Tag Archives: Alibi/Random House

A day in the life with Charley Carpenter by Leslie Nagel

Suburbia is murder, my friends.

I know this, and in the most intimate and shocking way possible. And yet, I simply cannot leave well enough alone. Or maybe it’s the murders that won’t leave me alone. I’m just a shopkeeper, for pete’s sake. Maybe it’s the red hair.

My name is Charlotte Carpenter, aka Charley. I am the humble owner of Old Hat Vintage Fashions, the trendiest boutique in my hometown of Oakwood, a wealthy, insular suburb of Dayton, Ohio. Not exactly your first pick as a likely locale for a series of gruesome murders, you say?

You’d be wrong.

A few months ago, I helped the police solve a baffling case involving the exclusive Agathas Book Club, of which I used to be a member (before most of the membership was knocked off, crime scenes arranged to copy books from our murder mystery reading list). Specifically, I found myself working intimately with the smoking hot Detective Marcus Trenault. Ever since that first investigation, I’ve encountered more dead bodies than any amateur sleuth has a right to expect. I love it. And I’m good at it, too—solving puzzles, tracking down information in pursuit of the truth, going where the police cannot. Before you ask, the fact that I’ve had a major thing for Marc since we were in high school has had no influence whatsoever on my affinity for all things murder. None at all. Seriously.

To return to the business at hand: Murder has found Oakwood once again, and once again, I discovered the body. Estate Agent Calvin Prescott was a dear family friend. My wheelchair bound father Bobby was devastated by the loss of yet another pal from the old days. The fact that I’ve found evidence of a link between Calvin’s death and the recent auction at Mulbridge House hasn’t helped matters. It seems as if everyone in town has a stake in the fate of the crumbling old mansion in the woods.

For example, we have today’s toxic bombshell, a Facebook post by an anonymous witch known only as “Treasure Girl”, a real doozy of a slime job that claims collusion between myself, the Mulbridge heirs and the Oakwood City Council to ram the demolition approval through for our own nefarious ends. When I saw that post, I was so stunned that I almost got run over by a minivan right in front of Old Hat. Good thing my clerk Vanessa was there to drag me out of harm’s way. What is happening to my peaceful, charming little town?

I’m the first to admit that living at home, surrounded by people who have known me since I was a baby, can be stifling. Sometimes this town feels like one big, flat sidewalk, lined with casserole rotations and predictability, desperate housewives and meaningless rules of conduct. I’m only twenty eight, and there are days when I feel as if life here just isn’t enough, that I don’t really fit in, no matter how hard I try. But I am trying. I’m determined to make it work, for my father’s sake if not my own.

I’ve got good friends here, including my BFF from junior high, Frankie. She and Dmitri, the assistant manager of the hair salon next to my boutique, ensure that life is anything but boring. Those two rascals never hesitate to back me up on a caper, including the time we broke into the—well. That’s a story for another day, preferably after the statute of limitations has expired.

And then, of course, there’s Marcus. He walked away from a career as the rising star in the Chicago PD’s Homicide Division to take a job in this one horse town, where a stolen cellphone is a major crime wave. The poor guy was bored stiff and seriously questioning his own life choices when the Agathas case changed everything. Suddenly, he had more trouble than he could handle.

Including yours truly.

Which brings me to my current dilemma. Dating a cop means you’ve got to keep things like breaking and entering on the down low. But how else will I get the information I need to solve Calvin’s murder? Maybe if I find out what’s really going on in those woods, Marc won’t be too angry about how I did it. The end justifies the means, right? Here’s hoping, because there’s a killer on the loose, and something tells me he—or she—isn’t finished yet. Not by a long shot.

Learn more about Charley in The Antique House Murders, Book 2 in the USA Today bestselling “Oakwood Mystery Series.”

Mulbridge House stood, silent and decaying, deep in the woods at the heart of Oakwood, Ohio, long before the passing of Augusta Mulbridge. Yet suddenly everyone in town seems to have a stake in its fate: the greedy heirs, eager to tear it down for a tidy profit; the local preservationists, determined to maintain it as an historic site; the angry neighbors, staunchly opposed to the construction of a modern subdivision. Even Charley Carpenter is forced to admit that her beloved shop, Old Hat Vintage Fashions, could use an infusion of the estate’s treasures.

The clock is ticking. The wrecking ball is ready to swing. All that stands between Mulbridge House and oblivion is one final vote. That, and murder. . .

The trouble begins when Charley walks into auctioneer Calvin Prescott’s office to find her cherished family friend crumpled on the floor. Detective Marcus Trenault quickly connects his death to a string of increasingly violent burglaries plaguing Oakwood. But when Charley uncovers a link to a massive land swindle worth millions, not to mention a drug ring operating out of the manor’s abandoned outbuildings, that theory crumbles faster than Mulbridge House. Now Charley’s racing to catch a killer before everything falls apart.

