Black Velvet (The Erin O’Reilly K-9 Mysteries Book 1) by Steven Henry – a #BookReview #cozyanimalmystery

“USA TODAY Bestselling Book 1 in the Erin O’Reilly Mysteries series.” A shared review with the Vicarious Blogger.

Book Blurb:

Black Velvet by Steven HenryErin learned a lot from her partner: stay alert, follow your nose, and once you’ve got your teeth in them, never let go.

It’s tough working nights with the NYPD. The crime rate is high, the hours are terrible, and forget about a personal life. So when Officer O’Reilly and her K-9 Rolf switch over to the day shift, things are looking up. She’s even able to find time for a new boyfriend.

But when the theft of a priceless painting from the Queens Museum leaves a fellow police officer dead, Erin and her four-legged partner find themselves dealing with dangerous criminals, sleazy art dealers, and obstructive detectives in a race to capture the killers…and just maybe bring closure to a 75-year-old crime.

My Thoughts

Being the sucker that I am for a K-9 book and having found this series for Reading Ireland Month 2020, I went back and bought (gasp! How unusual is that!!) Book 1 of the series. There are currently seven in the series and I’m determined to progress to the rest.

Erin O’Reilly is a patrol officer for the NYPD with K-9 partner Rolf. She has been on the job for eleven years, ready for a change and has her eyes set on detective. She is second generation NYPD and proud of it, strong, confident, and dedicated.

A date at a major art gala runs awry when men dressed as part of the security team grabs an extremely valuable painting. The painting has yet to be authenticated, leading to insufficient security and they do a grab and run. Unfortunately, a patrolman gets caught in the crossfire. In formal attire and without her normal gear, she does her best with the downed officer’s gun, calling in the theft, backup, and a bus for the casualty.

Erin recognizes the uniform theft from a call she’d previously had and begins her investigation. Unfortunately, as the officer dies, the case has now gone to the detectives in her precinct and they tell her to back off. Of course, now fully involved, not likely she’ll do that.

Erin comes off a bit gruff, rude, sharp, and almost hostile at times. She has difficulty reining in that Irish temper and becomes offensive with the date who is trying to help her. After all, he is the art expert who invited her to the exclusive exhibit where he was known and connected. He is able to reliably give her a couple leads that sets her investigation.

I enjoyed the interaction with her K-9 partner and her work with him, his well-trained commands in German. She exhibits some training of her own, remembering lessons when the need arises. The well-plotted and paced police procedural moves along at a good clip, reminding you that it really isn’t over until it’s over. The conclusion was sweet, the transfer to detective in the new unit being formed in Manhattan.

Since I’ve already read Book 2, I can see where the author pulled back on the wholly bad-ass female officer to a slightly more mellow detective. There are compelling characters and she is given more dimension–after all–this was Book 1. This book is a fast read, not terribly difficult to figure the culprit, but the climax satisfying. I already see the growth that happens in the newly minted detective of Book 2–a new challenge for her, not quite so sure of herself but with enough background she’s no green-horn either and can hold her own. Engaging and entertaining. 4 stars

Book Titles are the go-to drink for the series entry. Recipe included and they mysteriously include Guinness! Book 3 of the series is entitled White Russian. Wanna make any bets on the drink?

His Thoughts

Black Velvet by Steven HenryIf crime doesn’t pay, why is there so much of it? Erin O’Reilly is a beat cop in New York who answers the call and puzzles over the answer. Her partner is Rolf, a German Shepherd with an unending loyalty and a nose for perps. A minor burglary turns major.

Steven Henry spins his tales with a master’s touch. This small-time burglary turns into a major art theft and the death of one of New York’s finest. The problem is an underlying disdain for beat cops by major crime detectives. Many times Erin appears to be one step ahead of the detectives despite their telling her to butt out of their case.

The minor burglary includes four uniforms taken and the cash register unopened. One of the criminals is caught by Rolf and Erin, but he is a minnow in the pond later the theft of a priceless painting. The plot thickens as the detectives’ order Erin to butt out and let them solve the case.

The dialog in Mr. Henry’s books make it difficult to put down. There are no idle moments in this tale. The action is very fast and would make a good television mini-series. As the plot thickens, the crime shifts to the death of the cop in the commission of the major art theft.

