The Vineyard Victims by Ellen Crosby – #Audiobook Review

The Vineyard Victims by Ellen Crosby

Book Blurb:

The death of a former presidential candidate in a fiery car crash at her Virginia vineyard has ties to a 30-year-old murder, as well as to Lucie Montgomery’s own near-fatal accident 10 years ago, as she searches for a killer who now may be stalking her.

When Jamison Vaughn – billionaire real estate mogul, Virginia vineyard owner, and unsuccessful US presidential candidate – drives his gold SUV into a stone pillar at the entrance to Montgomery Estate Vineyard, Lucie Montgomery is certain the crash was deliberate. But everyone else in Atoka, Virginia, is equally sure that Jamie must have lost control of his car on a rain-slicked country road. In spite of being saddled with massive campaign debts from the recent election, Jamie is seemingly the man with the perfect life. What possible reason could he have for committing suicide? Or was it murder?

Before long, Lucie uncovers a connection between Jamie and some of his old friends, an elite group of academics, and the brutal murder 30 years ago of a brilliant PhD student. Although a handyman is on death row for the crime, Lucie soon suspects someone else is guilty. But the investigation into the two deaths throws Lucie a curve ball when someone from her own past becomes involved, forcing her to confront old demons. Now the race to solve the mystery behind the two deaths becomes intensely personal as Lucie realizes someone wants her silenced – for good. 

My Review:

Book 8 in the Wine Country Mystery series, I reached back aways for this one. I’ve enjoyed the Wine Country series and the aura, mystique, and history of the Virginia vineyards and countryside. There is always more to learn about the craft of wine making.

The Vineyard Victims by Ellen CrosbyIn this installment, Lucie Montgomery witnesses a horrific accident at the same location she experienced the accident that resulted in her permanent disability. She tries to rescue billionaire and unsuccessful US presidential candidate Jamison Vaughn but was driven back by the flames. The accident—or was it an accident?—starts an investigation into his death that ultimately reaches back thirty years. Something he said to her before Jamie died—and she’s promised to deliver the message.

This particular entry became multi-layered, tying not only the former presidential candidate, but her own past. She has never forgiven her ex-boyfriend for the accident and her injuries and it still weighs heavily on her.

When she gets closer to the secrets held so long, people told her to back off. But she wouldn’t and didn’t and with the help of her fiancé Quinn, discovers the shocking truth. In so doing, she may have found, at long last, the way to ease her burden as well.

This entry just didn’t grab me as well of two previous reads, The Angels’ Share and Harvest of Secrets. I suspect because of the complexity involved in the plot, the normal share of history and wine making secrets devolved well into the background and concentrated instead on the mystery.

I’ve tended to jump around and borrowed whatever I could and each have been interesting though obviously I have my favorites. It’s a series I’ll continue reading or listening to.

Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Cozy Mysteries, Women Sleuth Mysteries
Publisher:  Blackstone Audio
ASIN: B0778Z14SP
Listening Length: 7 hrs 57 mins
Narrator: Christine Marshall
Publication Date: November 14, 2017
Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: The Vineyard Victims [Amazon]

Rosepoint Publishing:  Three point Five of Five Stars 3 1/2 stars

Ellen Crosby - authorThe Author: Ellen Crosby is the author of the Virginia wine country mysteries, two mysteries featuring international photojournalist Sophie Medina and MOSCOW NIGHTS, a standalone. THE FRENCH PARADOX, the 11th book in the wine country series will be out 1/29/21 in the UK, 4/6/21 in the US and 3/1/21 as an ebook. Before writing fiction, Crosby–who has lived in England, France, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, and the former Soviet Union–worked as a freelance reporter for The Washington Post, an economist at the US Senate, and Moscow reporter for ABC Radio News. Visit her website at http://www.ellencrosby.com and follow her (very) occasionally on Facebook at EllenCrosbyBooks, sometimes on Twitter at @ellencrosby–but mostly on Instagram at ellencrosbyauthor. She also writes an erratic (but interesting) newsletter.

