Brian McGilloway: Bad Blood: A Lucy Black Thriller Friday, Jun 23 2017 

Brian McGilloway’s Lucy Black series, set in Northern Ireland, returns with the compelling Bad Blood.

Not one to shy from controversial topics, McGilloway tackles Lucy’s latest case head on, when a community becomes overwhelmed with tragedy.

A young man is found in a park, dead from head wounds, and with a stamp from a gay club on his hand. Concurrently, a hate-speech pastor was heard spouting the advocacy of stoning gay people. Could the death be connected to his talks?

At the same time as Lucy and her boss, DI Tom Fleming, try to cool things off, a Gay Rights group become involved, showing up and demonstrating at the pastor’s talks, while a far-right group target new immigrants who’ve moved into the area.

There will be vandalism that escalates to assault, arson, and more deaths before Lucy and her team, who are undergoing their own stresses, can figure out who is behind the various issues. There are turf wars within the community, and an escalating drug problem that adds to the tension.

Set against the days leading up to the Brexit vote, this highly current and compelling thriller will have readers flipping pages as Lucy and her team try to figure out who is responsible for what, when she finds herself on the receiving end of some of the ugliness.

The complex plot all makes sense in this end in this enjoyable read that will have readers searching for others in the Lucy Black series.

Kristen Lepionka: The Last Place You Look Wednesday, Jun 21 2017 

Kristen Lepionka’s debut mystery, The Last Place You Look, introduces PI Roxanne Weary, daughter of a police detective who’s inherited her father’s keen instincts along with his affinity for alcohol.

This is not your typical, sweet protagonist, but a hard-drinking, sexually active woman who’s learning to deal with her grief after her father’s death on duty. When her brother Matt sends her a new client, she finds herself drawn to look for Sarah Cook, a young woman who vanished the same day her parents were murdered.

The man accused of those murders languishes in jail, and with his execution scheduled for two months down the road, time is of the essence to find the young woman who would know who really killed her parents. Brad Stockton has always claimed he’s innocent and refused to put any blame on Sarah.

Then Brad’s sister swears she sees Sarah at a local gas station, although police have long maintained Sarah was also one of Brad’s victims when something went wrong between the two young lovers. This prompts her to hire Roxanne in a last-ditch effort to prove her brother’s innocence.

It seems like a cold case destined to go nowhere, until Roxanne links Sarah’s disappearance to another of her father’s cold cases. And then a third body is found, and Roxanne is scrambling to get ahead of a serial killer, while the local police thwart her every move.

Readers will feel Roxanne’s frustration and her grief as she tries to sort out her own tumbled emotions at the same time as she solves a decades-old crime. Readers will look forward to a sequel featuring the gritty PI.

A tense and suspenseful thriller, Lori Rader-Day says of Lepionka: “A talented new voice and a character worth following anywhere she trespasses.”

Joanne Guidoccio: Too Many Women in the Room Thursday, Jun 15 2017 

Please welcome Canadian author Joanne Guidoccio, whose mystery Too Many Women in the Room has the tag line: Eight women–eight motives to kill a lecherous photographer! Don’t miss her special giveaway at the end of her discussion.

Joanne is going to share what she’s learned about prologues:

To Prologue or Not to Prologue

Whenever I’ve asked a writing instructor or workshop facilitator about prologues, I’ve encountered a variety of negative facial expressions—everything from a wince to a frown to a quick shake of the head. And the following responses: Agents hate prologues; Readers will skip to the first chapter; Prologues = Information Dumps.

One instructor offered a ray of hope: Use only if the prologue adds an interesting and integral layer to the narrative.

Interesting and Integral…Definitely a challenge and one I decided to tackle in my new release, Too Many Women in the Room.

But first, I needed to get more information about the Uses and Misuses of Prologues. Here’s what I discovered:

Use a Prologue to…

• Provide information that is crucial to understanding the rest of the story. In Too Many Women in the Room, I needed to introduce the victim’s voice. Having written the rest of the novel in the first-person POV, I wanted the reader to be privy to the thoughts and feelings of the victim in his final hour.

• Provide clues. Red herrings are an important component of cozy mysteries. In Too Many Women in the Room, the initial crime scene contains vital details that form the basis for these red herrings.

