Lauren North: The Perfect Son Saturday, Aug 17 2019 

Lauren North will startle readers with her new psychological suspense thriller, The Perfect Son. This debut packs a wallop, making North a writer to watch.

Tess Clarke wakes up in the hospital after being stabbed, yet her only concern is for her missing son. Readers learn what led up to this event, and why she mistrusts Shelley, the grief counselor who’d become her friend.

Tess has been moving through the sludge of grief after the shocking death of her husband. Caring for son Jamie alone, trying to find a new rhythm to her days, she comes to depend on the friendship of the grief counselor her mother recommended. Even Jaime likes Shelley, a good thing, surely. But does Shelley have an ulterior motive?

Missing Mark terribly, his brother Ian can’t stop harrassing Tess for money he insists Mark borrowed that he needs repaid immediately. Tess can’t find any record of this supposed loan. Was Mark keeping secrets from her? Or is Ian lying?

With Tess’s world coming apart at the seams, she can’t trust anyone. And who could blame her? Soon she’s convinced the very people she should be able to trust are the ones she should be afraid of. Is she being paranoid, or careful?

With the sense of isolation Tess feels apparent on every page, North’s story lurches from unknown to unknown, while all the time there is a searing truth hiding just out of sight.

A skillful debut that ends with a resounding twist, that then turns back on itself. Worth every moment of lost sleep.

Theodore Carter: Stealing the Scream Wednesday, Aug 14 2019 

Theodore Carter takes art theft to new heights with a creative plot an a host of highly original characters in Stealing the Scream.

Inspired by the 2004 theft from an Oslo museum of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream,” Carter offers a fictional version of what led to that theft by introducing a most unusual character to lead.

Percival Davenport has decided to retire. He has more money than he can spend, and tired of the whole corporate world, he moves house to London to explore art and study painting, which he does with a vengence while mastering different schools of art.

He brings his house manager, Lucinda, an attractive woman who keeps him sane, and his personal cook and sets off on an adventure that will have readers smiling at the same time they admire Percival’s schemes.

For scheming is what Percival comes up with, and he carries his idea off with panache and with the help of someone he pays well to carry out his ideas. Only Leonard, a security guard at the Smithsonian’s National Gallery, figures out what Percival is up to.

With a startling climax, readers will be amused by Percival’s antics, the museum bureaucrats who pepper the plot, and the way Carter wraps it all up.

Joshilyn Jackson: Never Have I Ever Tuesday, Aug 13 2019 

Never Have I Ever, the old party game, takes on a sinister meaning in Joshilyn Jackson’s new thriller.

Hiding an old secret, Amy Whey has a husband, baby and step-daughter she adores. Giving diving lessons soothes her and keeps her past compartmentalized. She has a circle of local friends who participate in a book club, run by best friend Charlotte, held at Amy’s larger home as the group has expanded.

When a renting neighbor shows up unexpectedly, everything changes in that evening. Roux is charming but has an unsettling quality that both beguiles Amy yet puts her on high alert. It’s her idea to pour the drinks more liberally and entice the women into playing “The Game.”

Roux’s ulterior motive is to blackmail Amy over the secret she knows. It will take all of Amy’s wits to challenge Roux and beat her at the game she’s playing that will ruin Amy’s life, one she’s yearned for, one she’s finally built.
And in order to do that, she must find out just what secrets Roux is keeping——because we all have secrets.

Visual and with building suspense, Jackson keeps this cat-and-mouse game between the two women on high tension as the secrets of both women’s pasts come back to haunt them. Who will be the victor? Because betrayal is rife on both sides, yet love is, too.

A complex character dissection with startling results.

Elizabeth J. Duncan: The Marmalade Murders Sunday, Aug 11 2019 


Elizabeth Duncan’s Penny Brannigan series, set in Wales, brings the amateur sleuth and spa owner a new mystery in The Marmalade Murders.

It’s time for the annual agricultures how in Llanelen, and while there are plenty of animals, there are also the goodies on display to be judged, from veggies, fruits and flowers, to the talents of baked good, jame and jellies, and even chutneys.

