Thursday, December 29, 2016

Review: DEAD MAN CODE by R Weir


Cases come and cases go, but private detective Jarvis Mann can't land an easy one these days.

The cops are unhappy Jarvis digs into a murder case they closed, uncovering a crooked tech company, hell-bent on stealing their customers' IDs and US government secrets. Soon Russian mobsters and Chinese government goons arrive to bribe, threaten, beat, and finally kill, in an attempt to stop him and safeguard their criminal enterprise. Can he protect the life of the widow who hired him to find her husband's killer? Will the founder's beautiful and sexy ex-wife provide the key he needs to crack the case, as Jarvis 
slugs and shoots his way to a pulse-pounding conclusion…


Jarvis is back but not without regrets from his last case and his break up with Melissa.  He agrees to look into the possible murder of a computer nerd - the police aren't thrilled as they want to close the case as a robbery gone bad. How complicated could that be? Some how, once Jarvis finds out the hard way that some Russians don't want him investigating and then the Chinese put him on notice as well, he's inclined to believe murder over robbery. 

In the meantime Melissa can't forgive him, but works for the lawyers who show up to bail out the Chinese and the Russians. Then there's Jarvis' usual charm and escapades with the ladies - Lindi comes through with information to help and April is certainly vying for his attention. In the meantime, the real hot shot hacker comes through.  Action-paced, not an obvious resolution, and Jarvis all the way. If you've liked the others in the series, Weir doesn't disappoint. This can be read as a stand alone. 

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book but this has not affected the content of my review in any way.

Be sure to check out the other Jarvis Mann PI stories:

Blood Brothers

Twice As Fatal

Tracking A Shadow

The Case of the Missing Bubble Gum Card

Sunday, December 25, 2016

Happy Holidays! Happy Kwanzaa, Happy Chanukah! and Merry Christmas!

This is truly the season of holidays and it is not too often that they overlap as they do this year.  

On December 24th some will have already lit the menorah with the first candle of Chanukah as others make their way to midnight Mass and leave cookies and milk for Santa. 

Chanukah will continue through Christmas and Kwanzaa begins on December 26, also with lighting of candles.  Both Kwanzaa and Chanukah end with the start of 2017.

Different cultures, different belief systems, but all of these are rich in traditions and hope.  A time to gather with friends and family.  And, of course, gifts!

Whether you contemplate the story of Chanukah, the birth of Christ, or reflect on the principles of Kwanzaa, I hope we can all take a moment to think of others and ways to ensure:

Peace on earth, goodwill toward all!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Review: KILLER CHRISTMAS (Holiday Series Book 1) (Emma Wild Mystery with Recipes)

Another holiday cozy mystery novella for you...


After breaking up with hunky movie star Nick Doyle, superstar singer Emma Wild returns to her hometown for Christmas to get away from it all. In Hartfield, a small town in Ontario, Canada, she gets caught up in a murder case after a fan's drink is poisoned at the Chocoholic Cafe, owned by Emma's sister Mirabelle.

Who is the killer and was the drink originally intended for Emma? To add to the chaos, Sterling Matthews is the detective on the case. He'd shattered her heart nine years ago and inspired all her hit singles, but now they must work together to find the murderer before the murderer finds Emma.

This is the first book in the Emma Wild 4-book Holiday Series.

Book 1: Killer Christmas
Book 2: New Year's Slay
Book 3: Death of a Snowman
Book 4: Valentine's Victim


It's Christmas and Emma returns to her hometown - she hasn't been back in a while but wants time away from the media frenzy as she mends her broken heart.  A fan recognizes her as they both order at the Chocoholic Cafe. Because they have the same name (Emma), their drinks are mixed up and the fan is dead. Emma has to wonder if the poison was meant for her - and who would want to kill her?  Is renewed romance in the air?

An easy, fun read, Killer Christmas is a quick read for the fireside. Plus, there are recipes! The series continues with New Years, the snowman festival, and Valentine's Day.  


Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Review: A DAMSEL FOR SANTA : A McKENNA MYSTERY (Trouble in Paradise #7) by Terry Ambrose

Here's a Christmas cozy novella for you:


Not even the freak hurricane bearing down on Honolulu can dampen Wilson McKenna's holiday spirit. His girlfriend is coming to town, and they'll be celebrating their first Christmas together. Everything changes though when Chance Logan shows up and begs McKenna to help with a big charity event.

Chance wants his best friend to take the role of Santa in the Christmas play he's directing. The previous Santa claims to have malaria, and dress rehearsal is only hours away. McKenna agrees to help, but trouble strikes during rehearsal when the storm hits town. There's a city-wide power outage, the phone lines and traffic are snarled, and when the lights come on, one of the elves is dead.

When McKenna and Chance decide to investigate, the child star insists on being Santa’s helper. Now, McKenna has questions galore and no answers. Is the killer the Shakespeare-quoting Scrooge? The secretive Jack Frost? Or the way-too-friendly elf with more personalities than he can count? Should he give Assistant Elf Investigator Holly the promotion she's demanding? And what should he do about the Santa suit? It's giving him itches in places he can't even mention in public.

