her and rock her very core.

But that answer opens up even more for Steel, and will be almost as difficult as Steel’s investigation. With her team not solidly behind her, Steel has to decide if a witness to the previous crimes who dies in a hit-and-run accident is part of the larger picture or just an untimely coincidence.

Book Three continues with Dead End, the most disturbing case Steel will have to date. The trail will lead to York and back as her team struggles to find a killer9781DeadEnd just as Steel seems to heat things up with the handsome pathologist, Paul Hilliard.

Abigail Kirby is a determined woman, pushing her way to a new position as headmistress at a private school, uprooting her two teenagers from their schools and homes, despite the crumbling state of her marriage. Young Ben seems to have settled in well to his new school, but 14 yr-old Lucy is socially awkward and on the verge of an eating disorder. Plus, she’s furious with her father for having a relationship outside his broken marriage.

Then Abigail’s corpse is found and as horrible as the fact of murder seems, it takes a decided turn for the worse at the postmortem when it’s discovered her tongue had been cut out while she dying. Could her husband have decided to take the easy way out to have the relationship he wants?

As Steel’s team gets their investigation underway, a second corpse is found, that of a potential witness, who has been blinded. Then Lucy runs away from home to find her new internet friend, the only person who seems to understand her.

Meanwhile, Steel’s DS, Ian Peterson, is having his own troubles at home. He’s gained Steel’s trust, but then goes off on his own to follow a tangent in the investigation.

Steel soon finds herself on the receiving end of a surprising twist as the climax builds to a swift conclusion that will jeopardize her own life.

These complex procedurals are tightly written and the new change in store for Steel at the end of this novel promises to keep the series from becoming formulaic or stale.

Death BedBook Four follows Steel’s relocation to London in Death Bed. After a surprise discovery about her personal life, which has affected her deeply, she’s forced to tell her sister that she’s received a transfer she’s hoped for: to the Met to work as Detective Inspector on their Murder Squad in London.

Another move for Steel, this time to Islington, with more boxes and new people to meet and fit in with, and this time she’s also fighting what she perceives as their idea that she’s a country bumpkin who won’t be able to handle the hectic pace of the Hendon Squad.

Her new DS is a woman, an adjustment for both of them, but that becomes the least of the two women’s problems when a young black woman is found murdered in North London. Showing signs of severe abuse, dehydration and marks of being held with chains, the discovery is quickly followed by a second body in similar circumstances.

Worried about calls of racism against black women, the team realizes the two murders are connected, especially when it’s found that two teeth are missing from both women. But their individual circumstances are clearly different. So what is the reason this killer has taken them? Is this his idea of a trophy?

In the midst of their investigation, chapters show the victims chained in the attic of their captor, and the chilling account of his rationale for doing what he believes to be a spiritual purpose, adding to the highly unusual “collection” that readers will find a haunting premise.

This is the darkest of the series, and probes the mind of a sociopath who only sees what he needs for his own purposes. It will be up to Steel to put the pieces together to unmask a canny and highly unusual murderer.

This gritty addition to the series delivers a powerful wallop. There are two more in the series with Steel in London that will be reviewed this spring when they are released by Witness Impulse here, along with an interview with the charming Russell. Stay tuned for more with DI Geraldine Steel from Leigh Russell.

Michael Cavender: Revenge on the Fly Sunday, Jan 19 2014 

Revenge on the FlyPlease welcome guest Michael Cavender, who will explain the story behind his new novel, Revenge on the Fly:

I wanted to kill off a number of relatives when I started my first novel that eventually became Revenge on the Fly. In notebooks and on scraps of paper, my lists of potential victims who had somehow wronged the upstanding, blameless protagonist grew. A compilation of character flaws bolstered their potential as murderers. Unfortunately, the lists became a futile exercise of life imitating life, my one-dimensional players resembling people I knew who had no remarkable role to play or plot to thrust them along in any provocative way.