 

Christine Marshall - narratorThe Narrator:  Christine Marshall is an actress, director, and designer who makes her home in Maine. She is a member of the Mad Horse Theatre Company and the Maine State Ballet, works on many independent Maine theater projects and films, and appears regularly on local commercial television. As a narrator, she recently won her first Earphones Award from AudioFile magazine for her work on Dancer.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

One Little Lie: A Thrilling Suspense Novel by Christopher Greyson – #BookReview – #mysteryromance

“…don’t let the day rule you.” 

Book Blurb:

A LIE IS A WELCOME MAT FOR THE DEVIL…

One Little Lie by Christopher GreysonKate had high hopes when she moved to her husband‘s hometown, but her domestic bliss was short-lived. Blindsided by her spouse’s public affair with his high school sweetheart, Kate’s determined to hold onto custody of her kids and pull herself together. When Kate’s struck in the head by a drone at her son’s soccer game and face-plants in the grass, it’s more than her self-esteem that’s shattered. The drone’s footage reveals that someone is stalking her. And though the handsome detective she’s falling for vows to protect her, Kate knows to be wary of any man making vows.

With things spiraling out of control, she tells a lie. It was only One Little Lie, but her grandmother always said, a lie is a welcome mat for the devil, and with the one she told, Kate just rolled out the red carpet. Everything she worked for begins to unravel, along with her sanity. Confused, alone, and afraid, can Kate untangle the web of lies and unmask her stalker, or will she lose everything—including her life?

My Review:

Kate is a mess. She’s carrying major baggage and not doing well with it. Her attorney husband broke up the marriage to go live with a mistress. He may marry her and in the meantime they want the kids. She is still in mourning over her sister. Her finances are in ruin and she is woefully short on her resume owing to her marketing promo concentration for her ex. Her self-confidence is somewhere in the minus level. Now she has a stalker. She is seeing a therapist (mostly for the meds, although they seem to be doing little to relieve her anxiety).

One Little Lie by Christopher GreysonWhat else could go wrong?! Unfortunately, she tells one little lie—she’s too embarrassed to admit a little accident was of her making. UGH! Well, now she can’t go back and tell the police she lied, right? You know what happens when you tell a lie. And it does. Fortunately, she finds an ally in one of the detectives investigating the stalking.

Okay, the meds are jerking her around. She is beginning to have nightmares, sleepwalking, loss of memories—or are they just being manipulated?

I just couldn’t muster up engagement in Kate. She’s a bit clumsy, addled brained (again, the meds?), and she always seemed a bit unreal to me, an arm’s length MC. I enjoyed the character of Donna, although at one point she, too, fell short of expectation. However, the charismatic detective is a great support character.

The author presents a twisted tale of lies and how they can escalate. It works as entertainment, but I wouldn’t classify as a cozy mystery or women sleuths. Kate is incapable of manning up, although near the end she tries. Still, the reader knows, or certainly suspects, the perp all along and in the conclusion the big reveal adds an extra little zinger whose motive just didn’t work for me.

I read Jack of Hearts (Detective Jack Stratton Mystery Thriller Series) years ago and think I prefer that writing style.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley. These are my honest thoughts.

Rosepoint Rating: Four stars 4 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Mysteries, Mystery Romance, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Greyson Media

  • ASIN ‏ : ‎ B0957SKGRJ

Print Length: 254 page
Publication Date: June 16, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

Amazon   |   Barnes & Noble

Christopher Greyson - authorThe Author: Christopher Greyson is a Wall Street Journal bestselling author of mystery, action, and thriller novels. His acclaimed Detective Jack Stratton Series has been read by over a million readers and counting. This action-packed series has a broad appeal, finding favor with mystery, thriller, and romance readers alike. The series includes And Then She Was Gone, Girl Jacked, Jack Knifed, Jacks Are Wild, Jack and the Giant Killer, Data Jack, Jack of Hearts, Jack Frost, with Jack of Diamonds to come. Christopher Greyson has also penned the bestselling psychological thriller, The Girl Who Lived, a young adult fantasy, Pure of Heart, and a special collection of mysteries, The Adventures of Finn and Annie.

