Tag Archives: Jill Orr

A day in the life with Riley Ellison by Jill Orr

the-good-bylineNothing says, You’re going to die alone and be eaten by coyotes, like your GPS failing you on a gravel road in rural Virginia while the sun sinks slowly behind the Blue Ridge mountains.

“C’mon, Dina,” I whispered under my breath. “Help me out here.” Dina was my GPS. Dina Temple-Raston. I started naming my nav systems after NPR correspondents years ago as a way to annoy my then-boyfriend Ryan. He hated it when women hyphenated. So one day we were listening to NPR and Soraya Sarhaddi-Nelson signed off, Ryan was exasperated. “I mean, what’s the point with a name like that? It’s such a mouthful. ” Never mind that a woman’s name might be a crucial part of her identity, Ryan didn’t like the extra syllables. I had never heard anything so stupid in all my life, so when the GPS lady interrupted our discussion with a travel note, I decided right then and there to start referring to her as Soraya Sarhaddi-Nelson. You know, out of spite. After Soraya came Lulu Garcia-Navarro, and now I had Dina. And even though I wasn’t dating Ryan anymore, I rather liked the way this personalized my direction-getting experience, and my errant sense of direction made a reliable navigator a must, especially now that I was a roving reporter-in-training for the Tuttle Times.

I could kill Will Holman, I thought to myself. It was he who sent me out here into the depths of Tuttle County on what he called a “training mission.” It had become obvious lately that Holman fancied himself the Mr. Miyagi to my Danielsan and he’d had me doing the journalistic equivalent of “wax on, wax off” for the past three weeks.

Today’s exercise in futility was a glorified scavenger hunt throughout Tuttle County. What this had to do with learning to be an investigative reporter I did not know, but it beat sitting inside the office all day sorting Holman’s Magic: The Gathering cards, which is what I did yesterday. And it was better than the training I was getting on writing obituaries from my other supervisor, Hal Flick, who so far had only let me do research on the “pre-dead” in Tuttle Corner.

I pulled back onto the road and drove forward. (You see, this is one of the reasons I needed Dina— because I used words like “forward” to describe the direction I was going.) But actually forward was a pretty decent metaphor for where my life was headed at the moment. I’d left my comfortable job at the library to take an exciting new position as a journalist at the Times. And as if that wasn’t enough, I had a promising and delicious new relationship with the promising and delicious DEA agent Jaidev Burman. Things had really changed from just a few months ago when I didn’t have a clue where my life was heading. Metaphorically speaking, of course. Literally speaking, I was straight up lost.

I could kill Will Holman, I thought again. And then, as if the thought conjured the image, I saw a vehicle coming toward me, a distinctly Holman-shaped vehicle. As the figure came into focus, I saw that it was indeed Will Holman sitting astride what looked like a cross between a bicycle and a motor scooter— a canary yellow apparatus with both a motor and actual bike pedals that puffed along at roughly seven miles per hour.

After an awkward dismount he said, “You were supposed to be at Mt. Malady by no later than 6:00pm. The Malady ladies kicked me out for loitering.”

“I didn’t even know I was supposed to go to Mt. Malady! If you wanted to meet there, why didn’t you just say so?”

“Be patient, young one,” Holman said in what I had come to know as his I am now going to teach you something voice. “All will be revealed in time. You are the clay, and I am the sculptor – I will mold you—”

Holman!

“What?” He looked surprised. “I didn’t mean that in a sexual way, if that’s what you were thinking—”

I held up a hand to stop him. “That was not what I was thinking. That is never what I am thinking. What I was thinking was,” I paused. “Let’s just go home. It’s getting late.”

“Okay. I’ll jump back on the Hobbit and you can trail my six back to headquarters.”

I sighed. “I did not understand one word of that sentence.”

“My Hobbit.” He pointed to the bike/scooter thing. “It’s a 1972 Honda Hobbit. It’s vintage.”

I glanced at the contraption. It looked like the love child of a giant praying mantis and a banana. “Are you sure it’s not extinct?”

“Oh yeah.” He smiled. “They don’t make them like this anymore.”

That was sort of my point, but I let it go. I knew from experience that engaging Holman in conversation about his peculiar hobbies could run long. And besides, I’d had just about all the “training” I could take for one day.


You can read more about Riley in THE GOOD BYLINE, the first book in the NEW Riley Ellison mystery series.

