Death of a Debtor, Jenna Harte

Death of the Debtor ($15.95, 256 pages, 8×5 Trade Paperback, ISBN: 9781603817561) is the first novel in Jenna Harte’s Sophie Parker Coupon Mystery series. Riches to rags Sophie Parker doesn’t think her life could get much worse until a joy ride in an airplane leads to her being picked up for murder.

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“Jenna Harte pulls you in and holds you captive with a cast of quirky personalities in a fast-paced story.  You’ll worry, laugh and cheer with your favorite murder suspect, the wacky, irresistibly funny Sophie Parker as she tries to untangle a plot that put a target on her back. A fun and exciting read that will warm the cockles of your heart.” –Diane Fanning, Edgar-nominated Crime Writer

“Watch out, Stephanie Plum. Sophie Parker has arrived! And she’s a force of nature. Watching Sophie get herself in and out of trouble is a roller coaster ride with a most satisfactory ending.” –Betsy Ashton, Author of the Max Max Mysteries

“Look out, there’s a new amateur sleuth to love! Sophie Parker is sharp, witty, and trouble seems to find her. Death of a Debtor is a funny, fast paced mystery. Jenna Harte has given us another sleuth to love!” –Mollie Cox Bryan, Agatha Nominated Author of the Cora Crafts Series

Forced to move back home to the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia after her father and brother end up in jail for running a Ponzi scheme, Sophie Parker does the best she can. While living with her curmudgeonly aunt, she works as a wench waitress at a pirate-themed restaurant and learns the ins and outs of discount shopping through a coupon group.  Life goes from bad to worse when an innocent airplane ride with her former teenage crush, AJ, leads to her being picked up by the police. The  plane’s indebted owner has been murdered, and he’s the man who helped put her father in jail. What started as a curiosity has now turned into a quest to make sure she isn’t arrested. Armed with gossip from the women in her coupon group, and her cantankerous aunt, Sophie sets out to find out who killed the ruthless businessman minutes after she flew off with AJ. The first in the Sophie Parker Coupon Mystery series.

Jenna Harte loves to write about crime and passion. She is the author of the Valentine Mysteries, the first of which, Deadly Valentine, reached the quarter-finals in Amazon’s Breakthrough Novel Award in 2013. She also has a three-book romance series, Southern Heat, is currently working on a traditional cozy mystery featuring a fairy tale loving, coupon clipping sleuth. When she’s not telling stories, she works by day as a freelance writer, blogger and online entrepreneur.

Termination Dust, by Sue Henry

Termination Dust ($16.95, 320 pages, 8.5×5.5 Trade Paperback, ISBN: N/A) is the XXX in Sue Henry’s Alex Jensen Mystery series. The story follows Alex in another murder when he suspects the police’s main suspect is not guilty.

Absorbing…spectacular…compelling.. A marvelous and fascinating experience.  – The Mystery Review

Alaska is a great place to visit… and a bad place to die It is said that when the first snow of early winter—the “termination dust”—starts to fall, it’s time for visitors to leave Alaska’s wonders behind. For some, it’s already too late. Jim Hampton’s Yukon vacation takes a turn for the worse when he discovers a prospector’s diary from the 1800s. And it dies when the rugged outdoorsman is arrested for the gruesome slaying of a controversial ex-Senator. But Alex Jensen isn’t convinced of Hampton’s guilt. And the dedicated state trooper is ready to track the bitter truth through the treacherous snows of the Yukon wilderness—and in the pages of a mysterious, hundred-year-old journal, which describes crimes remarkably similar… and deadly.

Sue Henry, whose award-winning Alaska mysteries have received the highest praise from readers and critics alike, has liven in Alaska for almost a Quarter of a century, and brings history, Alaskan lore, and the majestic beauty of the vast landscape to her mysteries.

 

House of Rose, by T.K. Thorne: When a Rookie Officer Meets her Magical Ancestry

House of Rose ($16.95, 244 pages, 6×9 Trade Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-60381-767-7), is the first book in a paranormal crime / urban fantasy series by T.K. Thorne. A strange vision and a shot suspect puts more than rookie patrol officer Rose Brighton’s job at risk—the added discovery of her witch ancestry means Rose is in even greater danger than she thought.

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“T.K. Thorne is an authentic new voice in the world of fantasy and mystery. House of Roseblends the realistic details of police work with magic. The result is an explosive story that will keep you on the edge of your seat as Rose learns of her true heritage… and the dangerous powers that are her birthright. Pick up this story–you’ll thank yourself over and over again.”
–Carolyn Haines, USA Today bestselling author of the Sarah Booth Delaney, Pluto’s Snitch, and Trouble the black cat detective mystery series

“Thorne delivers a spellbinding thriller, an enthralling blend of real-world policing and other-world magic. It’s a wild ride of high stakes that pits the warm humanity of Rose and her friends against chilling powers of darkness in a battle that is both ages old and totally of today.”
–Barbara Kyle, author of The Traitor’s Daughter

“Rookie cop Rose Brighton never imagined that a simple suspect chase into an alley would lead her into dark passages where she would question her definition of reality, her own identity, and whether she was pawn or prey. House of Rose is a gem.”
–DP Lyle, award-winning author of the Jake Longly thriller series

Rookie patrol officer Rose Brighton chases a suspect down an alley. Without warning, her vision wavers, and the lone suspect appears to divide into two men—the real suspect, frozen in time, and a shadow version with a gun. Confused by what she’s just seen, but with no time to second guess it’s meaning, Rose shoots the real suspect in the back.

Forced to lie to detectives, she risks her job and her life to discover the shocking truth of who she really is—a witch of an ancient House, the prey of one powerful enemy, and the pawn of another.

House of Rose, set in the Deep South city of Birmingham, Alabama, is the first book of the Magic City Stories.

T.K. Thorne retired as a captain of the Birmingham Police Department and as executive director of a downtown business improvement district in Birmingham Alabama. Both careers and a Masters of Social Work from the University of Alabama provide fodder for her writing. For more information, look here.