Greyson’s love of mystery and adventure began with his grandfather, a World War I decorated hero. He will never forget being introduced to his grandfather’s friend, a WWI pilot who flew across the skies at the same time as the feared legendary Red Baron. Since he was a little boy, Christopher Greyson dreamt of what mystery was around the next corner, or quest lay over the hill. If he couldn’t find an adventure, one usually found him! Now he weaves those tales into his stories.

Christopher Greyson’s educational background is an eclectic mix of degrees in Computer Science, Theatre and Communications. He resides in Massachusetts with his lovely wife, Katherine Greyson, author of the bestselling romance-mystery series Everyone Keeps Secrets and their two wonderful children, Laura and Christopher.

Christopher Greyson enjoys hearing from his readers. Please visit ChristopherGreyson.com, where you can become a preferred reader and enjoy advanced notifications of book releases, enter the giveaways and win prizes like an HD Kindle Fire Tablet! Follow Detective Jack Stratton on Twitter @chris_greyson and Facebook https://www.facebook.com/ChristopherGreysonAuthor.

©2021 V Williams V Williams

June Rosepoint Reviews Recap—Steamy July is Upon Us

Rosepoint Reviews-June Recap

The hunt for the house for our daughter continues amid fits and starts, the last being cancelled as she loads a truck ready to drive east. It’s been nerve wracking not to mention expensive and time consuming. However, we’ve switched plans and now she’ll come here while we continue the house search. In the meantime, the garden has suffered as the wildlife has made short work of our sweet peas, eggplant, and beans. The rain this last week has everything thoroughly soggy and the weeds are competing for space. My blog schedule has changed, then changed again, and no doubt will be on a reduced schedule into July until this is all resolved. I hope you noticed I’ve been missing!

It’s good the CE continues to read, though even getting his reviews posted has been a problem. We posted fourteen book reviews for June that included ARCs from NetGalley, author requests, and audiobooks from our local library. They included family fiction, cozy mysteries, historical fiction, crime fiction, and sci-fi technothrillers.

Land of Wolves by Craig Johnson The Forever Home - Sue Watson Aftermath by Terri Blackstock The Memory Stones by Lewis Pennington Vicious Circle by C J Box Keeping Guard by Sandra Owens Wolfe Trap by Matt Cost Safe Harbour by Mike Martin Bad Moon Rising by John Galligan Dog Eat Dog by David Rosenfelt Draw and Order by Cheryl Hollon Net Force: Kill Chain by Jerome Preisler Destroyer Angel by Nevada Barr

  1. Vicious Circle by C J Box
  2. Land of Wolves by Craig Johnson
  3. Destroyer Angel by Nevada Barr
  4. The Forever Home by Sue Watson
  5. Aftermath by Terri Blackstock
  6. Keeping Guard by Sandra Owens
  7. Wolfe Trap by Matt Cost
  8. Bad Moon Rising by John Galligan
  9. Safe Harbour by Mike Martin
  10. Dog Eat Dog by David Rosenfelt
  11. Draw and Order by Cheryl Hollon
  12. Net Force: Kill Chain by Jerome Preisler
  13. Flea Market Felony by Tricia L Sanders
  14. The Memory Stones by Lewis Pennington

Reading Challenges

NetGalley – Maintaining 95-96% on NG, now at 52 towards a goal of 75.

Goodreads has me at 96 towards my challenge of 175.

Only three books in June for the Audiobook challenge bringing the total to 24 but still no problem to reach the goal of between 20-30.

Historical Fiction – One historical fiction book in June, but this goal is completed.

You can check out my challenges progress by clicking on my Reading Challenges page.

