Summer Humor: Rosenfelt, Murphy and Ingelman-Sundberg Wednesday, Aug 16 2017 

Being a dog lover, David Rosenfelt’s Andy Carpernter Mysteries are some of her favorites.
This summer he’s back with Collared, his newest entry starring lawyer Andy who also runs the Tara Foundation for dog rescue.

Married with an adopted son, Andy is contemplating not renewing his law license, which sends wife Laurie into a tailspin. Then he gets a call from the Tara Foundation and suddenly he’s working again.

Andy’s newest stray at his rescue has a chip the lawyer recognizes. He’s the “DNA” dog, and he’s related to a single mom, Jill Hickman, whose dog and her adopted baby were kidnapped and never seen again.

With Jill’s former boyfriend convicted of the kidnapping, it would seem case closed after evidence was found at his apartment, including dog hair which DNA testing showed as belonging to the missing dog.

Only now that same dog has surfaced, reopening the case and the hunt for the missig baby. Is the real kidnapper in jail or still on the loose? Can the missing boy still be alive?

With his wife, Laurie, urging him on, Andy and his wonderful team investigate. There are chuckles along the way in this satifying read that will please dog lovers and mystery afficionados who like a good puzzle. There’s plenty of suspense to keep you flipping pages through this satisfying read.

Shirley Rousseau Murphy returns with the twentieth installment in her popular Joe Grey Mystery. Welcome to the world of cats this time, and Cat Shining Bright
opens with Joe becoming a dad to three adorable kittens in coastal California.

Being a dad means no more helping solve village crimes, until the local beautician, along with a customer, are found dead in her salon. Surely he must take on this investigation, although he’s unaware at first the kittens trail behind him.

There will be gang of thieves, a new cat shelter, and an intriguing neighbor, along with Wilma Getz, the human for Dulcie, mother of the kittens. That the cats speak to a few humans adds to the charm of the series.

The sequel to The Little Old Lady Who Broke All the Rules is just as funny when readers crack open The Little Old Lady Who Struck Lucky Again!. Catharina Ingelman-Sundberg must enjoy writing about the crew of elder Swedish criminals she’s created, the League of Pensioners, a modern-day Robin Hood band.

Wanted for an art heist, the League travel to Las Vegas to lie low. Despite things like electric wheelchairs complicating their movements, they become luckier than they’d thought possible. Then Brains, their talented gizmo person, finds new ways to take on the casino, until a gang of jewel thieves cross their path and somehow they find themselves with diamonds to take back to Sweden along with their hefty winnings.

There will be losses, a motorcycle gang, and a decent bank job before it’s all over, until Martha has one more great idea for the gang. Enough antics to keep you smiling just from picturing this crew of seniors at work.

Patricia Hale: The Church of the Holy Child Tuesday, Aug 15 2017 

Please welcome author Patricia Hale, to introduce her newest release, The Church of the Holy Child:

Vicarious Vacations

Get up, go to work, come home, eat dinner, go to sleep, repeat. Our days become mundane, repetitive, Groundhog Day. We all feel this sense of stagnancy at one time or another. So what do we do? We take a vacation. Nothing a sandy beach can’t fix. But if a trip isn’t in the budget, we might pick up a book because another person’s life is always more interesting than our own.

So . . .the job of a writer, besides a great plot, is to create a character that one can go on vacation with or follow anywhere. When a reader relates to a character’s fears, morals (or lack of), flaws or secrets, a connection is established. The pages turn because the reader is invested in the character and has to stay with them as they step into the darkened basement, the foreboding forest or the doomed space mission, because they can’t not go. It is our duty as writers to give the reader a vacation, to provide change, challenge and bitten finger nails, all within the comfort of a recliner. If we don’t, there’s no turquoise water, no sandy beach.

And so, when each day runs into the next and life feels stagnant, pick up a book and find a character you relate to. Take a vacation and get the bad guy, pull off a heist or fall in love. Be a detective, a PI, or even the villain–wherever your connection lies.

In my new release, The Church of the Holy Child, rookie, PI Britt Callahan chases down a serial killer who is targeting women’s shelters. Despite her fear, insecurity and guilt, Britt’s determined to protect these women and prove her self.

Sound like a vacation you want to take?

Patricia Hale received her MFA degree from Goddard College. Her essays have appeared in literary magazines and the anthology, My Heart’s First Steps. Her debut novel, In the Shadow of Revenge, was published in 2013. The Church of the Holy Child is the first book in her PI series featuring the team of Griff Cole and Britt Callahan. Patricia is a member of Sister’s in Crime, Mystery Writer’s of America, NH Writer’s Project and Maine Writer’s and Publisher’s Alliance. She lives in New Hampshire with her husband and two dogs.