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Meet the author
Leslie Nagel is the author of the USA Today and Amazon bestselling “Oakwood Mystery Series.” She lives in the all too real city of Oakwood, Ohio, where murders are rare but great stories lie thick on the ground. In addition to crafting tales about murder, love, and the love of murder, she teaches writing at a local community college. As a self-proclaimed bibliophile, she’s always got at least two books going on her nightstand and in her office, plus a third in audio format in her car. After the written word, Leslie’s passions include her husband, her son and daughter, hiking, tennis, the cat that runs her office, and strong black coffee, not necessarily in that order.

The series debut, The Book Club Murders, was released in 2016, has received hundreds of starred reviews, and quickly hit #1 on Amazon and USA Today’s Top 150. The Antique House Murders is now available wherever ebooks are sold, as well as in audio format from Audible Books.

Connect with Leslie at LeslieNagel.com, on Amazon, on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter, at GoodReads, and at BookBub.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Flapjack by Sarah Fox

I always know it’s time for breakfast when I sense the night creeping away and feel a rumble in my tummy. Marley, my favorite human, is usually good about getting out of bed and not making me wait for breakfast, but I’m always willing to lend a paw if she needs help waking up. Walking all over her and rubbing my handsome face against hers tends to get the job done.

After I’ve had my breakfast I give myself a good grooming so I can keep myself looking purrfect. Most days Marley goes off to work and I have the house to myself. It’s a great house—big and rambling with lots of great places for snoozing. I like napping on the couch, or on the kitchen windowsill, and sometimes I’ll curl up on one of the cozy window seats upstairs. If there were ever a snoozing competition, I’d definitely be a contender for the top prize. I snooze with finesse and look cute while doing it.

When Marley gets home I like to go outside for some fresh air. I love prowling around the yard and pouncing on grasshoppers and all sorts of creepy crawlies. Sometimes I even find a mouse to chase. I always stick close to home, but there’s plenty to see in the yard, and there’s the beach to explore. I never go close to the big water, though. It roars and splashes, and I definitely don’t want my sleek orange coat getting wet. I prefer to perch on the logs and watch for crabs skittering through the sand. I’ve never caught one, but I’d sure like to.

Of course, Marley needs some cuddle time each day. She works hard running her pancake house (sometimes she brings yummy treats home!) and she solves murders too. I provide her with moral support and stress relief. When she’s sad or worried, I snuggle up with her and make her feel better. I might not solve crimes, but I’m pretty sure Marley would be lost without me.

Brett, Marley’s favorite human, visits the house most days now. I like it when he gives me a scratch under my chin, but I sure wasn’t impressed when he showed up one day with a dog. A dog! His name is Bentley and he’s way bigger than me. The first time he came to the house, he chased me behind the television. I wasn’t impressed, but then I put him in his place with a swat to the nose. Now that he knows who’s boss, we get along all right. I guess he’s not all that bad for a dog. But don’t tell him I said that.

This evening Marley has lots of friends over. They’re eating yummy food (I smell cheese!) and watching things move around on the television screen. I like it when Marley has friends over—lots of comfy laps to choose from—but the humans are getting a bit too noisy now. There’s lots of shrieking and laughing when scary things happen on the television. I’m going down the hall to nap somewhere quieter, but I won’t go too far. I always like to stay close to my favorite human.

You can read more about Flapjack’s favorite human in Of Spice and Men, the third book in the “Pancake House” mystery series.

With a Hollywood film crew in town to shoot a remake of the horror classic The Perishing, the residents of Wildwood Cove are all abuzz. Even Marley McKinney, owner of The Flip Side Pancake House, can overlook the fact that the lead actress, Alyssa Jayde, happens to be an old flame of her boyfriend. After all, the crew loves Marley’s crêpes—so much so that Christine, the head makeup artist, invites her onset for a behind-the-scenes tour. But when Marley arrives, the special-effects trailer is on fire . . . with Christine inside.

The cops quickly rule Christine’s death a murder, and Alyssa a suspect. Marley’s boyfriend insists that the actress is innocent, but when Marley sticks her nose into the complicated lives of The Perishing’s cast and crew, she discovers more questions than answers. It seems that everyone has a hidden agenda—and a plausible motive. And as the horror spills over from the silver screen, Marley gets a funny feeling that she may be the killer’s next victim.

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About the author
Sarah Fox, writer of cozy mysteries, was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she developed a love for mysteries at a young age. When not writing novels or working as a legal writer she is often reading her way through a stack of books or spending time outdoors with her English Springer Spaniel.