As always, welcome to my new followers—and thank you to all my active followers, your likes and comments are appreciated. Hopefully your July won’t be stifling hot and your area has opened back up to a quick and easy  maskless trip to the store.

©2021 V Williams – The CE and I

Bad Moon Rising: A Bad Axe County Novel Book 3 by John Galligan – #BookReview – #policeprocedural

Book Blurb:

A record heat wave suffocates remote rural Wisconsin as the local sheriff tracks down a killer hidden in the depths of the community in this atmospheric, race-to-the-finish mystery by the acclaimed author of the Bad Axe County series.

Bad Moon Rising by John GalliganSheriff Heidi Kick has a dead body on her hands, a homeless young man last seen alive miles from the Bad Axe. Chillingly, the medical examiner confirms what Sheriff Kick has been experiencing in her own reoccurring nightmares of late: the victim was buried alive. As the relentless summer heat bears down and more bodies are discovered, Sheriff Kick also finds herself embroiled in a nasty reelection campaign. These days her detractors call her “Sheriff Mommy”—KICK HER OUT holler the opposition’s campaign signs—and as her family troubles become public, vicious rumors threaten to sway the electorate and derail her investigation.

Enter Vietnam veteran Leroy Fanta, editor-in-chief of the local paper who believes Heidi’s strange case might be tied to a reclusive man writing deranged letters to the opinions section for years. With his heart and liver on their last legs, Fanta drums up his old journalistic instincts in one last effort to help Heidi find a lead in her case, or at least a good story…

With simmering tension that sweats off the page, Bad Moon Rising infuses newsworthy relevance with a page-turning story of crime in America’s heartland, capturing global issues with startling immediacy while entertaining from start to finish.

His Review:

Sheriff Heidi Kick is up for re-election. She has been sheriff of Bad Axe County for over three years and some of the towns’ scoundrels want her out of office. An alarming number of murders and missing persons keep her from hitting the campaign trail. When her deputies wind up missing, she begins full 18-hour days to solve the mysteries. Her four kids are being raised by their grandmother.

Bad Moon Rising by John GalliganSome areas of her beat are only accessible by four-wheel drive vehicles through deer trails and hidden canyons. Living within these hidden areas is a family of miscreants. Because they are so remote, they do not cause a lot of problems with other people. However, a ten-year old giving birth or miscarrying is not unheard of. Some of the young are never sent to school and speak pidgin German mixed with a modicum of English.

The Goodgolly farm is owned by two brothers with very sketchy backgrounds. There is almost a schizophrenic relationship between the two. They live on their land and do not interact with others in Bad Axe County. Young people wind up disappearing and cannot be found or identified. The suspicion is that there may be a cannibalistic group within the area.  A car in a ditch hides a body which has not been identified. Sheriff Kick goes into the backcountry to solve the problem.

Trying to be Amish does not work for this family. The Amish has refused to allow them to join the church because of their interbreeding and young girl pregnancies. There are many still births.

The picture painted by John Galligan of remote Wisconsin backwoods life is both informative and disturbing. Stir-crazy brothers create a living hell on earth for their offspring. Multiple births by the age of twelve are typical.

CE WilliamsThe book reveals a very different lifestyle. Inbreeding and rape are the norm for the Goodgolly brothers and their offspring. I would never want to spend time in this kind of environment. The reading experience was graphic and many times aggravating. Currently on pre-order. 3.5 stars – C.E. Williams

We received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley that in no way influenced this review. These are his honest opinions.

Rosepoint Publishing: Three point Five Stars 3 1/2 stars 

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedurals, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Atria Books
ISBN: ‎1982166533
ASIN: B08LDW65L4
Print Length: 334 pages
Publication Date: June 29, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Bad Moon Rising [Amazon]
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John Galligan - authorThe Author: [Goodreads] John Galligan, in addition to being a novelist and teacher, John has worked as a newspaper journalist, feature-film screenwriter, house painter, au pair, ESL teacher, cab driver, and freezer boy in a salmon cannery. He currently teaches writing at Madison Area Technical College, where his experience is enriched by students from every corner of the local and world community.

