Tag Archives: Carrie Smith

My Musing ~ Unholy City by Carrie Smith

Unholy City by Carrie Smith is the third book in the “Claire Codella” mystery series. Publisher: Crooked Lane Books, coming November 7, 2017

Despite their rocky history, Detective Claire Codella and Precinct Detective Brian Haggerty come together when senior churchwarden Philip Graves’s bloody body is found lying in the herb garden of historic St. Paul’s Episcopal Church on Manhattan’s Upper West Side just two days before Good Friday. Upon first glance, it looks like a random act of big city violence, but it soon becomes clear churchwarden Philip’s death was the result of a meticulously calculated ploy by someone who knew him.

There are five vestry members and a choir director in addition to the ten homeless men asleep in the church basement. Any one of them could have done it, but what did Philip Graves do to warrant such a merciless death? Struggling to share the case and salvage their personal relationship, Claire, Brian and trusted Detective Eduardo Munoz work around the clock to uncloak the desires, secrets, and resentments that find home through the iron gates and into the hidden beauty of one historic Romanesque church in Unholy City, the haunting third installment in Carrie Smith’s Claire Codella mysteries.

So many secrets among the church member of St. Paul’s Episcopal Church where multiple murders took place and no one is telling a soul. It’s up to Claire, Brian and Eduardo to dig deep into the suspected parishioners’ consciousness to shine a light on a murderer hiding in plain sight.

This was a well-written drama that captured my attention immediately and I could not put this book down until it was all said and done. The pacing was on par with the ease in which this tightly woven story was told. The author did a great job in keeping all the suspects involved throughout giving each one a voice that was heard amidst all that was happening as the detectives worked their case. I liked the way the author directed the storyline so that systematically those secrets were exposed and would eventually lead to the revelation of the killer’s identity. Bonus to me was the outcome with her Lieutenant. This was one of the best in the series and I can’t wait to see where we go next with Codella and her friends.

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

A Day in the Life with Claire Codella by Carrie Smith

forgotten-cityBest Detective in New York City

“I really hate that man.” Claire sat up in bed and shut off the alarm. Her fist was vibrating, and it was only six thirty a.m. “You don’t want to know what I’d like to do to him.”

“Oh, I think I can guess,” I told her.

“I was the detective on call last night, Haggerty.” She stabbed her index finger at the phone. “I should have caught that case.”

“I know.”

“McGowan hasn’t let me catch a case in three months—not since Hector Sanchez. He’s got me chained to a desk doing paperwork. How can he get away with that? He would never do that to another detective.”

“I know, but you threaten him, Claire. And let’s face it. He’s got a big problem with women.”

“Yeah, unless he’s checking them out across a conference room.” Claire whipped back the comforter. “I bet he wishes the cancer killed me.”

“Look, he’s not all that smart. He only got where he is because his uncle’s a captain. He’s bound to screw up soon. Wait him out. They’ll end up shipping him off to some precinct way out in Queens, and you won’t have to see him anymore. Just be patient.”

“Easy for you to say.” She climbed out of bed and I watched her leave the room. Oh my God, it’s hard to be in love with the best detective in New York City. But I’ve been in love with her since the day nine years ago when she walked into the detective’s squad room at the 171st, looked at me with her ice blue eyes, and asked me, “Which of these desks is mine?”

I remember how I patted the metal desk right next to me. “This one’s free—if you want to sit by your new partner.”

She shut me down with a cool, “Thanks,” and I got the message. She wasn’t about to put up with any sexual innuendo. “Where you from, Codella?” I asked in a neutral voice.

“Cranston, Rhode Island.”

“Cranston, huh? Aren’t you supposed to pronounce that Craaaaanston?”

“Not bad.” She smiled. “But it needs to be a little more nasal.” She booted up her computer.

“Brian Haggerty,” I volunteered. “From Staten Island.”

“The borough nobody wants?”

“Hey, we don’t get to choose where we’re born, now do we?”

“No,” she said, “I don’t suppose we do.”

Now I got out of bed and followed Claire into the kitchen. I made us some tea. I put two English muffins in the toaster, went to the front door, and got the paper. When I came back she said, “If he’s not going to let me catch a case, I’ll go out and find my own.”


Forgotten City is the second book in the Claire Codella mystery series, published by Crooked Lane Books, December 2016.