Connect with Sarah at www.authorsarahfox.com, on Facebook, on Twitter, and on Instagram.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life with Abigail Logan by Melinda Mullet

I emerged from the cool, dim interior of the distillery and cast an eye toward the sky. A storm was brewing. Seems I could’ve chosen a better day to abandon my role as silent partner at Abbey Glen to lend a hand with the spring-cleaning. I was filthy and overdue for a drink and a shower, but before I could manage either a taxi pulled into the cobblestone courtyard. The rear door opened and I caught sight of a ridiculously high heel emerging from the car followed by a pair of dark green tights and a microscopic tartan mini skirt.

Samantha Thorpe-Jones. For a moment I couldn’t comprehend seeing her here. Why was she here? We’d worked at the same London paper for years but I photographed wars; she penned the society pages. I barely considered us colleagues let alone friends.

“Abigail,” she trilled freezing half way to an air kiss as she caught sight of my bedraggled appearance.

“What have you done to yourself?”

I ignored her. “Why’re you here?” I countered.

“The very question I keep asking myself,” she glanced around the courtyard and shuddered. “How can you stand being stuck up here in the wilds of Scotland? You’re a London girl, a sophisticate, not a,” she groped for the mot juste, “not a farm hand.”

“Was there something particular you wanted with me, Samantha, or did you just stop by to toss around a few insults?”

“I’m here to interview you, silly goose. Gazette’s star photographer has mid-life crisis,” her hands framed the headline in mid-air. Then a crease appeared between her carefully groomed brows. “Surely they told you I was coming?”

“’Course not. They knew I’d refuse.”

Samantha’s frown deepened. “You can’t. I’m already here.”

I turned and stated walking. “You’d better come up to the house while we sort this out.”

“Is it far?” she demanded.

“Just up the road,” about a mile I finished under my breath. I stifled a grin as she wobbled awkwardly along the dirt road in my wake. As we approached the house I saw a familiar figure nibbling at the clover in my front garden.

I heard a sharp intake of breath behind me. “It’s escaped from somewhere,” Samantha hissed. “Is it dangerous?”

“Oscar? No, he’s just waiting for me.”

“It’s a sheep? Chops on the hoof.”

“No, yarn on the hoof,” I corrected.

Oscar approached our guest enthusiastically. He was blessed with a protective nature and had been known to run off unwanted intruders when needed. He must’ve decided Samantha was all right as she was with me.

But Samantha wasn’t all right. She shrieked as soon as Oscar came within a foot of her and quickly retreated behind my mini Cooper. I was tempted to pull out my phone and take a little video of her being pursued in dizzying circles around the car by Oscar. He was having a grand time.

I let them play for a few minutes and then, not knowing what else to do I said, “Oscar, heel.” He took three more turns around the car before trotting over to me looking for a treat. I gave him a small piece of licorice and grabbed him by the wooly nape, leading him back through the nearby pasture gate and closing it firmly behind him.

“Your safe from the ravaging beast,” I called opening the front door.

Samantha scurried in behind me looking unnerved. I took pity on her and poured us each a large whisky before pointing her to a chair.

“This yours?” she managed after downing the offering in one go.

I nodded.


“We think so.”

“And this your life now? Mucking out distilleries and herding sheep?”

“Not entirely. I work with a charity foundation, I sit on the board of a woman’s shelter in Glasgow and I still take assignments from the paper when they appeal to me.”

“But you don’t miss the excitement of city life?”

“Honestly, no. This life suits me. Things here move to the rhythm of seasons not deadlines. It sane and peaceful.”

Samantha gave me a sideways glance. “Not always so peaceful from what I hear.”

“If you’re here to dig for dirt on the murders, forget it.”

The gleam in her eye told me I was right, but her reply was cut off by a knock at the door. I slipped away to answer the summons, thankful for a moment to gather my thoughts. I opened the door and found the other half of the distillery’s ownership standing on the stoop. All six foot two of him, his green eyes taking in the smudges of dirt on my face with an amused twinkle.

I’d hoped to keep him away from Samantha, but it was too late. She’d followed me into the hall.

I sighed and gave in. “Samantha, this is Grant MacEwen, my partner at Abbey Glen.”

“Is he now,” she purred looping an arm through his and drawing him toward the sitting room. She turned and smirked back over her shoulder at me. “Suddenly, I see the attraction.”

You can read more about Abigail in Death Distilled, the second book in the “Whisky Busines” mystery series.

Photojournalist by trade, distillery owner by blood, and amateur sleuth by necessity, Abigail Logan learns that murder can’t stay bottled up forever in this charming Whisky Business Mystery.

It’s been three months since Abi Logan last checked in on Abbey Glen, the celebrated whisky distillery she inherited. With her oversize wheaten terrier, Liam, by her side, Abi returns to the quaint Scottish village of Balfour. But her relaxing Highland homecoming takes a stressful turn when she unearths an unseemly bit of village history, welcomes a group of Japanese whisky enthusiasts, and becomes shepherdess to an unexpected flock of sheep—all within the first twenty-four hours. Still, nothing’s more stressful than murder. . . .