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

Destroyer Angel: An Anna Pigeon Novel (Anna Pigeon Mysteries Book 18) by Nevada Barr – #Audiobook Review – #TBT

Destroyer Angel by Nevada Barr

Book Blurb:

Anna Pigeon, a ranger for the U.S. Park Services, sets off on vacation – an autumn canoe trip into the Iron Range in upstate Minnesota. With Anna is her friend Heath, a paraplegic; Heath’s 15-year-old daughter, Elizabeth; Leah, a wealthy designer of outdoor equipment; and her daughter, Katie, who is 13. For Heath and Leah, this is a shakedown cruise to test a new cutting-edge line of camping equipment. The equipment, designed by Leah, will make camping and canoeing more accessible to disabled outdoorsmen. On their second night out, Anna goes off on her own for a solo evening float on the Fox River.

When she comes back, she finds that four thugs, armed with rifles, pistols, and knives, have taken the two women and their teenaged daughters captive. With limited resources and no access to the outside world, Anna has only two days to rescue them before her friends are either killed or flown out of the country, in Destroyer Angel by Nevada Barr.

My Review:

No, wait!

Did I get a different Anna Pigeon?

I started reading this series because I really enjoyed the protagonist, a US Park Services ranger, a woman, and the different parks where the particular novel was sited. A different park every entry to the series and so much to learn—that and the narrator, Barbara Rosenblat who adds her slightly gravelly voice with such marvelous inflection in both the situation and the reflection of the situation. Well, anyway, I’ve listened to four, and particularly enjoyed Deep South and Hunting Season. They heavily featured Anna Pigeon.

Destroyer Angel by Nevada BarrThis one…well, this one features friends, acquaintances, who on a vacation trip into the Minnesota wilderness to enjoy nature, test equipment, and try out a handicap prototype are taken hostage when Anna is away from camp on a quick and quiet little canoe outing of her own. In the camp when the ladies are overtaken by four nasty gangsters is also their older dog, Wiley, who is left for dead when the men move the women out.

We’re talking two women (one of whom is a paraplegic) and two teenagers. Of course they are out of cell phone range. They are headed out to rendezvous with the baddy who hired these guys. So, much of the focus is on the ladies, their struggles, and the men. Meanwhile, Anna discovers Wiley is not dead and manages to stabilize him, stalks the hostages and their captures and without weapons takes on the task of disabling the men while rescuing the women. Wow…different.

Or not. The characters are pretty much stereotypes—wealthy Leah and her estranged and sullen daughter Katie, the paraplegic and her daughter Elizabeth. The bad guys, dangerously bad—and stupid, btw.

Anna takes on the dog, having hearts to heart with Wiley while he’s recuperating enough to provide a sounding board for Anna’s whispered thoughts, although he doesn’t provide many thoughts in return.

While there is essentially no mystery, there is tension and the tension ramps up with each chapter. The toll on Anna is serious, but she manages to power through, the ladies manage heroically, the bad guys are just seriously raunchy.

The reason for the whole kidnap seemed a bit weak to me, not wholly believable, but the little zinger at the end was delicious. So, yeah, I thoroughly enjoyed. As the series has nineteen books, I am now counting back down. Oh yeah, I’m hooked.

Book Details:

Genre: Police Procedural Mysteries, Women Sleuth Mysteries, Suspense
Publisher:  Macmillan Audio
ASIN: B00IIUW9EE
Listening Length: 11 hrs 37 mins
Narrator: Barbara Rosenblat
Publication Date: April 1, 2014Source: Local Library (Audiobook Selections)
Title Link: Destroyer Angel [Amazon]

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Rosepoint Publishing:  Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

