Happy Holidays 2017 Wednesday, Dec 27 2017 

Auntie M hopes you’ll enjoy whatever holiday you celebrate!
Thanks to all the readers who enjoy the reveiws all year long.

Remember her own award-winning mysteries, The Nora Tierney English Mysteries, with the most recent, The Golden Hour, and the first Trudy Genova Manhattan Mystery, Death Unscripted, are all available on Bridle Path Press and Amazon as trade paperback, in Kindle format, and in Audible books.

She looks foward to a week of down time with family and Doc, and her two Aussie Doodles, Seamus and his little sister, Fiona.

See you next year with some whopping good reads!

Jan McCanless: Gold, Frankincense and Murrrrder Tuesday, Dec 26 2017 

A funny one for Boxing Day delights!

Humorist Jan McCanless returns with a new murder to hit Beryl’s Cove: Gold, Frankincense and Murrrder.

Chief Nathan Sowinski has to sink his teeth into an investigation when a yacht sinks off the coast, setting off a round of action that has him bothered and bewildered, if not bewitched.

The usual cast of eccentric characters people what McCanless calls her “happy murders,” added to this time by a federal agent, vandals at the campground, and don’t forget the Christmas pageant coming together–or falling apart.

Gold,Frankincense and Murrrder is the eleventh in the Beryl’s Cove Mystery series.

P.D. James: Sleep No More–Auntie M’s Christmas Present to Readers Sunday, Dec 24 2017 

It’s no secret P. D. James was a mentor and friend to Auntie M for 15 years until her death. In fact, her own Death Unscripted was written as a promise to the Baroness and is dedicated to James.

So it ‘s no surprise that the Christmas treat she has for you is Faber and Faber’s new collection of short stories to enjoy, Sleep No More.

The subtitle is: “Six Murderous Tales,” and its easy to see why the publisher’s chose that phrase to title the stories they’ve arranged that bring back the words of one of the greatest crime writers of the 20th century.

The collection ranges over decades in various English settings, some with strong remininces of the narrator, such as in “The Yo-Yo” where an old man facing death looks back onto a school age Christmas when he was a witness to a murder and chose to say nothing about it.

It’s a toss-up as to who’s the real victim in “The Victim” when a revenge killing has a twisted ending readers won’t see coming. Another chilling tale recounts the experience of a young woman, set free to return to the home she left as a child, as her memory clears and she remembers the real reason why she’s become “The Girl Who Loved Graveyards.”

The thread these stories have in common is the genuis of James, whose keen insight into human nature as illustrated in her crime novels is on display in these stories. It’s a varied methodology she uses for her killings, whether it’s a blue poison bottle, a knife for cutting linoleum, or a revolver.

Sleep No More, those same words that horrified Macbeth, is an apt title for stories that explore the unsettling remnants of murder that affect these characters, whether through remembrance or participation.

It’s a wonderful book, read with the eye of sadness as one remembers there will be no more great stories from this Queen of Crime. Savor every lush description, every telling detail, every moment of chilling horror.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!

Sherri Hollister: Chrome Pink Wednesday, Dec 20 2017 

Please welcome guest Sherri Hollister, to talk about her debut romantic suspense novel, Chrome Pink, the first of the Leeward Trilogy.

The evolution of Chrome Pink

The idea for Chrome Pink started with an online class I took a few years ago. The instructor told us to list ten things about a person or character. I used my husband. He is a tow truck driver, motorcycle rider, mechanic, he does woodworking and construction, he is kind to people and animals but if he doesn’t like you, you know it. He likes fast cars, bourbon and me.

After we sent in our lists, we were instructed to change the sex, ethnicity, religion or politics of the person. From that class came the idea of Rae Lynne Grimes, who I tell people is my husband in drag.
Rae is a tough girl with a bad attitude. She is an alcoholic, anti-social and hell-bent on her own destruction but she is also kind, generous and beautiful.

