Monday, November 29, 2021

Book Review: THE INNOCENTS by C. A. Asbrey


Pinkerton Detective Abigail MacKay is a master of disguises—and of new crime-solving technology! But she’ll have to move fast to stay a step ahead of Nat Quinn and Jake Conroy. 
Nat and Jake are the ringleaders of The Innocents, a western gang that specializes in holding up trains carrying payrolls—and Nat is pretty savvy when it comes to using the new sciences of 1868 in committing his crimes.  

Charismatic Nat and handsome Jake are on the run, and they’ve always gotten away before—before Abi. But when Abi is caught by another band of outlaws during the chase, there’s no other choice for Nat and Jake but to save her life. Abi owes them, and she agrees to help them bring in the murderer of a family friend. 

The web of criminal activity grows more entangled with each passing day, but Nat, Jake, and Abi are united in their efforts to find the murderer. Once that happens, all bets are off, and Abi will be turning Nat and Jake over to the law. But can she do it? She finds herself falling for Nat, but is that growing attraction real? Or is he just using her to learn more about the Pinkertons’ methods? Abi always gets her man—but she may have met her match in her “best enemies”—THE INNOCENTS. 

Book Review 

This is my first read by C. A. Asbrey and I'm glad I picked this one up. What attracted me was the idea of a female Pinkerton agent, not well believed in 1800s Wyoming. Abi explains it well - nobody expects a woman to be an agent and they let their guard down. She's also a wizard at disguises. As Nat and Jake try to figure her out, they don't always recognize her. 

Abi took on this role after her husband was killed and she was left alone. She needed a goal and taking down the Innocents gang leaders, Nat and Jake, is her current goal. Only there's something between Nat and Abi, even as she holds to the line. She has her honor to consider.

Aside from the old west setting, what makes this a great read is the characters. Abi, the independent woman in a time when women were not independent, who manages to slip into situations easily and begins to question her assumption that she would remain alone for the rest of her life. Nat and Jake are quite the pair, with Jake not very trusting and Nat the charmer - and the challenger. Yet, both are gentleman and protective of women. They manage to unite to find the killer of two women and ensure that other such ladies do not get lured to their death thanks to Abi's ingenuity.  

If you like mystery set in history, twists to the plot, and loyalty among friends, you'll like this one. It's well-written with a touch of humor and potential for romance. This is the first in The Innocents series, and a quick glance at the next few is enticing. 

About the Author 

C.A. Asbrey developed a deep interest in early forensics and detection methods working in the field. She researched early detectives and the tools available to them for years before developing her characters. They are compelling versions of real people, all her crimes are based on fictionalized versions of real crimes, and the methods used to solve them were available to detectives at the time. 

She likes her mysteries twisty, complex, and intricate, through a fog of history and a touch of light humor. She is a writer of mysteries and a fan of all things Victorian and obscure, topped off with interest in early forensics, science, music, jaywalking, ordering the best meal at the table in a restaurant, and dropping out of society to do whatever she wants. She enjoys an eclectic mix of the old and new, foreign and obscure, funny and dramatic, so includes these elements in her writing. 

She loves finding gadgets which were invented earlier than popular wisdom accepts, especially when they involve the spying and scientific techniques of the of the past. If you are looking for historically accurate mysteries laced with vivid characterizations, romance, and compelling plots, these are the books for you. 

You can follow her on Twitter

The Innocents Series 

The Innocents (Amazon purchase link)
Innocent as Sin 
Innocent Bystander 
In all Innocence 
Innocent Minds 
Innocent to the Last

Friday, November 26, 2021

Blog Tour and Review: DANGER AT DUNHAVEN CASTLE by Nellie H. Steele



Frightening nightmares. Aberrations in time. Who is haunting Cate’s nightmares?

Months after solving two mysteries involving her ancestors, time-traveling, castle-dwelling Countess, Lady Catherine Kensie, still suffers from haunting nightmares. Chased by a mysterious man, Cate ponders who could be haunting her dreams and disturbing her sleep. She’s also smack dab in the middle of a brand-new research project, having found journals belonging to the Scottish castle’s original owner.

As Cate digs into the castle’s history, not only do her nightmares become more frequent and more frightening, but Cate also begins to experience strange phenomena with the time portals enclosed in the castle walls. Controlled by the mysterious heirloom timepiece she received as part of her inheritance, Cate is shocked when she begins to slip in and out of other time periods despite not activating the mechanism that controls them!

Can Cate learn the secret to control the time portals and discover who haunts her dreams before she finds herself lost in time?



Lady Cate lives in the castle of one of her ancestors and is haunted by increasingly terrifying nightmares, where one, and the then two, men are chasing after her. She and Jack  Reid, the castle's estate manager and descendent of the manager when Douglas MacKenzie was alive, discovered time rips in the various rooms.  Only the MacKenzie and Reid families are privy to the secrets. Only Cate and Jake are discovering more secrets - and some malfunctions - all the time. 