Nevada Barr - authorThe Author: Nevada was born in the small western town of Yerington, Nevada and raised on a mountain airport in the Sierras. Both her parents were pilots and mechanics and her sister, Molly, continued the tradition by becoming a pilot for USAir.
Pushed out of the nest, Nevada fell into the theatre, receiving her BA in speech and drama and her MFA in Acting before making the pilgrimage to New York City, then Minneapolis, MN. For eighteen years she worked on stage, in commercials, industrial training films and did voice-overs for radio. During this time she became interested in the environmental movement and began working in the National Parks during the summers — Isle Royale in Michigan, Guadalupe Mountains in Texas, Mesa Verde in Colorado, and then on the Natchez Trace Parkway in Mississippi.
Woven throughout these seemingly disparate careers was the written word. Nevada wrote and presented campfire stories, taught storytelling and was a travel writer and restaurant critic. Her first novel, Bittersweet was published in 1983. The Anna Pigeon series, featuring a female park ranger as the protagonist, started when she married her love of writing with her love of the wilderness, the summer she worked in west Texas. The first book, Track of the Cat, was brought to light in 1993 and won both the Agatha and Anthony awards for best first mystery. The series was well received and A Superior Death, loosely based on Nevada’s experiences as a boat patrol ranger on Isle Royale in Lake Superior, was published in 1994. In 1995 Ill Wind came out. It was set in Mesa Verde, Colorado where Nevada worked as a law enforcement ranger for two seasons.
The rest is, shall we say, HISTORY! Nevada’s books and accomplishments have become numerous and the presses continue to roll, so in the interest of NOT having to update this page, books, awards, status on the New York Times Best Seller List — and more — will be enumerated with the relevant books else where on this website.

 

Barbara Rosenblat - narratorThe Narrator: Barbara Rosenblat has been narrating for more than 20 years, and even had the honor of performing the first book ever recorded at Audible in 1999.

She has also appeared on screen such as in the Netflix original series Orange Is the New Black as Miss Rosa. Rosenblat was born in London, England and raised in New York City. Upon returning to the US, she read books to the blind for four years at the Library of Congress.[2] On Broadway she appeared in The Secret Garden and Talk Radio. Barbara Rosenblat has narrated more than 400 audiobooks.

©2021 V Williams

Gone Too Far (Devlin & Falco Book 2) by Debra Web – #BookReview – #policeprocedural

Rosepoint Publishing: Five Stars 5 stars

Book Blurb:

This second entry in USA Today bestselling author Debra Webb’s Devlin & Falco series proves that sometimes the past is best left forgotten.

Gone Too Far by Debra WebbAs veteran detectives of the Birmingham Police Department, Kerri Devlin and Luke Falco have seen it all. So when the city’s new hotshot deputy district attorney turns up dead as part of a double homicide, the partners immediately get to work.

But this is no ordinary case. Devlin and Falco quickly link the murdered DDA to one of their own: former BPD detective Sadie Cross. But Sadie’s fractured memory is yet another puzzle to decipher, as she only recalls bits and pieces of her violent past…a past that may hold clues to the motive behind the murders.

As the group slowly begins to unearth the truth, they soon discover that the more secrets are revealed, the more fatal the consequences.

His Review:

Evil people seem to be everywhere. When a young girl falls down a staircase in high school, the girls that were around her are suspected of murder. Brendal Meyers, a local bully, will not be missed by her classmates. But that does not matter because it appears there is a murderer in the school.

Gone Too Far by Debra WebbKerri is a local homicide detective who is investigating the case of a respected local businessman and an Inspector with the major crimes’ investigative division. Kerri and her partner Falco are on the scene to investigate the crimes. Kerri is pulled from the case because her daughter was one of the girls at the top of the stairs when Brendal Meyers falls. She is torn because she wants to investigate but is forbidden to get involved. Her daughter is one of the suspected students who pushed the bully down the stairs. Can she clear her daughter?

Debra Webb’s characters point out some of the competition, prejudices, and jealousies that exist in most large organizations including the investigative division of the Birmingham police department. A third complication is the existence of a large criminal element in the city. The ADA and a local businessman are killed who seem to have connections to the drug criminal element.

