Posts Tagged ‘mysteries’


The Missing File by D. A. Mishani

April 22, 2013 by  •
The Tale of Raw Head and Bloody Bones by Jack Wolf“He’ll be home in an hour, maybe three hours, tomorrow morning at the latest.” – Detective Avraham (Avi) Avraham

When sixteen-year-old Ofer Sharabi fails to return home from school one afternoon, his mother dutifully reports the situation to the local police. Unfortunately, Detective Avraham (Avi) Avraham is less than motivated to begin searching for the young man.

As he explains to the distraught mother, their Israeli town of Holon, a suburb of Tel Aviv, doesn’t “have serial killers; we don’t have kidnappings; and there aren’t many rapists out there attacking women on the streets.” Indeed, “there is very little chance that anything has happened to your son.” And with a disinterested and somewhat condescending figurative pat on the head, he sends her home with the reassurance the boy has merely cut school and will be home before night’s end.

Of course, the boy doesn’t return. And by the time Avraham officially opens a file on the case the following day he is already seemingly hopelessly behind the eight ball on the investigation, a position from which he spends the majority of the remainder of the story. (more…)


Dinner Date by Mike Faricy

January 4, 2013 by  •
I’m welcoming author Mike Faricy (Russian Roulette, Mr. Softee) today as part of his virtual tour in support of his latest release, Bombshell.

MikeFaricyI may write books of no redeeming social value like my latest release, Bombshell. But I think crime fiction, even written with a sense of humor and some romance, should still be accurate. I’m always ‘investigating,’ attempting to learn something, anything, that will make my books a little more realistic. My books are all set in Minnesota, usually in my hometown of St. Paul.

Minneapolis and St. Paul are known as the Twin Cities. There’s really not much of anything ‘twin’ about them anymore. Minneapolis is a big booming metropolis and St. Paul, well we say it’s the world’s largest small town. If Minneapolis and St. Paul were sisters, Minneapolis would get all the hot dates, but St. Paul is the one you’d bring home to meet your mom.

I thought it would be a good idea to take a police officer out to dinner and garner some information. I’d be amiss if I didn’t mention a couple of facts here. First off, my dinner date was a woman, a very attractive woman of Southeast Asian heritage named Mai. Secondly, she isn’t exactly a police officer, okay, she’s a lawyer. But she works in the city attorney’s office, law enforcement of a sort though obviously not patrolling the city in a squad car, but still, the courts and all I figured I was bound to learn something. (more…)

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Skating on the Edge by Joelle Charbonneau

October 24, 2012 by  •
Skating on the Edge by Joelle CharbonneauThis was the second time in my life I’d had a gun pointed at me, and it still sucked. – Rebecca Robbins

Things have been pretty hectic for Rebecca Robbins since she left Chicago and returned to her tiny hometown of Indian Falls, Illinois. She had hoped to make a quick sale of the Toe Stop roller-skating rink she inherited upon her mother’s death, but five months later she’s still stuck in town trying to unload the place. Of course that’s not the only thing that’s been occupying her time.

She’s also dealt with a murder in one of the rink’s bathrooms (Skating Around The Law), had an on-again, off-again romance with the local veterinarian, made friends with a hat-wearing camel named Elwood (yes, you read that correctly), been roped into tracking down a stolen car, seen her deadbeat dad blow back into town, been mortified by her grandfather’s Elvis impersonator act down at the Senior Center, and faced menace from a group of mariachis (trust me, read Skating Over The Line if you’ve not already).

You’d think all that would be hard to top in the excitement department. You’d be wrong.

