The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller by Cleo Coyle #BlogTour #BookReview #Giveaway

The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller

I am super-excited today to provide a review at my blog stop for The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller by Cleo Coyle on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Please scroll down to sign up for this very special Giveaway!

Book Details

The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller (Haunted Bookshop Mystery)
Paranormal Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Berkley (September 25, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 0425237451
ISBN-13: 978-0425237458
Digital ASIN: B078VX9SNF  

Book Blurb

Penelope Thornton-McClure and her bookshop’s ghost-in-residence Jack Shepard are back on a new case in this delightful paranormal mystery from New York Times bestselling author Cleo Coyle.

A big bestseller leads to small town trouble.

Bookshop owner Penelope Thornton-McClure didn’t believe in ghosts, until she was haunted by the hard-boiled spirit of 1940s private investigator Jack Shepard. Now Jack is back on the job, and Pen is eternally grateful…

After an elegant new customer has a breakdown in her shop, Penelope suspects there is something bogus behind the biggest bestseller of the year. This popular potboiler is so hot that folks in her tiny Rhode Island town are dying to read it–literally. First one customer turns up dead, followed by another mysterious fatality connected to the book, which Pen discovers is more than just fiction. Now, with the help of her gumshoe ghost, Pen must solve the real-life cold case behind the bogus bestseller before the killer closes the book on her.

My Review

The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller by Cleo CoyleWhat a delightful and unique cozy mystery! Of course, I always enjoy a paranormal twist to the plot and this one proved a distinctive one at that. Apparently a 1940’s PI Jack Shepard was killed in the very bookstore in which the widowed protagonist Penelope Thornton-McClure joined her Aunt Sadie as co-owner. Jack Shepard totally exudes the part of a “hard-boiled” private investigator replete with period vernacular. I’ve discussed the “hard-boiled” genre previously that incorporates the noir element to novels popular in the late forties and fifties. It’s easy to conjure Humphrey Bogart in the part, though perhaps Jack has been tempered just a tad by Penelope (Pen) as she introduces her modern-day sensitivities to Jack.

A customer abruptly gasps at the back jacket of their current bestseller and flees the store with the book but without paying. Pen later finds her gloves and with the help of Jack secures the lady’s name and address. She was able to track down the lady but discovers her body, an apparent suicide. Pen doesn’t think so. She and Jack appear to have frequent conversations and this distracted me at first but not for long, as it is disclosed how Jack manifests himself; an interesting idea that!

I particularly enjoyed the appropriately named chapter titles and the little quotes to kick off the chapter. Not all from authors, the quotes ranged from George Burns to Marilyn Monroe and set a tone for the chapter, increasing expectation.

“Live in such a way that you would not be ashamed to sell your parrot to the town gossip. Will Rogers”

“Sincerity. If you can fake that, you’ve got it made. George Burns”

“Today’s gossip is tomorrow’s headline. Walter Winchell”

“We didn’t lose the game; we just ran out of time. Vince Lombardi”

Besides well-known name quotes, the author(s) manages a few pearls of their own, several of which produced a chuckle. I also enjoyed the knowledge (or the thorough and effective research) imparted regarding classic books and authors, some of which I’d forgotten but produced an “oh, yeah…” There were also a couple racy innuendos and tongue-in-cheek puns, intended.

The setting is a little town in Rhode Island and although this is #6 in the series has no problem standing alone. It’s apparently been ten years since the last. The main characters from the previous series entries are back along with popular support members and each provide a rich component to the well-plotted mystery. The writing style is fun and the pace steady. The flashback dreams where Jack takes Pen back to 1947 with him to experience one of his cases has you wondering briefly about the interruption to the storyline until you see how it’s incorporated into the main plot. You may think you know who is behind the deed, but you won’t guess the entire story or motive. The story has a lot of personality and delivers a satisfying conclusion.

I was given the download by the publisher and NetGalley for this book tour and greatly appreciated the opportunity to read and review. I’ll be looking forward to #7 in the series! Recommended for readers who enjoy a different and intelligent cozy mystery with a super-natural bent in their amateur sleuths.

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Giveaway

Sign up for your chance to win one (1) signed copy of The Ghost and the Bogus Bestseller (A Haunted Bookshop Mystery) by Cleo Coyle + Ghost Tote Bag and $15 gift card! Rafflecopter giveaway 

Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five of Five Stars 4.5 of five stars

About the Author

Cleo Coyle is a pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. Both are New York Times bestselling authors of the Coffeehouse Mysteries–now celebrating nearly fifteen years in print. They also write the nationally bestselling Haunted Bookshop Mysteries, which were originally published under their second pseudonym, Alice Kimberly (The Ghost and Mrs. McClureThe Ghost and the Dead DebThe Ghost and the Dead Man’s LibraryThe Ghost and the Femme FataleThe Ghost and the Haunted Mansion). Alice has worked as a journalist in Washington, DC, and New York, and has written popular fiction for adults and children. A former magazine editor, Marc has authored espionage thrillers and nonfiction for adults and children. Alice and Marc are also bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for Lucasfilm, NBC, Fox, Disney, Imagine, and MGM. They live and work in New York City, where they write independently and together. You can learn more about Cleo, her husband, and the books they write by visiting www.CoffeehouseMystery.com.

Author Links:

Visit Cleo online: www.coffeehousemystery.com

Friend Cleo on Facebook:www.Facebook.com/CleoCoyle

Follow Cleo on Twitterhttps://twitter.com/cleocoyle/

Purchase Links:

Amazon     B&N     Kobo   Google Play  BookBub

Thank you for visiting my stop on the tour and please visit the other stops listed below!