Meet Riley Ellison, a quirky young library assistant who has become known in her hometown of Tuttle Corner, Virginia, as Riley Bless-Her-Heart. Riley’s odd habit of living vicariously through people she reads about in the obituary pages hits a little too close to home when she is asked to write one for her childhood best friend, Jordan James. Jordan’s unexpected suicide has left Riley desperate to understand why a young woman with so much to live for would suddenly opt out, so she steps out of her comfort zone and into the role of obituary writer.

Things get messy, however, when Jordan’s co-worker, a paranoid reporter with a penchant for conspiracy theories, convinces Riley that Jordan’s death was no suicide. He leads her down a dangerous path toward organized crime, secret lovers, and suspicious taco trucks. Eventually, Riley’s serpentine hunt for the truth leads to a discovery that puts everything she holds dear—her job, the people she loves, and even her life—in danger. Will writing this obituary be the death of her?

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Meet the author
Jill Orr writes a parenting column for Como Living magazine in Columbia, Missouri, where she lives with her husband and two children. She writes humor essays about parenting on her blog, An Exercise in Narcissism. The Good Byline is her first novel and will be released in April 2017 from Prospect Park Books. To learn more about Jill and the upcoming books in the Riley Ellison mysteries go to jillorrauthor.com.

All comments are welcomed.

The Good Byline is available at retail and online booksellers or you can ask your local library to get it for you.

Giveaway: Two people (US entries only, please) selected at random will receive a print copy of The Good Byline. Leave a comment below for your chance to win. The giveaway ends April 13, 2017. Good luck everyone!

My Musing ~ The Good Byline by Jill Orr

The Good Byline by Jill Orr is the first book in the NEW “Riley Ellison” mystery series. Publisher: Prospect Park Books, April 11, 2017

the-good-bylineMeet Riley Ellison, a quirky young library assistant who has become known in her hometown of Tuttle Corner, Virginia, as Riley Bless-Her-Heart. Riley’s odd habit of living vicariously through people she reads about in the obituary pages hits a little too close to home when she is asked to write one for her childhood best friend, Jordan James. Jordan’s unexpected suicide has left Riley desperate to understand why a young woman with so much to live for would suddenly opt out, so she steps out of her comfort zone and into the role of obituary writer.

Things get messy, however, when Jordan’s co-worker, a paranoid reporter with a penchant for conspiracy theories, convinces Riley that Jordan’s death was no suicide. He leads her down a dangerous path toward organized crime, secret lovers, and suspicious taco trucks. Eventually, Riley’s serpentine hunt for the truth leads to a discovery that puts everything she holds dear—her job, the people she loves, and even her life—in danger. Will writing this obituary be the death of her?

A new girl is in town and her name if Riley otherwise known as the obit girl. When she learned of her friend’s death, her parents wanted Riley to write her obit, but Riley feels something is amiss in her death and when she teams up with newspaper reporter, look out because Riley is on a mission to “write” a wrong.

This was a fun read that was hard to put down, quickly becoming a page turner. The narrative was nicely done putting me in the middle of all the action as I rooted for Riley with each step she took to uncover the truth. The mystery was strategically set-up to increase the suspense factor and kept me intrigued in all that was happening in Tuttle Corner. Her friend’s death, the mobsters, the newspaper reporter and her personal life all played pivotal roles in the outcome of this engaging tale. This was a delightfully amusing adventure in the life of Riley Ellison who tickled my funny bone with her internal obit-type dialogue. I look forward to the next book in this wonderfully humorous debut series.

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

Triple Time With 2017 Anticipation by Holstine, Love, and Zgorski

While most bloggers are discussing their favorite books of 2016 – and certainly we are not immune to doing that as well – we, Kristopher, Lesa, and Dru Ann have decided to focus our attention on the future. Our most recent Triple Post below will share with our followers some of the books we are most looking forward to in the coming months. By traveling to each of our three blogs, readers will discover nine new titles to add to their ever-growing to-be-read mountains.

Not wanting to lose sight of the holiday season, we have also each included a seasonally-themed book from the past that we think readers might enjoy delving into as the hustle and bustle of the month ahead begins.

But most of all, we just want to thank you for reading our blogs and hope that the books we have suggested over the past year have helped to add enjoyment to your day-to-day lives. If you have suggestions for Triple Post themes for 2017, do let us know.

