Tag Archives: J.J. Cook

Blog Tour With Hero by J.J. Cook

Playing With FireHi!

I’m Hero, fire rescue dog in-training for the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade, at your service.

My mother, Sylvia, and I were rescued when I was just a puppy. I’m a year old now, and people say I’m growing nicely. I always lick their hands when they give me a compliment. It just seems the decent thing to do.

I owe everything to the volunteer firefighters in Sweet Pepper, Tennessee, who gave me a home and a job. I especially owe our fire chief, Stella Griffin. She makes it all work for everyone. She’s not much of a cook, but she’s kind and strong. I love her.

But my best friend is Eric Gamlyn, who used to be the fire chief in Sweet Pepper. He died forty years ago trying to keep Sweet Pepper safe. We know now that he didn’t die in the silo fire, like most people thought. He was murdered, and his body was stuffed into the fire house wall right before it was closed down.

Awful, right? Especially for a hero like Eric.

Stella and the new fire brigade found him after all those years. Now she’s trying to figure out what really happened to Eric. He doesn’t make it easy for her either. You see, he’s a ghost now, and Stella lives with him in the log cabin he built. They get along well enough, I guess. But sometimes, Eric gets mad and the whole cabin shakes.

Like that time when Stella’s parents came from Chicago to visit – and brought her ex-boyfriend with them! What were they thinking? Eric wasn’t very nice to him.

Anyway, I shouldn’t get too far ahead of everyone. You probably just read my own, personal adventure in Hero’s Journey. Can you believe they named a book after me?

Look for me in Playing with Fire too. My mom and I will play an important part in the story about solving Eric’s murder, and how Stella came to live in Sweet Pepper for good.

Oops! That’s my mom calling. I have to train. It takes a lot of hard work to be a firefighter, you know.

See you!


This is the 11th stop on the Playing With Fire Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. For other stops on this tour, click HERE

You can read more about Hero in Playing with Fire, the second book in the “Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade” mystery series, published by Berkley Prime Crime. The first book in the series is That Old Flame of Mine. Books are available at retail and online booksellers.

GIVEAWAY: Comment on this post by noon EST on January 17, and you will be entered to win a copy of Playing With Fire. One winner will be chosen at random. Unless specified, U.S. entries only.

Meet the author
J.J. Cook writes award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, Joyce and Jim Lavene, and Ellie Grant. Playing with Fire is the second book in the Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade Mysteries following That Old Flame of Mine, and the E-novella, Hero’s Journey. They live in rural North Carolina with their family. Visit them at www.jjcook.net


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Hero’s Journey by J.J. Cook

Heros journeyHero’s Journey by J.J. Cook is book #1.5 in the “Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, December 2013

A hot dog and a hot head are on the loose in Sweet Pepper, Tennessee, and it’s up to Fire Chief Stella Griffin to collar them both…

The Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade’s newly adopted Dalmatian puppy, Hero, is missing. Stella believes he just wandered away from her cabin and got lost. But despite posters and searches by the fire brigade and spotty sightings by locals, there are no leads, and the furry fire fighter has yet to return.

Stella is already worried with a series of progressively dangerous arson fires plaguing Sweet Pepper. And oddly enough, Hero’s appearances are coinciding with the fires. Now with the help of the ghost of Sweet Pepper’s former fire chief, Stella will have to dig up some clues if she hopes to find the pup before he’s lost for good—and find the arsonist before someone loses a life.

This was such a cute story that I could not put down. Is the recent fires and the disappearance of Hero connected? Pick up this book and you’ll be enjoying a delightfully charming and fresh whodunit where the team set out to find answers. With Stella and Eric leading the way, this excellent tome is a wonderfully enjoyable book with a sneak peek for the next adventures with the Sweet Pepper Brigade.

FTC Disclosure – The author sent me this book, in hopes I would review it.

That Old Flame of Mine by J.J. Cook

that old flameThat Old Flame of Mine by J.J. Cook is the first book in the new “Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, April 2013

Set in the Great Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, J. J. Cook’s thrilling new mystery series features Fire Chief Stella Griffin, who solves crime with the help of her predecessor, who just happens to be a ghost.

NO MATCH FOR MURDER

After knocking the lights out of her boyfriend when she catches him cheating on her, Chicago fire fighter Stella Griffin hops on her Harley and heads for Sweet Pepper, Tennessee, where she ends up becoming the small town’s fire chief. When her dear friend Tory Lambert dies after her gingerbread-style house is set ablaze, Stella suspects arson and foul play.