After several false starts, I decided my homicidal literary aspirations weren’t sufficiently inspired enough to fuel a well-plotted novel. The notes languished for years in a dark file folder. But the novel’s germ prodded me through the years. I finally found a clear path for my story that didn’t involve murder, but homicide was an essential element to the final plot.

During years of turning over that germ of a story, I realized what really sparked my imagination was the mystery of a character’s journey of last chances. My protagonist, Ben Phelps, was once told a soul-damaging lie by his older brother Watt.

The lie propelled Ben into a dissolute life of missed chances saturated by alcohol, self pity and fear. When Ben learns of the lie, he has a chance for revenge. The nature of that revenge will determine how Ben’s remaining life unfolds. Will his character extract blood or will his better angels seek redemption less gory? The mystery of a character at a crossroads is one of the oldest forms of mystery around.

They say character is plot. Discovering my character was certainly a mystery to me because my novel was unplotted. Only at the beginning of each chapter did I have a notion how that chapter would end. The plot evolved chapter-by-chapter as I discovered how Ben’s character would contend with the obstacles I tossed in his path.

As character, action and plot converged into a novel, thestory evolved over far more years than I originally had anticipated. If I had known how many years would pass until publication, I’ve might never have started. And the rewriting, editing and then more rewriting took at least as long as creating the first draft. Many critical eyes improved Revenge on the Fly into something worthy of publication. A lot of readers call it a page-turner they couldn’t put down, sweet words to any writer.

My next novel better have a much shorter gestation period. It will be a story exploring the darker side of a mountain town in which the protagonist seeks the murderer of a man who dared challenge the community’s comfortable cloak of religious piety. I’m eager for a juicy crime novel and I can’t wait to see who done it, and why!

Author PhotoRevenge on the Fly is available on Amazon.com and at Barnes & Noble.

Local NC bookstores that also carry the book are: Flyleaf Books, Chapel Hill; Purple Crow Books, Hillsborough; Park Road Books, Charlotte; City Lights Bookstore, Sylva.

Charlotte Williams: The House on the Cliff Sunday, Jan 12 2014 

charlotte-williams-the-house-on-the-cliff.jpg?w=450Welcome to Cardiff, Wales, home to psychotherapist Jessica Mayhew and her family.

Jessica has it all: lovely home, two great kids, a successful practice, and a loving marriage. Or so she thinks.

She’s sharp and notices small details with her clients, yet somehow misses that things are wrong in her marriage when her frequent-flyer husband, Bob, admits to a one-night stand while away on business.

Think: frosty at home, and you’d be right. She struggles with picturing Bob and his lover while trying to co-parent young Rose and 16 yr-old Nella. Is her marriage over?

But the thaw for Jessica comes in the form of an interesting new client, actor Gwydion Morgan, who arrives asking for her help with a phobia that may affect his career. The son of Evan Morgan, a womanizing, overbearing man with a string of infidelities to his name, Jessica admires Gwydion’s insistence not to trade on his father’s name and to make his own way.

It seems buttons are a huge problem for the incredibly handsome young man, and Jessica feels drawn to him, especially after Bob’s confession and her inability to forgive him.

Jessica soon susses out that the young man’s button phobia masks a deeper issue, and Gwydion admits to a frightening and recurrent dream involving being locked in a box and hearing a man and woman fighting. He wakes before the end of the scene, and soon Jessica is pushing him to remember more. She’s convinced the end of the dream is the way to his recovery.

When Gwydion’s mother calls and says her son has sunk into a deep depression and she thinks he’s suicidal, Jessica breaks one of her own rules and makes a house call. The foreboding Craigfa House reminds the reader of something out of Rebecca, a cliffside Jacobean melange on West Wales. Arianrhod Morgan is grateful Jessica has come to the house. Beautiful but unhappy, the woman has withstood her husband’s ferocious philandering for years. It’s obvious she is concerned about her son.

