NEW in Paperback: Casey, Bolton, Haynes, Dahl, Margolin Wednesday, Apr 29 2015 

Auntie M reads so many books but that you’d think they’d all run together after a while …

But in the case of the following, these are new in paperback, already been reviewed in hardcover, but were some of my favorites. So in case you missed them then, for your consideration:

Stranger You Know pb cover

Jane Casey’s THE STRANGER YOU KNOW was chosen by the UK Times as one fothe top 10 crime novels of 2014. This is a terrific series with a strong female protagonist who has a frustrating relationship with her partner DCI Josh Derwent. The series delves into the interoffice relationships all detectives must face in a realistic manner. Here they face unraveling a series of three stranglings that point to a sadistic killer and right now, all of the evidence points right to Jane’s partner.

Dark and Twisted Tide pb cover

Sharon Bolton’s Lacey Flint series have the young detective with the secret past working on London’s marine unit in A DARK AND TWISTED TIDE. When Lacy finds the shrouded body in the river, it will lead her to investigate other murders that have their origins in Afghanistan and may include Lacey’s newest friend on the river.

Elizabeth Hayne’s stand-alones (Into the Darkest Corner, Dark Tide, Human Remains) all earned Auntie M’s ‘highly recommended’ listing with good reason. Her first of a series, introducing DCI Louisa Smith and her team, was UNDER A SILENT MOON, a gripping police procedural that finally lets a female investigator have a private life while it doesn’t take a whit away from the strong and compelling plot. In this debut, Louisa is tasked with two murders of two woman in a horse and farm suburb outside London. Haynes’ use of graphs and charts as well as investigative reports, witness statements and call logs that are in use in real investigations give the books a sense of being plunged into the life of a working detective.


Julia Dahl’s debut, INVISIBLE CITY, was an instant hit and has been nominated for all kinds of awards. She brings the world of Brooklyn’s Hasidic Jews to life as a young reporter, Rebekah Roberts, tries to solve the mystery behind the death of a woman from the community whose life may have ties to Rebekah’s own mother. A strong mystery with a compelling narrator, it also gives readers a look into the world of tabloid journalism.

Phillip Margolin’s pioneer saga, WORTHY BROWN”S DAUGHTER, is a mix of Old West, legal drama, and racism in a portrait of small town justice. It’s 1860 in the new state of Oregon, and judges often held court in fields or taverns, and were often put up by families as they traveled their territory. The story was inspired by a real case from that era, when freed slaves tried to find and have their children returned to them. Raw in authenticity, Margolin’s years of research will bring you back to a forgotten era.

Frankie Y. Bailey: What The Fly Saw Sunday, Apr 26 2015 

Wht Fly Saw
Frankie Bailey introduced Albany detective Hannah McCabe in last year’s The Queen Dies, set in the near future. Bailey’s sequel,What The Fly Saw, proves to be another strong entry in what promises to be a series with just enough quirkiness to attract a huge readership. And well it should.

It’s 2020 in a very cold Albany that has almost been ground to a halt by a blizzard. That white snow blanketing everything covers more than McCabe might have thought when she’s handed her newest case: investigating the murder of a funeral home owner, found dead in home’s basement with an arrow protruding from his chest. Kevin Novak might have been depressed over the death only months before of his best friend, who succumbed to a sudden heart attack, but Novak surely didn’t shoot himself in the chest with his own compound bow.

Assisting McCabe is her partner, Mike Baxter, whom McCabe has yet to fully trust. On the surface, Novak was a family man with a loving wife and two decent kids, and also an active member of a local megachurch. The suspects are easy for the detectives to spot: the church’s minister; a psychiatrist who counsels church members; even a Southern medium who’s transplanted herself to New York.

What’s less easy to define is a motive for any of these people to want to kill Novak. Complicating things for McCabe are political machinations that involve her family, and the fallout two previous cases, one which seems to impinge on this murder–or does it?