Keep reading for an excerpt:

My throat feels like I just swallowed sand; my ears ring and the sulfur stench of gunpowder fills my nose. As a topper, my head is pounding with the worst headache I’ve ever had in my life. Air goes in and out of my lungs, but someone else is breathing, not me. Blue lights stutter across the cheek of a dead man. A man who lies sprawled on the asphalt, two bullet holes in his back staring up at me like accusing eyes.

This can’t be real. But it is real. It is the words that just came out of my sergeant’s mouth that aren’t: “You’re a hero; you saved your partner’s life.”

A hero? Is this how heroes are supposed to feel? I’m in denial—I did not fire my gun for the first time at a person instead of a cardboard target. I did not kill a human being.

But I am here, and I have shot someone, because that person’s body is now lying a few feet away, the centerpiece in a rectangle of bright-yellow police tape. Just beyond the tape, the staccato flicker of blue from several patrol cars illuminate the close-set houses, the man’s lifeless back, and Sarge’s beefy face.

His breath onions and cigar, Sarge grabs my shoulder with his burly hand, turning me away from the body. “Rose? You gonna be okay?”

Okay? What an idiotic thing to ask.

“I’m okay, Sarge,” I hear myself say in a thin, shaky voice.

“You did what you had to do. You made a tough call in a bad situation.” He squeezes my shoulder.

Did I? How would I know? I don’t think there is precedent for killing a person because you saw him shoot your partner in a vision, and it begins to happen in real time.

Am I losing my mind?

A few feet away, a guy in plainclothes is talking to Paul. My partner’s right elbow rests on his gun butt. To an outsider, he looks relaxed, but I recognize the tension in his stance. Still, seeing him nearby helps.

Paul shakes his head, pulls his gun, and hands it to the guy in plainclothes, but I can’t hear the exchange. Damn it. What are they saying?

“Who is that guy Paul is talking to?” I ask Sarge.

“IAD.”

IAD—even a rookie dreads those initials and knows they stand for Internal Affairs Division, the detectives who handle internal police investigations and determine if a shooting is in-policy or not. This guy holds my career in his hands, maybe the rest of my life, if it goes badly.

Sarge keeps his hand on my shoulder, an anchor to reality in a world gone bizarre.

“What happens next?” I ask.

“IAD will take your weapon.”

Rookie that I am, even I know that’s standard operating procedure—SOP—for any police shooting.

“It’s SOP,” Sarge says, like some kind of echo of what’s playing in my head.

“Great.”

Am I going to prison?

Sarge moves off to brief the chief, who has just arrived at the scene. If this were a ball game and I weren’t a woman, he’d probably give my butt a pat of encouragement. But it’s not a game. When a cop shoots a man in the back, plenty of questions will be asked … and I’m not going to be able to answer them.

A Very Merry Murder, by Mary Angela: All She Wants for Christmas is to Solve this Murder

All Emmeline wants for Christmas is to solve a murder…

A Very Merry Murder ($15.95, 258 pages, 5×8 Trade Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-60381-655-7), by Mary Angela, is the third book in the Professor Prather Mystery Series. Professor Emmeline Prather’s lectures on Agatha Christie become all too relevant when a murder takes place at the local inn and suspicion lands on her.

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“This book overflows with the sounds and smells and music of the winter holiday season.
I was carried away to Copper Bluff, South Dakota.” Read More…
—Laura’s Interests

“This was a tightly woven whodunit that captured my attention as I had to know what happened next. The pacing was on par with how the story was being told keeping me riveted to the pages as one by one, the suspect pool dwindles and Em is closer to the revealing the killer’s identity.” Read More…
—Drus Book Musing

It’s December in Copper Bluff, and from hillside to hallowed hall, everyone is merry–or will be as soon as semester break arrives. Students are studying, professors are grading, and Emmeline Prather is anticipating the university-sponsored holiday concert. Friend and colleague Lenny Jenkins will be accompanying the visiting quartet, Jazz Underground, and Em can’t think of a better way to kick-start the holiday season.

But before she can say “Jingle Bell Rock,” trouble arrives at Candlelight Inn, the bed and breakfast where the quartet is staying. One of the band members dies unexpectedly, and suspicion falls on Em, whose altercation with the man ends with him on the floor. He never recovers, and now she’s worried her reputation might not either.

When Emmeline starts to see parallels between an Agatha Christie novel she’s teaching and the victim, Lenny claims she’s read one too many mysteries. But as the clues unravel, so does the murderer’s patience. Em is close to finding the truth, but will the truth–or the murderer–push her over the edge?

It will take a Christmas miracle to solve this case, but if there’s one thing in surplus this time of year, it’s faith.

Book Three of the Professor Prather Mystery Series.

Mary Angela, like her protagonist, lives on the Great Plains and teaches college writing and literature. When she’s not grading papers (when is she not grading papers?), she enjoys reading, traveling, and spending time with her family. She and her husband have two amazing daughters, one adorable dog, and a cat who would rather not be limited by an adjective. For more information, go here.

Keep reading for an excerpt:

Around the department were other nods to the holidays, such as a small tree placed on the table outside Barb’s office. Someone had taken the time to wrap the old books in brown paper, tying colorful ribbons around each one. Across from Barb’s office was Lenny’s, and he’d taped a paper menorah to his door. On my door were jingle bells that chimed noisily as I turned the key. The faint smell of pine cleaner greeted me as I entered the tiny room.

Although small, my office contained my most beloved possessions: old books and papers and a black push-button phone dating back to the 1970s. I don’t know when I’d become so nostalgic, before the move to Copper Bluff or after. My degree, French literature, inclined me toward historical texts and papers. Despite my attachment to the past, a new laptop computer sat on my wooden desk, looking silver and futuristic among all the brown and antique. I’d purchased it last spring and loved its mobility and efficiency too. It took up half the space of my old desktop and was small enough to fit into my satchel.

I unwrapped my scarf and hung it on the hook by my door along with my coat. Our faculty meeting wasn’t for twenty minutes, so I had time to check my inbox. The last month of the year brought a digital deluge with it. Students who had been lackadaisical about their grades for fourteen weeks suddenly turned into diligent scholars. They finally cared about points, participation, and all the things I’d tried to hammer into their heads from the first day of fall. Extra credit was their last hope, and they wondered what events they could attend and where. There was no venue or task they wouldn’t consider if it meant ten extra points. I huffed as I scanned twelve new emails. If only they had shown such enthusiasm weeks ago.