CE WilliamsIt is a delight to read Mr. Henry’s books and engage with his characters. Sleepless nights are rewarded with an exciting and ongoing plot. Erin’s character is a no-nonsense second-generation cop in Queens. She is portrayed as a small dynamo of a cop. She is much bigger with her partner Rolf. Criminals would certainly like to do her physical harm but a 96 pound German Shepherd is not to be trifled with.

Try the book, you will enjoy the characters and the repartee. 5 stars CE Williams

Book Details:

Genre: Cozy Animal Mysteries, Women Sleuths
Publisher: Clickworks Press
ASIN: B077LT86SM
Print Length: 244 pages
Publication Date: November 17, 2017
Source: Purchased Direct from Publisher
Title Link: Black Velvet(Amazon)
Barnes and Noble
Kobo

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

Steven Henry - authorThe Author: Steven Henry is the USA Today bestselling author of the Erin O’Reilly mysteries and the Clarion Chronicles. He learned how to read almost before he learned how to walk. Ever since he began reading stories, he wanted to put his own on the page. He lives a very quiet and ordinary life in Minnesota with his wife and dog.

©2020 CE Williams – V Williams V Williams

Book Beginnings and The Friday 56–HELLO Friday!

Book Beginnings on Fridays and The Friday 56

In October I began participating in Book Beginnings who is hosted by Gillian at Rose City Readers. Every Friday you have the opportunity to share the first sentence of the book you are currently reading. Include the title of the book and the author’s name. You may wish to share your impression of the book to date as well. Also please share your post with Mister Linky on her blog site. This week I am spotlighting Oh Holy Fright by Teresa Trent.

“What would possess Joe Nelson to give the Christmas solo to a woman who sings like a washing machine full of rocks?”

(And because there is a natural tie-in to The Friday 56, it is common to combine the two.)

The only rules are for participation in The Friday 56 is to grab a book, any book or the one you are #currentlyreading, turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader, and find a sentence (or a few, but don’t spoil it!), post it, and then add your post URL to the Linky on the host site Freda’s Voice – there yah go! How’s that for easy!

Book Beginnings and The Friday 56

Friday 56:

Ruby spun around in front of me. “I know you’re looking at my jacket, Betsy. Like it?”

The white fur of the jacket was lustrous. I would never have bought it for myself, and I also thought it was more suited for a woman much younger than Ruby. She was running the risk of looking like the famous abominable snowman from the claymation version of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer. “Very nice,” was all I could manage to say.

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So what am I thinking?

Nice to get into a slightly unusual scenario for a cozy mystery! I can relate to a choir member hurting your ears since I was part of several choirs for more than fifteen years. And there is always one…

This review is scheduled for Christmas Day. Don’t you just love that cover?

©2018 V Williams V Williams

Knot My Sister’s Keeper by Mary Marks #BookTour #BookReview #Giveaway

Knot My Sister's Keeper by Mary Marks

I am over the top delighted today to provide a review for you at my blog stop for Knot My Sister’s Keeper by Mary Marks on the Great Escapes Virtual Book Tour. Scroll down to register for your chance to win the Giveaway!

Book Details

Knot My Sister’s Keeper (A Quilting Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
6th in Series
Kensington (July 31, 2018)
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1496701848
Digital ASIN: B0776GV62J

Book Blurb

In tracing her ancestry, quilter Martha Rose discovers a ritzy half-sister, a stash of family secrets, and a decades-old mystery that only she can unravel . . .

Martha Rose is shocked to find she has a half-sister, especially one so different from her. Giselle Cole is wealthy, widowed, and lives a glamorous life in West Los Angeles. At least her grandmother was a quilter! But Giselle can’t answer Martha’s many questions about their father—he disappeared when she was only a child and the few clues left behind indicate he may have been murdered. So Martha and Giselle team up on an investigation that weaves them through the streets of L.A., their father’s hidden love affairs, and into some mysterious unfinished Cole family business . . .

My Review

Absolutely delightful cozy mystery that seamlessly integrates the love, history, and function of quilting with an unusual premise that sets this cozy far apart.