There are twists and turns that kept me guessing as I read the story. How could the head of the division expect Kerri to stay away from her daughters’ problem? Could a local pillar of the community and a young ADA be involved in the importation of drugs?

There are secrets in any community. One of the girls at the head of the stairs seems to be connected to the international drug cartel, however, there is no proof. Do we really know who our neighbors are and how they earn a living?

I found the twists and turns in this novel a motivation to continue reading. The death of a young person and the saving of Kerri’s daughter and solving the crime kept me continually engaged. 5 stars-CE Williams 

Book Details:

Genre: Murder, Women Sleuths, Police Procedurals
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
ISBN : 1542091772
ASIN: B089GSGGRL
Print Length: 381 pages
Publication Date: April 27, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley
Title Link: Gone Too Far [Amazon]
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Debra Webb - authorThe Author: DEBRA WEBB is the USA Today and Publisher’s Weekly bestselling author of more than 160 novels, including reader favorites the Shades of Death, the Faces of Evil, and the Colby Agency. She is the recipient of the prestigious Romantic Times Career Achievement Award for Romantic Suspense as well as numerous Reviewers Choice Awards. In 2012 Debra was honored as the first recipient of the esteemed L. A. Banks Warrior Woman Award for her courage, strength, and grace in the face of adversity. Recently Debra was awarded the distinguished Centennial Award for having achieved publication of her 100th novel. With this award Debra joined the ranks of a handful of authors like Nora Roberts and Carole Mortimer.

With more than four million books in print in numerous languages and countries, Debra’s love of storytelling goes back to her childhood when, at the age of nine, her mother bought her an old typewriter in a tag sale. Born in Alabama, Debra grew up on a farm. She spent every available hour exploring the world around her and creating her stories. She wrote her first story at age nine and her first romance at thirteen. It wasn’t until she spent three years working for the Commanding General of the US Army in Berlin behind the Iron Curtain and a five-year stint in NASA’s Shuttle Program that she realized her true calling. A collision course between suspense and romance was set. Since then she has expanded her work into some of the darkest places the human psyche dares to go. Visit Debra at www.debrawebb.com

©2021 CE Williams – V Williams

Punning with Scissors (A Crossword Puzzle Mystery Book by Becky Clark – #BookReview – #cozymystery – #TuesdayBookBlog

“Don’t bring problems, bring solutions.” 

Book Blurb:

1 DOWN: A PERSON OF INTEREST
 
Punning with Scissors by Becky ClarkQuinn Carr has been quietly creating crosswords for the Chestnut Station Chronicle in her small Colorado town since she was in high school, but she has yet to solve the puzzle of how to make a living from her passion. So she lives with her parents and works at the local diner, catering to regulars like The Retireds, a charming if cantankerous crew of elderly men. The most recent member to join the group is a recently retired tailor, the unfortunately named Hugh Pugh.
 
4-LETTER WORD FOR “IMPALE”
 
But Hugh’s misfortune dramatically increases when he’s arrested for stabbing his husband with a pair of fabric shears. With a cryptic crossword clue left at the crime scene, Quinn seems tailor-made for solving this murder. The local police may be determined to pin the crime on the kindly tailor, but Quinn will use her penchant for puzzles and what her therapist calls her “obsessive coping mechanism” to get the clues to line up and catch the real culprit—before the killer boxes her in. . . .

My Review:

An OCD breakdown is responsible for Quinn Carr returning to her parents home in rural Colorado, where she has established herself as a waitress at the local diner owned by Jake. There she caters to an eclectic group of patrons, one of whom is “The Retireds.”

“How many vegans does it take to eat a piece of bacon?” Without waiting for an answer, he said, “Just one, if nobody’s looking.”

Punning with Scissors by Becky ClarkHer position there gives her ample opportunity to exercise her OCD proclivities, arranging condiments, cleaning, and straightening objects. Her form of OCD is serious, an anxiety disorder, and she is seeing a therapist to help her tame the OCD monster.