NYPD Detective Claire Codella is hungry for a new case. Lieutenant McGowan is determined to keep her out of the news, but she is about to be back in the public eye in a big way.

At fifty-six, Broadway legend Lucy Merchant has early onset Alzheimer’s and is tucked away in the ultra-exclusive Manhattan care facility Park Manor. When she falls asleep and doesn’t wake up, her billionaire husband is ready for the funeral, but her daughter demands an investigation.

Codella finds herself at the center of a high-profile case nearly everyone wants to shut down. But the forensic evidence raises alarming questions, and Codella needs answers. To find them, she will have to crack the defenses of slippery administrators, frightened caregivers, and unobliging family members, all while unlocking some of her own dark memories.

Forgotten City, Carrie Smith’s gripping procedural, pits the unrelenting detective against a cast of diverse New Yorkers driven by their desires and ambitions and haunted by their pasts. Can she piece together the truth before the murderer kills again?

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About the author
Carrie Smith is the author of Silent City, the first Detective Claire Codella mystery, and the sequel, Forgotten City (Crooked Lane Books, December 2016). Carrie is also the author of a literary novel, Forget Harry. She is the recipient of three Hopwood Awards from the University of Michigan and a fellowship to the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Carrie is also senior vice president and publisher of Benchmark Education Company, a literacy publisher. She lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan.

Visit Carrie at online at www.carriesmith.nyc, on Facebook at authorCarrieSmith, and on Twitter at @carriesmithnyc.

All comments are welcomed.

Giveaway: Leave a comment below for your chance to win a print copy of Forgotten City. US entries only, please. The giveaway ends December 22, 2016. Good luck everyone!

My Musing ~ Forgotten City by Carrie Smith

Forgotten City by Carrie Smith is the second book in the “Claire Codella” mystery series. Publisher: Crooked Lane Books, December 13, 2016

forgotten-cityNYPD Detective Claire Codella is chomping at the bit for a new case. Lieutenant McGowan is determined to keep her out of the news, but she’s about to be back in the public eye in a big way.

Broadway legend Lucy Merchant has tragically succumbed to early onset Alzheimer’s. At age fifty-six, she’s tucked away in the dementia care unit of the ultra-exclusive Manhattan care facility Park Manor. When she falls asleep and doesn’t wake up, her billionaire husband is ready for the funeral, but her daughter demands an investigation.

Only three months back on the job after cancer treatment, Codella finds herself at the center of a high profile case nearly everyone–especially her lieutenant–wants to shut down. But the forensic evidence raises alarming questions and Codella needs answers. To find them, she will have to crack the defenses of slippery administrators, frightened caregivers, and unobliging family members, all while unlocking some of her own dark memories.

Forgotten City, Carrie Smith’s gripping follow-up to Silent City, pits the unrelenting detective against a cast of diverse New Yorkers driven by their desires and ambitions and haunted by their pasts. But can she piece together the truth before the murderer kills again?

This is the second book in the series and I loved it. This is a well-written drama and I like the ease in which it flowed from chapter to chapter. The action was non-stop and the narrative pulled me in immediately, quickly becoming a page turner. The multi-plot mystery was executed in a way to keep me intrigued as to what was happening with this eclectic cast of characters. From the initial death, to hint of murder to the husband’s reaction to caretaker’s angst and to the others who all played a pivotal role in the conclusion to this story. I love Claire’s spunk and determination to face the world and her superior, who is a jerk. The author did a great job in casting culpability towards those involved in the homicide and it was those sneaky little surprising twists that ratcheted this riveting tale up a notch or two. In addition to a great cast, the dialogue was engaging and of course it has the perfect backdrop of New York City. I thought the first book in the series was great, but this one outshines it by a mile. I’m so happy that there is a third book on the horizon and I can’t wait to read the next book in this terrific series.

FTC Full Disclosure – I received an Advanced Reader Copy (ARC) from the author.

Claire Codella Takes on a Silent Serial Killer by Carrie Smith

Silent City“I thought you were coming back today, Codella.” Lieutenant McGowan’s voice growled through the phone. Well, at least some things never changed.

“Tomorrow, sir,” I corrected him.