The near-future aspect is compelling enough to be of interest but not a distraction from what is, at its heart, a good old-fashioned detective story. The kind of policing McCabe and Baxter carry out includes devices we can only imagine, but here, too, Bailey is astute and makes these implements an adjunct to policing in a totally believable manner. Bailey’s background includes teaching at the School of Criminal Justice in the U of Albany, where her interests explore the connections between crime, history and popular culture, and aspects of these are evident in the books and add a pleasing dimension, much as the futuristic aspects do.

The heart of the matter still revolves around very human relationships, from the victim and his family, to McCabe’s own, and form the strength of what is a compelling story and an addictive read.

Patricia Gulley: Brownstone Burial Thursday, Apr 23 2015 

Auntie M is excited. She’s navigating the rocky road to get her newest release, DEATH UNSCRIPTED into print. It’s the first of a new series set in Manhattan featuring nurse Trudy Genova. The cover is in progress and copyedits are done. There are no many steps to a new release, which for Auntie M, should find this book in print June 1st.

Here’s another author’s view of getting a book into print. Please welcome west coast author Patricia Gulley, talking about her newest project, based on her own work history–and let her know how YOU think she should have spelled pedalpusher:
BB cover 5 front

Brownstone Burial is a paranormal mystery that takes place in 1963, with my protagonist, Paulette Palinsky (note the PP initials that all my protags have) arriving in New York City after attending Airline school.

NO, not to be a stewardess, but to learn how to make reservations and work in a res office. At 27 years old, she is older than I was when I went off to NYC to work for Eastern Airlines, and she paid to go to school, which she and I both discovered wasn’t necessary.

We both fell in love with Brownstones, but needless to say, mine didn’t have any ghosts. We both worked in large bays, which sat over 100 agents during the day, and rotated shifts every hour on the hour 0600 to 2400. Knowing the twenty-four hour clock and memorizing hundreds of codes for cities, airports, airlines, fares, status and class of service was mandatory.

This was my first attempt at self-publishing and I so wanted to learn to format. That didn’t happen, or I may have a lot of info in my brain, but not enough to give me the confidence to do it myself. I need visual, not written instructions. So, I hired a formatter and started last September, thinking it would all be done and ready for pre-Thanksgiving sales.

NOT! After editing with two readers, and my formatter going over it, and then putting it up for edits on the main platform, and more edits, and catching odd little problems, and approving the art, front cover and whole book cover, and getting blurbs, it was finally ready. But then I had to go to Left Coast Crime and my formatter had his own conference to attend and teach at, so we made March 31, 2015 our publication date.

AND, it went up with the controversy over peddlepusher, peddle pusher, pedal pusher unresolved. But that’s another story…

Patricia Gulley is a retired travel agent from a world travel company, and did time at two airlines as a res and fares agent. Born in Pennsylvania, she escaped to New York, then headed to Oregon, where she lives in a floating home on the Columbia River. She is a member of Sisters In Crime National. Her favorite vacation is cruising.

Paula Brackston: The Silver Witch Sunday, Apr 19 2015 

With last year’s third novel, The Midnight Witch, now available in paperback, Paula Brackston’s reputation became firmly set infixing historical fiction with fantasy. She returns with this year’s offering, The Silver Witch, and fans won’t be disappointed.
Tilda Fordwells loves to run as much as she fears deep water, the stuff of childhood nightmares. After the death of her husband, Mat, she has come to the Welsh cottage meant to be their home to grieve and to find new purpose for her life. Ty Gwyn, despite it’s view of the lake with its island called a crannog, might seem a humble farmhand’s cottage, but Tilda imagines the garden she will resurrect even as she maintains routines and repetitive tasks like those of her newd pottery to keep her mind occupied. She’s still unpacking and setting up her new barn kiln and pottery, tasks to keep her busy.

The albino woman, used to strange reactions to her appearance, rescues a sickly lurcher, names it Thistle, and tries to ignore the strange things happening around her, like electricity, clocks, and watches stopping when she is near.

Seren Arianaidd is a prophet some call a witch, who sees things that frighten and dismay the villagers. She has the love of the prince but not his confidence in her visions when she tries to warn him of the vipers in his midst.