After I started working on the story, I met my son’s friend. She had taken him in and was letting him stay with her and her partner. She brought him to visit us and she was trying to help him get on his feet. She was a beautiful Hispanic girl, with dark hair and eyes, with tattoos and piercings and a streak of pink in her hair. My son told me she’d had a rough life but even through her own adversities, she’d offered kindness to my son.

Combining these two ideas created the frame work for my character. From there I started asking questions and Rae Lynne Grimes evolved into a person whose story I had to tell.

I was supposed to be a romance writer. At least that is what I believed when I first started writing. I thought I wanted to write historical romances as they were my first love. When I fell in love with contemporary romance it was after reading Jayne Ann Krentz who also writes historicals as Amanda Quick.

Contemporary romance, especially the subgenres of romantic mysteries, thrillers and suspense intrigued me. I started marketing Chrome Pink as a romantic suspense novel. It wasn’t until after several very kind rejections and a couple of years of working with an agent that I learned my story doesn’t fall into the typical romance framework. My couple doesn’t meet on the first page and fall in love by page fifty.

Chrome Pink is about Rae Lynne Grimes, a rape survivor, and her journey from self-destruction to finding her strength. It is a suspense thriller, with some women’s fiction and, oh yeah, a bit of romance.

Sherri Hollister is a member of the Pamlico Writers Group and former news reporter who had had stories published in several anthologies. Chrome Pink is her first novel.

Someone doesn’t want Rae to stay in Leeward. When warning her doesn’t work, they try to scare her away. Logan Birdsong has fallen for Rae Lynne, but she won’t be with him if he’s working for her nemesis. Afraid of losing the company his step-father has entrusted into his care, Logan is torn between his growing attraction to Rae and his need to succeed. When her dates start turning up dead, Rae and Logan both become suspects. They can’t prove their innocence while on the run but returning to Leeward could cost them everything.

Donna Malane: My Brother’s Keeper Tuesday, Dec 19 2017 

An award-winning writer and producer for television, Donna Malane turned her hand to novels, winning the New Zealand Society of Authors-Pindar Publishing Prize with Surrender, which introduced lead character Diane Rowe.

She returns with the sequel, My Brother’s Keeper, another strong entry in the series captained by the wry voice of Diane and peopled with characters who are fully fashioned and realistic.

It’s an interesting premise: Diane, a missing-persons expert, is asked by an ex-con now out of prison to track down her daughter, Sunny. Karen Mackie fears the girl may be in danger.

Diane doesn’t have difficulty finding the girl, living with her father, stepmother and stepbrother in Auckland, an hour’s plane ride away. But Karen asks Diane to meet the girl first and pave the way for a possible reconcilation.

It’s a tough sell, and the family situation is more complicated than Diane would like. In fact, everything’s a bit complicated in Diane’s life right now, with her friendly ex-husband, Sean, needing their house sold; her current boyfriend, Robbie, becoming friendly with both her dog, Wolf, and her ex; and then there’s the good-looking stepson of Karen’s dead mother she meets in Auckland.

It’s enough to drive a gal to distraction. But fortunately, and despite at one point coming under the Auckland PD radar, Diane manages to put it all together, but with considerable danger to herself and before she can stop a murder.

This is a complex plot and the book, which starts out with a simple premise, rapidly becomes so much more, aided by snippets of memory in flashbacks from a young Sunny, explaining why Karen was in prison.

A chilling twist at the end provides an engrossing climax with a character who will have you hooked with her engaging voice and waiting to read more of Diane Rowe.

More Holiday Gifting Sunday, Dec 17 2017 

More great reads for holiday gifting~ there are goodies to be had for the reader on your list!

Con Lehane introduced NY City Public Library crime curator Ray Ambler in last year’s Murder at the 42nd Street Library. He brings Ray, his colleague Adele, grandson Johnny and detective friend Mike Cosgrove back in the equally engaging sequel, Murder in the Manscript Room.