“Em, you’re here,” came a voice from the doorway.

I turned to see Claudia Swift, a creative writing professor and very dear friend. She wore a green blouse, gold scarf, and boots with four-inch heels.

“I have something for you.” She pulled out a package from her sheer, billowing sleeves.

“Claudia! It’s so early. I don’t have yours wrapped.” The truth was I didn’t even have it purchased.

She took a seat across from me in the alcove chair. “It’s not early for me. It’s late. I’ve been carrying it since Italy, and I decided the minute December arrived, I would give it to you. Open it.”

Claudia and her husband, Gene, had gone on a couples’ cruise to Italy last spring to rekindle their on-again/off-again relationship while their two children stayed behind with grandparents. A tenured professor, she was able to get away with a semester-long sabbatical, which had been a success on many levels. One, she and her husband renewed their marriage vows in romantic Venice, and two, she had written fifteen poems, some of which were accepted for publication. It would be years before I would feel as secure as she did in her position. Yet during my pre-tenure review in the fall, Giles assured me I was on track for associate professor in three years and accepted my first proposed course, which was heavily enrolled. All around, it had been a good semester.

Murder on Moon Mountain: When Hot Property Meets a Cold Corpse

Murder on Moon Mountain ($15.95, 5×8 Trade Paperback, 260 pages, ISBN: 978-1-60381-649-6), is the second book in A Listed and Lethal Mystery, a cozy mystery series by Jean Harrington. What happens when a hot property meets a cold corpse? Realtor Honey Ingersoll is thrilled to be selling Eureka Falls’ biggest mansion—until her client asks for a special favor that has her stumbling on a murder victim and leads her on a chase for the killer.

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“This mix of murder and romance is sure to appeal to cozy fans.” Read more…
–Publishers Weekly

The first in the series, Murder on Pea Pike, was a hit with reviewers

“Harrington does a splendid job of describing the absurdity of human nature and takes full advantage of her delightful characters in this quirky murder mystery. She uses their unique peculiarities to create a lively and thrilling story that is equal parts amusing, kindhearted, and engaging. [….] Murder on Pea Pike is bursting with southern charm and sultry atmosphere. A splendid series debut that won’t disappoint readers who love old school murder mysteries.” –Michael Thomas Barry for New York Journal of Books

“[An] amusing series debut [with a] lively cast.” –Publishers Weekly

What happens when a hot property meets a cold corpse?

Realtor Honey Ingersoll is thrilled to be selling Eureka Falls’ biggest mansion—until her client asks for a special favor. In the estate next door, the Velveteen Vixens, a group of bikini-clad housewives are shooting a pilot film for a red-hot reality show. One more model is needed. Will Honey become a Vixen for a day? She agrees but soon regrets it when she stumbles upon the body of a murdered woman and becomes a person of interest in her death.

Determined not to be viewed either as a Vixen or a victim, Honey sets out to find the killer and prove she can do far more than move real estate—especially now that it seems it’s her life up for sale.

Book 2 in the Listed and Lethal Mystery Series.

Jean Harrington swears she ingested ink as an infant, for words are in her blood. Her first job was writing advertising copy for Reed & Barton, Silversmiths, and she claims she has the spoons to prove it. Then for seventeen years, she taught forms of discourse and English literature at Becker College in Worcester, Massachusetts. For several years, she also directed a peer-taught writing center at the college that was available to any student with writing problems. After Jean and husband John moved to Naples, she began dreaming of murder, and the award-winning, tongue-in-cheek Murders by Design Mystery Series is the result. Murder on Pea Pike is book 1 in the Listed and Lethal series. Jean is up to her knees in dead bodies and loving every minute of it. She is a member of Romance Writers of America, having served two terms as president of her local Southwest Florida chapter; International Thriller Writers; and Mystery Writers of America. For more information, go here.

Keep reading for an excerpt:

The next morning, I drove onto the McHale property fifteen minutes early so I’d have time to return Carmen’s bikini. Yesterday I wore it home with my white shirt buttoned over it and the dratted navy suit folded on the passenger seat. Now washed spanking clean, the bikini sat tucked in a gift bag with a thank you note and a bag of Mami’s Cheese Crisps. Today I wore my red mini, the one I usually saved for weekends. In case I saw Carmen, I had a point to make, didn’t I?

Gift bag in hand, I slipped through the opening in the boxwoods. Gardenia perfume hovered in the air. I inhaled and took a moment to enjoy the scene. The pool, as crazy awesome as I remembered, gleamed in the morning sun, and beyond it, at the foot of the Bluffs, the river sparkled its way to the Gulf. Off in the distance, Moon Mountain, its highest hill swirling with mist, stood guard over us all.

I skirted the pool and strolled across the lawn, thick and soft underfoot. If I left the gift bag on one of the umbrella tables, Carmen would be sure to see it. Caught in the breeze, a piece of red fabric, one of those … pareos … fluttered up from between two of the lounge chairs. I hurried over to grab it before it blew into the trees.

Oh no. Oh God Almighty, no.

Like a rag doll someone had thrown away, Carmen lay crumpled on her side, her knees bent to her waist, her head in a puddle of blood. She was lifeless, I knew she was lifeless. Yet needing to be honest-to-God sure, I knelt down and pressed a finger her cheek. Her skin, a strange gray white, felt cold to the touch. To my horror, ants trailed through the blood seeping from her wound. Then something else caused the breath to catch in my throat. Something that didn’t make any sense. Stretched straight above her head, her arm had frozen in place, a single finger pointing at the concrete, where two words were spelled out in blood—under car.

“Aren’t you at the wrong house?” a deep voice asked. I leaped to my feet and whirled around. The killer?

A rock star look-alike stood smiling at me from across the pool. How could he smile at a time like this? I stared at him open-mouthed, unable to answer.