• Hook the reader. If the actual crime doesn’t occur for several chapters, it is a good idea to whet the reader’s appetite with a prologue. But—and a big but—the interim chapters also need hooks to keep the reader engaged.

Don’t Use a Prologue to…

• Introduce a voice or tone that is not as engaging as the rest of the novel.

• Dispose of the entire back story. Much better to incorporate bits and pieces throughout the novel.

• Introduce an overly-dramatic voice and then switch to a much quieter voice.

Here’s the idea of Too Many Women in the Room:

When Gilda Greco invites her closest friends to a VIP dinner, she plans to share David Korba’s signature dishes and launch their joint venture— Xenia, an innovative Greek restaurant near Sudbury, Ontario. Unknown to Gilda, David has also invited Michael Taylor, a lecherous photographer who has throughout the past three decades managed to annoy all the women in the room. One woman follows Michael to a deserted field for his midnight run and stabs him in the jugular.
Gilda’s life is awash with complications as she wrestles with a certain detective’s commitment issues and growing doubts about her risky investment in Xenia. Frustrated, Gilda launches her own investigation and uncovers decades-old secrets and resentments that have festered until they explode into untimely death. Can Gilda outwit a killer bent on killing again?

And here’s some of that opening prologue:
He couldn’t believe he was following his wife’s advice. After twelve years of paying lip service to deep yoga breaths, mindfulness, and all the other New Age crap she espoused, he had finally found a use for it. His midnight run usually sorted out all the stress, but tonight was different. He still couldn’t shake the venom that had been directed his way.
To make matters worse, it had come from eight women, eight very different and very annoying women. He had bedded four, but right now he couldn’t imagine having sex with any of them. As for the untouched four, well, only one interested him, and it had nothing to do with her feminine wiles and everything to do with her healthy bank account.
He would have to take something to get through the night, something a lot stronger than his wife’s herbal teas. The remnants of an old Percocet prescription came to mind. Two capsules might do the trick. The thought of a panacea, albeit a chemical one, calmed his racing thoughts. A good night’s sleep would make a world of difference. And tomorrow, he would sort it out.
The light patter of feet distracted him. Definitely a woman’s gait. Her breath was even, neither shallow nor panting. Younger, maybe in her thirties. His pulse quickened, and a smile spread over his features. A welcome distraction. Just what he needed to erase the built-up stress. To hell with deep breathing, affirmations, and Percocet.

In 2008, Joanne Guidoccio retired from a 31-year teaching career and launched a second act that tapped into her creative side. Slowly, a writing practice emerged. Her articles and book reviews were published in newspapers, magazines, and online. When she tried her hand at fiction, she made reinvention a recurring theme in her novels and short stories. A member of Crime Writers of Canada, Sisters in Crime, and Romance Writers of America, Joanne writes cozy mysteries, paranormal romance, and inspirational literature from her home base of Guelph, Ontario.
Where to find Joanne…


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Leonard Goldberg: The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes Tuesday, Jun 13 2017 

Leonard Goldberg is a physician whose name readers might recognize from his many medical thrillers. In this newest outing, Goldberg ventures into the past of 1910 and Edwardian London, and brings a twist to the Sherlock Holmes canon with The Daughter of Sherlock Holmes.

It’s a winning combination of an elderly Dr. Watson, his physician son, also John, and a young woman who assists them in unraveling the supposed suicide of a young man after she and her young son witness the death.

The brilliant mind of Joanna Blalock soon leads Watson to confide in his son that she is none other than the daughter of the late Sherlock Holmes and the only woman who ever outwitted the great mind, Irene Adler. Watson is entrusted with that knowledge, and now John, Jr. is the second person who knows the truth of the young widow’s lineage.

It’s a fine setup as the book moves along, and fans of anything Sherlock will be captivated. This time it’s a female who has the brains to observe and deduce, which Joanna does in fine fashion in a compelling and readable storyline.

That she also happens to be beautiful and captivates John’s heart is an aside that adds to the texture and gladdens Watson’s heart.

The mystery surrounding the death ties into hidden treasure stolen during the Second Afghan War. As the body count rises, it will be up to this trio to figure out how the culprit is managing to kill the members of a special quartet, and how they can protect the remaining member.