This year, Hawaii's best amateur sleuth has a short Christmas wish list. He wants to find a killer before the curtain comes down on this production. And, he'd kill for a sturdy backscratcher.


McKenna reluctantly gives in to playing Santa in the dress rehearsal only to have to deal with a dead elf. With no power and phone lines down, he takes on the job of sleuth with the help of the child star who plays "Holly"  (the damsel) in the play.  Aside from all the quirky characters and tensions, there's something going on with the Santa Suit and McKenna is stuck.

Lots of twists and turns, the holiday spirit, and some humor along the way.  If you're up for a holiday treat that's short and sweet, you'll enjoy this novella.  Although part of a series, this is easily read as a stand alone.


Monday, December 12, 2016

Blog Tour: OFFed STAGE LEFT by Joanne Sydney Lessner

Paperback: 260 pages
Publisher: Dulcet Press (October 27, 2016)
ISBN-13: 978-0998133201
E-Book ASIN: B01M3R8OD6

There’s one role you don’t want a callback for: Prime Suspect. Aspiring actress Isobel Spice lands her first regional theater job, playing a supporting role and understudying the lead in Sousacal: The Life and Times of John Philip Sousa. A series of minor backstage accidents culminates in the suspicious death of the leading lady on opening night. When Isobel takes over the role, her mastery of the material makes her more suspect than savior, and she realizes the only way to clear her name is to discover the identity of the murderer—before he or she strikes again.

This was a fun, easy read.  The pace is quick and the idea of Sousacal is unique. Isobel Spice is an up and coming actress in her first regional show focuses on the experience, despite how bad the script and lyrics are for this musical about Sousa.  This is the fourth in the Isobel Spice series and Isobel's becoming quite the sleuth.  In this one, the murders are not related to a temp position, but an unexpected plot in the theater.  That said, this can be read as a stand-alone. 

Isobel is determined to do well and hopes to get noticed by producers and critics. The other characters, including her good friends Delphi, Sunil, and Hugh, each have their own voice and their own motivations. Some are likable, others not so much.  If you like cozy mysteries with enough suspects to keep you guessing, you will enjoy OFFed Stage Left.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

About The Author:
Writer, singer, and actor Joanne Sydney Lessner draws on her own experiences pursuing a performing career in New York City for her acclaimed Isobel Spice Mysteries: THE TEMPORARY DETECTIVE, BAD PUBLICITY, AND JUSTICE FOR SOME, and OFFED STAGE LEFT. With humor and a bit of romance, Isobel juggles auditions and temp jobs, solving murders along the way, while Joanne’s inside knowledge provides a window into the realities of breaking into show business (as well as a forum to share every humiliating audition experience she and her friends ever had.) Joanne’s debut novel, PANDORA’S BOTTLE, was inspired by the true story of the world’s most expensive bottle of wine and was named one of the top five books of 2010 by Paperback Dolls. With her husband, composer/conductor Joshua Rosenblum, she has co-authored several musicals, including the cult hit FERMAT’S LAST TANGO and EINSTEIN’S DREAMS, based on the celebrated novel by Alan Lightman. Her play, CRITICAL MASS, received its Off Broadway premiere in October 2010. Joanne is also a regular contributor to OPERA NEWS and a graduate of Yale University.

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Saturday, December 10, 2016

Cozy Mystery Giveaway!

Win up to 30 Cozy Mystery eBooks!

(2) Grand Prize "Gift Baskets" of ALL eBooks!
(30) Winners of Individual eBooks (randomly selected titles)

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Blog Tour: WHAT FRESH SMELL (Marissa Scott Myteries) by Jeffrey Marks


There’s Murder in River City – Daycare that is.

When Marissa learns that a teacher at the daycare center has been murdered, she comes to the realization that she really didn’t know much about the people who worked there, especially the murdered woman. She’ll now have to manage her son, her mother, her mother’s Scottish terrier, and an ex-boyfriend as she tries to hunt down the people behind a robbery ring and the person who killed a daycare teacher. If she’s not careful, she might meet the same fate.


Marissa's real job, aside from being mother to Josh, is in retail at the mall.  When a teacher at Josh's daycare is murdered, she takes on the job of sleuth to figure out the robbery ring that may be the motive for the murder.  In the meantime, her mother comes to stay and help take care of Josh and Marissa rehashes her relationship with Gavin.

The story line is interesting, has multiple twists, and no clear suspect other than Pamela.  The pace is steady and the subplots support the story.  The ending makes sense, but isn't obvious.  If you like cozy mysteries, you will probably like this one. This is the second in the Marissa Scott mysteries, but can be easily read as a stand alone.  

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

About the Author:

Jeffrey Marks is a long-time mystery fan and freelancer. After numerous mystery author profiles, he chose to chronicle the short but full life of mystery writer Craig Rice.

That biography (Who Was That Lady?) encouraged him to write mystery fiction. His works include Atomic Renaissance: Women Mystery Writers of the 1940s/1950s, and a biography of mystery author and critic Anthony Boucher entitled Anthony Boucher. It was nominated for an Agatha and fittingly, won an Anthony. He won a Malice Domestic Grant for The Scent of Murder, which has spurred the Marissa Scott series. What Fresh Smell is the third novel in the series.