Falling under the “domestic arts” banner, the homemade goodies need to be logged in and assigned a number for judging, which is where Penny comes in. Asked to help sign in the entries the night before the big event, she’s also a judge for the children’s pet competition the next day.

But when the family of the president of the local woman’s group isn’t there to cheer her granddaughter on, her body turns up under the cake table. And Penny soon finds herself involved in finding the killer.

Penny follows the clues she’s given and digs out more herself as she figures things out, leaping from idea to idea. She refuses to believe a transgender woman new to town is the culprit, even when a second body turns up. Several secondary subplots add to the complexity and confuse the murder issue for Penny and readers alike.

Duncan mixes twists and intrigue with small town people, recognizable the world over, and throws in interest with her character-driven plot. There are plenty of local details in the idyllic setting, which makes Auntie M want to get to Wales soon, too. This award-winning author keeps her readers satisfied with a clever mystery and its solution in a delightful setting.

Hallie Ephron: Careful What You Wish For Friday, Aug 9 2019 


Five-time Mary Higgins Clark finalist Hallie Ephron returns with a new mystery that’s as timely as it is realistic in Careful What You Wish For.

With the influence of Marie Kondo and her little organization book and show, it’s no small surprise that people everywhere are putting more tidying in their lives. Emily Harlow has a natural bent for that, just short of OCD, and with a partner, Becca Jain, has started a business the two women call Freeze-Frame Clutter Kickers.

One caveat they use is: the client is only allowed to declutter his or her own crap. She’s learned that the hard way, keeping her marriage to a hoarder-collector lawyer by following this rule of thumb.

Emily uses videos of her own decluttering to attract new clients, and she’s in the middle of her closet reorganization when she needs to meet Becca to see a new client, an elderly woman who’s husband has died and left her a storage unit to sort through. The contents have Emily on instantly on alert.

And then her husband’s partner brings them a new client: a much-younger wife whose new husband, a pack rat, hasn’t allowed her to bring her own things from the garage into his house. Quinn Newell has decided to dump the lot and be done with it, but brings out the prosecco on her way to show Emily the garage, and soon both women has had a bit too much bubbly and are giggling about losing their hoarding husbands——for good.

It’s a line Emily never crosses, blurring professional and personal relationships, but she figures it couldn’t really hurt——until it does, in ways unexpected and dangerous.

Soon Emily is trying to figure out who to believe, and who’s exactly whose mess she needs to be clearing out. With several surprising turns, this has a nicely twisted plot and a likeable main character. Ephron adds a touch of sly humor that makes this a refreshing and enjoyable read.

Joseph Terrell: Deadly Dreams of Summer Wednesday, Aug 7 2019 

Please welcome NC author Joseph Terrell, to talk about his Harrison Weaver series:

You know how it is during the fading days of summer. One day tends to meld into the next, and you can’t recall whether the rain was yesterday or three days ago. It’s not that there’s nothing to distinguish one day from the next, but you do get used to an evolving slower pace as the summer winds down…even here on the Outer Banks…
So one day begins to shuffle into the next like cards from a well-thumbed deck, a tad wilted from the summer’s humidity.
But then suddenly one day slips out of that deck of cards.
And you realize, maybe not that day but soon, that nothing will ever be the same.
Your view of the human condition has changed.
Forever.

That’s the beginning of my seventh in the mystery series featuring crime writer Harrison Weaver. The story—DEADLY DREAMS OF SUMMER—deals with human trafficking. Yes, and here on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. More of that vile crime goes on that we may realize. And of course a beach area in the summer is ripe for it.

Now that that book is out this summer, I’ve started work on number eight in the series. As in all of them, the primary setting is the Outer Banks. The readers here, and the thousands of tourists who come here—plus the local booksellers—want and expect the Outer Banks setting. As for many of us, the setting becomes an integral part of the story.

But on this next one—tentatively titled CALLING CARDS OF DEATH—a big chunk of it is set in Paris, with a return for the final scenes back at the Outer Banks. I look forward to the Paris section. That’ll be fun.

I’ll be back in Paris for the month of October (and a few days into November). I love Paris and have been spending some time once or twice a year for 11 years now. Ah, the haunts of the heroes of my youth—Hemingway, Fitzgerald and the others. The apartment we rent is right there on the Left Bank, only a block and a half from Shakespeare and Company.