The woman have more than their strange looks in common: they each have a sensitivity to their surroundings and the ability to see things in the past or the future.

The worlds of these two unusual women are destined to collide, with spectacular consequences for both women after Tilda has a vision and that vision is Seren and her world, just as an archeological dig starts at the crannog.

Both women tell their stories so each one’s world comes alive. When Tilda meets the white-haired Professor Williams, he introduces her to the history of her new home. He also introduces her to his handsome nephew and the equally entrancing archeology student, Lucas. But it will take Seren to keep Tilda safe from the dark forces that wish to surround her.

Nicely done, with intriguing history woven into the story, this is a story of power, love and redemption.

AND for a lucky reader leaving a comment, there will be a FREE COPY of this compelling and imaginative book on its way to your direct from the publisher.

Tracy Weber: Downward Dog Mysteries Sunday, Apr 12 2015 

Please welcome Tracy Weber, author of the Downward Dog Mysteries. Her newest is Killer Retreat, but Tracy’s here to encourage us all to practice yoga~

Killer Retreat
Five Reasons Mystery Readers Should Practice Yoga:

I’ve been a mystery writer for the past three years, but I’ve been a fan for most of my life. Like most mystery enthusiasts, I love curling up on the couch and visiting crime scenes with my favorite sleuth, amateur or otherwise. Reading transports me to worlds I would otherwise never experience and introduces me to people I would otherwise never meet. But all of that armchair sleuthing takes a toll on my body, particularly my back.
Yoga is the perfect antidote. If you practice yoga, you already know what I mean. If not, here are a few reasons you should give it a try.

1. Reading is a sedentary activity and bodies need movement. Bodies don’t like to be stationary for long periods of time. Yoga, even simple, gentle yoga, gives our systems much-needed movement.

2. Most people read using very bad posture, which leads to over-stretched backs and tight chest, shoulder, psoas, and hamstring muscles. A well-conceived yoga practice can counteract all of it. Yoga in America is often thought of as stretching, but in reality, it’s much more than that. Yoga both strengthens and stretches, and it improves cardiovascular, respiratory, and digestive health.

3. Yoga improves energy. When I’m in the middle of a great read, I can stay up all night, which is great until I need to get up the next morning. Yoga, even more than caffeine, helps me feel alert and rested. And if you prefer more suspenseful mysteries, the right breath practice can allow you to fall asleep, in spite of the psycho-killer lurking in the pages on your nightstand.

4. Yoga promotes focus, which allows mystery readers to sort through clues, pay attention to subtle details, maybe even figure out whodunit well in advance of their favorite sleuths.

5. Yoga helps readers live a longer, more pain-free life. And if we live longer, we can devour more mysteries!

Did I convince you? If so, here are some specifics:

Any yoga pose that helps counteract the effects of bad posture will be beneficial for readers. Back bends counteract readers’ C-shaped, slumped posture by opening the fronts of the shoulders, stretching the fronts of the hips, and strengthening the upper and lower back. Warrior I, Cobra, and Locust are great poses to start with.

I published an article about yoga poses for better posture at The photos are especially helpful and a great place to start.

Just ask Kate Davidson, the yoga teacher/sleuth in my newest mystery, A Killer Retreat. Yoga is good for everybody. Readers, writers—even yoga studio owners with overly tight hamstrings and embarrassingly bad tempers. Bella, her unruly German shepherd agrees. Nothing beats Downward Facing Dog to prepare a guard-dog’s body for chasing away evil yoga student intruders.

In A Killer Retreat, you will be introduced to yoga principles, breath work, even a pose here and there. Most importantly, you and Kate will solve a murder and hopefully have a few laughs along the way. You’ll also travel to the beautiful Elysian Springs Resort on Orcas Island and meet some crazy new characters, including a goat lawyer!

I hope you read my series and love it. And remember, practice a few yoga poses between chapters!