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I met the author at the BOLO Soiree in New Orleans at 2016 Bouchercon.  We chatted briefing and when Jill told me the premise of her book, I knew then, that I was eager to read the first book in her “Riley Ellison”  debut series from Prospect Park Books coming April 11, 2017.

The Good Byline by Jill Orr

orr

Meet Riley Ellison, a smart, quirky, young library assistant who’s become known in her hometown of Tuttle Corner, Virginia, as Riley Bless-Her-Heart. Ever since her beloved granddaddy died and her longtime boyfriend broke up with her, Riley has been withdrawing from life. In an effort to rejoin the living, she signs up for an online dating service and tries to reconnect with her childhood best friend, Jordan James, a reporter at the Tuttle Times. But when she learns that Jordan committed suicide, Riley is shaken to the core.

Riley agrees to write Jordan’s obituary as a way to learn more about why a young woman with so much to live for would suddenly opt out. Jordan’s co-worker, a paranoid reporter with a penchant for conspiracy theories, convinces Riley that Jordan’s death was no suicide. He leads her down a dangerous path toward organized crime, secret lovers, and suspicious taco trucks.

Riley’s serpentine hunt for the truth eventually intersects with her emerging love life, and she makes a discovery that puts everything Riley holds dear—her job, the people she loves, and even her life—in danger. Will writing this obituary be the death of her?


Just to whet your appetite for more, one of the books on Kristopher’s list is . . .

In Farleigh Field by Rhys Bowen (March 1, 2017)

bowen

Rhys Bowen has been entertaining readers with historical stories for quite some time – both with her cozy Her Royal Spyness series and the more serious, but also rather cozy Molly Murphy mysteries. Now she is writing a historical thriller set during World War Two. Set in an ancestral home in England, In Farleigh Field sounds like a blend of Downton Abbey and The Bletchley Circle.


and on Lesa’s list is. . .

Desert Vengeance by Betty Webb
webb

Do you know Lena Jones, the hard-nosed Scottsdale, Arizona private investigator? In the course of Betty Webb’s series, we’ve learned bits and pieces about Lena, who only vaguely remembers her childhood before she ended up in the foster system. It was a system that provided more nightmares for the young girl, as we learn in the ninth book in the series, Desert Vengeance.

Lena is waiting at the prison when one of her foster fathers, Brian Wycoff, is released from prison. He raped her when she was only nine, and he served twenty-five years for the abuse of other children in his care. Now, the former policewoman turned private investigator is stalking the man, reminding him and his wife of their actions. But, Wycoff’s wife is murdered. And, when Wycoff himself ends up dead, Lena tops the suspect list. When another woman is arrested, Lena agrees to investigate on her behalf. It’s a case that will test Lena’s beliefs, and take her one step closer to understanding her own story. Desert Vengeance is scheduled for a February release.


And the holiday-themed book I chose to share with my readers is. . . Rituals of the Season by Margaret Maron. This is one of my favorite book in this charmingly terrific series where Deborah Knott finally marries the man of her dreams.

maron

Judge Deborah Knott has a severe case of anxiety in the final days before her late December nuptials to Deputy Sheriff Dwight Bryant. Her calendar is booked solid with receptions and parties, last-minute details, and family obligations. There is absolutely no way she can fit a homicide case into her schedule.

Nevertheless, when a friend and colleague is shot on the icy drive home and Dwight becomes the lead detective on the case, Deborah is immediately involved. Issues of ethics and confidentiality suddenly face her . . . right on the next pillow.

Renovations to the house where the newlyweds will live are shockingly behind schedule—and, as the clock ticks down, Deborah has serious doubts her rowdy brothers will finish the new construction in time. Meanwhile, her sisters-in-law are giving her etiquette advice, her maid of honor is so pregnant she may deliver during the ceremony, and somehow, Deborah must find a way to connect with her way young stepson-to-be.

And as if things are not already hectic enough, two law students turn up and demand that she help them stop the execution of an innocent woman—one who is scheduled to die in less than a month.

Now Deborah is in danger of losing sight of what really matters—the big, brown-eyed man who’s about to say “I do.” But just when she thinks she’s finally got order in the court and in her life, fate has one more pulse-pounding surprise in store . . .


Thanks again for stopping by my blog today. Please visit the other two blogs, BOLO Book and Lesa’s Book Critiques, to see what other books we are anticipating in 2017.