Stephen Leather: Light Touch Sunday, Aug 13 2017 

The prolific Stephen Leather had two books out last week: the paperback version of Takedown, his stand-alone, and the newest Spider Shepherd thriller.

In Takedown, Charlotte Button, ex-MI-5, has been seen before in Leather’s series, and is now tasked with taking out a rogue Special Forces soldier. He’s already hatched one deadly plot. What she needs to do if figure out his next plan and stop him before he can act.

She has help in the form of Lex Harper, who assembles a team who are capable of stopping the rogue soldier before the massive attack they fear he’s planned. Readers of the Shepherd series will know Lex, and here they’ll see another side to him.

Having these two previously seen characters in their own book brings a fresh look to this kind of adventure-filled thriller.

While this is whirling, Charlotte finds that two of three flash drives, hidden in secret places, have been stolen. Containing information on dirty government operations from the past, their loss means her life is on the line if they can get to the third. Who is after her and why?

And while you’re investigating this one in case you missed it when it first came out, Light Touch brings Dan “Spider” Shepherd back with a tough case that is topical and swiftly paced.

MI5 send Spider in when one of their undercover operatives stops giving them information on a drug lord with international smuggling on his resume. Spider needs to find out if Lucy Kemp has shifted to the dark side in her dealings with Marcus Meyer.

It’s an intriguing and delicate situation, made all the more difficult when he finds an SAS assassin is planing revenge killings for his sister’s overdose. Only Spider can find and stop Matt STanding and conviince him there’s another way to deal with all of this–Spider’s way.

With a theme built around trust, this is a filled with action and twists, with little rest on the horizon.

Leather’s skills in action have been noted by the cinema world, too.

Two of Leather’s novels have been adapted for film: The Chinaman, one of Leather’s Mike Cramer series, has been made into the movie THE FOREIGNER which opens this fall starring Pierce Brosnan and Jackie Chan. TANGO ONE has been made with Vincent Regan and Sophie Colquhoun, directed by Ssacha Bennett, and is awaiting a release date.

Simon Toyne: The Boy Who Saw Friday, Aug 4 2017 

Simon Toyne introduced Solomon Credd in The Searcher, the man whose identity is unknown except for a label stitched into his jacket: “This suit was made to treasure for Mr. Solomon Creed.”

It was a startling device for the new thriller series and in the sequel, Solomon decides he must track down the tailor who made the suit, believing he holds the key to his identity. With roots in the Holocaust, he’s traveled to France to find Josef Engel.

It’s a fool’s errand, when Solomon finds the man’s murdered body, a Star of David crudely carved into his chest, his body torn apart. The man’s granddaughter and her son remember the grandfather’s stories from the past, as well as tales of the man who saved them from the concentration camps.

The police suspect Solomon, that strange-looking pigment-free pale man in the murder. He must escape and find refuge with Marie-Claude, who is seeking her own refuge from an abusive husband, and her son, the adorable Leo.

If it wasn’t an interesting enough premise, Toyne ups the interest by having Leo and Solomon have something in common: a synesthesia, which in Solomon takes the form of smelling danger, while in Leo, allows him to see emotions as colors. It’s an intriguing and often useful element for Solomon, who’s been described as a genius high-functioning paranoid schizophrenic, one whose toxic memories have been removed by use of an implanted device in his shoulder.

The unlikely trio flees across France, avoiding Engel’s killer while still trying to solve his murder. Elements of the paranormal will keep you guessing if they are imagined or can be explained away. A rocking good ride.

Liz Mugavero: Cat About Town Wednesday, Aug 2 2017 

Cats and Cafes
by Cate Conte

What is it about cats and coffee that seems to go so well together?

It’s not just me who thinks that, even though it’s no secret those two things have a huge influence on my life. No, it’s actually a worldwide phenomenon, as evident when the first cat cafe opened in Japan in 1998.

For those who’ve never heard of a cat cafe, it’s a coffee shop, but with cats AND coffee. And pastries. And while you’re having your snack, you can hang out with a cat or two. The cats who live at the cafes come from local rescue organizations that partnered with the cafes. That means people can adopt them if they’d like.

Cat cafes are typically found in urban areas. They originated from the idea that people who couldn’t have cats could have a place to go and visit with them. And of course they need coffee (the humans, that is) so they can keep their energy up to play with the cats.

In recent years, cat cafes have migrated to the U.S. – New York, San Francisco, Boston to start, and now they’re popping up everywhere.