When in Paris, and when working, I aim for 1,000 words a day. Hope for the first 20,000 words on the new book in October.

Wish me luck and please come and visit the Outer Banks, and get to meet Harrison Weaver and his friends.


Joseph in Paris!

Joseph L S.Terrell is the published author of thirteen books. He has an award-winning publishing history that spans more than forty years.

A graduate in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, he was awarded a full scholarship to the famed University of Iowa Writers Workshop, but the Korean War interrupted his studies. After service as a Special Agent in the Army’s Counter Intelligence Corps, Joseph returned to UNC to pursue graduate studies in journalism. He began his career as a staff writer for United Press International, then went on to The Wall Street Journal’s Washington bureau covering the Pentagon. Most of his career has been spent in Washington, but he has also worked for publications in North Carolina and Virginia.

Today Joseph makes his home in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, with periodic writing trips to his beloved Paris. You can find his books through his publisher, Bella Rosa Books, or ask for them wherever books are sold, including Amazon, Kindle and Nook. Joseph can be contacted at jlsterrell@aol.com or at his website http://www.JosephTerrellWriter.com.

Stacie Giles for Deadly Southern Charm Monday, Aug 5 2019 

Please welcome Stacie Giles, to talk about the new anthology, Deadly Southern Charm:

Deadly Southern Charm is a celebration of Southern women and a labor of love. Proceeds from this collection of 18 mystery short stories, mostly by fledgling authors (like me!), go to the Sisters in Crime chapter here in Central Virginia (SinC-CVa). Stories are under a 4000 word limit, are set in the South, and a woman is the main character. The stories range from real estate troubles in the Outer Banks to feuds in the hills; from spooky swamp stories to winery shenanigans. All are engaging and clever, with varying levels of whimsy and twistiness, but amazingly different. My story is historical, and the crime isn’t even murder – lots of crimes out there threaten women!

Mary Burton and Mary Miley, both prolific authors with many publications and awards as well as past presidents of SinC-CVa, donated their time, their reputations, and their expertise to promote more junior authors and the chapter. The editors selected 14 stories out of submissions nearly double that number. They served as editors and liaised with the publisher, Wildside Press, and also invited 4 well-known authors to join the effort. Mollie Cox Bryan, Lynn Cahoon, Barb Goffman, and Sherry Harris contributed great stories. The remaining 14 authors not only had the benefit of the editors’ helpful comments on their writing, they have also been coached on the business side of writing, everything from social media marketing to tax law. Authors like Hank Phillippi Ryan – who called the volume “deliciously devious” – and Ellery Adams – who said it is “a keep-you-up-all-night collection”– graciously praised the book with their comments.

My story, “Southern Sisters Stick Together,” is set in a tea shop in Memphis in 1920. That was a time of rapid social change — Tennessee ratified the 19th Amendment in August 1920, finally giving women the right to vote – and I use the culture, society, and crime of that time to consider how a young woman fresh from the farm can protect herself and her friends against big city slickers. My heroine faces questions of submission versus defiance, proof versus suspicion, and keeping her job versus exposing a villain preying on women.

There are times when you need a woman to get justice. Now THAT is a theme that comes up over and over in this collection.

Stacie Giles: after a career as a political scientist, linguist, and CIA analyst, is now writing historical cozies with a twist. Her first short story is in honor of her grandfather who was a policeman in Memphis in the 1920s.
amazon.com/author/staciegiles tiny.cc/StacieGWriteNow

Marlowe Benn: Relative Fortunes Sunday, Aug 4 2019 


Marlowe Benn’s debut, Relative Fortunes, is filled with issues and social mores, not to say fashion, too, of 1924. It’s a stylish mystery that evokes the blues of the Jazz Age in which it’s set.

Benn introduces American Julia Kydd, who returns to New York after living in England where she’s incubating the germ of an idea for a small, elite press. Loving all things type, font, and paper, she dreams of establishing her own imprint. With women just able to vote, this is a heady time for women.

