Category Archives: New Release Mondays

New Release Mondays: 13 Claws by the Mesdames of Mayhem

The Mesdames of Mayhem are a collective of 16 crime fiction authors, most of whom have won or been short-listed for major awards: the Arthur Ellis, Edgar, Governor General, Derringer, Debut Dagger and Bony Pete. Their goal is to promote Canadian crime fiction, especially the work of women authors and their own work. Most are also members of both Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime. It’s my pleasure to introduce their latest collection of short crime fiction.

Author Name: Mesdames of Mayhem

Book Title: 13 Claws (Carrick Publishing)

Book Genre: Short crime fiction

Release Date: October 28, 2017

Synopsis: 17 fantastic tales (pun intended) by 15 authors featuring cats, dogs, dragons and snakes! With thrillers, cozies and mysteries of every variety, 13 Claws is sure to find a sweet spot with fans of crime fiction. Includes three stories by newcomers to the genre.

Excerpt: This year for the launch of 13 Claws tried something new. Each author read their favorite paragraph from their story: a terrific success with the audience. You may read the paragraphs on Rosemary McCracken’s blog, Moving Target here: https://rosemarymccracken.wordpress.com/2017/10/29/scratching-beneath-the-surface-of-13-claws/

Find out more about the Mesdames (including their true identities!) at  www.mesdamesofmayhem.com

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New Release Mondays: A-LIST by D.P. Lyle

Author Name: D.P. Lyle

Book Title: A-LIST

Book Genre: Comedic Thriller

Release Date: December 12, 2017

Synopsis: Jake Longly and girlfriend Nicole head to New Orleans after Nicole’s producer/uncle Charles Balfour’s mega-star, A-list actor Kirk Ford, awakens with a dead co-ed in his hotel bed. Worse, the girl is the niece of local mafioso Tony Guidry.

But something isn’t right. The facts don’t fit. Who would want Kristi Guidry dead, or Kirk framed? And why?

Nothing’s easy in the Big Easy.

Excerpt: I like a lot of things. My 1965 Mustang. Burgundy with black Pony interior. Captain Rocky’s Surf and Turf, my bar/restaurant that squats on the sand in Gulf Shores. Living on the Gulf Coast, where I’ve been most of my life. That’s pretty cool, too. And then there’s memories of a few epic games during my career as a major league pitcher for the Texas Rangers. That was me. Jake Longly. Baseball stud. Ninety-plus mile-an-hour fastballs with just enough tail to make batters whiff, corkscrewing themselves into the ground. But that was another life, long gone, blown away on a cold Cleveland night by a ripped rotator cuff. Few pitchers recover from that. I surely didn’t.

But right there at the top of my like list would be watching a gorgeous, nearly naked woman roll around on the floor. Well, not exactly rolling around. More like twisting, flexing, and stretching in a pilates or yoga or some such fashion. I never could keep all those straight. But whatever you call it, it surely looks better than six-count burpees.

The woman in question was Nicole Jemison. My latest girlfriend. I guess that’s what she was. Though we’d only known each other a few weeks, it seemed longer. Like we’d always been together. Sort of scary. Definitely not my norm, which was more or less hit and run. Yeah, I know, piggish, but at least I’m honest about it.

Anyone could see why I hung around with her. I mean, stunning didn’t quite cover it. That blonde hair, that perfect smile, and those eyes. Oh yeah. Bluer than blue. Deep, lively, and intelligent. And of course that body. Oh my.

Why she tolerated me was a whole different story. I could be a little difficult. According to her, anyway. My ex-wife Tammy would agree whole-heartedly, while adding a string of well-chosen expletives. Not undeserved, of course, but our experiment in marital harmony collapsed years ago. You’d think she would’ve mellowed by now, but Tammy didn’t do mellow.

I should probably be down there on the carpet with Nicole going through the same routine, but no way I could contort my body into some of the positions she adopted. Not now. Not even back when I was a young stud baseball player.