It’s a fast-paced story, containing a cipher, a secret room, and enough Sherlockian ties to make readers flip pages fast. A quick, entertaining read, Auntie M hopes Mr. Goldberg plans to bring readers more of this new detecting team.

Sandra Brown: Sting Sunday, Jun 11 2017 

Sandra Brown’s latest thriller, Sting, has all the hallmarks that made Brown a NY Times bestselling author: fast pacing; a story that twists and turns; and a hint of chemistry between the two protagonists.

But in this case, that chemistry between Jordie Bennet and Shaw Kinnard has a huge mountain to cross: he’s been sent to the backwater bayou in Louisiana to kill her.

All is not what it seems when Kinnard kidnaps Jordie. She has the unfortunate luck to have a psychopath for a brother, and since he has stolen 30 million dollars, there are a lot of people who’d like to get their hands on the money–including the person it was stolen from.

With realistic characters and a plausible setup, readers will still be surprised at some of the turns the plot takes, especially when they can’t see how the ending can possibly turn out well.

Another terrific summer read from a master thriller writer~

Hallie Ephron: You’ll Never Know, Dear Tuesday, Jun 6 2017 

Hallie Ephron’s fifth suspense novel show how a talented writer can find an unusual premise and make it work. You’ll Never Know, Dear brings three generations of strong women in the Woodham family together to solve a decades-old mystery.

When Lissie and her sister Janey were outside their South Carolina low-country home when Lissie’s attention is diverted by a puppy. When she returns, Janey has disappeared, and remains so for forty years. Despite the length of time, their mother, Miss Sorrel, places an ad every year in the paper that shows the doll she made for Janey, and offers a cash reward for its return, hoping this will be the clue that finds Janey.

Miss Sorrel is Lisse and Janey’s mother. Aided now by her neighbor, nurse Evelyn Dumont, the duo repair dolls, after a career of making hand-painted one-of-a-kind dolls that bear the face of the child who becomes their owners. She’s hoping even after all these years that the doll will be returned and be the key to Janey. And then suddenly, a young woman shows up with what Miss Sorrel is convinced is Janey’s doll.

Then a horrid accident put Miss Sorrel and Lissie in the hospital, and Lissie’s daughter, Vanessa, leaves her research project on dreams to help out. The three women will bind together, despite their differences, to try to solve the cold case and find out if Janey could possibly be alive. The women will need all of their smarts when they face evil.

The setting is definitely a character here, with small-town secrets and lazy warm days leaping off the page and adding to the southern gothic feel. Along with a realistic portrait of differing personalties within one family, readers will be delighted to learn the ins and outs of doll making and restoration, too, an added bonus to the suspense.

Elly Griffiths: The Chalk Pit Tuesday, May 30 2017 

Elly Griffiths returns with her ninth Ruth Galloway mystery, The Chalk Pit, a strong addition to the popular series.

The series, set in Norwich, is such a favorite of Auntie M’s that her next Nora Tierney English Mystery, The Golden Hour, features a character is reading the latest mystery–and Elly appears briefly as a friend of Nora’s.

There are good reasons why the award-winning author is hugely popular. The anthropology details are accurate but never dry, and always couched in a really good mystery to be solved. Then there are the returning characters–Ruth, Detective Nelson, and several of their friends and colleagues–who reappear and catch readers in the tumble of their lives.

This keeps the reader involved in Ruth’s world, where she’s the single parent of young Kate, a precocious child who is offered a small role in an experimental version of Alice in Wonderland.

The play comes at the same time that Ruth is called to investigate bones found in an old chalk pit during excavation for an underground restaurant. When the bones turn out to be human, it involves Nelson, too, and the mystery takes off as the relationship between Ruth and Nelson becomes even more complicated.

Ruth notices the bones appear so translucent, they might have been boiled. A second body is found, and fear mounts. Is this the work of a cannibal killer? Could there be a secret society at work? Why are the homeless being targeted? When a homeless woman goes missing, Ruth and Nelson fear she’s the next victim.

As the tension mounts, someone close them will also go missing. The story twists in their efforts to find the killer in a tense climax that will have readers flipping pages to the conclusion.

Another rewarding read in this satisfying series from the author who also writes the The Magic Men Mysteries. Highly recommended.