Local celebrity Rory Hendricks is the hotheaded, hard-rocking former frontman of the Rebels—and Abi’s girlhood crush. After meeting him in person, Abi can’t say no to anything he asks, like photographing his upcoming show . . . or figuring out who’s trying to kill him. Turns out someone’s been bumping off his old bandmates, with the drummer dead under mysterious circumstances and the keyboardist in a coma following a hit-and-run. Now a series of threatening messages leads Rory to think he’s next on the chopping block. And the band has a devil’s share of broken hearts and bitter disputes in their past, leaving Abi a huge batch of suspects to sift through—all before the killer takes another shot.

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About the author
Melinda Mullet, was born in the US to two British parents. She grew up between Texas and the UK, eventually studying English Lit at an American university before deciding to embark on a career in international law.

After many years in the legal trenches she is happy to be known as a former lawyer, a travel junkie, and a life-long advocate for children’s literacy causes both domestic and international.

Melinda lives just outside of Washington, DC with her whisky-collecting husband, two extraordinary young women she is proud to call her daughters, and an obedience school drop out named Macallen. Connect with Melinda at melindamullet.com.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life of Juliet Langley by Caroline Fardig

To sum up a day in the life of Juliet Langley in one word would be. . .tiring. A career in food service is not for the weak. I start most days alone in the kitchen of the Java Jive Coffeehouse in Nashville, making our daily selection of delicious pastries. Aside from being painfully early, it’s not a bad part of my day. I love to bake, and the quiet time centers me for the fast pace I’m going to have to keep throughout the rest of the day. Plus, if I’m having a rough week, it’s nice to have some unsuspecting dough to pound out my aggression on.

Once my employees arrive, it’s a mad dash to get the place ready for the surge of customers we get when the doors open. There’s not much time to think about anything besides slinging ‘spros as our regulars bustle in to get their morning jolt of java. When the craziness dies down, that’s usually when my best friend (and the owner of Java Jive) Pete Bennett and his grandmother Gertie come in. Nothing like seeing the smiling faces of my surrogate family across the counter to remind me why I do what I do everyday.

Speaking of jobs, I have two. Not only am I the full-time manager of Java Jive, I’m also a private investigator. I know—the two don’t exactly go hand in hand. But for some reason, ever since my first day in charge of Java Jive, crime seems to follow me wherever I go. So, I decided to turn the tables and follow it around for a while, this time getting paid to do it. Working with my PI friend Maya, I find the dirt on cheating spouses, underhanded business partners, and general scumbags of every kind.

Even though I work every night until well after Java Jive’s closing time, evening is always my favorite time of day. Pete comes back to the coffeehouse after he gets off work (he’s an über-talented sound engineer at one of Music Row’s big recording studios), and we hang out together, like we always did in college when we both worked for his dad at Java Jive. And if it’s Wednesday, that means it’s open mic night and Pete and I are up on stage performing music together, also like we did in college. We make a great team. And although each night I collapse into my bed, exhausted and asleep before my head hits the pillow, I couldn’t imagine my life any other way.

You can read more about Juliet in Brew or Die, the fourth book in the “Java Jive” mystery series.

Nashville’s perkiest private eye—coffeehouse manager Juliet Langley—goes undercover in the party-planning industry to solve a suspicious death in this thrilling cozy mystery from USA Today bestselling author Caroline Fardig.

Inspired by her past sleuthing successes, Juliet Langley has officially joined the ranks of Nashville’s licensed private investigators. Her best friend, Pete Bennett, doesn’t worry that her detective work might interfere with her full-time job running his coffeehouse, Java Jive. He just wishes she would spend her free time rejoining the local music scene instead of tailing cheating spouses. But when one of Java Jive’s baristas, Shane, asks Juliet to look into the suspicious death of his fiancée, Pete encourages her to plow full steam ahead.

Since his fiancée died on the job, Shane suspects that her party-planning colleagues are up to something criminal—and will do anything to keep it quiet. After Juliet recruits Pete to go undercover with her at a wedding showcase, she discovers that white lace and black satin have a way of hiding big, fat secrets.

If that weren’t enough to fill her plate, her latest P.I. job has her crossing paths with her ex, Detective Ryder Hamilton. They’re barely on speaking terms, but to solve the case, they might have to cooperate. No matter where Juliet goes, she’s brewing up trouble.

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Meet the author
Caroline Fardig is the USA Today bestselling author of the Java Jive Mystery series and the Lizzie Hart Mysteries. Fardig’s Bad Medicine was named one of the best books of 2015 by Suspense Magazine. She worked as a schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom before she realized that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Born and raised in a small town in Indiana, Fardig still lives in that same town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.

Murder over Mochas, the fifth book in the Java Jive series, will be released on October 24, 2017. In early 2018, Fardig’s new Southern B&B Mysteries will take readers to sultry Savannah, Georgia, in the start of a Southern-flavored original mystery series.