Tour Participants:

October 1 – Babs Book Bistro

October 1 – Community Bookstop

October 2 – Mallory Heart’s Cozies

October 2 – The Montana Bookaholic

October 3 – Socrates’ Book Reviews

October 3 – MJB Reviewers

October 4 – The Avid Reader

October 4 – Mysteries with Character

October 5 – Teresa Trent Author Blog

October 5 – Reading Authors

October 6 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews

October 7 – Cozy Up With Kathy

October 8 – Laura’s Interests

October 8 – My Reading Journeys

October 9 – Rosepoint Publishing

October 9 – A Holland Reads

October 10 – Devilishly Delicious Book Reviews

October 10 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews

October 11 – The Book’s the Thing

October 12 – Brooke Blogs

October 13 – Bookworm Cafe

October 13 – The Editing Pen

October 14 – Moonlight Rendezvous

October 15 – Curling Up by the Fire  Great Escapes Book Tours

Thanks to Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours for the opportunity to read and review this cozy mystery!

©2018 V Williams V Williams

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If Family Noir is In, I Want Out

If Family Noir is In, I Want Out

Remember back in December 2015 when I investigated all these new-to-me genres? Nano-punk, nano-technology, or cyber-punk?

Well, it’s happened again. A number of bloggers I follow have reviewed stories recently they’ve categorized as “Noir.” If it sounds French, it is, and means “dark” or “of the night.” It is usually a genre that deals with violence or sex, but definitely corruption in some manner. (BTW, noire is just feminine for noir, but you knew that, huh.)

Postwar film noir - Humphrey BogartYes, I remember film noir, but “classic” (or roman) noir is considered a “hardboiled” genre that usually includes a self-destructive protagonist. I’m not writing the rules here, only relaying what I found in research–and it’s not pretty folks. Although I must say, we’ve definitely done a number on the original noir fiction spawned from Dashiell Hammett ( 1894-1961) “the dean of the… ‘hardboiled’ school of detective fiction.” The protagonist is not a rumpled, raincoat cloaked, cigar-chomping thoughtful-hearted protagonist, but rather a perpetrator. Forget Columbo! Think Humphrey Bogart. No, much worse. Think Kevin Spacey in LA Confidential. But there is a huge difference in the definition of “noir” and what we are calling forms of noir today.

Harking back to the Huff Post updated in December 2017 by Otto Penzler who didn’t mince words when he described the genre, “noir is about losers,” not private detectives. This is the down and dirty–doesn’t do well and never will. The protagonist in a noir story is driven by just about everything bad a human can exhibit: greed, lust, jealousy. They aren’t ever going to triumph. They can’t! (It’s noir.) And this is what separates the private detective or family noir from noir fiction–the moral ground.

The problem then, as Noir Fiction has splintered off as many sub-genres as the previously discussed fiction novels, is the evolution. Here are just a few:

Classic noir (Hollywood crime dramas emphasizing derisive attitudes and/or sexual motivations)

Family noir (domestic noir)

Film noir

Neo-noir

Photo noir

Pulp noir (classic noir with urban influences)

Scandinavian noir (Scandi noir)

Tech noir

I think it was the Scandinavian noir that set me to scratching my head. A Scandi noir? Certainly, it was the film industry that influenced the change of the hardboiled nuance into a neo-noir flavor. Definitely a contemporary or more modern version of film noir, the term neo-noir was popularized by two French critics back in 1955. It appears these were retro-actively applied to much earlier crime movies including the 1940s as well as the 1950s in the U.S. (Think Bogey)

Farewell My Lovely by Raymond ChandlerSo I jumped on Goodreads again, my go-to of all things bookish, and noted that on their (current) favorite noir list the first six of nine is divided between Raymond Chandler at number one (Farewell, My Lovely (Philip Marlowe, #2)  and two and Dashiell Hammett at number three (The Glass Key).

It was Hammett who created Sam Spade in The Maltese Falcon after a character he knew living in San Francisco. His authentic period dialogue was included in the movie famously played by Humphrey Bogart.

 

Black Mask Magazine featuring The Maltese Falcon by Dashell Hammett
Cover courtesy Wikipedia

Raymond Chandler? Really? Because if you were surprised by Hammett’s life dates, Chandler is right there, born in 1888 and died in 1959. Wikipedia notes he began writing after losing his job as an oil company executive. He published a short story in Black Mask Magazine, a pulp magazine in 1933. (First issue April 1920-final issue 1987) Along with Dashiell Hammett and other Black Mask writers, he is considered to be a founder of the hardboiled detective fiction. Philip Marlowe, his protagonist, was also played by the quintessential Humphrey Bogart. He said of the hardboiled detective, “he is the white knight who walks the mean streets, but is not himself mean.”

 

 

Point Blank film noir 1967 starring Lee Marvin
Neo-noir film Point Blank directed by John Boorman, 1967, starring Lee Marvin.

 

Cinematically, Lee Marvin cemented the neo-noir style of film when he starred in Point Blank (1967), introducing a new level of violence in film and established the foundation for later escalation of ferocity and brutality.

I suspect there would be some argument over whether the film Pulp Fiction is actually pulp noir or film noir. Jessica Jones – pulp noir? Where would you classify any of the dark noir books (Gone Girl) (or movies) that you’ve read (seen) lately?

But really, a family noir? OMG–it’s gotta be sad, depressing, and can never be made right.

It’s doomed.

I don’t need it.

I want peaceful.

I want happy–if not happily ever after–a light at the end of the tunnel. Some small promise it’ll be okay.

And hopefully soon.

©2018 V Williams V Williams