In an interview Lehane once said someone told him the most interesting person at a library was its archivist, the keeper of everyone’s secrets, and that holds true here when Mike introduces him to Paul Higgins, a former NYPD intelligence detective who has written a few crime thrillers and wants to donate his police files to the library.

With the file boxes stowed in Ray’s office as he mounts a new exhibit, so a few days later is the body of a newly-hired library staffer. Ray has a personal interest in solving the crime, not the least that he’s a suspect, but there are complications in the form of a Syrian researcher who’s arrested and a tie-in to Ray’s son, John, serving time in prison.

The personal angle of little Johnny plus Ray’s relationship with Adele provide added interest as Ray tries to figure out how the secrets of the past and the murder of a union boss have contributed to this recent murder.

An intricate sequel sure to please book lovers and mystery afficionados, with well-drawn characters to boot.

<img src="https://auntiemwrites.files.wordpress.com/2017/12/shadowdistrict.jpg" alt="" width="500" height="760" class="size-full wp-image-3680"
Arnaldur Indridason's returns to Iceland with the start of a new series in The Shadow District

It’s an interesting mix of present day, with retired detective Konrad is asked to help with the death of a 90-yr old man smothered in his bed and end up investigating the WWII murder of a young woman in the shadow district, the rough neighborhood near where he grew up bordered by the National Theatre.

Alternating between the original detective’s investigation into the girl’s murder and his own follow-up, he soon realizes he must solve the old murder to find the killer for the recent one. Who would bother to kill an old man on the verge of death and for what reason?

Intricate and skillfully woven.

And speaking of the Scandanavian Noir, Kjell Ericksson’s 7th Ann Lindell mystery, Stone Coffin, is now out in paperback if you missed it last year. This one surrounds the hit-and-run deaths of a young woman and her six-year old daughter and becomes a complex mystery.

Peter S. Rush’s debut introduced Steve Logan, Brown graduate whose been affected in 1970 by the Kent State killings to the point where he joins the police force.

But his idealism takes an immediate hit as the rookie gets used to what it means to police Providence. Local mafia, agressive colleagues who heat up situations instead of knowing how to defuse them, detectives who are sadistic–all add up to quickly disillusioning Steve’s idealism.

Mixed in with the mores of the time is his continuing and complicated relationship with pre-med student Roxy, his true love. Both young people have growing to do and learning about life through each other’s actions.

When Steve decides he’s had enough, that change has to come from within, he starts keeping notes about the way things really are going down and finds more than he’s bargained for as he looks into the corruption. But will he have the courage–and the time–do see real change happen before he loses his own life?

A complex and assured debut with a compelling storyline.

Killing Pace is Douglas Schofield’s newest thriller that packs a wallop with its premise.

After a horrific car accident months before, Lisa Green is being nursed back to health by her boyfriend. Roland. The only thing is that Lisa has amnesia and can’t remember the accident or what led to it.

Roland’s close watch on Lisa leads her to believe he’s not her boyfriend and is keeping her prisoner. When she escapes him she enlists a sheriffs deputy to help her find a missing person: herself.

It’s a creative way to tell capture readers as Lisa, who is really Laura Pace, figures out who she really is and why people want her to die. With international repercussions to her case, invovlement from the mafia and US Border Control, it’s no surprise when infant traffiking is at the core.

It’s a wild ride Schofield takes Laura on as she cuts a wide swath in her wake to find the truth. Believeable and all too timely.

Katherine Bolger Hyde’s second “Crime with the Classics Mystery,” Bloodstains with Bronte comes complete with chapter epigrams from Bronte novels, a nice conceit Auntie M enjoyed, as well as plenty of literary references.

Widowed literature prof Emily Cavanaugh has inherited her murdered aunt’s fortune and lovely Oregon home, and her guilt at both has prompted her to turn the large home into a writer’s retreat.