Julia’s half-sibling, Philip, controls her allowance until her soon-to-occur 25th birthday, but brings a suit to attempt to claim her half of their father’s estate. While this battles out, Julia is forced to stay in Philip’s home, and learns more than she wanted to about the brother she’s been estranged from and never really knew growing up.

Then the sister of a friend dies and she’s pulled into what she comes to believe is a murder, not a covered-up suicide the family hopes to pass off as a brief illness. Naomi Rankin was a well-known suffragette, and her younger sister, Glennis, is Julia’s new friend. Present with Glennis at the family home for a closed memorial service for Naomi, Julia is shocked to see the lack of regard for Naomi and the miserly way this wealthy family has treated her because of her beliefs in woman’s rights.

When Glennis begs Julia to help her prove Naomi was murdered, Philip’s wager that if she can find out what happened she will keep her inheritence is too good to pass up.

Peopled with real figures from the era in the world of bibliophiles, Benn brings her own love of book arts to Julia, while exploring the few options open to women at this time. If one didn’t have money, those options shrunk even smaller.

Benn also shows Julia and Glennis, and even Naomi through her friends, who must consider their futures and how those differ for men and women. In the stunning climax, this disparity between genders is brought to the forefront in a tragic yet realistic way.

An accomplished debut.

Summer Selections from Those I Bought Myself: Horowitz, Robinson, Michaelides, Casey, Green Friday, Aug 2 2019 

A few times a year Auntie M lets readers know about books she’s bought herself that she’d enjoyed. With review copies of books coming almost daily, her house a towering To Be Read pile, but that doesn’t stop her from buying book from some of her favorite authors.

The multi-talented Anthony Horowitz (just read his bio to see what he’s written that you have read or watched) returns with the second book in his series featuring private investigator Daniel Hawthorne and a writer fellow named … Anthony Horowitz in The Sentence is Death.

The two men are not exactly fans of each other, but Horowitz has signed on to document Hawthorne’s escapes for a series of books about his exploits. He soon finds himself enmeshed in Hawthorne’s new case, when wealthy barrister Richard Pryce is found battered to death inside his modern home on Hampstead Heath.

With an eye for detail, killer instincts on plot, and the relationship between the two men a focal point, Horowitz has created his alter ego’s narrative that neatly explores Hawthorne’s secrets while at the same time thinking he’s helping to solve the case. Highly readable, filled with sly asides, mocking humor, and a complex plot.

Peter Robinson’s DS Alan Banks series is one other crime writers mention when asked how they read. The award-wininng author brings Banks a pair of crimes what confuse his entire team, when the body of an lovely woman dressed for an evening out is found in the countryside in an abandoned car in Careless Love. It quickly becomes clear the car not only wasn’t the victim’s, it had been in an accident the week before and left where she is found.

Compounding things a second death, a well-dressed man found on the moors with injuries sustained in a fatal fall. But was this an accident, or was he pushed? His tony clothes indicate he wasn’t a hiker and there are no signs of how he could have arrived at this spot.

Neither victim carried identification; both died around the same time. With his DI Annie Cabot running the man’s case, Banks concentrates on the dead woman. Until the cases become connected and all bets are off. A strong entry in a compelling series Auntie M won’t miss.

Screenwritere Alex Michaelides turns to a debut crime novel with a wholly original and creative premise in The Silent Patient. Forensic psychotherapst Theo Faber is determined to treat his new patient where others have failed. Artist Alicia Berenson is a devoted wife to Gabriel——until the night she shoots him, not once or twice but five times, and then never speaks again.

What happened to lead to that fateful night? Only Alicia’s diary can give the clues that will help Theo get to the bottom of this inexplicable murder. This one packs a wallop with such a twist at the end you will lose your breath. Trust me.

Another of Auntie M’s favorites series is Jane Casey’s Maeve Kerrigan, and Cruel Acts brings the detective sergeant and her DI, Josh Derwent, a complex crime, amdist their own complicated relationship.

Leo Stone had been convicted of murdering two women and was to spend his life in prison. But suddenly that conviction is deemed a miscarriage of justice and he’s out, free to kill again. Unless he wasn’t guilty the first time.