Connect with Caroline Fardig on Facebook and Twitter, on her Amazon Author page, or through her website at www.carolinefardig.com. While you’re there, don’t forget to check out the author’s original recorded songs that are featured in the books of the Java Jive series!

All comments are welcomed.

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Liam’s day in the life by Melinda Mullet

The sunlight slanting across the duvet cover brought warmth to Liam’s legs and he gave a languid stretch before cracking an eye open and registering that she was gone.

In one smooth motion he rose from the bed and hit the floor, trotting down the heavy oak stairs to the kitchen where there was a disappointing lack of food. The acrid smell of coffee still lingered in the air. It meant she’d been there, but she hadn’t bothered to cook. Not even a sausage.

He slipped out through the missing glass panel in the solarium, hidden behind the old wicker lounging chair. Once outside he set off at a good pace toward the distillery down the road. Most days this new life of theirs was a vast improvement over life in London. There they were leash dwellers, surrounded by miles of cold concrete and constantly under assault from the smell of diesel. Here the air was fresh and clean and he was free to roam as he pleased.

The whisky distillery was her new passion and it lay nestled in a sheltered corner of the glen adjacent to a steep ridge where crystalline waters fresh from underground streams emerged high in the hills. The waters cascade down to face of the ridge giving birth to a stream that wound along the backside of the property before rushing onward growing ever wider as it made it’s way to the sea.

He nosed his way through the distillery yard with a purpose. She’d not been there today that was clear. He paused briefly to accept a scratch from the gentleman in charge before heading across the covered bridge that led away from the smells of malted cereal and aging wood. Slipping underneath the neighbor’s five bar gate, he made his way through the adjoining field stopping long enough to nip at the heels of the sheep grazing in the high grass before joining the path into town.

The clear, fast-moving River Alyn wound through the heart of the village of Balfour, separating the main street shops and businesses from the bulk of the houses with their neat front lawns and riotous floral displays. On the residential side, the riverbank was wide and flat and covered with a fine soft grass that had been manicured to make room for several benches and a children’s playground complete with a wooden fort, swings, and a roundabout. On the opposite bank, the village pub boasted an idyllic view across the water from a stone terrace framed by a walled garden.

As he drew closer he could hear her voice carrying across the water from the lawn next to the Golden Stag. She and her companion, Sgt. Bill Rothes, had their backs to him and missed his silent approach absorbed as they were in the scene at their feet.

He raised his nose to the wind. An intriguing smell emanated from the area, a mixture of newly turned earth and something older and more carnal. Liam’s pace quickened as he made a bee line for the gaping wound in the soil that had been created by the JCB parked nearby in lane. There was a treasure to be had. A smorgasbord of tantalizing smells called to him with wanton abandon from that hole.

Why they were debating about the largess at their feet was beyond him. But clearly they needed him to demonstrate exactly what should be done in a situation like this. Putting on a last burst of speed he sprang from his haunches, silken cream and brown fur flying out behind him in the wind. He landed softly in the dirt and in one fluid motion scooped up the largest of the bones in his mouth before turning to regard them with a self-satisfied smile.

If he’d hoped to be praised for this effort he was sorely disappointed. Bill bellowed like a wounded bull moose and she slid ungracefully down into the hole making a valiant attempt to snatch the prize away.

Now that was more like it. A rousing game of keep away. He scrambled from the hole and took off across the lawn spinning circles and changing directions with abandon as she slipped around in an attempt to pursue him. Bill watched their antics with a sour look on his face offering unhelpful suggestions that only served to make the situation more fraught.

Finally she snatched the bone and collapsed on the grass with a decidedly bitter look on her face.

“Bad boy. What on earth were you thinking?” she demanded.

I was thinking this was an odd place to bury a decent collection of bones, but I guessed that was not what she was thinking.

Sgt. Bill extended a gloved hand for the human femur that had been the subject of dispute. “Why is it that every time you come back to our peaceful little corner of the world someone winds up dead?” he asked.

It was an eminently reasonable question, but one she clearly had no answer for.

You can read more about Liam in Single Malt Murder, the first book in the NEW “Whiskey Business” mystery series.

Abigail Logan never expected to inherit a whisky distillery in the Scottish Highlands. But in the first novel of an engaging new series blending fine spirits with chilling mystery, Abi finds that there are secrets lurking in the misty glens that some will go to any lengths to protect . . . even murder.

When Abi inherits her uncle’s quaint and storied single malt distillery, she finds herself immersed in a competitive high-stakes business that elicits deep passions and prejudices. An award-winning photojournalist, Abi has no trouble capturing the perfect shot—but making the perfect shot is another matter. When she starts to receive disturbing, anonymous threats, it’s clear that someone wants her out of the picture. But Abi’s never been one to back down from a fight.