PS: Yee haw! My first book, MURDER STRIKES A POSE, won the Maxwell Award for Fiction! It’s also nominated for the Agatha award for best first novel! Wish me luck!
Murder Strikes Pose full size

About A Killer Retreat:
When Kate Davidson gets an offer to teach yoga classes to wedding guests at the Elysian Springs resort, she jumps at the opportunity, even though it means being forced to endure the wedding ceremony of the center’s two caretakers.

Avoiding the M-word turns out to be the least of Kate’s problems when a wedding guest is found floating face-down in the resort’s hot tub, shortly after a loud, public (and somewhat embarrassing) fight with Kate. The police pick Kate as their number-one suspect, so she’s forced to team up with boyfriend Michael, best friend Rene, and German shepherd sidekick Bella to find the real killer. But they’ll have to solve the murder before the police arrest Kate, or her next gig may last a lifetime–behind bars.

Tracy Weber Small Headshot

Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series featuring yoga teacher Kate and her feisty German shepherd, Bella. Tracy loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. The second book in her series, A Killer Retreat, is available January 8, 2015, by Midnight Ink. Visit her at

Elizabeth Haynes: Behind Closed Doors Sunday, Apr 5 2015 

Behind Closed Doors

Auntie M cannot deny she is a huge Elizabeth Haynes fan. From her first stand-alones (Into the Darkest Corner, Dark Tide, Human Remains), Haynes has taken the crime thriller and stood it on its ear with her original and creative storytelling combined with empathy for the human condition. Last year’s Under a Silent Moon continued these hallmarks while adding a strong female protagonist to a new series.

Now Haynes brings back a second installment featuring DCI Lou Smith in Behind Closed Doors, set forty miles outside London in fictional Briarstone. Auntie M is pleased report it’s every bit as well written and compelling as Haynes’ other novels, led by a character who is a fully-formed woman with relationships and devotion to her job that often conflict.

Haynes draws on her background as a former police intelligence analyst to create the device that sets this procedural series apart. She notes in interviews that she’s fascinated by the documentary evidence that accumulates during an investigation, like a jigsaw puzzle to which pieces are added daily. She uses primary policing source materials reproduced for the reader, such as police reports, interviews, analyst research, even phone messages, which add a depth and texture to the books that allow the reader to become completely immersed in Sam’s investigation when a young woman missing for a decade suddenly reappears.

Scarlett Rainsford was a fifteen-year-old enjoying her first taste of love during a family holiday in Greece, until her abduction became Lou Smith’s biggest professional regret when the case went cold without Scarlett being found. Ten years later a raid on a brothel turns up Scarlett, alive and well, and Sam needs to find out where the young woman was for all of those years, and more importantly, how and why she reappeared in England without contacting her family.

Assisting Sam is her sergeant, Sam Hollands, and the rest of her team, and as with all detective teams, this is not the only case on their plates. Activity between rival gangs have led to a murder and a violent assault, yet no one is talking, making their investigation that much harder.

Here is Haynes in her own words, describing what prompted this intriguing novel where the past is revealed in stages in contrast to Sam’s current investigation, adding yet another layer to this absorbing and original story:

“The starting point for Scarlett’s story is inspired in part by the shocking number of people who go missing every year, many thousands, and by the number that are never heard of again. In Scarlett’s case, I wanted to tell the store of her ‘missing’ years, but in doing so to examine how she might handle the truth–what she might want to reveal, and what she holds back, and why. As well as researching the law enforcement research around trafficking, I read several first-person accounts of trafficked women and I found it terrifying to think of all the women effectively forced into slavery, with very little hope of escape. Trafficking in Europe is something that is under-reported and woefully misunderstood. People think of prostitutes as working in their profession by choice, but the majority is forced into it, and living a precarious, dangerous existence with no real way of getting out.”

Find out how Scarlett does manage to get out, and yet why she hasn’t let anyone know she’s made it back to England. One of the strengths of this story is Haynes’ ability to make her story revolve as much around Lou and her investigation as it does around a victim who is not a dead body but a living woman with a horrific past. Highly recommended.