As Stella investigates, she gets help from a most unlikely source—the ghost of Eric Gamlyn, Sweet Pepper’s old fire chief. And if that isn’t enough to rattle her, attractive police officer John Trump seems to have taken an interest in her. But Stella’s got to stay focused if she hopes to smoke out a killer before her own life is extinguished.

This is a great start to what I hope is a long-running series featuring fearless and intrepid heroine, Stella Griffin. Someone doesn’t want Stella and her team to pursue their arson investigation and it will take Stella and an unlikely ally to smother a burning flame. The author did a great job in keeping the story lively in this page-turning whodunit that flowed easily from one chapter to the next leading us to a hot finale. I enjoyed watching Stella follow the little nuggets of clues while discovering a long lost secret. This is an enjoyable read with a terrific cast of characters led by Stella, set in the comfortable atmosphere of a small town setting. This is another winner from the J&J team and I look forward to more exciting adventures with Stella, her fire brigade volunteers and the people of Sweet Pepper, Tennessee.

FTC Full Disclosure – The publisher sent me a copy of this book, in hopes I would review it.

previously posted on the Cozy Chicks blog

Smokin’ With Sweet Pepper Fire Chief Stella Griffin by J.J. Cook

that old flameby J.J. Cook

I never expected to be fire chief. As a generational member of a fire fighting family, we all know it’s enough that we serve. My station house in Chicago is crowded with plenty of firefighters with ambitions. I wasn’t one of them.

Circumstances change. My boyfriend and I had . . . well, let’s call it an argument that involved me finding him in bed with a good friend and my fist contacting his face when he got up to tell me that it meant nothing.

That, and an injury that was keeping me out of work, made me hop on my Dad’s old Harley and head down to Sweet Pepper, Tennessee. I saw an ad that the small town in the Smoky Mountains was looking for a temporary fire chief who could train their new volunteer fire brigade.

I got more than I bargained for, believe me.

The ad didn’t say that the old fire house was falling down and that the fire engine hadn’t been started in thirty or so years. Tagger, the only volunteer who knows anything about firefighting, hasn’t done the work since before I was born.

Other recruits include Banyin, a local librarian, and Petey, a 90-pound waitress. Kent is a truck driver and Rickey’s grandfather taught him to outrun federal agents looking for his moonshine still. Bert Wando is the Sweet Pepper Cougars’ star quarterback, and the mayor’s son.

There’s also Officer John Trump, one of Sweet Pepper’s finest. He’s an interesting recruit with emergency experience and a really cute dimple in his chin. I think he likes me a little, you know, romantically, but I’m kind of wary right now.

Wait! I’m forgetting the best part! The cabin Sweet Pepper officials gave me to live in is haunted. That’s right. And not by one of my Irish aunt’s ghosts from 200 years ago either.

I’ve been living with the ghost of the last Sweet Pepper Fire Chief, Eric Gamlyn. He’s something of a folk hero around here. From what they tell me about him, he’s a combination Paul Bunyan and Thor. He started the first Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade forty years ago. It folded after he died.

It’s creepy, I’m telling you. You don’t know where he’s going to be next or what he’s going to do. Maybe the worst part is that people keep saying they’re surprised I’ve lasted this long. Usually Eric the ghost drives everyone away. It seems he likes me, maybe because I’m bringing back his fire brigade. He’s hard on computers and other electrical devices, but I think we’re coming to an understanding.

I wasn’t supposed to actually fight fires here, but it’s happened. I lost a good friend I’d made here to a fire. I had to determine it was arson – no local arson investigator either!
I’m determined not to leave Sweet Pepper until I figure out what happened to her.

I know I’ll only be here a short time. I have to make it work for me. I’m also focused on making this little group the best volunteer fire brigade in Tennessee.

Despite all the wonderful hospitality the people have shown me, my home is back in Chicago. I’ll take back some great memories of this three months living in these beautiful mountains, learning to love biscuits, and helping out with the Sweet Pepper Festival. I even ate some chocolate-covered hot peppers and candied some Tennessee Teardrop peppers.

Well, I didn’t candy those peppers by myself. Eric the ghost helped me, and then he saved my life.


Thanks to Penguin, I have one (1) copy of THAT OLD FLAME OF MINE to give away. Leave a comment to be included in the giveaway. Contest ends April 4; US entries only per publisher’s request.


You can read more about Stella in That Old Flame of Mine, the first book in the new “Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade” mystery series.

Meet the author
J.J Cook is a pseudonym for a married couple that writes award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction. They have written and published more than 60 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family. Visit them at www.jjcook.net or on Facebook.

Books are available at retail and online booksellers.
thatoldflameofmine