Blogroll: CriminalElement.com

Fresh Meat: Double Whammy by Gretchen Archer

DOUBLE WHAMMY Double Whammy by Gretchen Archer is the first Davis Way Crime Caper novel, a humorous mystery set in Biloxi, Mississippi (available May 14, 2013).

Davis Way is divorced from her ex-ex-husband (so, yes, twice divorced from the same guy), unemployed because her father fired her, not getting along with her mother—which is par for the course, and frustrated. It doesn’t look like things can get much worse. After all, how many restraining orders can one girl face?

Things start to look up when she finds a job at the Bellissimo, a casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. The grand hotel offers a chance to start over, with a large paycheck and posh surroundings. After a gazillion interviews, Davis is hired to work undercover security, catching safe-cracking thieves and protecting the casino’s hard-earned gains. However, nothing in the Bellissimo is as straightforward or simple as it seems.

First off, the man who seems to be ripping off the Bellissimo’s biggest slot-game—the Double Whammy—is Davis’s ex-ex-husband.

Double Whammy is the first book in the new Davis Way series, and it is a fun introduction to a smart, funny new character that fans of Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum will find refreshing. Davis is a former cop, so she knows the law but she breaks it with impunity. She has no reservations telling her coworkers where to get off, and has an instinct for spotting criminal activities—something the other security officers at the Bellissimo are concerned with:

“What team are you playing for?”I stared into Teeth’s eyes, and found nothing there.

He didn’t intend to move until I gave him an answer.

“Are you asking me if I’m a lesbian?”

He jumped up and the chair went down. “I don’t care if you’re a lesbian.”

He picked the chair up, holding it midair, and I thought he was about to throw it at me. Instead, he righted it and sat back down. In a lower voice he said, “I’m asking if you’re a criminal because you think like one. All. The. Time.”

Archer surrounds Davis with a great cast of side characters that are cherry-picked for making it a killer series. There’s the taxi driver with a mysterious past. A super-sexy landlord. A secretary who knows all the ins-and-outs of the casino (and has great fashion sense). A casino owner with connections to Las Vegas crime families. A father who is the sheriff of a small town. And Davis’s relationship with her mother would need a series of its own to get resolved:

I sucked in some oxygen. I did feel a stab of guilt at the pitiful state of our parents’ marriage, which wasn’t marriagey at all; it was a hostile roommate standoff. The big gridlock was ME, of course—Daddy’s “failure to allow me to suffer repercussions for any of my actions,” and Mother’s “Lack of human compassion for her own child.”(Guess whose side I was on.)

When it comes down to business, though, Davis can figure out puzzles with the best of them. Along with the smaller felonies, like the employees breaking into guests’ safes, Davis has to figure out how her ex-ex-husband, Eddie, is walking away with hundreds of thousands of dollars. The good news for tech-inspired readers is Davis has a degree in computer science. She breaks down a couple of slot machines in her apartment. She hunts people effectively on the Internet. She has epiphanies House-style. Davis Way might be a little crazy, and her personal life might be entirely imaginary, but she’s bright:

There were three computer chips, all soldered to the motherboard inside the slot machine. Two contained game data, and the third was a random number generator. It popped right off, and, as it turned out, wasn’t so random a number generator. That made good sense to me, because if it was completely arbitrary, the casino wouldn’t be able to guarantee that they would make money. Interesting, certainly, but I tossed that chip aside. I was more interested in the two that contained the game data written by Morgan George, Jr.

Her investigations lead her into a world of trouble the Gaming Commission and some Las Vegas heavy hitters. She discovers that the software programmer for the Double Whammy slot machine was murdered in Las Vegas. And two other men who have won jackpots from the Double Whammy are also dead.

Putting two and two together, Davis realizes she has to figure out who is behind the murders or the next person to wind up dead will be her ex-ex.