Between being haunted in nightmares almost nightly, other strange occurrences, and rips in time that are no longer being controlled, Cate and Jack have to solve the riddles and discover the key. Their greatest hope is that the answers are in the journals of Douglas Mackenzie. Only Cate has to first decipher them and deal with the supernatural. In the meantime, there's the planning of a huge ball for Countess Cate that is driving everyone in the castle crazy. 

This is not the first in the series and there is mention that  Cate and Jack mention previous mysteries solved in differing time periods. This is my first in the series, and that did not detract from the story at all. Although some of the characters visit from another series, you don't have to have read those either. 

The tale is filled with twists and turns, a bit of magic, and time travel to the 1700s. There's also the growing romance between Jack and Cate. If you enjoy paranormal cozy mystery and a unique twist, you'll enjoy the Danger at Dunhaven Castle.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in the hopes that I would post an honest review. This has not affected the content of my review in any way.

About the Author

An Indies Today finalist for Best Book of the Year 2020 with Cleopatra’s Tomb, Nellie H. Steele made the leap from science to art with her first book, The Secret of Dunhaven Castle.

An animal enthusiast, Nellie often features a version of one of her fourteen rescue animals in her stories, though the fictional pets are usually better behaved than her own fur-babies! A literary split personality, Nellie’s work ranges from cozy mystery to supernatural suspense to riveting adventure.

She lives in the South Hills of Pittsburgh. When she isn’t writing or engaging in animal care, she enjoys teaching Statistics and Data Science at a local university.

Check out all Nellie offers at or at her blog, Nellie’s Book Nook, available at

Author Links 

Purchase Link 


Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Giving Thanks!

For those of us in the US and Canada, today is the celebration of Thanksgiving. It is a time to celebrate the harvest and the blessings of the past year. Americans traditionally model the festivities based on historical descriptions of a harvest feast shared by the pilgrims who settled in Plymouth and Wampanoag people who lived there before the pilgrims. I'm not sure if the pilgrims and Wampanoag people truly ate turkey and dressing, cranberry sauce, and potatoes. 

Having lived in different regions of the US, I've discovered that what constitutes the Thanksgiving meal, aside from the turkey, varies considerably, handed down within families and then blended with other family traditions. But one thing stays the same. The idea of giving thanks. 

This year and last have been a stressful, not just here, but worldwide. A pandemic, weather systems that have broken records, massive fires, economic upheaval, and unrest. Yet, there are still things I'm thankful for: 

 *An increased emphasize on basic human kindness, supporting others, and respecting others 

 *The health and well-being of my family, friends, and colleagues, providing support and laughs as we all dealt with cabin fever 

 *As always, I give thanks to my fellow authors for their encouragement, and, of course, to my readers. What are you thankful for?
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 15, 2021

Book Review - New Release: STYLED FOR MURDER (Bad Hair Day Mysteries #17) by Nancy J. Cohen

Synopsis (from Amazon)

Hairstylist Marla Vail flushes out a killer when murder disrupts her mother’s home renovation plans in this stylish cozy mystery. 

When hairstylist and savvy sleuth, Marla Vail, gets a frantic call from her mother that there’s a dead body in her shower, Marla realizes this wasn’t part of the home renovation plans. The victim turns out to be the project manager, who had an untrustworthy reputation in town. Disgruntled customers, unpaid suppliers, and the design company’s staff are among the suspects. Which one of them wanted the foreman to pipe down about their shady dealings? 

Meanwhile, the lead investigator sets his sights on Marla’s stepfather, Reed, who’s keeping secrets from his family. Reed has a past connection to the victim and won’t come clean about what he knows. As Marla drills deeper, she’s showered with suspicions, but nobody’s willing to leak any information. She needs to hammer down the prospects, or time will drain away and the murderer will strike again. 

To flush out the culprit, Marla taps into her pipeline of resources. Can she assemble the clues and demolish the alibis to nail a killer? Or has someone designed the perfect murder? 

Recipes Included! 


Marla Vail is back, now a new mother in addition to being step-mother to a teen and a business owner. No time for sleuthing - until her mother calls. The renovation of her bathroom is halted by the dead contractor and her mother's new husband, Reed, is hiding something. As much as Marla wants to believe in him, his withdrawal isn't helping the investigation. 

As always, Cohen provides a glimpse of the main character in her home, her business, and her community as she sleuths her way to the killer. A fan of this series, I was glad to see Marla manage to play it safe while working and sleuthing. Even Dalton seems to be hiding something, though he is the perfect father.

The pace is steady and the characters interesting. There are multiple suspects aside from Reed and no simple explanation fits the crime. It's not easy to guess at the killer and that kept me engaged. If you're a fan of this series, you will be surprised at Marla's ingenuity in fitting in baby, work, and sleuthing. New to this series? You can enjoy this book without having read the earlier books, though I always recommend you start at the beginning of a series. Regardless, if you enjoy cozy mystery, I'm sure you will like this one. Don't forget the recipes!