Daughter Dearest sends off for a DNA test for her mother and the results knock her socks off. Martha Rose is surprised to discover she has a half-sister she never knew existed. What’s more, Martha’s sister, Giselle Cole, is rich. Really rich. Stinkin’ rich. (Wouldn’t we ALL love to get that kind of DNA surprise!) But there are even more surprises. Giselle is an acquired taste, having been rich enough that she’s never had to apply a filter to her mouth and they clash pretty quickly. It is Giselle’s grandmother who also shares a common interest in quilting and provides a familial link.

However, it was Giselle who actually knew their father, until he disappeared when she was eight years old. Martha, of course, is not a total stranger to sleuthing and it’s not long before she off to figure out what happened to daddy dearest, an acclaimed artist. Daddy apparently had a host of secrets–and he was artistically adept at keeping them.

Martha is no spring chicken and opts for comfort over chic and has a fiancé as well as a close circle of friends. Her daughter Quincy informs her mom she has a big announcement. (uh oh! She has been seeing Detective Noah Kaplan with whom Martha has had a previous run in.)

Martha is Jewish; Giselle is not.  Martha’s financé, Yossi, or “Crusher,” is an undercover agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Firearms, and Tobacco and has connections which will prove useful since this constitutes a really cold case. Her dad disappeared more than thirty years ago.

This book is such a hoot! I really enjoyed the author’s writing style, that terrific sense of humor that came through. Loved that the protagonist is a middle-aged woman with a few pounds and is involved in a hobby she is good at. Her days are busy! Her romantic interest is cleverly done with a mature view and few stars in the eyes. Very down to earth and believable! Giselle, while a widow, is 180 degrees from the sensibilities of Martha and their contrast makes for some hilarious dialogue. The support characters are well fleshed and contribute to a sense of tight kinship, even given the southern California location.

The more they learn of their mysterious and erstwhile father, the less they want to know, then absolutely MUST know what happened to him. Though the suspicions are there early on, the red herrings or twists send them in all directions and they eventually learn to work with each other.  It doesn’t take long either before the reader is invested enough that he/she must learn the truth as well.

This is the sixth in the series, but absolutely functions as a standalone and at this point, I’m such a fan, my difficulty will only be in waiting for the next book. These characters become real, want-to-know-them-better friends. The story was well-plotted and progressed smoothly, never lagged, and the conclusion most satisfying. You don’t have to be a quilter or Jewish to love this most-absorbing tale, just a person who reaps the pleasure of a well-written novel. This really is one you won’t want to put down and are sorry to see it end, even if it does end well.

I received this ebook download from the publisher and NetGalley through Great Escapes Book Tours and greatly appreciate the opportunity to read and review. Totally my pleasure. Recommended to all; push your cozy mystery boundaries.

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Giveaway

Be sure to sign up for your chance to win one of two print copies of Knot My Sister’s Keeper in this Rafflecopter giveaway 

Rosepoint Publishing:  Five of Five Stars Five Stars of Five Rating

About the Author

Mary Marks - authorBorn and raised in Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, Mary Marks earned a B.A. in Anthropology from UCLA and an M.A. in Public Administration from the American Jewish University in Los Angeles. In 2004 she enrolled in the UCLA Extension Writers Program. Her first novel, Forget Me Knot, was a finalist in a national writing competition in 2011. She is currently a reviewer of cozy mysteries for The New York Journal of Books at www.nyjournalofbooks.com.

Readers can visit her at www.marymarksmysteries.com and https://www.facebook.com/mmarks2013

Purchase Links

Amazon – B&N   Google Play     kobo      BookBub

Tour Participants:

July 31 – The Avid Reader – REVIEW

July 31 – Teresa Trent Author Blog – SPOTLIGHT

August 1 – Ruff Drafts – GUEST POST

August 2 – My Reading Journeys – REVIEW

August 2 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT

August 3 – Rosepoint Publishing – REVIEW

August 3 – Handcrafted Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 4 – The Power of Words – REVIEW

August 4 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – SPOTLIGHT  

August 5 – Babs Book Bistro – SPOTLIGHT

August 6 – Sapphyria’s Books – REVIEW

August 6 – Cozy Up With Kathy – GUEST POST

August 7 – Mystery Thrillers and Romantic Suspense Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

August 7 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

August 8 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

August 9 – Laura’s Interests – REVIEW

August 9 – Mysteries with Character – GUEST POST

August 10 – A Holland Reads – SPOTLIGHT

August 11 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW

August 12 – Island Confidential – SPOTLIGHT

August 13 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

August 13 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW 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