Davis Way is smart enough and sassy enough to carry a series forward for a long time. Gretchen Archer has developed a setting—a casino in the South—that is both interesting and sprawling enough to have an almost infinite number of criminals walking through its doors, which means Davis Way will probably have a great deal of work to do that won’t stretch the credulity of readers. If you’re in need of a good laugh and some wacky, loving characters after a hard week, you should definitely grab Double Whammy. It’ll make you smile.

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Blogroll: Feeling the Fiction

Malicious Masquerade

Alan_CuppWith his new mystery/suspense release, Malicious Masquerade, just hitting the shelves, Author Alan Cupp met with me to talk about life and his love of writing.

Whether it’s with a captivating mystery novel or a funny promotional video for his church, Alan is always anticipating his next creative endeavor. In addition to writing fiction, Alan enjoys acting, music, travel, and playing sports. His life’s motto is, “It’s better to wear out than rust out.” Alan places a high value on time spent with his beautiful wife and their two sons. He lives his life according to his 4F philosophy: Faith, Family, Friends, and Fun. [Read more...]

Blogroll: Storm Goddess Book Reviews & More

Guest Blogger Terri L. Austin + Review

Hi and welcome to my blog! As part of a tour with CLP Tours, I have author Terri L. Austin here for a guest post, and I’m also sharing my review of Terri’s book, Diners, Dives, and Dead Ends.

Welcome to Storm Goddess Book Reviews, Terri! Glad to have you with us today.

Thanks so much for having me on Storm Goddess today! It’s great to be here. My debut Rose Strickland Mystery, DINERS, DIVES AND DEAD ENDS, is a humorous book filled with quirky characters and a twisty whodunit. [Read more...]

Blogroll: Cozy Mystery Book Reviews

Review: Lowcountry Boil by Susan M. Boyer

 

Publisher’s Summary: Private Investigator Liz Talbot is a modern Southern belle: she blesses hearts and takes names. She carries her Sig 9 in her Kate Spade handbag, and her golden retriever, Rhett, rides shotgun in her hybrid Escape. When her grandmother is murdered, Liz high-tails it back to her South Carolina island home to find the killer.

She’s fit to be tied when her police-chief brother shuts her out of the investigation, so she opens her own. Then her long-dead best friend pops in and things really get complicated. When more folks start turning up dead in this small seaside town, Liz must use more than just her wits and charm to keep her family safe, chase down clues from the hereafter, and catch a psychopath before he catches her.

Our Review: PI Liz Talbot has returned to Stella Maris, South Carolina, following the death of her grandmother. Liz is intent of finding the killer, even if her police-chief brother doesn’t want her to get involved. However soon its not just her grandmother that has been murdered, with more dead bodies turning up and Liz has to use everything in her power to try to find the killer, before more of her family is harmed.

Lowcountry Boil is a 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense, and is a finalist in the 2012 Romance Writers of America® Golden Heart® contest, and it’s not hard to see why. Susan M. Boyer has crafted a charming mystery, with characters that will delight mystery readers, as they follow the adventure of Liz and Rhett, her golden retriever.

I like how Susan M. Boyer has mixed it up with Liz’s brother being the police chief. All too often there is a tendency in cozy mysteries to have the policy chief/detective to a romantic interest of the amateur sleuth, and this isn’t the case here. It’s great to see a new dynamic in the sleuth’s life.

Lowcountry Boil is a very strong debut. It has all the elements of a great cozy mystery series: charming characters that a reader can relate to, a stunning whodunnit and of course the adorable sidekick in Liz’s golden retriever, Rhett!

I can’t wait for more books in this charming southern series.

Buy from Amazon

Title: Lowcountry Boil
Author: Susan M. Boyer
Series: Book 1 of A Liz Talbot Southern Mystery
Publisher: Henery Press
ISBN: 978-1938383045

Book Review: SOUTHSIDE BOOK REVIEWS

Reviews Of Books Recently Written By Southside Authors: Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Woman

The title of Larissa Reinhart’s debut novel refers to the coffin portrait Cherry Tucker is painting of murder victim Dustin Branson.  It also refers to the biographical portrait of the man himself which emerges in the story as Cherry tries to find out who his murderer is.  But I think the story is really a portrait of Cherry Tucker herself (and of the other wacky inhabitants of the contemporary rural Southern town where she lives).