His work has won a number of awards including the Barnes and Noble Prize and he was nominated for a Maxwell award (DWAA), an Edgar (MWA), three Agathas (Malice Domestic), two Macavity awards, and three Anthony awards (Bouchercon). Today, he writes from his home in Cincinnati, which he shares with his spouse and three dogs.

Website: (blog is a link from the site),


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Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Blog Tour & Review: BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE by Debbie De Louise


Librarian Alicia McKinney has put the past behind her…

Two years ago, Alicia discovered both a terrible truth and lasting love with John McKinney in the small town of Cobble Cove, New York. Now a busy mother of twin babies and co-author of a mystery series, Alicia couldn’t be happier.

Alicia’s contentment and safety are challenged…

Walking home alone from the library, Alicia senses someone following her, and on more than one occasion, she believes she is being watched. Does she have a stalker? When the local gift shop is burglarized, the troubling event causes unrest among Alicia and the residents of the quiet town.
John and Alicia receive an offer they can’t refuse…

When John’s sister offers to babysit while she and John take a much-needed vacation in New York City, Alicia is reluctant to leave her children because of the disturbances in Cobble Cove. John assures her the town is safe in the hands of Sheriff-elect Ramsay. Although Alicia’s experience with and dislike of the former Long Island detective don’t alleviate her concern, she and John take their trip.

Alicia faces her worst nightmare…

The McKinneys’ vacation is cut short when they learn their babies have been kidnapped and John’s sister shot. Alicia and John’s situation puts them between a rock and a hard place when the main suspect is found dead before the ransom is paid. In order to save their children, the McKinneys race against the clock to solve a mystery more puzzling than those found in their own books. Can they do it before time runs out?


The small town of Cobble Cove is quiet and safe, but as the holidays move closer, first a burglary, and then Alicia and John's lights are vandalized.  The town thinks hiring a Sheriff will help maintain their safety, but the only candidate is Ramsay. Alicia isn't sure he truly has changed. Then the unthinkable happens.  But who in this small town could be burglar and kidnapper?  This is a suspenseful story with subplots that add to the tension. The resolution makes sense but is not obvious until the very end. Although the second in the Cobble Cove cozy mystery series, this can be read as a stand alone.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

About The Author

Debbie De Louise is a reference librarian at a public library on Long Island and has been involved with books and writing for over thirty years. She received the Lawrence C. Lobaugh, jr. Memorial Award in Journalism for her work as Features Editor on the Long Island University/C. W. Post student newspaper, the Pioneer. More recently, Debbie received the Glamour Puss Award from Hartz Corporation for an article about cat grooming that appeared on She has published a short mystery in the Cat Crimes Through Time Anthology and two novels, CLOUDY RAINBOW and A STONE’S THROW, the first book of her Cobble Cove cozy mystery series. Her short stories, THE PATH TO RAINBOW BRIDGE and DEADLINE appear in the anthologies, REALMS OF FANTASTIC STORIES and PROJECT 9, Vol. 2 published by Solstice Publishing. She is currently working on a psychological thriller, the third Cobble Cove Mystery, and a new pet-related cozy series. She lives on Long Island with her husband, daughter, and two cats.

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Saturday, December 3, 2016


Rosie Genova, author of the Italian Kitchen Mysteries, serves up a new dish this week with the release of her e-book holiday novella, The Seven Course Christmas Killer: A Holiday Novella from the Italian Kitchen. Priced at .99, the e-book will be available on Amazon and most other retailers.

The story takes place on Christmas Eve, as Vic and the gang prepare the traditional Feast of the Seven Fishes for their annual holiday party. But before you can say “shrimp scampi,” Mayor Anne McCrae takes a nasty fall that may not be an accident. Add a nosy reporter, guests with grudges, and a missing kitchen knife—and Vic suddenly has all the ingredients for murder!

On Christmas Eve, someone might be sleeping with the fishes. . .

It’s December at the Casa Lido, which means only one thing: the Rienzi family’s traditional Christmas Eve celebration, including wine, song, and seven Italian seafood courses. As Victoria and Tim prep scungilli and calamari, Nonna directs the cooking until all is in readiness for the big night.

But the holiday cheer is interrupted by the attempted murder of Mayor Anne McCrae, who asks Vic to investigate. Trouble is, there are as many suspects as there are fishes on the Christmas Eve menu . . .

Author Bio:

A Jersey girl born and bred, national bestselling author Rosie Genova left her heart at the shore, which serves as the setting for her cozy series, the Italian Kitchen Mysteries. Her debut, Murder and Marinara, was voted a Best Cozy of 2013 by Suspense Magazine and was a finalist for a 2014 Daphne Award. Her books have been described as blending “mystery with comedy, romance, family drama, a vivid and affectionate portrayal of the Jersey shore and…oh yes, cooking.”

The proud mama of three grown sons, Rosie still lives in her home state with her husband and a charming mutt named Lucy. She also writes women's fiction as Rosemary DiBattista.

You can reach Rosie:



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