A drowning off their cliff years before is glossed over until Jessica learns that the young woman, Elsa Lindberg, was actually Gwydion’s nanny. Jessica begins to delve into the case, never imagining the repercussions she will dreg up. Her snooping into the young woman’s death will coincide with Gwydion remembering more and more of his dream until he reaches the devastating end.

How that will impact Jessica and her family run alongside her own distrust of her husband and her growing attraction to the young actor. Who is telling the truth? And who can she really trust?

With her instincts clouded, Jessica tries to find the answers, only to see that the truth may be harder to take than she ever imagined.

A powerful debut thriller, with an interesting family behind it and a keen sense of the psychology that Jessica practices. Williams has a long history or writing for the arts in journalism and making documentaries for the BBC. More recently she’s worked in radio drama on original plays and adaptations. Readers will hope she brings back Jessica for round two down the road.

 

Tracy Weber: Murder Strikes a Pose Sunday, Jan 5 2014 

Please welcome guest Tracy Weber, yoga teacher and author of of the debut mystery Murder Strikes A Pose.

Leave a comment for a chance to win an autographed copy of Tracy’s book.

                                                                                              How in the World did I Get Here?

I never intended to be a writer. But then again, I never intended to be a yoga teacher. If you’d asked me in my early thirties, I’d have told you that yoga was for woo woo Gumby wannabes, and writing was for people who had more talent in their left pinky toe than I possessed in my entire five-foot-two-inch body. a_003

I blame a fender-bender for my yoga career. In the early 1990s I was in a car accident that left me in severe chronic pain for over seven years. That pain was eventually mitigated—if not completely cured—by consistent yoga practice. My life was so transformed by yoga that I quit my corporate job and opened Whole Life Yoga http://www.wholelifeyoga.com/ in order to share the ancient practice with others.

My writing career has more complex origins. For that, I blame a grueling workout, my temperamental German shepherd Tasha, and Susan Conant. http://www.amazon.com/s?ie=UTF8&field-author=Susan%20Conant&page=1&rh=n%3A283155%2Cp_27%3ASusan%20Conant

The ingredients were already inside me, I just didn’t know it. I love dogs. So much so that my husband has nicknamed me the “creepy puppy lady.” I adore my own dog to a fault, even though she’s no Rin Tin Tin. I’ve read cozies since long before I knew there was a genre by that name. And my lifework is yoga. My mystery series was like a stew that had been slow cooking inside of me for years.

The one day, while trying to distract myself from a grueling workout, a passage in Susan Conant’s Black Ribbon made me burst into laughter. I knew I’d found my author soul mate. I jumped off the exercise bike, ran home, got online, and proceeded to buy every book she had ever written. While I was at it, I stumbled across a site about cozy mysteries. http://cozy-mystery.com/

That’s all it took.

I began to wonder, what would happen if a yoga teacher with a crazy dog like mine got mixed up in murder? And if she did, could I write about it? The whole idea seemed crazy. After all, I hadn’t written fiction since I was eighteen—which was way too long ago for me to admit—and I had no writing training. I laughed the whole idea off until a feisty yoga teacher named Kate Davidson popped into my head a few days later.

0_002She insisted that I tell the story of how she found the love of her life—a German shepherd named Bella—while solving the murder of her homeless friend, George. She promised me that her story was both entertaining and important. Kate is one stubborn woman. She refused to leave, no matter how much I begged her to.

Two years later, I gave in and write wrote down her story. The first draft poured out of my fingers in three weeks, though I spent over a year perfecting it. Before I even typed “the end,” Kate had gone and found another body. I’ve not yet finished the second book, but Kate tells me that she’s already involved in a third murder. I have a feeling that she, Bella, and their quirky counterparts will be with me, solving crimes, for many years. At least I hope so.

I hope you will be entertained by their escapades and grow to love them as much as I do.

Please join us, and let me know what you think!

Check out MURDER STRIKES A POSE, the first in the Downward Dog Yoga Mysteries. Available at Amazon http://www.amazon.com/Murder-Strikes-Pose-Downward-Mystery/dp/0738739685/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1385096350&sr=8-1&keywords=murder+strikes+a+pose and bookstores everywhere!