So of course, I had to put one on my island in Cat About Town.

Not your typical urban area, but since there’s lots of coffee on the island—and lots of cats—I think it’s going to work out just fine. As it turns out, Daybreak Island has only the local dog pound to care for any strays, ever since the local rescue closed its doors. So the cat cafe pro-vides a temporary home for the cats who would otherwise be locked in small cages at the pound, or worse, out on the street.

And, since the island attracts lots of tourists, it will never be short on visitors.

Especially with all the attention around the recent murder in town . . .

Cat About Town is out now, so grab a cup of coffee, find a cat to snuggle with at your local cat cafe, and enjoy!

Liz Mugavero writes the Pawsitively Organic Mysteries, the first of which was an Agatha Award nominee for Best First Novel. The sixth book in the series, Purring Around the Christmas Tree, is out in October of this year. As Cate Conte, Liz also writes the Cat Cafe Mysteries, the first of which, Cat About Town, was released August 1. She lives in Connecticut with her rescue pals.

THE GOLDEN HOUR: A Nora Tierney English Mystery #4 Monday, Jul 31 2017 

THE GOLDEN HOUR is Auntie M’s 4th Nora Tierney English Mystery. It’s always exciting bringing out a new book, akin to birthing a baby. After the initial first draft, that lump of clay goes through multiple revisions: workshopping with colleagues to find the story; more revisions after beta readers chime in and point out areas that don’t make sense or need fixing; more rewrites after the “Britspeak” is corrected by wonderful UK friends. P D James told Auntie M years ago that “the real writing gets done in revision,” something she repeats to herself as a mantra when the going gets tough.

While the book tour isn’t until October into November, you can order trade paperbacks now on Amazon or through Bridle Path Press, and she recommends that latter if you’d like a signed copy!

Thanks to the talented Giordana Segneri who did the layout and that lovely domestic cover design; to Becky Brown, copyeditor; to Eagle Eye Pam Desloges; and to Beth Cole who did the Kindle files.

The book will be on Kindle later this week and this fall, in conjunctin with the tour, on Audible, with the wonderful British narrator, Nano Nagle, who’s done a wonderful job on the others in the series.

This one’s a bit different from her usual and Auntie M hopes you will enjoy it as much as Ausma Khan, Elly Griffiths and Sarah Ward, who all gave her cover blurbs. Great crime writers all, and she’s chuffed to have their names on her cover~

Fiona Barton: The Child Thursday, Jul 27 2017 

Fiona Barton’s debut, The Widow, thrust her into the minds of readers everywhere and introduced reporter Kate Waters. She returns with The Child, and it’s every bit as suspensful and well written, sure to please readers with its compelling story.

Journalist Kate is a seasoned print reporter trying to stay afloat in a 24 hr/online news world. She’s saddled with a trainee, Joe Jackson, just as a small article catches her eye when construction workers in Woolrich discover the remains of baby, long-buried and reduced to bones.

Besides Kate, the discovery affects two women: Angela, whose baby Alice was stolen from her hospital cot the night after being born; and Emma, a young woman whose secret has affected her entire life. Emma’s mother, Jude, raised Emma as a single mother and has a complicated relationship with her daughter.

Angela is convinced the bones are of her baby, Alice. Emma is convinced of something entirely different. Kate just wants to find the truth of the matter and the answer to her question: “Who would bury a baby?”Each woman, with Kate’s help, will find the answers they need to know.

Kate can’t let this story go, to the detriment at times of her own family life. She sets out to investigate the old neighbors who lived in that neighborhood, and uncovers tales of drugs, parties, illicit sex and more. She encourages Angela and is with the woman when her DNA is tested. And through a circuitous route, she eventually meet Emma and Jude.

Complicating matters is the way Kate must tread carefully between her job as a reporter to get the lead on the news, and the police investigation. Her detective contact is one she holds dear, and she must keep his confidence and that of the lead detective looking into the identity of the remains, while holding her editor at bay.

Each woman’s story is precisely told in this character-driven mystery, a taut thriller that explores the complex relationships we all hold with our families, our jobs, and our perceived identities. The suspense as the story unfolds will keep readers flipping pages to the satisfying denouement. Highly recommended.

John Farrow: Perish the Day Sunday, Jul 23 2017 

Author and playwright Trevor Ferguson writes the Emile Cinq-Mars series under the pen name John Farrow. He brings us Perish the Day, with Emile and his wife, Sandra, staying at her mother’s New Hampshire horse farm as the woman lies in a coma after a life well lived.