James Oswald: Written in Bones Sunday, May 28 2017 

James Oswald’s Inspector McLean series is one of Auntie M’s personal favorites. Written in Bones continues the compelling Edinburgh-based mystery series with its strong protagonist. And yes, the award-winning and nominated author really does raise pedigree Highland cattle and New Zealand Romney sheep on his North East Fife farm. You can see amazing photos of his livestock on his website and Facebook pages.

This case seems to be one without an answer. A young boy walking his dog early in the morning talks of a dragon flying overhead; then a body drops into a tree in the Meadows, Edinburgh’s scenic park. It’s not a crime scene of the faint of heart.

The victim is an ex-cop who had a criminal past, and after serving his time, had reinvented himself as a philanthropist for addicts and other causes. Was his death an accident? Or a message to those left behind?

It will take McLean back to digging out past cases and history, while he comes into contact with someone he thought he’d left behind, just as he’s trying to sort out his personal life.

One of the highlights of the series is the way Oswald brings Edinburgh, and his band of characters, to life. This is gritty stuff with an edge or realism that sharpness the focus. And as always, McLean needs to avoid exacerbating his already-ugly relationship with most of his superiors, as he doesn’t always play by the book–perhaps never.

Another outstanding entry in the series. Highly recommended.

Pamela Wechsler: The Graves Wednesday, May 24 2017 

The Boston setting comes alive in former prosecutor Pamela Wechler’s second Abby Endicott novel, The Graves, where the young assistant district attorney known for crime convictions is still recovering from the attempts on her life in the debut, Mission Hill.

The strong protagonist has a passion for putting murderers away, but that same dedication has cut her off from her wealthy family’s backing. Her parents hope that putting her in financial straits will prompt Abby to turn to a career more in line with their thinking, along with ditching her musician boyfriend, even while ignoring the faults in their marriage.

But when a string of young women start turning up murdered around Boston, the case only makes Abby more determined to find the killer. Then another young woman goes missing, and Abby, working with Detective Kevin Farnsworth, investigates to find the man who’s been at the heart of the matter, with surprising and troubling complications.

The prosecutor will have to bring all of her smarts and wiles to bear to bring a killer to justice, and the outcome is not a foregone conclusion once a senator and his son become implicated in the crimes.

There’s enough here to keep any reader happy. Abby’s interior narrative is a strong voice, as the young, pampered woman who took personal shoppers and trendy shops for granted suddenly has to learn to economize. Wechsler also paints a realistic picture of a woman whose drive for her job makes others unhappy, while at the same time, it confuses Abby about what–or who–she really wants.

Auntie M likes Abby. She’s not a cardboard figure, but a realistic heroine with strong opinions who can sometimes see her own weaknesses and frailties, and so can we.

And in other news: Nele Neuhaus, one of Germany’s foremost crime authors, has her latest now out in paperback. I Am Your Judge brings the team of Pia Kirchhoff and Oliver Van Bodenstein facing a complex killer whose victims appear to have no enemies. The fourth installment in the bestseller series.

Matt Ferraz: The Convenient Cadaver Monday, May 22 2017 

Matt Ferraz was an ocean away from home when he wrote The Convenient Cadaver, the first volume of Grandma Bertha Solving Murders.

Having lived in the same house in Brazil his entire life, Matt had to spend a year in a college accommodation in Buckingham, UK, where he took his masters. Writing a novel that took place entirely within the walls of a family house was literary a way to feel cozy again.

Having always been close to both his grandmothers, Matt decided to create a book that would treat old age in a light and positive way. His best friend was also an old lady named Silvia, who used to call him “my little Stephen King”, as a homage to their favorite author. The book is dedicated to these three ladies, with a sad note that Silvia passed away before she had the chance to read it.

Grandma Bertha is a wacky old lady who loves her dogs, her beer and her horror movies.

One day, a corpse appears near her house, and she decides she’s going to find out who did it. Her family obviously doesn’t like it, but Grandma Bertha won’t give up, as she want to prove that being old does not mean being useless.

And she’s going to continue proving that in future instalments of the series, that will continue later this year with a second volume.

Author of all trades, Matt Ferraz has written thrillers, sci-fi, cozy mysteries and a lot of witty e-mails that sadly can’t be published. With a degree in journalism and a masters in biography, Matt has works published in English, Italian and Portuguese, and loves trying out new genres.

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