Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Death On A Longship by Marsali Taylor (Attica Books)

Cass Lynch is working as a waitress when she talks her way into a job skippering a Viking longship for a Hollywood film. She has been sailing since she was a child.  Her dream is to be a sailing ship's captain and she thinks her big break has finally arrived—even though it means returning home to the Shetland Islands. She hasn't been home since she ran away as a teenager to pursue her dreams of sailing.

Cass has a very complicated past including the death of a lover and being estranged from her parents. Her parents' relationship is also strange.  When a dead woman turns up on the boat’s deck, Cass and her family come under suspicion by Detective Inspector Macrae. Cass realizes she must identify the killer in order to save herself, her family, and her future as a skipper from false accusations.

There are lots of possible suspects and red herrings to keep you guessing. The characters are all interesting and everyone seems to have had a motive and opportunity to kill. I enjoyed reading this not only for the great mystery but also for information about the history and life on the island and a sail boat.  

—Helen Jones

FTC Disclaimer: This book was provided by the publisher.

Poisoned Penn Press & 99¢ Titles

Poisoned Pen Press is offering great promotions on many of their excellent
e-books. Just announced for 99¢ is Green Monster by Rick Shefchik featuring PI Sam Sam Skarda. It's a Boston Red Sox story—just in time for spring training.  Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple, or Amazon.

Many other titles are available for 99¢ or FREE at the Poisoned Pen website.

While you're browsing around the site, check out Brooklyn Bones by Triss Stein. It's a great mystery—especially if you like your murder early in the story. A skeleton is found while remodeling a Park Slope brownstone in the first few pages. It's just out—in several formats. I highly recommend it, even at full price!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Thriller Killer Free e-books (3 days only)

Alexandra Sokoloff just emailed that she has joined a gang of her thriller-writing friends to form the Killer Thrillers! author collective bringing low-cost e-books from award-winning, bestselling, internationally published authors.

This week (2/20-22), six of them are offering F-R-E-E- books on Kindle. Browse and download here.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Last Days for Contests

Copies of books for winners of both contests are in the mail! Thank you to all who entered. (I gained a couple of pounds just reading the recipes and looking at the great pictures!)

Watch for other contests soon! 

Cutoff dates for the two contests running currently on Meritorious Mysteries is Wednesday, February 20 at noon EST. In case you missed the notices, I'm condensing the rules below.

  • Carolyn Hart will sign and send copies of Motherhood Is Murder, featuring novellas from her, Mary Daheim, Jane Isenberg, and Shirley Rousseau Murphy to lucky Meritorious Mysteries readers who send me a reason that proves the title. Just a few words will do (extra laundry, snarky teens, etc.). Please put "CONTEST" in the subject line and include your name and snail mail address. Good luck!
  • The folks at Kensington Books have graciously offered to sponsor a contest for advance readers copies (ARCs) of Joanne Fluke's newest mystery, Red Velvet Cupcake Murder. Let's make the contest fun—send me photos OR recipes of your favorite cake or cupcakes (you don't have to make them yourself!) and I'll let my favorite cake eater choose the winners. Be sure to include your snail mail address). Joanne will be in North Carolina in March. Her tentative schedule is below.
  • Wednesday March 13, 2013 PARK ROAD BOOKS 7:00 pm 4139 Park Road Charlotte, NC 28209, (704) 525-9239
  • Thursday March 14, 2013 PAGE-WALKER ARTS & HISTORY CENTER (in partnership with Molly-on-Mysteries), 2:00 pm 119 Ambassador Loop Cary, NC 27512, (919) 460-4963
  • Thursday March 14, 2013 THE REGULATOR BOOKSHOP (in partnership with SOUTHWEST REGIONAL LIBRARY) 7:00 pm 720 9th Street, Durham, NC 27705, 919-286-2700
  • Southwest Regional Library, (919) 560-8594
  • Friday March 15, 2013 QUAIL RIDGE BOOKS & MUSIC 7:30 pm, 3522 Wade Ave,Raleigh NC 27607, (919) 828-7912
  • Saturday March 16, 2013 McINTYRE’S BOOKS 2:00 pm, 220 Market Street
  • Fearrington Village, Pittsboro, NC 27312 Contact: (919) 542-3030

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Kudos to Kaye Barley

My friend Kaye Barley has just published her first book! Hooray for Kaye! I haven't read it yet, but I'm getting ready to download it. Kaye describes Whimsey as "a novel of Southern fiction with a splash of magic and a touch of fantasy, topped with a sprinkling of humor." Who cares if it's not a mystery? Margaret Maron and Hank Phillippi Ryan have both given great blurbs. Let's go build a fire, make a pot of tea, and indulge in Whimsey!

Monday, February 04, 2013

Murder on the House by  Juliet Blackwell (Berkley)

Mel (short for Melanie, which she doesn't like ) Turner is a contractor who can communicate with the spirits of the dead and the word has spread in spite of her effort to keep a low profile. There is the rumor that the Bernini home is haunted and the new owners want to turn it into a haunted bed-an-breakfast. All sorts of  problems arise as Mel looks into this old home that she wants to restore. There is a competitor who badly wants the job of restoring this home and to help the new owners decide who should do the restoration, an odd recommendation is that Mel and her competitor have to spend one night in the house in order to win the project.

There are many twists and turns in this plot, including a young girl who is 100 years old and whom no one can see but Mel. During the sleepover, someone dies and there are so many characters in this plot that it's hard to imagine who might have done it. The neighborhood is one in San Francisco, a progressive city if ever there was one in this country. The descriptions of the inside of the old house were fascinating and real, as well as the long list of eccentric characters who are odd, charming. and fun to get to know.

There's a lot of detail as well as whimsy and colorful dialogue as the plot thickens. It's interesting to learn about the equipment of people who can communicate with ghosts. 

While it's possible to read this paranormal mystery as fantasy, it also can be read to ask relevant questions about other dimensions. It begs questions about consciousness (it isn't quantifiable), time, eternity, mystery in life, and the very real possibility of an invisible reality that we've been programmed to ignore. People who say that ghosts aren't real may not be using the right criteria: None of our emotions can be scientifically quantified or proved, yet they are real. Our senses aren't reliable and are certainly not the only way to identify reality.

Anyone with a questioning mind can find a lot to chew on in paranormal mysteries and Blackwell is reliably good at storytelling and teasing questions from us regarding other dimensions and their inhabitants—like ghosts !

—Diane Esterly

FTC Disclosure: This book was provided by the publisher.