Murder in the Crooked Eye Brewery, by J.C. Eaton: Jealousy and Greed in a Small Town Microbrewery

Murder in the Crooked Eye Brewery ($16.95, 268 pages, 5×8 Trade Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-60381-739-4) is a cozy mystery novel by J.C. Eaton and the first book in A Marcie Rayner Mystery series. Crime statistician turned investigative assistant, Marcie Rayner investigates the murder of a microbrewery owner in Biscay, Minnesota, and learns the victim may not be the nice guy everyone thought he was.

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“More satisfying than a stein full of ale on a sweltering summer day, Murder in the Crooked Eye Brewery is an absolutely delectable read. I loved hanging out with neophyte PI Marcie Rayner while she hunted down suspects, sifted out the red herrings, and fended off her interfering mother. With more twists and turns than an upside-down rollercoaster, this deftly-plotted mystery is a welcome addition to the female PI genre!”
—Linda Reilly, author of the Deep Fried Mysteries, and the Cat Lady Mysteries

Still kicking herself in the pants for ever getting married in the first place, twenty-something crime statistician Marcie Rayner does a turnaround. She divorces her philandering husband and trades her desk job in St. Paul, Minnesota, for a temporary role as an investigative assistant in New Ulm.

Never expecting her first case to come from her mother in Florida, Marcie finds herself ensconced in a full-blown murder investigation. The victim, forty-five-year-old microbrewery owner, Billy Hazlitt, is found shot to death on the floor of the Crooked Eye Brewery’s tank room in the nearby hamlet of Biscay.

And while Biscay doesn’t seem like the place where murder motives abound, its quirky residents, including two spinster sisters and the employees of the local diner, offer more obstacles than help. Marcie is convinced one of them is the killer. As she digs deeper into the case, she learns the victim may not be the nice guy everyone thought he was. Worse yet, the killer may be gunning for her as well.

Book One of the Marcie Rayner Mystery Series

J.C. Eaton is the penname for the collaborative writing team of Ann I. Goldfarb and James E. Clapp. While Ann is a seasoned author in her own right, having eight published YA time travel mysteries to her credit, James, a former winery tasting room manager, has focused on non-fiction with informative blurbs on the wine industry. This unlikely author duo found common ground when they moved to Arizona and realized that the community they were living in was the perfect background for murder mysteries. Ann admits that she’s definitely “the detail person” while James is more comfortable with plotline and the big ideas. Running the dialogue is their favorite pastime in this venture. For more information, look here.

Keep reading for an excerpt:

By the time we left New Ulm and got onto the highway, Max and I had already shared all the information we had gleaned. It was pretty much the same stuff my mother had told me and that came from her conversation with Alice Davenport. What Alice didn’t know was that Billy Hazlitt was shot in the temple with a .357 magnum, his body lying all twisted up in front of one of the brite tanks used to chill and carbonate beer after fermentation. The sheriff said it looked as if someone tried to slide the body behind the tank but gave up.

The whole thing made no sense because it wasn’t as if the tank could conceal the body from view. According to Max, those tanks were tall and cylindrical. No way to hide a body. Apparently the sheriff ’s department was baffled, too.

“I can’t add much more to that.” I adjusted the seatbelt so it wouldn’t burn my neck. “Unless Billy’s ability to hurl a spitball somehow plays into all of this. Other than reiterating milestones in his life over the years, Alice Davenport wasn’t much help. She knew he had gone into the service as soon as he got out of high school and that he was married twice with no children. You don’t think it was a jealous ex-wife, do you?”

“Right now the field is wide open for speculation. It could’ve been anything from a robbery gone bad to an unbalanced girlfriend. Or, as you said, ‘a jealous former spouse.’ Not that it’s any of my business, but you’re over your ex, aren’t you?”

“Over and out. I can’t believe I was so naïve not to pick up on the clues sooner. He cheated right under my nose but I didn’t want to admit I saw the signs. Not a great reference for a neophyte investigator, huh?”

“It’s always tougher when it’s firsthand. Our minds are wired to ignore the evidence. Self-preservation and all that crapola. I’m sure there’s a fancy psychology term for it but I’ll be darned if it comes to mind.”

“Denial. I think the word is denial.”

“Well, nothing to deny as far as Billy Hazlitt’s death goes. We don’t have any personal ties that would cloud our thinking. And we’ve got a big advantage as far as sleuthing is concerned. Biscay is a really small town. A hundred people or so and, from what I know about small towns, someone is bound to talk.”

K Street Killing, by Colleen J. Shogan: A Tycoon Takes a Deadly Tumble

K Street Killing ($15.95, 242 pages, 5 x 8 Trade Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-60381-613-7) is the fourth book in A Washington Whodunit series by Colleen J. Shogan. When a Capitol Hill fundraising soiree ends with a powerful K Street tycoon mysteriously tumbling off the rooftop, congressional staffer Kit Marshall must find the killer before her boss’s the election season derails.

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“With a breezy writing style that included lots of interesting tidbits and history about places and events in Washington DC this novel was fun and easy to read.” —Laurie’s Thoughts and Reviews

“The mystery is perplexing—for Kit and company, and for me—and well done. I was impressed by the complexity of the murder plot. I enjoyed the political theme, and all the details about lobbyists.” —Jane Reads

“To someone who has mastered that uniquely Washington skill of bobbling two cell phones and a glass of wine without spilling a drop, solving a murder is practically child’s play.” —HillRag

“Shogan, a senior executive at the Library of Congress who teaches American politics at Georgetown University, bolsters her tale with an insider’s knowledge of the ways of Washington.” —Publishers Weekly

“This delightful cozy mystery is a bit different since it is set in the political world of Washington, DC rather than a small whimsical town, but it definitely has an interesting cast. […] It was fascinating to learn about the maneuverings and legalities involved with fundraising and lobbyists and I obtained a new perspective and new knowledge about the roles various folks play and some of the lines that theoretically regulate their duties and actions.” —The Reading Addict

“The fourth volume in author Colleen J. Shogan’s simply outstanding ‘Washington Whodunit’ series, K Street Killing is a consistently entertaining read with many an unexpected twist and turn by a true master of the genre.”
—Midwest Book Review

Reviewers have loved the other books in the series:

Calamity at the Continental Club: “Readers who enjoy American history will appreciate this light mystery, including tours of Mount Vernon, the National Archives, and the Smithsonian.” —Lesa Holstine for Library Journal

Homicide in the House: “Shogan does a good job depicting the creaky, squeaky wheels of government, and Marshall plays politics and sleuth with equal dexterity in this capital Capitol Hill mystery.” —Publishers Weekly

Stabbing the Senate: “Loads of inside scoop about the workings of Senate offices—complete with all the gossiping, back-stabbing, and procedural maneuvering—plus an appealing young sleuth, sprightly pacing, and an edge-of-your-seat showdown on the Hart-Dirksen underground train.” —Literary Hill

It’s the height of campaign season, and instead of relishing newlywed bliss with her husband Doug Hollingsworth, Capitol Hill staffer Kit Marshall is busy with a tough reelection fight for her boss, member of Congress Maeve Dixon. Before Maeve and her staff—Kit included—leave Washington, D.C. to campaign full time in North Carolina, they have one last fundraising engagement.

On the iconic rooftop of a restaurant overlooking the Capitol and the Washington monument, Kit and her best pal Meg do their best to woo wealthy lobbyists for sizable campaign donations. Everyone’s enjoying the evening soiree until a powerful K Street tycoon mysteriously tumbles off the rooftop. Even with claims the fall must be suicide, Detective Maggie Glass and Kit aren’t so easily convinced the truth is so simple.

While balancing Doug’s mid-life career crisis, Kit must spring into action to discover who killed the notorious Van Parker before Dixon’s candidacy sputters, even if it means investigating Meg’s handsome new beau, the victim’s conniving widow, and a bicycle advocate hell-bent on settling a long-standing grudge. When a threatening note is left on Kit’s car, warning her to back off the investigation, Kit knows she’s closing in on the K Street killer.

Says Shogan, “Years ago, I worked for a senator locked in a tight reelection fight. I never forgot what it was like to work on the Hill during that long, hot summer. K Street Killing throws a murder into the mix for congressional sleuth extraordinaire Kit Marshall.”

Colleen J. Shogan has been a fan of mysteries since the age of six. A political scientist by training, she is a senior executive at the Library of Congress where she works on great programs like the National Book Festival. A proud member of Sisters in Crime, Colleen won a Next Generation Indie Award in the Best Mystery category for her first novel Stabbing in the Senate. She lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob Raffety and their rescue mutt Conan. For more information, go here.

Keep reading for an excerpt:

Meg gave me a two-fingered salute. “No worries, boss.”

“Thanks. I’ll see you in the office tomorrow,” I said. “Hopefully we can wrap up any loose odds and ends this week before we hit the campaign trail.”

“Got it.” Accompanied by a look of genuine concern, she added, “Kit, try to get some rest, okay?”

I nodded. Meg turned around and ran right into Dash, who had approached her from behind. She’d whipped around with her almost full wineglass, which teetered and then spilled on the floor.

“I’m so sorry,” sputtered Dash. He grabbed a napkin and started dabbing at Meg’s blazer, now collateral damage. I waited for the inevitable explosion. It was hard to say what designer Meg was wearing. Her couture trended toward the sophisticated, particularly for Capitol Hill standards. Today she was wearing a dark blue Navy-inspired jacket with a tan pencil skirt. Whatever the label, I knew it wasn’t bargain basement leftovers. Meg prided herself on her clothes, almost treating her outfits as children. Dash had no idea what he’d just done.

My best friend’s eyes protruded, and she clenched her fists. I braced myself for Mount Saint Meg to erupt. But instead, a minor miracle transpired before my eyes. After taking a deep breath, Meg said, “Don’t worry, Dash. I’m sure the dry cleaners can fix it.”

My jaw dropped faster than Donald Trump’s approval ratings. Had I witnessed Meg letting Dash off the hook?

Dash flashed a thousand-watt smile and put his arm around Meg. “Thanks for being so understanding, babe.”

That was my cue to depart. “See you tomorrow, Meg.”

“I’ll follow you out,” she said. “I’d better go to the ladies’ room. I can’t let this red wine stain set on my jacket.”

“Good idea.” Dash picked up her now empty wineglass. “I’ll make sure you get a refill for our romantic stroll on the patio.”

Barf. Were Doug and I this annoying when we first started dating? I hoped not.

We walked off together, and I stopped at the elevator. I couldn’t resist adding a few cautionary words. “Remember, you’re still on duty. We have other donors here besides Dash.”

Meg crossed her arms. “You don’t have to remind me, Kit. I’m a professional.”

“I know,” I said. “Have fun and see you tomorrow.”

Inside the elevator, I checked the time. It was eight o’clock. Final votes were starting. I doubted Maeve needed any help, but I flipped my phone off silent mode, so I could hear it ping in case she texted me.

I could either walk two blocks to Union Station or catch an Uber home. My mind shuffled through the cost benefit analysis. I’d shelled out more cash this summer for late night rides home than I cared to remember. On the other hand, the subway was slow and unpredictable. Years of mismanagement, safety violations, and inadequate funding had made the Metro the bane of every Washingtonian’s existence. Remembering that Doug wanted to talk to me about something, I opened the Uber app. My ride was scheduled to arrive in three minutes at the corner of First and Louisiana.

I caught up with today’s news as I waited. Finally, a Camry arrived with the license plate matching my driver’s car. He slowed as I waved him down. As I opened the rear passenger door, I heard spine-tingling screams behind me. My hand froze on the door handle. Without thinking, I spun around. Two older women were standing at the entrance of a narrow passageway that separated Charlie Palmer’s from the building directly behind it. I didn’t have to move to figure out the source of their bloodcurdling cries. Near the far end of the alley, a body was sprawled on the pavement.

Travellin’ Shoes, by V.M. Burns: Vandalism and Murder in a Small Town

Travellin’ Shoes ($14.95, 248 pages, 5×8 Trade Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-60381-689-2), by V.M. Burns, is the first cozy mystery in a series set in the fictional small town of St. Joseph, Indiana, and featuring Detective RJ Franklin and his colorful godmother, Mama B. When a small-town police detective investigates the killing of a choir director, he finds that nothing is as it seems, including the identity of the victim.