“We could have used you today,” he barked, and I wanted to say “Yeah, right!” I knew what awaited me—playing back up to Dan Fisk and doing a lot of paperwork. McGowan hadn’t wanted me in his homicide squad from Day 1, and he was undoubtedly sorry to be getting me back. I could picture him now in his big chair with his legs spread wide and his fat hand combing through the spiky red drill-sergeant hair over his wide freckled face. He certainly wasn’t going to welcome me back with open arms and make me lead detective on a case. “Enjoy your last day of freedom, Codella,” he said as if I’d been on a ten-month cruise around the world. And then he hung up.

I grabbed my jacket and took the fire stairs down to the lobby and out to the street. “Head to the Bethesda Fountain,” Janelle Jackson had told me when she’d called last week and twisted my arm to do this. “You’ll see everyone congregating there.”

“What am I supposed to say to them?”

“Just tell them your story,” she’d said as if it lived on the tip of my tongue, a well-formulated sequence of events. An entertaining adventure tale.

Janelle Jackson must have sensed my anxiety. “Look, they all know someone or someone who knows someone who’s been through this or is going through it now. They want to help. You’re going to remind them why they’re out there on cold November morning.”

I crossed Broadway and stopped for the light on Amsterdam. But what to say? I should have put more thought into this, it occurred to me. I could improvise all kinds of stories about the homicides I had worked. Most people wanted to hear about the Wainright Blake case. Had he raped Elaine DeFarge before he murdered her? Had he mutilated her body? How long was the lock of hair he’d cut from her head? Was it the same color as the five other locks I’d found in the little cigar box under his bed, the locks that helped police in four states solve cold cases? That was the case that sent me to Manhattan North Homicide in the first place, and I’d been interviewed so many times about it that I could tell it a hundred ways and make it sound fresh. But talking about myself was quite a different matter.

Twenty or more people were hanging out around the Bethesda Fountain when I got there. Within five minutes, the group doubled. They stretched, munched protein bars, and drank from water bottles under a low ceiling of gray clouds that promised drizzle to come. And then a woman—Janelle Jackson, I supposed, although I’d never actually met her—stepped onto a bench in front of the fountain and waved her arms to get everyone’s attention. “We’ve got a very special speaker this morning,” she shouted over the murmurs of the runners. “You’ve probably read about NYPD Detective Claire Codella, and now she’s here to tell us her story.”

Shit, I thought. No getting out of this now. Janelle Jackson motioned me onto the bench. I joined her and looked into the crowd. “I’m a homicide detective at Manhattan North,” I said. “But I haven’t chased any killers recently. For the past ten months, I’ve been stalked by my own serial killer of sorts.” The faces were attentive now. I took a deep breath. “You all know the serial killer I’m talking about. I was lucky enough to survive my attack, but I met several others who weren’t, and I’m here with you for them. Because the research funded with money raised by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training helped save my life. With your help, we’re going to stop this killer.”


Silent City is the first book in the NEW “Claire Codella” mystery series published by Crooked Lane Books, October 2015. Find out exactly what Claire has been through and what happens the first day she’s back on the job.

About Silent City

NYPD Detective Claire Codella has just won a tough battle with cancer. Now she has to regain her rightful place on the force. she hasn’t even been back a day when Hector Sanchez, a maverick public school principal, is found murdered. The school is on high alert. The media is howling for answers. And Codella catches the high-profile case at the worst possible time.

As she races to track down the killer, she uncovers dirty politics, questionable contracts, and dark secrets. Each discovery she makes brings her closer to the truth, but the truth may cost Codella her life.

Silent City, Carrie Smith’s explosive debut, will introduce readers to a brilliant new voice in crime fiction that will grab them and not let go until the very last page and a fearless heroine who they will enjoy for years to come.

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All comments are welcomed.

Meet the author
SILENT CITY is Carrie Smith’s first crime novel. She is also the author of a literary novel Forget Harry. Her writing awards include three Hopwood Awards from the University of Michigan and a fellowship to the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. Carrie is also senior vice president, publisher of Benchmark Education Company, a literacy publisher. She lives on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. Visit Carrie at www.carriesmith.nyc, Facebook, and Twitter at @carriesmithnyc.

Giveaway: Leave comment below for your chance to win a signed hard copy first edition of Silent City. (US entries only, please.) The giveaway will end January 29 at 12 AM EST. Good luck everyone!