Skating on the Edge, the third book in the wonderfully wacky Rebecca Robbins mystery series, finds Rebecca dealing with a whole slate of new challenges. Things get off to a fast start when a death occurs at the Indian Falls Native American Summer Days festival. Rebecca was supposed to be the “target” in the Senior Center’s dunk tank, but roped someone else into taking her place at the last minute. When her replacement, Sherlene-n-Mean, a member of the roller-derby team which operates out of the Toe Stop, is electrocuted upon being dunked into the water Rebecca is left to wonder who was actually the intended target. And despite her past run-ins with local law enforcement and admonishment from them to stop playing amateur sleuth, Rebecca has no intention of sitting around waiting for someone else to solve the murder. (more…)


We’re All Thriller Writers Now by L.J. Sellers

October 24, 2012 by  •
How do you define a thriller? Today L.J. Sellers, author of the award-winning Detective Jackson series, is here to talk about the expanding use of the term in fiction, as well as the reasons behind the increased usage of “thriller” to describe a book. Though not as contentious as defining the term “noir” – an argument that has been known to have ruined friendships and even lead to fisticuffs – there’s no question the parameters of what counts as a “thriller” have been steadily expanding. So, read what L.J. has to say on the subject and then weigh in with your opinion in the comments: how do you define a thriller?

LJ SellersThrilling: adj., producing sudden, strong, and deep emotion or excitement

Doesn’t that pretty much describe all great novels? Yet according to librarians and bookstore owners, traditional labeling defines thrillers as fast-paced, realistic books that focus on plot more than character and have a high-stakes conflict as the heart of the story. And by high stakes they mean a lot more than a single life—or a series of selected lives—must be at risk. Whole cities or ways of life must be in peril.

But now, with many writers labeling their own work, just about any story with a crime or an element of suspense is called a thriller. Just as one example, Amazon’s #1 book on the thriller list is Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn, a story of a marriage gone bad and a missing wife. It’s all about the characters. Readers love the story and many have labeled it thrilling, and being a fan, I plan to read it.

As a member of International Thriller Writers, I’ve written many features about new releases for the Big Thrill newsletter. With some, I’ve scratched my head and thought: Why is this called a thriller? The stories usually sound terrific, but still, I would call them paranormal suspense or historical mystery. (more…)

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Do Hardheaded and Redheaded Go Hand in Hand? by Joelle Charbonneau

October 22, 2012 by  •
Very happy to welcome the multitalented Joelle Charbonneau to the blog today. Though most of you probably know her as the author of the Rebecca Robbins and Glee Club series, Joelle has also performed in a variety of operas, musical theater and children’s theater productions across the Chicagoland area. Today’s she here to talk about being a mutant*, and why she also made her heroine a mutant. (*Ok, ok, a redhead.)

Joelle CharbonneauI am a redhead. Essentially that means I’m a freak. Red hair occurs in approximately 1-2% of the world’s population. Red hair appears when a person has two copies of a recessive gene on chromosome number 16. This causes a mutation in the MC1R protein and voila – red hair.

See…I told you I was a freak. Or perhaps a better way to say it is that I am a mutation. Ha! Now we’re all thinking about Zombies and crazy science fiction movies. Trust me when I say, I’d probably be the last person you want on your zombie apocalypse team unless you want me to fricassee up some brains. I’m a pretty mean cook, so I might come in useful there.

I point out my lack of zombie fighting skills because, for reasons unbeknownst to me, red heads have the reputation of being feisty, with kick ass tempers. One editor I know (who also had red hair), has rolled her eyes more than once at manuscripts that come through the door which describe their redheaded heroines as fiery.

While I have red hair and can get as pissed off as the next person, I’m pretty sure my mutated MC1R protein hasn’t caused me to be more violent or angry than a normal human being. (Or maybe those holes in my backyard aren’t caused by squirrels, but by my alter ego burying the remains of those who have ticked me off!) I will admit that I am stubborn and often think I can do more than I can possibly hope to accomplish in any given set of hours. However, that being said, I am less inclined to blame that on my mutated chromosomes and more on my determination to succeed. (more…)


Playing Dead by Julia Heaberlin

July 11, 2012 by  •
Playing Dead by Julia HeaberlinI’ve been told that I have a strange name for a girl, that I’m nosy, that I’m too delicate to carry a gun. The first two are true. – Tommie McCloud

Native Texan Tommie McCloud has spent the past few years anywhere but home. Her dreams of being a champion on the national rodeo circuit – and her mother’s dreams of Tommie being a classical pianist – were literally crushed when a bull with a particularly nasty temper shattered Tommie’s forearm and hand, as well as her future.