With her housekeeper Katie and her infant daughter, Lizzie, for company, Emily braces for renovations. What she’s not counted on was the two workers, Jake and Roman, openly attracted to Katie. Their boss, on the other hand, is his own kind of enigma.

When Katie and Emily host a murder mystery fundraiser for the local clinic at their house, fiction turns horribly wrong when the supposed victim is actually killed, and Katie is the prime suspect.

It will take all of Emily’s smarts to clear Katie, as she “helps” Windy Corner’s detective Luke Richards in his investigation, despite his misgivings. It doesn’t help that Emily and Luke are romantically involved. And then the deaths multiply and suddenly all bets are off.

A mystery for those who like their literature with a hint of romance.

Holiday Gifting at its Best: Cozy Mysteries Wednesday, Dec 13 2017 

Auntie M continues her thread about books that make great gifts. Let’s use today to bring you new cozy mysteries. Everyone likes a cozy!

Rhys Bowen’s Molly Murphy series continues with The Ghost of Christmas Past. Recovering from depression after a miscarriage, Molly and her husband Daniel, their young son, Liam, and charge Bridie are suddenly invited to spend Christmas with a family who own a mansion along the Hudson River.

It’s a tough time for Molly, mourning the loss of her child, worried she won’t have another. And there’s news that her beloved Bridie is expected to be going home with her own father in the New Year, who wants to return and take her back to Ireland. Another impending loss to mourn.

The friend of Daniel’s mother is insistent having young people around will help the tenor of the house, and Molly soon finds out why: the Von Aiken’s young daughter, Charlotte, was lost a decade ago after wandering out into a snowstorm.

The unusual holiday, which has all of the occupants a bit on edge at the grandness of the house where they are guests, hits a decided snag on Christmas Even when a young girl appears at the door, claiming to be Charlotte.

It will be up to Molly, with Daniel as her accomplice, to figure out what really happened in that elite house ten years ago, and if the child who appear is really Charlotte.

Along the way, Molly heals her heart as the secrets of the family are revealed, even as those secrets take a dangerous and dramatic turn, but she soon finds her own Christmas blessings.

Donna Andrews returns with a new Meg Langslow Christmas Mystery, How the Finch Stole Christmas

Meg’s family goes home for the holidays to stage her husband Michael’s version of “A Christmas Carol,” including parts for Jamie and Josh.

Meg prefers to help behind-the-scenes as stage manager, a position she rues when she mets the aging actor, Malcolm Haver, who will play Scrooge. Besides being an alcoholic, the over-the-hill star isn’t very pleasant and soon needs a minder to keep him sober.

Then a body is found in a snowbank and with Malcolm a suspect, it will be up Meg to find the real killer and save the charity show. With Andrews’ trademark humor, a real holiday pleaser.

Maia Chance’s Prohibition-set capers continue with Gin and Panic. Assisted by hher Swedish sidekick Berta, private-eye Lola Woodby thinks the duo have landed an easy job. They’re hired to retrieve a hunting trophy, a rhinoceros, from Mongtgomery Hall, the mansion belonging to Connecticut big-game hunter Rudy Montgomery.

Things go horribly wrong for Lola when Montgomery is shot soon after their arrival, but that doesn’t stop the humor. There will be episodes with jewels, gangsters and a safari rifle in this screwball comedy before it’s resolution. Caper fun.

And if you missed Auntie M’s review of M C Beaton’s The Witches’ Tree from October, fans of the Agatha Raisin series will enjoy her latest adventure.

Caz Frear: Sweet Little Lies Tuesday, Dec 12 2017 

Caz Frears accomplished debut, Sweet Little Lies, brings readers into the world of DC Cat Kinsella. It’s easy to see why this won the Richard and Judy Search for a Bestseller competition in the UK and readers will be looking for more of Cat. It’s not every gal who has to ask her father if he has an alibi for the night of a murder . . .