Arriving on the scene with her whisky-loving best friend, Patrick, and an oversized wheaten terrier named Liam, Abi seems to put everyone in the bucolic village on edge—especially her dour but disturbingly attractive head distiller. Acts of sabotage and increasingly personal threats against Abi make it clear that she is not welcome. When one of Abi’s new employees is found floating facedown in a vat of whisky, Abi is determined to use her skills as an investigative journalist to identify the cold-blooded killer and dispense a dram of justice before he strikes again. But distilling truth from lies is tricky, especially when everyone seems to have something to hide.

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Meet the author
Melinda Mullet was born in Dallas and attended school in Texas, Washington D.C., England, and Austria. She spent many years as a practicing attorney before pursuing a career as a writer. Author of the Whisky Business Mystery series, Mullet is a passionate supporter of childhood literacy. She works with numerous domestic and international charities striving to promote functional literacy for all children.

Melinda lives just outside of Washington, DC with her whisky-collecting husband, two extraordinary young women she is proud to call her daughters, and an obedience school drop out named Macallen.

All comments are welcomed.

A day in the life with Marley McKinney by Sarah Fox

for-whom-the-bread-rollsEver since I moved to the seaside town of Wildwood Cove to run The Flip Side pancake house, my days have started early. Luckily, I’m a morning person so I don’t mind my alarm going off at five AM. If, however, I have any trouble getting out of bed, I’ve got a backup alarm—my orange tabby cat, Flapjack. He won’t hesitate to let me know that it’s time to get up and feed him, and he knows I can’t resist his cute face or his plaintive meows.

Once I’m up, showered, and dressed (usually in a graphic tee and jeans), I feed Flapjack and get my own breakfast—typically a strawberry banana smoothie. Sometimes, though, I’ll skip breakfast at home and have it at the pancake house instead. The Flip Side’s chef, Ivan, is a wizard with breakfast foods and his crêpes are to die for. I’d eat breakfast at the pancake house every morning if that didn’t mean I’d have to go for two runs every day!

Unless the weather is terrible, I like to walk to work. I take the beach route, even when the sun hasn’t yet risen. I love to start my day out in the fresh air, smelling the salty sea breeze and listening to the lapping of the waves against the shoreline. On clear days during the warmer months, the sunlight sparkles on the water and seagulls and other birds provide the morning’s soundtrack.

When I reached The Flip Side—which overlooks the ocean—I always stop by the kitchen to say good morning to Ivan and his assistant, Tommy. Then I set about getting ready to open the pancake house. The Flip Side only has one full-time waitress outside of the tourist season, so I often help out with waiting tables during the breakfast and lunch rushes. If there’s a murder to be solved, the customers can be a great source of information. In a small town like Wildwood Cove, news (and gossip!) spreads quickly, and I’ve gleaned valuable clues from some of the pancake house’s diners on more than one occasion.

The Flip Side closes at two and I’m usually finished work for the day by four o’clock. That leaves me time to do some sleuthing around town when necessary. In the summertime, I’ll also sneak in some beach time, with a refreshing dip in the ocean. Sometimes I spend a quiet evening at home with Flapjack and a good book, but other times I’ll hang out with my boyfriend, Brett, or I’ll have a movie night with my friend Lisa. If I want to eat dinner out, there’s a great pub in town that serves delicious veggie burgers. It’s a popular hangout for many of the locals, and I often dig up an interesting tidbit of information there when I’m working on one of my investigations.

I don’t often stay up late since I get up so early each morning, but my days are always full. Although I’ve ended up in the middle of more than one murder investigation since I moved to the Olympic Peninsula, I’ve never once regretted leaving behind my old life in Seattle. I love living here in Wildwood Cove and I hope everyone who comes to visit the seaside town will love it too.

You can read more about Marley in For Whom the Bread Rolls, the second book in the “Pancake House” mystery series.

From the author of The Crêpes of Wrath comes another decadent cozy mystery. This time, pancake house owner Marley McKinney is tangling with a salty troublemaker . . . and a ravenous killer.

Tourist season’s in full swing in the small seaside town of Wildwood Cove, and Marley McKinney couldn’t be happier. Since taking over the Flip Side restaurant, she’s made a few close friends, adopted a cat named Flapjack, and started dating her childhood crush. The only cloud on the horizon is local nuisance Ida Winkler, who blames Marley for landing her nephew in prison. Trying to get a rise out of Marley, Ida’s been making crank calls and even vandalizing the pancake house.

The police can’t do much about the pranks, so Marley sets out to bury the hatchet once and for all. But someone’s beat her to it—in the most shocking way possible. After stumbling across Ida’s dead body, Marley’s suddenly the number-one suspect in her murder. Clearing her good name is going to be a tall order, but Marley’s not about to let Ida keep ruining her life—especially from beyond the grave.

Bonus content: includes original recipes inspired by the Flip Side Pancake House menu!