It’s raining hard in the small town of Holyoake, just down the road from Ivy League Dartmouth. Sandra’s niece is graduating from the big college’s stepchild, the Dowboggin School of International Relations, and along with Sandra’s sister, they plan to also attend Caroline’s graduation. The rain obscures roads, overflows rivers, and creates havoc that only intensifies when the body of one of Caro’s friends is found at the bottom of a locked clock tower.

Emile soon finds himself immersed in trying to find out what happened to Caro’s friend, Addie. Hers will be the first of three murders in short order, and as the case heats up, territorial disputes threaten to overwhelm the investigation, even as the weather interferes with everything.

He finds a way to insinuate himself, even as Sandra’s mother dies and they plan her funeral. Enlisting Caro and two of her friends, the retired Canadian detective will use his wits and his experience to find out who would kill a young student, an older professor, and a custodian at the college.

Only Emile could bring the disparate forces of troopers, local sheriff, and FBI together to solve a complicated case that is unlike any he’s seen before. It’s a tour de force of his thinking abilities.

One of the hallmarks of the series is Emile’s ruminations on the case, spirituality, life, and his marriage. It makes for involved and heady reading, a literary feel to what is essentially a crime novel. His feel for his setting, and how he uses it, deepen our understanding of where he finds himself at this moment in time. Despite his appearance, Emile Cinq-Mars is highly attractive and thoroughly engaging.

Another winner in a series that keep getting better. Highly recommended.

Mark Billingham: Die of Shame & Love Like Blood Wednesday, Jul 19 2017 

Readers of Auntie M Writes know that Mark Billingham is one of her favorites. So it was frustrating that she’d missed reading Die of Shame, which starts out as a stand-alone featuring Detective Inspector Nicola Tanner and has a tie-in to Tom Thorn at its end.

It starts with six people, all addicts of some kind, in a group therapy session held by their therapist in his home. With his wife and teen daughter on the periphery, the six speak of their secrets and tell their stories of the life they’ve tried to leave. The object is to reveal their deepest shame.

It’s an intriguing setup, as each of these characters has something to hide. When one of them is murdered, it will fall to DI Tanner to ferret out the murderer. Readers will learn of the addict’s ability to obfuscate and explain away any situation. As Tanner’s investigation advances, it soon becomes clear that one of the six is responsible for the victim’s death.
That’s where Tom Thorne comes in at the end, working undercover as the newest member of the group.

While this one can definitely be read as a stand-alone, and it’s new in paperback for those like Auntie M who missed it last year, Billingham’s newest, Love Like Blood, follows the thread. Not with the group, which is tied up easily, but with DI Nicola Tanner as Thorne’s off-the-books newest partner.

It opens with a grissly home invasion that becomes a ghastly murder. At first, readers assume it Tanner who’s the victim, but although she was probably the proposed victim, Tanner’s partner Susan has borrowed her car that day and is brutally murdered in her stead.

Due to her closeness to the victim, policy dictates Tanner must be off the case. She enlists Thorne to take the case on, with her aiding him unofficially. When a young couple from different cultures go missing, they soon realize their targets are a pair of contracted killers, performing so-called ‘honor’ killings for families.

It’s a set-up that has nothing good about it. Thorne worming his way into a community where he’s despised just for being a cop; Tanner continuing to investigate when she shouldn’t. There’s Tom’s home with Helen and her son, Alfie, to consider, too, with Helen dealing with her own bad case.

A sobering Author’s note describes the statistics of increasing honor killings in the UK, and details one particular heartbreaking case. Leave it to Mark Billingham to sensitively explore this issue. Highly recommended, both of them. Do yourself a favor and read them both.

Rob Hart: The Woman from Prague Friday, Jul 14 2017 

Rob Hart returns with PI Ash McKenna in The Woman from Prague., which is where he finds himself, laying low for the past months, but on a visa ready to run out.

This entertaining novel elevates the spy genre with Ash’s first person POV, the crisp dialogue, and Ash’s wry thoughts when he finds himself strong-armed into working for a supposed US agent who knows far too much about Ash and his background. But can “Roman” be trusted? And is he who he says he is?

Things quickly go south–did Auntie M mention there’s a woman involved? –as the meet Roman sets up turns deadly. Ash is forced to go on the run with the mysterious Samantha. Despite the lovely Sam in tow, Ash finds the role of an international spy is not all James Bond made it seem.

He’s in a foreign city, with someone he can’t trust, being hunted for reasons he can’t fathom.

Non-stop action gives readers a wild ride in a great setting. The fast pace makes this a perfect summer read.

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