There are never enough Wednesdays in the month to interview all the authors whose books I’ve loved. Advanced copies are provided about a month in advance of publication, which doesn’t allow enough time to read books, write interview questions, and then allow time for the authors to respond. Grace Topping and I need at least two months for this process. (For those authors who wish to be interviewed—take this hint.) I wish publishers understood this and got on our schedule! That month gap means we can’t interview many authors who have written wonderful books. But that doesn’t mean we don’t read them.
The following books I can recommend and have been released this month or will be next month. I’ve provided the jacket copy and have also provided my comments on why I liked the book. Happy reading, everyone. E. B. Davis
Is Val's breakfast pie the quiche of death?
After the police determine the customer was poisoned, business at Pie Town drops faster than a fallen crust. Convinced they’re both suspects, Val's flaky, seventy-something pie crust maker Charlene drags her boss into some amateur sleuthing. At first Val dismisses Charlene’s half-baked hypotheses, but before long the ladies uncover some shady dealings hidden in fog-bound San Nicholas. Now Val must expose the truth—before a crummy killer tries to shut her pie hole.
As a beach gal, the setting of The Quiche And The Dead, a northern CA small coastal town, appeals to me. The main characters, Val, the pie shop owner, and Charlene, her piecrust maker and modern-style surrogate grandma, are strong female characters anyone would like. Readers sympathize with Val’s precarious finances and emotional upheaval. Charlene, a town native, knows everyone’s history, heads a reluctant Val into investigating and, in the process, transposes the roles of their employer/employee relationship. Avenging an old man’s death, finding the town’s skeletons, forming an investigative partnership, and making and eating pies—what could be cozier? Kirsten Weiss’s paranormal books are wonderful, but this book proves she’s also mastered traditional cozies.
As friends, the boisterous and brash American Beryl couldn’t be less alike than the prim and proper British Edwina. But as sleuths in an England recovering from the Great War, they’re the perfect match . . .
For over three decades, Edwina Davenport has lived comfortably in Walmsley Parva, but the post–World War I bust has left her in dire financial straits and forced her to advertise for a lodger. When her long-lost school chum Beryl arrives on her doorstep—actually crashes into it in her red motorcar—Edwina welcomes her old friend as her new roommate.
But her idyllic hometown has a hidden sinister side, and when the two friends are drawn in, they decide to set up shop as private inquiry agents, helping Edwina to make ends meet and satisfying Beryl’s thirst for adventure. Now this odd couple will need to put their heads together to catch a killer—before this sleepy English village becomes their final resting place . . .
The cover attracted me to this book. Before reading it, I had no idea that Jessica Ellicott was none other than Jessie Crockett from the Wicked Cozy Authors blog, a delightful surprise. The two main characters propel this book. They are opposites but complement each other. Recognizing that fact, they plan their investigation choosing who will have the best advantage given the suspect. Old friends know each other well despite years gone by. The secondary characters are well drawn too, but what will necessitate my picking up the next in the series are questions about Beryl and Edwina. Readers see a great deal of Edwina since the book is set in her town and house, but the old maid is an unexpected feminist, begging the question why. It may be obvious, but there could be much more there. Beryl seems in-your-face apparent, but perhaps not. The plot these ladies unravel reveals more than the murderer. It reveals how prejudice has its nefarious uses. Pull up an overstuffed chair, pour a cuppa, provide the cat a lap, and read this book on a wintry day.
Elementary school teacher Jacqueline “Jacks” Morales’s marriage was far from perfect, but even in its ups and downs it was predictable, familiar. Or at least she thought it was…until two police officers showed up at her door with devastating news. Her husband of eight years, the one who should have been on a business trip to Kansas, had suffered a fatal car accident in Hawaii. And he wasn’t alone.
For Jacks, laying her husband to rest was hard. But it was even harder to think that his final moments belonged to another woman—one who had left behind her own grieving and bewildered fiancé. Nick, just as blindsided by the affair, wants answers. So he suggests that he and Jacks search for the truth together, retracing the doomed lovers’ last days in paradise.
Now, following the twisting path of that fateful road, Jacks is learning that nothing is ever as it seems. Not her marriage. Not her husband. And most certainly not his death…
I wish I could explain this book—but that would be a spoiler. Reading through about seventy percent of the book, I thought I was reading “Women’s Literature” because the main character, Jacks, sifts through her relationship with her late husband. Some of it is magical thinking—expected in her grief. And then…. If this first collaboration of Liz Fenton and Lisa Steinke is any indication, we’ll be in for more treats. I wish I could say more—but I just can’t—read it.
An insidious evil has taken root in the small town of Hope’s Peak, North Carolina…
In the midst of an internal investigation, the police department is thrown into chaos when Captain Frank Morelli is gunned down on his own front lawn. Detective Jane Harper suspects that someone is tying up loose ends—a conviction that only grows stronger when she witnesses the execution of another officer in broad daylight. With no one else to turn to, Jane seeks the help of psychic Ida Lane.
Ida thought she’d finally find peace after the death of the man who murdered her mother. But as the town emerges from the shadow cast by that serial killer, they discover that there is more than one monster hiding in the darkness. Desperate to lay her ghosts to rest, Ida puts her extraordinary skills to the test. Together, she and Jane must uncover the truth…or be permanently silenced like the rest.
A serial killer plagued Hope’s Peak for decades. This third book provides the conclusion and heads toward a new beginning for Jane and Ida. The brave women main characters shine in this series. Healey brings unlike characters together, but they find common ground. He puts Jane and Ida in uncomfortable roles, but they mold the roles to suit themselves. To find peace, they must change and possess the courage to face the unknown, a great beginning for the next book in this exciting series.