Cherry is a graduate of one of our nation’s premier art educational institutions, the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), where she was molded into a skilled professional artist.  But she is an amateur in her sleuthing and in her relationships with men, which generates the wacky humor in the story.  She is, however a feisty and delightful character whose adventures proceed at a rapid pace spiced with silly stuff not only from her and other humans but also from her ornery goat Tatter — if you like goat humor, you will enjoy Tatter! [Read more...]

Book Release Day!

LOWCOUNTRY BOIL by Susan M. Boyer

Happy Release Day to debut author Susan M. Boyer!!! Her 2012 Daphne du Maurier Award-Winning Southern charmer, Lowcountry Boil, is available TODAY! This traditional mystery mixes mayhem and manners, enveloping the reader in sea, sand, and suspense. The Hen House is just bursting with pride over Susan M. Boyer and her fantastic page-turning gem. And we’re not the only ones who adore this book:

“Plenty of secrets, long-simmering feuds, and greedy ventures make for a captivating read…Boyer’s chick lit PI debut charmingly showcases South Carolina island culture.” – Library Journal

“Imaginative, empathetic, genuine, and fun, Lowcountry Boil is a lowcountry delight.” — Carolyn Hart, Author of What the Cat Saw

“I love this book. And you will too. Witty, droll, clever—and just a tad quirky! This light-hearted and authentically Southern mystery is full of heart, insight, and a deep understanding of human nature. Susan M. Boyer is a fresh new voice in crime fiction!” — Hank Phillippi Ryan, Anthony, Agatha & Macavity Winning Author of The Other Woman

 

 

Blogroll: Kaki’s Blog

Virgin No More: Susan M. Boyer! by Kaki Warner

And our next virgin is…(drumroll)…   SUSAN M. BOYER!  Susan has been making up stories her whole life. She tags along with her husband on business trips whenever she can because hotels are great places to write: fresh coffee all day and cookies at 4 p.m. They have a home in Greenville, SC, which they occasionally visit. Susan’s short fiction has appeared in moonShine Review, Spinetingler Magazine, Relief Journal, The Petigru Review, and Catfish Stew. Her debut novel, Lowcountry Boil, is a 2012 RWA Golden Heart® Finalist and a 2012 Daphne du Maurier finalist.

Susan is generously giving away one copy of her award-winning debut to one lucky commenter—in the format of the winner’s choice: Kindle, Nook, or Trade Paperback. So please come on by, read her wonderful post about her journey to publication, then go check out her mystery—Lowcountry Boil. It sounds like a wonderful read: here’s a taste… [Read more...]

Blogroll: Kristi Belcamino

Writer Interviews: Susan Boyer by Kristi Belcamino

I love this interview and getting to know my fellow Mysteristas gal, Susan Boyer, even more. We would totally have a blast hanging out together. And the lovely and talented Susan has offered to give away one of her books to a reader who posts a comment on this post by Wednesday, Sept. 26th. Thanks, Susan!

Here are Susan’s words of wisdom:

1. Describe your writing routine and/or schedule?

I typically try to be at my computer by nine in the morning with my second cup of coffee. Because I can’t seem to help myself, I check email, just in case something treś important requires my attention, which is almost never, but still. I log into and quickly out of Facebook and Twitter, again, just in case someone has posted something I need to see before I begin my day, like a really funny YouTube video.

By ten I’m putting words on the page or editing them. On a good day, I’m so engrossed in what’s going on in my alternate reality I forget to eat. When my stomach starts growling, I go to the kitchen and forage for anything to make the noise stop so I can get back to my characters. I’ve eaten some really odd food combinations because I couldn’t be bothered to go to the grocery store, or even a drive-thru window.

After lunch, I repeat the process until either my stomach growls again or it’s time to go to Jazzercise—or the exercise room if I’m out of town. When I’m traveling with my husband on business trips, I stop working when he does and we exercise then have dinner together. [Read more...]

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