Thursday, December 16, 2010

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff by Don Bruns (Oceanview)

I forgot this one yesterday when I posted what I've been reading (it was still on my kitchen table).

The author thinks this Florida caper is about stumble bums James Lessor and Skip Moore because they're newly licensed private investigators. Everybody who's ever loved an Old English Sheepdog will quickly realize that it's about Garcia, the Sheepie who works at the petting zoo at a traveling carnival where James and Skip attempt their first professional investigators.

If you're worn out with holiday shopping, cooking, and decorating, spend an evening with these guys. You'll realize you've had a great day after all!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

What I've Been Reading & Prizes

You know the old saying, "the hurrider I go, the behinder I get"? Well, that's been my life lately. I may have to go back to work full time to catch up with things! I've been reading, but I just haven't had time to write full reviews. So, I decided to just let you know what books I've enjoyed recently and a couple of sentences about them. Like my life, they're in no particular order.

Set the Night on Fire by Libby Fischer Hellmann (Allium Press of Chicago)
This terrific thriller moves from contemporary Chicago to the one of the City's riotous times—the 1960s. The reader meets a group of the students of that turbulent era, sees the effects of their actions, and learns their motivations, all this woven into a nail-biting story taking place in the present. Allow time to savor this read!

The Cruel Ever After by Ellen Hart (Minotaur)
I've been reading Ellen Hart for nearly 20 years, and she's never told the same story twice! Successful restauranteur Jane Lawless is stunned when a man from her past surfaces into her life. Readers won't be surprised that the man brings with him a trail of murder, kidnapping, and stolen artifacts. Readers will, however, be amazed at the twists and turns they'll make before all is resolved. Don't miss this one!

Murder Your Darlings by J. J. Murphy (Obsidian)
I've always enjoyed writings of Dorothy Parker and Robert Benchley and tales of the Algonquin's famed Round Table. So, when I picked up this first in a new series with these literaiti as protagonists, I was delighted. If you like sparkling wit and brilliant repartee, you're likely to enjoy this one.

The Huckleberry Murders by Patrick F. McManus (Simon & Schuster)
Who'd have thought a simple berry-picking outing would lead to murder, Social Security fraud, and illegal aliens? Quick answer: Patrick McManus. Once again Blight County is awash in characters, outrageous schemes, and hilarious adventures. McManus is always good for a belly laugh.

A Stranger in Mayfair by Charles Finch (Minotaur)
Gentleman sleuth Charles Lenox finds it takes all his wits to balance a new marriage and a new seat in Victoria's House of Commons with his successful detective business. His current client, also a House member waffles after requesting Lenox to investigate the murder of a footman. Quite naturally, the strange behavior only increases Lenox's interest in solving the crime.

The Lies That Bind by Kate Carlisle (Obsidian)
The third in the Bibliophle Mystery series is just right for a cozy night by the fireplace—a light mystery, a touch of romance, and a great mixture of characters, some quirky, some not.

The Last Confession by Solomon Jones (Minotaur)
This one's a fast-moving thriller/police procedural about a cop's final three days before retirement, colored by an old case featuring a serial killer who calls himself "the angel of death." Watch out, this one could keep you up at night!

Every Bitter Thing by Leighton Gage (Soho Crime)
When Chief Inspector Mario Silva is called in to investigate the strange murder of the son of Venezuela's Foreign Minister, he has no idea that this will be the first of many nearly identical crimes across Brazil. The thread that ties all the crimes together is both baffling to the police and horrifying to the reader. Enjoy the ride!

You can get a free Kindle download of Leighton Gage's earlier Mario Silva novel, Blood of the Wicked as a free download, free from his publisher.

The Day of Small Things by Vicki Lane (Dell)
Lane's first stand-alone novel explores the early life of Miss Birdie, a character from her Anthony-nominated Appalachian series. Readers get a glimpse of the hardships Miss Birdie will endure when they meet her in the first chapter—at her birth
Black night had come and owls called from the sighing hemlocks as the exhausted woman bent an expressionless face to her red, squalling infant. At last she spoke. "It'll allus be the least un, fer there won't be no more. Reckon that'll do fer a name—call it Least."

Lane writes of the mountain people in a lyrical voice that causes the reader to slow down—and savor the words and the story.

Third Degree by Maggie Barbieri (Minotaur)
Alison Bergeron isn't thinking about bodies when she stops in a coffee shop to get some caffeine resolve before meeting her fiance's parents. Maybe she should have been braver, because just as she enters the shop, two men break into a fight, Alison gets a black eye, and one of the men collapses and dies. Things go from bad to worse before this case is resolved. "Third" is the fifth in the series, and one of the best.

India Black by Carol K. Carr (Berkley Prime Crime)
Reshelve FANNY HILL and MOLL FLANDERs—there's a new bint in town, India Black, consultant to the British Prime Minister on Affairs Foreign and Domestic. The first person sending me an email (mysteryheel at naming another book featuring a bint will win an advance copy of India Black.

FTC Disclaimer - These books were provided by the publisher.

Happy holidays, all!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Contest - Pet Vet Story

Elaine Viets' mystery shopper, Josie Marcus, is dating a hunky young veterinarian. Josie and Ted become even closer in the latest Mystery Shopper novel, An Uplifting Murder. It's a great read, perfect for traditional mystery lovers.

Now, to bring even more interest to the new book, Elaine is sponsoring a "Your Pet Vet Story" contest. Here's her information.
Josie is seriously dating Dr. Ted Scottsmeyer. He's going to be around for at least one more book. I need good vet stories. Tell me about a memorable trip to the vet and you could win a free copy of "An Uplifting Murder" and get your pet's name in my new book. Prefer stories that are not too sad. Click on "contests" at my websiste.

I'm giving away five free copies of "Uplifting."

Remember, books make great gifts, especially when you buy them at an independent bookstore!