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“Early one morning, St. Joseph, Ind., police detective RJ Franklin, the narrator of this promising series debut from Burns (The Plot Is Murder), is out for a jog when he hears sirens and smells smoke. […] RJ finds plenty of suspects, including the church financial secretary and Ty’s attractive widow, along the way to the satisfying ending. Burns nicely portrays the close-knit ties among the members of the vibrant church community.” –Publishers Weekly Read more… 

“R.J. Franklin is my kind of detective—savvy, smart, and insightful, with a heart the size of his native Indiana. A cop on leave after a devastating accident, R.J. is drawn into a murder investigation when the body of a choir director is found in a home burned to the ground. Devoted to his community and determined to save his church, R.J. plunges head first into the hunt for a ruthless killer. The author’s razor-sharp prose and twisty plot had me flipping the pages of my Kindle at warp speed. The budding romance between R.J. and Paris was a sweet, delightful bonus. With an ending as satisfying as one of Mama B’s scrumptious pies, Travellin’ Shoes is a mystery to be savored. I have thoroughly enjoyed every one of V.M. Burns’s books, but with Travellin’ Shoes she has proven herself a master of the mystery genre!”
–Linda Reilly, author of the Cat Lady Mysteries and the Deep Fried Mysteries

“Sure to delight fans of Easy Rawlins. I loved watching RJ Franklin trying to dodge well-meaning matchmakers and brazen women while trying to solve a murder.”
–Victoria Thompson, bestselling author of Murder On Union Square

“Three things: One, do not mess with Mama B. Two, do try the Sweet Potato Pie. And three, most definitely DO read V.M. Burns’s delicious Travelin’ Shoes. An engaging mystery, wonderful characters, a lovingly drawn setting, and recipes–what more could you want?”
–Kay Charles, author of the Marti Mickkleson mystery series

“Travellin’ Shoes introduces the world of RJ Franklin, an Indiana police detective who returns from leave to look into the murder of his church’s new choir director. RJ’s investigation takes him–and us–into the places that serve as the backbone of the urban community–the churches, the hair salons and, perhaps most importantly, the dinner table of the beloved local church women who know any- and everything. Throughout it all, Burns flawlessly mixes the best elements of both cozy mystery and police procedural before reaching a pitch-perfect crescendo worthy of a Sunday morning gospel choir.”
–Kellye Garrett, author of the Detective by Day mysteries

A house fire is extinguished to reveal the body of a choir director. The smell of gasoline points to murder.

Thomas Warrendale was employed by First Baptist Church, where Detective RJ Franklin Jr. is a parishioner. Recovering from a car accident, RJ is on leave from the police force in St. Joseph, Indiana, when this puzzling case calls him back. His insider’s knowledge makes him the obvious choice to lead the investigation.

The congregation doubled after Warrendale revamped the music to appeal to a more youthful crowd. RJ’s godmother, Mama B, gives the detective an earful about the choir director’s non-musical activities. Warrendale was also an accountant and a “fancy pants” seducer. His clients believe the man was stealing from them. Warrendale turns out to be an alias; his real name was Tyrone Warren, once a highly paid CPA in Cleveland. Was Warren in hiding? From his stone-faced wife? A disgruntled client?

Now someone is breaking in to the dead choir director’s office and the homes of his former clients. Believing the vandal to be the killer, RJ is particularly concerned about the safety of one client, the striking owner of two hair salons.

Book 1 in the RJ Franklin Mystery series. Soul food recipes included.

V.M. Burns was born and raised in the Midwestern United States. She holds a bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University (Evanston, IL) and master’s degrees from the University of Notre Dame (Notre Dame, IN) and Seton Hill University (Greensburg, PA). She is currently thawing out in Eastern Tennessee. V.M. Burns is a member of Mystery Writers of America, International Thriller Writers, and Sisters in Crime. She is the author of the Mystery Bookshop Mystery series and the Dog Club Mystery series. For more information about V.M. Burns, check out her website or her Facebook page.

Keep reading for an excerpt:

“So, what do you think of that?” I asked Mama B.

Mama B rocked in silence for a few seconds. “I thought I was going to have to call 911 to get that fat tub of lard out of my chair.”

“I meant, what did you think of what he had to say?”

“Moe Chapman’s a liar. He was a liar as a child. Once a liar, always a liar.”

“He’s popular with the ladies.”

Mama B scrunched up her nose as though she’d smelled sour milk. “You would be too if you paid them.”

I spat out my lemonade. “How do you know that?”

“That Mercedes Jackson was bragging to Nettie Fay how Moe sends flowers to her job every week and pays for her to get her nails and hair done. He buys her clothes, pays her rent, and springs for expensive vacations and jewelry. They went on a cruise to the Bahamas over Christmas. Can you imagine all that fat lying on the beach? Lucky they didn’t mistake him for a beached whale and try to harpoon him. If that ain’t paying for a woman, then I don’t know what is.”

Whew. That wasn’t exactly what I was expecting when she said he “paid” for women, but it didn’t restore my faith in this supposed man of God. Where had all that money come from? I spent a few minutes trying to get her reaction to his comments about Sister Williams, but she remained uncharacteristically quiet on the subject. No matter how much I asked or what I said, she couldn’t or wouldn’t say more. Eventually, I decided to change the subject and had her fill me in on the dirt she’d gotten since yesterday. There wasn’t anything new, so I filled her in on my latest bombshell.

She snorted. “I don’t believe that boy was married.”

I knew that boy referred to Thomas Warrendale. Mama B’s likes and dislikes ran deep. Once she made her mind up about someone, there was no turning back.

“I assure you he was.”

“He certainly didn’t act like it. Just because you have a marriage certificate doesn’t mean anything.” Mama B rocked slowly. “A lot of people have diplomas, but that don’t mean they know the front end of a mule from the back.”

“Any truth to the rumors you all were talkin’ about yesterday?”

Mama B pursed her lips. “I don’t lie.”

“I know you don’t lie. I mean are you sure? Was Thomas Warrendale fooling around?”