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in the hopes that I would post an honest review. This has not affected the content of my review in any way. 

About the Author

Nancy J. Cohen writes the Bad Hair Day Mysteries featuring South Florida hairstylist Marla Vail. Titles in this series have been named Best Cozy Mystery by Suspense Magazine, won a Readers' Favorite gold medal and a RONE Award, placed first in the Chanticleer International Book Awards and third in the Arizona Literary Awards. 

Her nonfiction titles, Writing the Cozy Mystery and A Bad Hair Day Cookbook, have also garnered numerous awards, including the FAPA President's Book Award and the Royal Palm Literary Award. Active in the writing community, Nancy is a past president of Florida Romance Writers and Mystery Writers of America, Florida Chapter. When not busy writing, she enjoys reading, fine dining, cruising, and visiting Disney World. Visit her at

Monday, November 8, 2021

Blog Tour and Spotlight: MURDER SHE WROTE: DEBONAIR IN DEATH by Jessica Fletcher and Terrie Farley Moran


About the Book

When a local art shop owner is murdered, Jessica Fletcher is surprised to once again be working alongside her old friend MI-6 agent Michael Haggerty to solve the case in the newest mystery in this USA Today bestselling series.

When Nelson Penzell, co-owner of a local art and treasure store in Cabot Cove, is murdered, the nail tech from Jessica Fletcher's favorite beauty parlor is the main suspect. After all, she's the one who ran out of the store screaming, covered in blood, and holding the murder weapon. Jessica is positive that despite the circumstances, Coreen can't possibly be guilty, and is determined to prove it.

When Michael Haggerty, handsome MI-6 agent and Jessica's old friend, is caught snooping around the victim’s home, it's quickly apparent to her that she was right. Nelson has always had a bit of a reputation for being a rake, but Haggerty is sure his sins go far beyond what anyone in town imagined. If she wants to clear Coreen's name, Jessica will have to work alongside Michael to find out who killed Nelson—and maybe help bust a crime ring in the process.

About the Authors

Terrie Farley Moran is co-author, along with Jessica Fletcher, of the Murder, She Wrote series. Terrie is also the author of the beachside Read ‘Em and Eat cozy novels, and is co-author of Laura Childs’ scrapbooking mysteries. Her short mystery fiction has been published in numerous venues. Terrie is a recipient of both the Agatha and the Derringer awards. 

Author Links

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Book Review: FALLEN STAR (Devine Devils #2) by R Weir

A change of pace, this is definitely NOT a cozy mystery.... 

About the Book

Megan Getz lived among Hollywood royalty, a Tinseltown celebrity of a long-running sitcom. She's being extorted because of an adult indiscretion and attempts to cover up her perilous life by hiring the team of Divine Devils.

Hoping they’ll free her from the blackmail bonds,  Hunter Divine and his crew go undercover in a Reno Casino, digging deep to reveal those running the scam. The simple case explodes all around them with drugs, prostitution, murder, and mayhem being the norm.

Dragging Hunter and his crew into a hotbed of danger, in a doomed attempt to rescue the pretentious fallen star, lead The Divine Devils down a lethal road they may not survive.

Hunter Divine and his team are willing to move heaven and hell to get results!!


Hunter Devine left the US Marshalls under not so great circumstances. Since then he has taken on jobs with an interesting crew, in this case including one FBI agent he was previously involved with. In this escapade, Hunter and his friends infiltrate a Reno Casino where a starlet engaged in some less than appropriate behavior and is being blackmailed. Each person has their job to do with Shen the most dangerous - infiltrating casino security to establish how the con worked and Athena as the potential mark. Only things go awry and they have to quickly shift their attention from Megan's folly to join forces to rescue their comrade.

Weir crafts interesting characters from different walks of life to form the Devine Devils, not to mention others he knew as a US Marshall or, in Athena's case, a prior relationship. They make for an entertaining tale, along with the drugs, prostitution, blackmail, murder, and general mayhem. There are twists and turns, a rogue FBI agent who's mad at Athena, and a bond that keeps the Devils in the game. 

This is the second in this new series by Weir, but easily read as a stand alone. As noted above, it is not "cozy" - if profanity and graphic scenes offend, this isn't one for you. On the other hand, if you like fast action and suspense, you'll like Weir's style.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of this book in the hopes that I would post an honest review. This has not affected the content of my review in any way. 

About the Author 

Award-winning Author 

R Weir lives in the Mile-High City with his family, where the Rocky Mountain High isn't always achieved with an herbal substance. When not glued to the computer, he relaxes by enjoying the outdoors and traveling in his motorhome. 

His writing delves into genres with gritty investigators exploring mystery, crime, suspense, and thrills, with involved plots and unexpected twists. Featuring former US Marshal Hunter Divine, a dire, determined man searching for salvation in his broken life. While private eye Jarvis Mann is tough and snarky, with as many faults as virtues. Characters exhibiting traces of his sense of humor, though he’s not nearly as tough and fearless. Though no evil stands a chance against his written word!