So instead of becoming the next Pam Minick or Martha Argerich, Tommie went to college, pursued a degree in psychology, and continued working around the horses she loves so much. Now only a few credits shy of her Ph.D., Tommie has combined the two into a career working with abused and traumatized children in a ranch environment.

When she returns to the family’s estate following her father’s death, Tommie realizes Texas is deep in her blood and that home is where she should have been all along. But just when she thinks she’s ready to settle back in and reestablish her relationships with her sister, niece, and mother, Tommie’s life is ripped apart once again when a mysterious letter arrives suggesting everything Tommie thought she knew to be true about her life and family is actually a lie. (more…)


Never Tell by Alafair Burke

July 2, 2012 by  •
Never Tell by Alafair Burke“Not everything is black-and-white, or even shades of gray. Things can be black and white – right and wrong – all at the same time.” – Janet Martin

Things certainly seem pretty black-and-white to NYPD Detective Ellie Hatcher when she and her partner are sent out on a death call to a luxurious Manhattan townhouse. Empty wine bottle on the floor in the bathroom? Check. Prescription pill bottle? Check. Handwritten note on the bed? Check. Dead teenager in the tub with a slit wrist? Check. Suicide? Check. On to lunch, right? Wrong.

Not when the dead teenager is sixteen-year-old Julia Whitmire, daughter of fabulously wealthy and famous music producer Bill Whitmire. And certainly not when the dead girl’s mother is adamant her daughter would never have killed herself and isn’t shy about using the family’s name and money to force an investigation into what Hatcher sees as an obvious suicide.

A funny thing happens on the way to closing that slam dunk suicide case, however, when Hatcher’s reluctant investigation begins turning up more questions than answers. Why had Julia become withdrawn in the weeks leading up to her death, hiding things even from her best friend Ramona, someone she’d been close to since grade school? What exactly is going on at the exclusive prep school Julia attended, a place where everyone seems to have something to hide? Why was Julia visiting a blog written anonymously by someone claiming to be a survivor of sexual abuse, and is there some connection between her death and threatening comments being left on the blog? (more…)


Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn

June 4, 2012 by  •
Gone Girl by Gillian FlynnHe promised to take care of me, and yet I feel afraid. I feel like something is going wrong, very wrong, and that it will get even worse. – From the diary of Amy Dunne

The setup for Gone Girl, the third book from critically acclaimed author Gillian Flynn, is deceptively simple. Having both recently lost their jobs in the writing industry, married couple Nick and Amy Dunne move from New York City back to Nick’s hometown of North Carthage, Missouri. Using the last of Amy’s trust fund money Nick opens a bar with his twin sister and the Dunnes try to adjust to their new life.

Two years into their residence in North Carthage, on the day of their fifth wedding anniversary actually, Nick returns home from the bar to find signs of a violent struggle in their house on the Mississippi River, but no sign of Amy. The police are called, a search is launched, and the reader is primed for what seems to be a routine where is she/whodunit mystery.

Folks, there is nothing routine about Gone Girl.

Told in chapters that alternate between Nick’s and Amy’s point of view, author Gillian Flynn presents Gone Girl as the ultimate case study of a marriage that has gone horribly off the rails. Not all at once, mind you, but slowly, painfully over time, like watching video of a building imploding in slow motion. Divided into three sections, Gone Girl is a masterful piece of writing that knows precisely which buttons to push for optimal manipulation, both between Nick and Amy as well as between Flynn and the reader. The more Flynn reveals the less the reader actually knows, as every little detail and nuance which came before is continually cast into doubt and shadows by subsequent discoveries and reveals. (more…)

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The Vegas Knockout by Tom Schreck

May 23, 2012 by  •
The Vegas Knockout by Tom SchreckI was half an hour from the most exciting city in the world living in a house where sex went on constantly and I had nothing to do until two o’clock when I’d go into the city and get my ass kicked. Life can be strange. – Duffy

Though the situation part-time social worker, part-time professional boxing sparring partner Duffy Dombrowski finds himself in starts out merely strange, things quickly elevate to downright life threatening in The Vegas Knockout, author Tom Schreck’s fourth entry in the Duffy Dombrowski series.