“Mm-hmm … that’s what I heard. Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.”

“Was there anyone in particular?”

Mama B rocked on. “I don’t know how par-tic-u-lar he was.” Mama B enunciated each syllable to make her point.

Confound It, by Maggie Toussaint: A Suspicious Fire Leads to Supernatural Clues

Confound It ($16.95, 232 pages, 6×9 Trade Paperback, ISBN: 978-1-60381-595-6), by Maggie Toussaint, is the fifth book in A Dreamwalker Mystery series. Dreamwalker, sheriff’s consultant, and amateur sleuth Baxley Powell is called upon to help investigate a suspicious fire. A meth cook is dead, but the homicide investigation leads to more than a drug supply chain. Someone is pulling the strings behind the scenes, and it’s up to Baxley to find out who.

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“Mystery readers who enjoy detective pieces based on both supernatural touches and interpersonal relationships will relish the combination of whodunit and a vivid threat to a boy’s body and soul that connects children to secret meth lab operations and goals. The result is a complex, multifaceted read that holds many satisfying twists and turns even for the staid detective story reader. Confound It will prove hard to put down and surprising right up to its final revelations.”
—Diane C. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Donovan’s Literary Services

“Maggie has done it again in delivering another fast-paced and intensely intoxicating drama that had me completely enthralled, quickly became a page-turner as I could not put this book down until all was said and done. [….] Expertly written with engaging dialogue, the author kept me immersed … well done. This is the best book in this series and I can’t wait to see what new adventures await….”
—DruAnn Love for Dru’s Book Musings

“Readers will need all their powers of acuity to guess whodunit until the final surprise at the end. A quick easy read spiced with a supernatural twist!”
—Nancy J Cohen, author of the Bad Hair Day Mysteries

“In her fifth Dreamwalker novel, Maggie Toussaint pairs a tricky murder plot with her amazingly original supernatural setting—Confound It is a dream come true for fans of paranormal mysteries.”
—Leigh Perry, Author of the Family Skeleton Mysteries

“Toussaint’s deft writing makes Baxley leap off the page. This may be a mystery, but the love Baxley shares with her daughter, her parents, her pets and her community shines throughout.” Read more….
—RT Book Reviews

“Mystery readers who enjoy detective pieces based on both supernatural touches and interpersonal relationships will relish the combination of whodunit and a vivid threat to a boy’s body and soul that connects children to secret meth lab operations and goals.”                                                                                       —Midwest Book Review

While hosting out-of-town guests at her Georgia home, Dreamwalker Baxley Powell is called upon to help investigate a suspicious fire. One of her guests, close friend and fellow dreamwalker Deputy Sam Mayes, accompanies her to the scene.

A meth cook is dead, and when Baxley visits her beyond the Veil of Life, she determines that the woman was murdered. Baxley pities Mandy Patterson, a single mother with aspirations for her teenage son Doodle. Unconcerned about the death of a criminal, the authorities pursue the drug-supply chain angle. Baxley worries about Doodle and vows to find out who killed his mother.

As the case grows more baffling, Baxley struggles against her attraction to Sam. Although her husband is missing and declared dead, she does not feel free to love again until she is sure of his fate.

Two suspects have the strongest motive, but Baxley has reason to believe they are pawns in a deeper game. And unless she can stop them, the world will never be the same.

Maggie Toussaint has published seventeen books, fourteen as Maggie Toussaint and three as Rigel Carson. She is president of the Southeast Mystery Writers of America and has a seat on the national MWA Board. She is also a member of Sisters In Crime and Low Country Sisters In Crime. Toussaint won the Silver Falchion Award for Best Cozy/Traditional mystery in 2014. Additionally, she won a National Readers Choice Award and an EPIC award for Best Romantic Suspense. She lives in coastal Georgia, where secrets, heritage, and ancient oaks cast long shadows. For more information, click here.

Keep reading for an excerpt:

My palms tingled as I stared at the suspenders on the table. I’d made arrangements for Larissa, I’d heard the client speak the truth about her plight, but something in the air besides the musty spices around the woman’s neck made me hesitate. I wished my medium friend was here instead of visiting his daughter in Florida. It would be nice to have the extrasensory backup. “Is there anything you’re not telling me?”

Cipriona shrugged. Nerves. Had to be. With company coming later today, I couldn’t afford to dither, so I set aside my misgivings, reached for the suspenders, and opened my senses. After crossing the veil of life so many times, I knew what to expect. The weightlessness. The feeling of falling. The unrelenting darkness. The numbing cold.

Dreamwalking was no picnic, and this journey into the afterlife proceeded as expected. Once I reached the spinning stage, I righted myself until my feet touched down again. Not my actual feet. In this other realm, I’m in spirit form only.

Gradually the fog thinned, and I found myself outside a bar. The dim light over the door illuminated a painted sign, Low Spirits Bar. There was nothing else in the murk, no wandering bad-boy spirits, no guardian angel, no nothing. Which meant Damond Marsden was inside or he wanted me to see this place.

I entered through the door, and the gloom didn’t lift. “Damond?”

“Back here.”

Feeling like I was blindfolded, I edged in the direction of his voice. “I came to see you.”

“I don’t want to be seen. Go away.”

“You’re spending the afterlife sulking in a bar?”

“What’s it to you, lady? A man’s entitled to a drink every now and then.”

His voice sounded slurred, as if he’d been actually drinking. How was that possible? “My name’s Baxley Powell. I’m a Dreamwalker. Your daughter asked me to find you.”

He muttered something I couldn’t hear. I kept inching toward him, hands outstretched. “What’s that?”

“Don’t trust that witch.”

I stopped short at the half-truth ringing in his words. What part was truthful? The not-trusting part or the witch part? “I don’t understand.”

“Cipriona and my mother are thick as thieves. Always have been. Always will be.”

“Why are you telling me this?” I stopped, upset with him for keeping me in the dark. “Why are we here?”

“I got nowhere else to go. Nobody wants to see me looking like this.”

Irritation coated my voice. “Like what?”

A spotlight shone on Damond. I gagged at the raw flesh and bone of what was left of his face.