Cat has an unusual family and that background affects her every move. When a murdered woman is dumped not far from her shady father’s pub, she’s forced to consider he might be involved, especially as she’s always wondered if he had something to do with the disappearance of an Irish teen, Maryanne, when the family was on a trip to Ireland years ago.

The narration from Cat seesaws back and forth between that time years ago and the present, giving readers the history of what happened but only from the new detective’s point of view. It’s a complex story with twists in a compelling story.

As facts come to light and connections between the two women are made, Cat finds herself dug in deeper as she hasn’t mentioned her father to her bosses. It’s an impossible situation she’s put herself in, especially when it comes to light what really happened to Maryanne, and all of the truths Cat thought she knew become questioned.

With a host of flawed but believeable characters, this is a suspenseful police procedural, and with Cat’s wry humor added, it’s a sure winner. Don’t miss this one. Highly recommended.

Carol Western: Karma and the Singing Frogs AND Stranger and Angels Sunday, Dec 10 2017 

Publishing two new books in two months has been challenging to say the least. I had planned to bring out one book in August and the other in October, in an orderly and sensible fashion. Then my book designer and colleague suffered a bereavement and everything got pushed out of schedule. It may have been wiser to postpone publishing the second book, my first Victorian Murder Mystery, until next year but it is set in December and that would have meant putting it back eight months. Mentally and emotionally I was committed to publishing both of them this year, so I did. Sensible has never really been my major quality but determination – some call it stubborn – always has been.

Karma and the Singing Frogs is a contemporary crime novel featuring archaeologist turned CSI Mia Trent. Strangers and Angels is set in 1850 in the naval town of Gosport and features two determined young women, lady’s maid, Molly Bowman and her mistress, Lady Adelaide.

The two books have a lot in common. Both are set on the south coast of England in mid-December and both have female investigators as the viewpoint character. The major difference is the 157 years that separate them.

Mia is an independent career woman who lives alone. She has friends but also that touch of aloofness that is essential for people who have to separate their professional emotions from their personal life in order to deal with the death and suffering they witness every day.

Molly and Adelaide have no political or economic power and they and those around them would find it unthinkable that they should witness the sort of violence that Mia deals with every day.

I think the hardest task when writing Strangers and Angels was to get into the mind-set of strong, intelligent women who accepted that this limited subservience was their role in life. Adelaide, as the disgraced widow of a brutal man who lost everything through gambling and then committed suicide, is in a far worse position than Molly, the only child of a cooper (barrel-maker). Molly’s father wishes her to marry to ensure her safety if he dies but has promised not to force her into marriage. Adelaide accepts that her aristocratic father will arrange another marriage for her, whether she wishes it or not.

My contemporary crime novels are set in fictional settings, mainly because my son is a CSI and I didn’t wish to embarrass him, partly because cut-backs in UK policing mean that police stations and investigative facilities are disappearing quicker than I can write the books.

The Victorian novel is set in a real place and specific time, which involved a lot of research. The two training ships from the Ottoman Empire were really based in Gosport from late 1850 to early 1851 although there are few documents about this event and I have no evidence whether the majority of residents were hostile to the Turkish sailors or not. Some years after the action in this book, a Turkish graveyard was incorporated into the Clayhall graveyard, the only one in England. The memorial inscription reads, in Turkish and English: “They set sail for eternity met their creator and here they are laid to rest.”

In Karma and the Singing Frogs the victim is a young man who moved from Social Service Care to prostitution and the initial suspects are those who have also been in Care. In Strangers and Angels the immediate and convenient suspect is a young Turkish sailor, a stranger without friends in a foreign land.

For me, the main thing the two books have in common is the ageless theme of justice and how it is too often only for the powerful and privileged.