When Duffy gets a chance to go to Vegas and serve as the sparring partner for Russian heavyweight Boris Rusakov it’s the opportunity of a lifetime. After creatively figuring out how to ditch the two week seminar he’s supposed to be attending for his social worker job, Duffy heads to Vegas with his sidekick, basset hound Al, in tow.

Instead of staying at a glamorous location on The Strip and working in first-class conditions, however, Duffy finds himself quartered at a brothel on the outskirts of town and subjected to lopsided and dirty sparring techniques. Still, he’s getting paid well and it is Vegas.

But when Boris and his crew attempt to “promote” a worker at the brothel from maid to prostitute against her will Duffy isn’t about to ignore the matter and puts a stop to things. Permanently. And that’s when it gets really ugly. Boris’s connections in the Russian mob don’t take kindly to Duffy’s interference, and make it their mission in life to make sure Duffy understands that. Permanently. (more…)


Bad Fight Scenes by Tom Schreck

May 22, 2012 by  •
I’m very pleased to welcome author and boxing aficionado/official Tom Schreck to the blog today to set a few things straight about how fights go down in the real world. Hey, fiction is fiction, but it still wouldn’t hurt authors to play things a little closer to the truth when their characters go for the KO. And speaking of knockouts, tomorrow I’ll be reviewing Tom’s latest Duffy Dombrowski novel, The Vegas Knockout.

Bad Fight Scenes by Tom SchreckI make part of my living evaluating fights. I’m a pro boxing judge with the World Boxing Association and I do world title fights. I’m also still a gym rat who crawls between the ropes to mix it up with other guys who have made equally ill-advised decisions on how to spend free time. Before I got into boxing I was a black belt Tae Kwon Do instructor.

I also write the Duffy Dombrowski mysteries that feature a run-of-the-mill pro boxer who works as a social worker during the day. He has a few more wins than losses, but almost every time the caliber of his opponents is stepped up he gets beat.

Like most writers I’m an avid mystery reader. I’m okay with the whole willing suspension of disbelief thing but really bad fight scenes bother me. Just like a gun guy would hate to read something about the wrong cartridge going into the wrong type of gun (I’m not a gun guy), I bristle when I come across authors that just don’t get how fights go. What to they do that’s wrong? (more…)


Women Writers Speak Across the Ages by Donna Fletcher Crow

May 16, 2012 by  •
I’m pleased to welcome for a guest post Donna Fletcher Crow, author of the Monastery Murders Mysteries.

Donna Fletcher CrowFelicity Howard, heroine of my Monastery Murders clerical mystery series, is a thoroughly modern American woman who has gone off— rather rashly as she does most things— to study theology in a monastery in Yorkshire. Felicity is determined to set the world right and has little time for learning the wisdom of the ages as her church history lecturer Father Antony keeps urging her to do.

But then in A Darkly Hidden Truth, book 2 in the series, her world starts to fall apart— her difficult mother shows up unexpectedly, she discovers the murdered body of a a good friend, and then Antony is abducted— and Felicity finds that sometimes the past can speak to today as events lead her to two women writers who hold places in history for “firsts.”

Julian of Norwich (1342-1416) became the first woman to write a book in English when she wrote an account of the 16 mystical “showings” she experienced of the love of God; and Margery Kempe (1373-1440) “wrote” the first autobiography in English, although she was illiterate, by dictating it.

Although both women had mystical visions and their life spans crossed— they actually met in an event Margery records— they lived far different lives, had far different personalities and wrote in vastly different styles: (more…)