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Meet the author
Sarah Fox, writer of cozy mysteries, was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she developed a love for mysteries at a young age. When not writing novels or working as a legal writer she is often reading her way through a stack of books or spending time outdoors with her English Springer Spaniel. Connect with Sarah at authorsarahfox.com, on Twitter and on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

For Whom the Bread Rolls is available at online booksellers.

My Musing ~ Lying Blind by Dianne Emley

Lying Blind by Dianne Emley is the sixth book in the “Nan Vining” mystery series. Publisher: Alibi, February 28, 2017

lying-blindHomicide detective Nan Vining finds her world rocked when a murder investigation becomes chillingly personal in this hard-edged thriller for fans of Patricia Cornwell, Tana French, and Lisa Gardner.

In a breathtaking infinity pool on a sprawling Pasadena estate, the naked body of a beautiful young woman floats facedown in a drift of rose petals blowing on the breeze. Police sergeant Jim Kissick responds instantly, pulling the dead victim from the water. When his longtime girlfriend, Detective Nan Vining, arrives on-scene, she’s full of questions, and not just about the Jane Doe. Why did the homeowner text Jim instead of calling 911? Jim’s explanation—that he’s simply an old friend of Teddy and Rebecca Sexton’s—doesn’t sit well with Nan. A survivor of a bizarre murder attempt herself, Nan’s instincts for deception are acute. She senses that they’re all hiding something—including Jim, which plunges a wedge deep into their once steadfast relationship.

Then a drought-ravaged lake in a bucolic Central California town reveals a grisly secret. Soon two local detectives arrive in Pasadena to interview Jim and his wealthy friends about a mysterious death from years back, and Nan realizes she has good reasons for her suspicions. Jim’s always been her rock, but suddenly he’s become a stranger. And once Nan identifies her Jane Doe, events careen out of control as darkness from the past threatens to consume the life that Nan has worked so hard to rebuild.

I love books that immediately grabs my attention and pull me in and this one tops the list. Dianne has written one of the best book in her series where the two deaths, one in the past and one in present day, wreak havoc on Nan’s relationship with Jim, especially when certain facts come into play. Taking a step back, opens up too much history for them both and I liked how the author handled that portion of the story with enough details that sets the tone for the rest of this intriguing and suspenseful tale. The narrative of this fast-paced drama was staged perfectly putting me in the middle of all the action as I followed along with Nan as each clue took us both closer to the person responsible. And that surprising twist with the reveal of the killer’s identity, that was nicely done. Boasting a wonderful cast of characters and engaging dialogue, this book kept me enraptured from beginning to end with a conclusion that left me wondering how will this outcome affect Nan’s decision and based on that, I can’t wait for the next book in this terrific series.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received a digital ARC of this book from the publisher via NetGalley.

A day in the life of Detective Nan Vining by Dianne Emley

lying-blindLet me start by saying that I dislike talking about myself. But if I have to describe who I am, I’d say that first I’m a mom to Emily, who’s almost seventeen. Her dad and I divorced when she was a toddler—his choice, not mine. Next, I’d say that I’m the senior investigator in Homicide/Assault at the Pasadena, California Police Department. Then, if I’d had this conversation with you first thing this morning, I’d have said that I’m a devoted life partner and lover to Jim Kissick, who’s a sergeant with the Pasadena PD. Right now, at the end of a long and bewildering day, I’m not at all sure where things stand between Jim and me.

Jim had always been my strong, silent, standup guy. My Gary Cooper (I also love watching classic movies). Jim has guided me through dark times in my life. Terrible times and I have the physical and psychological scars to prove it. Tonight, sitting at my desk in the empty Detectives Section at the PPD, I’m wondering whether I misread those silences of Jim’s. Did I mistake them for solidity and strength when they were in reality concealing secrets? To say that my world has been rocked is an understatement.

The day started normally enough until the middle of the afternoon, when my partner, Alex, and I were called out to the scene of a mysterious death at a huge Pasadena estate. One of the homeowners, Teddy Sexton, had discovered the body of a nude young woman floating in the backyard pool. Jim had been the first officer on-scene. I was happy to see him. I always am because our schedules zig and zag so much it’s hard for us to get together. But he was acting sketchy and evasive from the get go. Things became more odd when I found out, after dragging the information from him, that he’d left the scene of a car accident with injuries to dash over to the Sexton estate because Teddy had texted him. Teddy and his wife, Becca, are old friends, Jim explained. Jim will definitely be reprimanded for abandoning an active incident–possibly even fired—and he risked that to respond to a text?

Things got more disturbing when Becca returned home. You see, the Jane Doe in the pool bears a staggering resemblance to a much younger Becca, but everyone in the Sexton household denied knowing who the victim is. After interviewing Becca, I learned that she and Jim had a close relationship years ago. Very close. Something else that Jim neglected to tell me.