Tracy Weber is a certified yoga teacher and the founder of Whole Life Yoga, an award-winning yoga studio in Seattle, where she current­ly lives with her husband, Marc, and German shepherd, Tasha. She loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. When she’s not writing, she spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sip­ping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house. Murder Strikes a Pose is her debut novel. Connect with Tracy at her author page http://tracyweberauthor.com/ or on Facebook http://www.bing.com/search?q=facebook&src=IE-TopResult&FORM=IE10TR

About MURDER STRIKES A POSE

Seattle Yoga instructor Kate Davidson tries to live up to yoga’s Zen-like expectations, but it’s not easy while struggling to keep her small business afloat or dodging her best friend’s matchmaking efforts. When George, a homeless alcoholic, and his loud, horse-sized German shepherd, Bella, start hawking newspapers outside her studio, Kate attempts to convince them to leave. Instead, the three strike up an unlikely friendship. Then Kate finds George’s body. The police dismiss it as a drug-related street crime, but Kate knows he was no drug dealer. Now she must solve George’s murder and find someone willing to adopt his intimidating companion before Bella is sent to the big dog park in the sky. With the murderer on her trail, Kate has to work fast or her next Corpse Pose may be for real.

The Life of Guppy

the care and feeding of our little fish

dru's book musings

Reading is a wonderful adventure!

JoHanna Massey

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” ― Carl Sagan

MiddleSisterReviews.com

(mid'-l sis'-tǝr) n. the reader's favorite sister

My train of thoughts on...

Smile! Don't look back in anger.

Make

make Your House a home

K.R. Morrison, Author

My author site--news and other stuff about books and things

Wicked Cozy Authors

Mysteries with a New England Accent

Some Days You Do ...

Writers & Writing, my own & other people's; movies, art, music & the search for a perfect flat white - the bits & pieces of a writing life.

Gaslight Crime

Author and reviewer of period crime fiction

Crimezine

#1 for Crime

Mellotone70Up

John Harvey on Books & Writing - his own & other people 's - Art, Music, Movies, & the elusive search for the perfect Flat White.

A thrilling Murder-Mystery...

...now being made into a radio drama

BOOK SHELF

"Tell me and I forget-Show me and I remember-Involve me and I learn"

Past Offences: Classic crime, thrillers and mystery book reviews

The best mystery and crime fiction (up to 1987): Book and movie reviews

forensics4fiction

Forensics demystified for the fiction writer

milliewonka

Just another WordPress.com site

Eco Women: Protectors of the Planet!

Saving the planet one day at a time.

The Life of Guppy

the care and feeding of our little fish

dru's book musings

Reading is a wonderful adventure!

JoHanna Massey

“Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known.” ― Carl Sagan

MiddleSisterReviews.com

(mid'-l sis'-tǝr) n. the reader's favorite sister

My train of thoughts on...

Smile! Don't look back in anger.

Make

make Your House a home

K.R. Morrison, Author

My author site--news and other stuff about books and things

Wicked Cozy Authors

Mysteries with a New England Accent

Some Days You Do ...

Writers & Writing, my own & other people's; movies, art, music & the search for a perfect flat white - the bits & pieces of a writing life.

Gaslight Crime

Author and reviewer of period crime fiction

Crimezine

#1 for Crime

Mellotone70Up

John Harvey on Books & Writing - his own & other people 's - Art, Music, Movies, & the elusive search for the perfect Flat White.

A thrilling Murder-Mystery...

...now being made into a radio drama

BOOK SHELF

"Tell me and I forget-Show me and I remember-Involve me and I learn"

Past Offences: Classic crime, thrillers and mystery book reviews

The best mystery and crime fiction (up to 1987): Book and movie reviews

forensics4fiction

Forensics demystified for the fiction writer

milliewonka

Just another WordPress.com site

Eco Women: Protectors of the Planet!

Saving the planet one day at a time.