Carol Westron lives near the south coast of England and it is here that her fiction is set. She writes both contemporary and historical crime fiction, as well as non-fiction articles on the Golden Age of Detective Fiction. She also reviews books and interviews authors for Mystery People. A passionate believer in empowerment through creativity, she teaches creative writing to community classes and writes children’s picture books about a child who is different and ‘sees the secrets behind the darkness,’ which are illustrated by her severely autistic grandson.

Jack Huber: The Pat Ruger Series Wednesday, Dec 6 2017 

Please welcome Jack Huber, who will describe how he came to write the pat Ruger series

About Me
The third time was a charm for me in writing a novel. My first two attempts … well, let’s just say they were poor.

I had written poetry throughout my life, even having two poems published in a literary magazine when my 5th grade teacher submitted them for me. I began self-publishing poetry and my photography in earnest in 2009 and published over 300 poems over a 4-year period. I became a staff writer for Poetic Monthly Magazine and a mentor for novice poets on the on-line writing communities, Ryze and GotPoetry.com.

Soon, my wife asked me to write a novel. As I mentioned, I had tried twice and failed, so I wasn’t so sure I could do it. She is an avid reader and was having trouble finding quality books to buy and devour. She would tell me after each new author she tried, “You can write better than this.” Eventually, I relented and began my first Pat Ruger manuscript.

I wrote a few chapters and suffered from a lack of confidence. I noticed a local event at the Denver Post featuring three best-selling authors and decided to attend. Cornering one of them after their talk, we discussed my process and how in an initial project it might be best to let the characters direct the immediate plotlines.

He recommended I attend a writers conference put on by the Rocky Mountains Fiction Writers (it turned out he was president of the organization), that hosted hundreds of authors for a week-long event, and it was in my own backyard. At the event I signed up for my manuscript to be reviewed by a literary agent and her assessment was eye-opening. I guess my plot had real potential.

My confidence gained, I finished that book and feedback convinced me to make it a series. I’m now working on book number 5. For marketing advice, I’ve been fortunate to have the help of two other best-selling authors in my genre, Nick Russell and Jeff Carson. With their help, I actually had the number 1 crime novel in all of Amazon (for a day).

About the Pat Ruger Mystery Series
Pat Ruger is a retired detective who, with the help of two young call girls, starts up a private investigation firm, later to be joined by his ex-partner, Jimmy Stewart. Pat had lost his wife two years earlier and was still in mourning. Book 1, For Hire, takes place in the Denver area, with a side-trip to Wyoming, and Pat helps one of his soon-to-be business partners locate her missing sister, who had been kidnapped by a large cult. In this book, he meets Amanda, a special agent in the FBI and he becomes involved with her. By the end of the book, he finds the cult’s large bomb and has to decide what to do with the timer running down.

Following the crises in the first book, Pat and Jimmy decide to take a vacation cruise in Caribbean Shuffle. Jimmy brings his wife while Pat is good with going solo. Once on board, a woman he met is murdered and he and Jimmy are asked to investigate. When an earlier quip about pirates comes to life, they must navigate being boarded, a naval standoff and being adrift in the Caribbean Sea.

In the third book, Native Species, several recent brushes with death made Pat determined to rekindle his relationship with Amanda, who had taken an FBI position in New York City. He joins her on a murder investigation at a Native American casino in upstate New York, with tragic consequences.

The fourth book, Children’s Reprise, has the cult in For Hire reemerge to get revenge for Pat’s thwarting their plans for widespread destruction and terror, while possibly putting them back on course. This story takes place almost entirely in the Rocky Mountains, including the team being trapped in a previously abandoned mine.

Book 5 will be released at the end of the year. At this time I plan to make this a 6-book series.

Contact and Social Media
Pat Ruger Mystery Series- amazon.com/gp/product/B06Y2326PS
Jack Huber’s website: jackhuber.com
Email- jack@jackhuber.com
Amazon- amazon.com/author/jackhuber
Goodreads- goodreads.com/jackhuber
Facebook- facebook.com/JackHuberAuthor
Twitter- twitter.com/huberjack
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