Sitting here at my computer, I’m trying to identify poor Jane Doe, who nobody other than my partner and I seem to care about. I’m also trying to push away an ominous feeling that this case will tear me and Jim apart. He’d be the one I’d turn to in such a situation to talk it through, but I can’t. I’m feeling horribly alone. Em’s spending the night at her girlfriend’s. I might as well keep working because I doubt I’ll get any sleep tonight. I’m not looking forward to seeing what tomorrow brings. That’s enough about me. Back to work.

You can read more about Nan in Lying Blind, the sixth book in the “Nan Vining” series.

In a breathtaking infinity pool on a sprawling Pasadena estate, the naked body of a beautiful young woman floats facedown in a drift of rose petals blowing on the breeze. Police sergeant Jim Kissick responds instantly, pulling the dead victim from the water. When his longtime girlfriend, Detective Nan Vining, arrives on-scene, she’s full of questions, and not just about the Jane Doe. Why did the homeowner text Jim instead of calling 911? Jim’s explanation—that he’s simply an old friend of Teddy and Rebecca Sexton’s—doesn’t sit well with Nan. A survivor of a bizarre murder attempt herself, Nan’s instincts for deception are acute. She senses that they’re all hiding something—including Jim, which plunges a wedge deep into their once steadfast relationship.

Then a drought-ravaged lake in a bucolic Central California town reveals a grisly secret. Soon two local detectives arrive in Pasadena to interview Jim and his wealthy friends about a mysterious death from years back, and Nan realizes she has good reasons for her suspicions. Jim’s always been her rock, but suddenly he’s become a stranger. And once Nan identifies her Jane Doe, events careen out of control as darkness from the past threatens to consume the life that Nan has worked so hard to rebuild.

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About the author
Dianne Emley is a Los Angeles Times bestselling author and has received critical acclaim for her Detective Nan Vining thrillers, Iris Thorne mysteries, and The Night Visitor, a standalone paranormal mystery. She’s also published short fiction for anthologies including Literary Pasadena. Her novels have been translated into six languages. A Los Angeles native, she lives in the Central California wine country with her husband, where she’s a pretty good cook and a terrible golfer. About Dianne’s books, Tess Gerritsen says: “Emley masterfully twists, turns, and shocks.”

Connect with Dianne through her website dianneemley.com or visit her on Facebook.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment for a chance to win a Lying Blind e-book (Kindle/Nook open to all) or a signed paperback (US only) of one of the first four books in the Nan Vining series (The First Cut, Cut to the Quick, The Deepest Cut, or Love Kills). The giveaway ends February 27, 2017. Good luck everyone!

Lying Blind will be published as an e-book by Alibi/Random House on February 28, 2017.

My Musing ~ The Crêpes of Wrath by Sarah Fox

The Crêpes of Wrath by Sarah Fox is the first book in the NEW “Pancake House” mystery series. Publisher: Alibi/Random House, August 2016

the-crepes-of-wrathIn the debut of a delightful cozy mystery series, Sarah Fox introduces a charming new heroine who finds herself in a sticky situation: stacking pancakes, pouring coffee, and investigating murder.

When Marley McKinney’s aging cousin, Jimmy, is hospitalized with pneumonia, she agrees to help run his pancake house while he recovers. With its rustic interior and syrupy scent, the Flip Side Pancake House is just as she pictured it—and the surly chef is a wizard with crêpes. Marley expects to spend a leisurely week or two in Wildwood Cove, the quaint, coastal community where she used to spend her summers, but then Cousin Jimmy is found murdered, sprawled on the rocks beneath a nearby cliff.

After she stumbles across evidence of stolen goods in Jimmy’s workshop, Marley is determined to find out what’s really going on in the not-so-quiet town of Wildwood Cove. With help from her childhood crush and her adopted cat, Flapjack, Marley sinks her teeth into the investigation. But if she’s not careful, she’s going to get burned by a killer who’s only interested in serving up trouble.

Bonus content: includes original recipes inspired by the Flip Side Pancake House menu!

I enjoyed this debut novel from Sarah Fox. Marley gets involved in a murder investigation when her cousin Jimmy is found dead and one of her employees becomes a prime suspect. Little things get noticed by Marley when she questions what is around her and soon her life is threatened as her inquisitiveness puts her in the crosshairs of the killer.

I like the comfortable tone and the pacing in how this light whodunit was told. The mystery grabbed my attention immediately and I couldn’t put this book down until it was all over. The narrative gave me enough to visually place myself in the middle of all the action as Marley seeks clues from the various suspects introduced in this multi-plot story. From Marley’s running the Pancake House to finding disappearing artwork to suspicion about nefarious doings to finding new and old friends created an entertaining read. With a lovable cast of characters, engaging dialogue and a nice backdrop of a small town, I look forward to the next book in this friendly and likable new series.