Quinn is also a professional, albeit closet, cruciverbalist—creating puzzles for the local Chestnut Station Chronicle–something she prefers kept quiet. She has used this skill in the past to send subliminal messages to the local police captain of Chestnut Station when she becomes involved in the murder that has the newest member of the Retireds landed in the slammer.

Following the arrest of Hugh, she has taken on the care of Virginia Wolf, his dog also known as Gin, and her care almost sends her into overload. The police chief, of course, is sure he has his man and, of course, Quinn knows he didn’t do it and takes on the investigation as well as the care of his home.

I started this series with Book 1, unusual for me I know, but was left scratching my head a few times. First, creating a puzzle requires an extremely clever word smith and second, I had no idea how serious OCD could be, often referring to my straightening things as my OCD. Not even close. But I did enjoy this book for the mystery and the characters whether or not I could really connect with Quinn. Also, loved the wit and sense of humor encased in this cozy.

“Don’t meddle in the affairs of dragons for you are crunchy and delicious with ketchup.”

“…people food is for people, not dogs who think they’re people.”

I like the support characters—all are well developed (her mother’s recipes a hoot) including her boyfriend Rico (her police connection), the mystery (cloaked within the mysteries of the OCD), the clues, investigation, and puzzling scenes. Gees! Sounded like a lot of mathematics were involved and, no surprise there, also not one of my strong suits!

In Book 2, Quinn has graduated into a slightly more astute woman sleuth, tending to be more methodical while obsessive. The narrative is a well-plotted and paced mystery. While I found Book 1 a bit disjointed, novel two of the series was smoother and I could get into the puzzling aspect, unique to a cozy mystery, I’m sure. If you didn’t start with Book 1, no prob—Book 2 could be read as a standalone. Don’t read by rote; don’t read while watching TV or knitting; this cozy requires a thinking cap. Come prepared with yours.

FTC Disclosure: I received a complimentary review copy of this book from the publisher and NetGalley and these are my unbiased opinions. Pre-order is now available.

Rosepoint Rating: Four point Five Stars 4 1/2 stars

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Book Details:

Genre: Amateur Sleuth Mysteries, Cozy Mystery, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Lyrical Press

  • ASIN : B08FXTDJST

Print Length: 205 pages
Publication Date: To be released May 11, 2021
Source: Publisher and NetGalley 

Title Link(s):

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Becky Clark - authorThe Author: Becky Clark is the seventh of eight kids, which explains both her insatiable need for attention and her atrocious table manners. She likes to read funny books so it felt natural to write them too. She surrounds herself with quirky people and pets who end up as characters in her books. Her stout-hearted dog keeps her safe from menacing squirrels, leaves, and deer, but not plastic bags. Those things are terrifying.

Readers say her books are “fast and thoroughly entertaining” with “witty humor and tight writing” and “humor laced with engaging characters” so you should “grab a cocktail and enjoy the ride.” They also say “Warning: You will laugh out loud. I’m not kidding,” and “If you like Janet Evanovich, you will like Becky Clark.”

Becky won the 1st place “Best in Category” Mystery & Mayhem Award from the Chanticleer International Book Awards for Fiction Can Be Murder, book one in the Mystery Writer’s Mystery series.

Visit http://www.BeckyClarkBooks.com for all kinds of fun. While you’re there, be sure to subscribe to her “So Seldom It’s Shameful” newsletter. You’ll hear about new releases, get the chance to win fabulous prizes, find out about book promotions from her and others, read interviews from new-to-you authors, and more. (As you might have gleaned from the title, she won’t inundate your inbox, either.)

If you want to connect more often, join Becky’s Book Buddies on Facebook … https://www.facebook.com/groups/beckysbookbuddies/

Follow Becky Clark here on Amazon, on BookBub, and at Goodreads. If you enjoy her books, she’d swoon if you left a review. Yes, swoon.

©2021 V Williams