“I’m a freak. She did this to me.”

“You don’t have to look like that,” I hastened to explain. “All you have to do is imagine how you looked before you got shot.”

“What if I don’t wanna? What if I’m sitting here waiting for her to join me in this hell? What if I want to scare the shit out of my own flesh and blood?”

The Unlikely Master Genius, by Carla Kelly: A Sailing Master in the Royal Navy Finds his Calling

The Unlikely Master Genius ($15.95, 256 pages, ISBN: 978-1-60381-683-0), is the first volume in a new trilogy by Carla Kelly. Thanks to his extraordinary intelligence, Able Six survived the workhouse to become a sailing master in the Royal Navy. Forced by the Treaty of Amiens to seek new work, Able brings his new bride to the St. Brendan’s School in Portsmouth, England, where he will teach young boys plucked from the workhouse to be trained as navigators.

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“This sweet Regency story begins with the wedding and leisurely explores what comes after….  Able is a quirky character who seems a little disconnected from the real world and tirelessly quotes his heroes, Euclid, Newton, and Shakespeare, but Kelly smartly surrounds him with charming, street-smart, and sympathetic supporting characters to bring him down to earth.” Read more….
—Publishers Weekly

“It’s always time to rejoice when a new Regency-set series debuts from the imagination of Carla Kelly…. The love scenes are beautifully rendered and bound to keep romance readers enchanted. Carla Kelly is a treasure for all who enjoy great storytelling. Enough mystery and forward motion remain to anticipate the next book in the St. Brendan Series with delight. Highly recommended.” Read more…
—Historical Novel Society

Sailing Master Able Six, Royal Navy, is a man like no other. To call him a mere polymath is to sell him short. Someone with his extraordinary gifts should rise to the top, unless it is the 1800s, where pedigree and money govern Regency society, as sure as Napoleon seeks world domination. A bastard raised in a Scottish workhouse with nothing in his favor except his amazing mind, Able must navigate life ashore on half-pay during the uneasy Truce of Amiens, and find a way to provide for his charming bride Meridee Bonfort, a gentlewoman to be sure, but lacking a dowry. Assisted by two sea captains acquainted with his startling abilities, Able finds himself teaching mathematics and seamanship at St. Brendan the Navigator School, which is itself an experiment, taking boys like Able from workhouses and training them to serve the fleet in wartime. Meridee has agreed to invite four lads who need extra attention into their home in raffish, unsavory Portsmouth. Calling themselves the Gunwharf Rats, these St. Brendan lads show promise in an unpromising world. Can a sailing master-turned-teacher uncover their potential? Can Meridee find a way to nurture young hearts bruised too soon by life? What will happen when war breaks out again? And what is it about Able Six, the unlikely master genius?

Volume One: The St. Brendan Series.

Says Kelly, “A few years ago I was invited to write a Christmas novella. As I wrote the story of Able Six and his amazing courtship of Miss Meridee Bonfort, I realized I had material for far more than a mere short story. The St. Brendan Series was born, of which The Unlikely Master Genius is volume one. The story is set during the Regency Era at a most unusual school for boys, training them for the fleet during the dark days of the Napoleonic Wars. And Able Six is a bona fide genius.”

A well-known veteran of the romance writing field, Carla Kelly is the author of 42 novels and three non-fiction works, as well as numerous short stories and articles for various publications. Carla’s interest in historical fiction is a byproduct of her lifelong study of history. She has a BA in Latin American History from Brigham Young University and an MA in Indian Wars History from University of Louisiana-Monroe. Carla Kelly is particularly celebrated for her regency romances. The Romance Reader has called her “the Grandmistress of the [Regency] genre.” According to Romantic Times, “Carla Kelly’s Regency Romances are always superb and a timeless delight.” Library Journal wrote, “one of the most respected Regency writers.” For more information, visit Clara on the web here.

Keep reading for an excerpt:

“In a few weeks, God willing, we will rummage around in Sir Isaac Newton’s brain and see what he thinks,” Able said. Provided I haven’t fouled my anchor here, he thought as he quietly set the useless pointer pieces on the master’s desk. In for a penny, in for a pound.

He sat on the desk. From the horrified expressions on young faces, he quickly gathered that Master Blake had never done anything so vulgar.

“How many of you can swim?” he asked.

No one raised a hand, which did not surprise Able. What workhouse boy was ever given useful training? He waited. A hand went up slowly.

“Yes, Mister … Mister …. What is your name?”

“Jimmy Bawn,” he said promptly. “I’ve heard it’s bad luck to swim. The ocean is unforgiving.”

“Aye, it is, Mister Bawn,” Able replied. “Let us say your ship is shot to pieces and dismasted and you are drifting toward a lee shore. Wouldn’t it be nice to know how to swim that little distance and live to fight another day?”

He watched the boys nod in agreement, their eyes serious.

“We’ll learn to swim, because it’s smarter than drowning. We’ll also become acquainted with Sir Isaac Newton, and another chap named Galileo Galilei,” Able assured them. “Tell me something about yourselves. Are you from workhouses? Did you live on the streets?”

He didn’t think they would admit to such misery. He also knew it was his turn to tell them about himself, and in the telling, build a bond that must grow strong, if they were to feel safe to learn in an unsafe world.

“My name is Durable Six,” he said, and saw the smiles they could not hide. “A ridiculous name, eh? Go ahead and laugh. You have my permission.”

Some of them chuckled.

“I’ll tell you how I got my name. I was found naked and newly born on church steps in Dumfries, Scotland, in February of 1776,” he said. Some of them nodded. “I was the sixth bastard admitted to the Dumfries Workhouse since the start of the new year. The workhouse master waited for me to die—we’ll agree I had a rough start—but when I didn’t, he declared me Durable and named me Durable Six. My friends call me Able. You will call me Master Six, because I am a sailing master in the Royal Navy.”

He watched some of them mouth his name. “Are any of you numbered?”

Two hands went up, the students more confident now, because he was one of them. He gestured for them to stand, well-acquainted with their wary expressions. Almost as if you are wondering when the other shoe will drop and you will be back in the workhouse, he thought with sympathy. Not on my watch. Never.