Meticulous police investigation coupled with a copper’s instinct soon has Maeve questioning what she believed. Then another woman disappears, and soon Maeve is desperate to find what’s happened to her.

This is one that will have you flippng pages way after the light should be out. With chilling creepiness, Casey manages to find the humanity in her character’s story while having Kerrigan be the smartest gal around.

A UK friend recommended Cass Green’s In a Cottage in a Wood. Neve is a young gal who needs income and more than that, a future. She’s on her way across Waterloo Bridge after a one-night stand when she meets a woman called Isabelle, who thrusts an envelope in her hands before jumping to her death in the Thames.

Neve soon finds out Isabelle has left her a little cottage in Cornwall. Suddenly she can see a future, a way out, but when she arrives to stay, the cottage is isolated in dark woods. What could be a charming cottage has bars across the windows. Why did Isabelle have to have bars on her windows? And most of all, why did she leave this nightmare of a place to Neve?

A gripping psychological mystery readers will gobble up.

Tana French’s Wych Elm is everything one wants in a thriller: an original premise, a strong cast of interesting characters, and a way to tell a story that will leave the reader paying rapt attention.

When Toby is attacked, it leaves him mentally frail and traumatized, having memory issues and having to relearn things. He recuperates at his family’s home, he Ivy House, where his memories of teenaged parties and years growing up alongside cousins reverberate.

But soon after his arrival, a skill is found neatly tucked inside the elderly wych elm in the house’s garden. And then the rest of the body is unearthed.

Who does the body belong to? Could one of Toby’s own family be responsible, and if not, what do they know? Could Toby himself be the culprit and he can’t remember? With a suspenseful plot, French knows how to construct a story that manages to be unstinting in its view of families. Tragic yet clever.

Hank Phillippi Ryan: The Murder List Thursday, Aug 1 2019 

Hank Phillippi Ryan knocks it out of the park again with her compelling legal thriller, The Murder List, showing that her writing skills cover more than one subgenre of crime after last year’s wonderful Agatha award-nominated Trust Me, which was named a Best Thriller by the New York Posst, CrimeReads, and Real Simple Magazine, among others.

Rachel North is a law student married to well-known defense lawyer, Jack Kirkland. She’s gone to law school as an older student and brings a wealth of knowledge with her from her days working for a State Senator. Excited to only have one year left, she’s doing her summer internship to learn the ropes.

The county’s top prosecutor, Martha Gardiner, is known as a fierce competitor, someone who hates to lose, especially against Jack North. So when Rachel is assigned a summer internship to Gardiner’s office, it’s the first wrinkle in their otherwise perfect marriage. Jack is less than thrilled that Rachel’s internship will be with his nemesis.

Ryan competently shows how events from Rachel’s past jury duty six years earlier led to Rachel meeting Jack. Readers also see her at her job for the Senator at that time, and how that ties in to what’s happening in the present.

And some present it is, with Rachel getting a first-hand look at the machinations and lengths Gardiner will go to for a conviction. With her long-term goal to be Jack’s defense partner, Rachel’s goal is to learn Gardiner’s methods. That will only help them when they go up against the formidable prosecutor in court as Kirkland and North.

But things are not as they seem on several levels. Ryan plays fair while challenging the reader to see the climax as the twists keep coming. Auntie M went back after the surprising end to re-read places where the clues were all laid out.

This is a complex and compelling story, set within a realistic world, with duplicity the stakes of the game. And this one’s highly recommended.

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Past Offences: Classic crime, thrillers and mystery book reviews

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

Pamela J Castrucci

Navigating self-publishing without a net.

Lee Lofland

The Graveyard Shift

Being Author

Book promotion & authors BLOG

S L Hollister, author

Welcome to Leeward

Liz Loves Books

The Wonderful World of Reading

The Life of Guppy

the care and feeding of our little fish

dru's book musings

Reading is a wonderful adventure!

JoHanna Massey

"I tramp the perpetual journey." Walt Whitman

MiddleSisterReviews.com

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

My train of thoughts on...

Smile! Don't look back in anger.

K.R. Morrison, Author

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

The Wickeds

Wicked Good Mysteries

John Bainbridge Writer

Indie Writer and Publisher

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

Authors and reviewers of historical 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