About the author:  D.P. Lyle is the Macavity and Benjamin Franklin Silver Award winning and Edgar, Agatha, Anthony, Shamus, Scribe, Silver Falchion, and USA Today Best Book Award nominated author of both non-fiction and fiction (the Samantha Cody, Dub Walker, and Jake Longly thriller series and the Royal Pains media tie-in series). Along with Jan Burke, he is the co-host of Crime and Science Radio. He has served as story consultant to many novelists and the screenwriters of shows such as Law & Order, CSI: Miami, Diagnosis Murder, Monk, Judging Amy, Peacemakers, Cold Case, House, Medium, Women’s Murder Club, 1-800-Missing, The Glades, and Pretty Little Liars. Find him at http://www.dplylemd.com.

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New Release Mondays: Edinburgh Twilight by Carole Lawrence

It’s my honor to be introducing Carole’s last book. Carole (as Carole Bugge) was an early mentor when I was taking Creative/Fiction/Mystery writing at Gotham Writers a few years back. If you’re looking for a great mystery/suspense/thriller instructor, check her out

Author Name: Carole Lawrence

Book Title: Edinburgh Twilight

Book Genre: Historical Thriller

Release Date: September 5, 2017

Synopsis: As a new century approaches, Edinburgh is a city divided. The wealthy residents of New Town live in comfort, while Old Town’s cobblestone streets are clotted with criminals, prostitution, and poverty.

Detective Inspector Ian Hamilton is no stranger to Edinburgh’s darkest crimes. Scarred by the mysterious fire that killed his parents, he faces his toughest case yet when a young man is found strangled in Holyrood Park.

With little evidence aside from a strange playing card found on the body, Hamilton engages the help of his aunt, a gifted photographer, and George Pearson, a librarian with a shared interest in the criminal mind. But the body count is rising. As newspapers spin tales of the “Holyrood Strangler,” panic sets in across the city. And with each victim, the murderer is getting closer to Hamilton, the one man who dares to stop him.

Excerpt:

Edinburgh, 1881

As he trudged up the steep incline to the top of Arthur’s Seat on a wretched afternoon in late winter, Stephen Wycherly could not stop shivering. The sky was spitting rain, and a chill breeze blew in from the Firth of Forth, cutting through his already damp overcoat. But the fit of trembling that seized him as he reached the summit was more from dread than the biting February wind. Clutching the note summoning him to this godforsaken spot, he shielded his eyes from the rain and gazed around. He had not seen another soul on his lonely trek up the hill, which was hardly surprising—who in their right mind would venture out in this weather? And why did his tormentor insist they meet on this jagged outgrowth of rock on such a day?

Stephen fingered the money in his pocket. It was all he had—he hoped it was enough. He never imagined he would be a victim of blackmail; it was like a bad dream. He looked at his watch—already ten minutes past the appointed meeting time. His heart leapt at the prospect of having arrived too late for the assignation. The ruin of his reputation suddenly seemed a small price to pay to escape the creeping terror overtaking him as he gazed down at the city of Edinburgh. He was just about to leave when he became aware of a figure approaching him from the steeper trail that ascended the summit from the east. The man smiled when he saw Stephen, but there was no friendliness in his face, no warmth in those icy eyes.

“You came,” the man said. “I did not think you would.”

“Of course I came,” Stephen said, projecting confidence he did not have. “Let’s get this over with.”

“Very well,” his companion agreed. “Wait—what’s that?” His gaze was fixed on a point over Stephen’s shoulder, and, his instinct for self-preservation overcome by curiosity, Wycherly turned to look.

That was all the distraction the other man needed. Stephen felt the garrote around his neck before he could turn around to face his opponent. Flailing, he staggered backward, hands clawing vainly at his throat, as his attacker tightened the ligature. The last thing he heard before consciousness slipped away was a soft voice in his ear.

“There, there, now—it will all be over soon. Sweet dreams.”

About the author: Carole Lawrence (Carole Buggé) is a New York-based suspense writer, performer, composer and prize-winning playwright and poet whose previous books have been praised as “lively. . .” (Publishers Weekly); “constantly absorbing. . .” (starred Kirkus Review); and “superbly crafted prose” (Boston Herald). Titan Press recently reissued her two Sherlock Holmes novels, The Star of India and The Haunting of Torre Abbey. Her Lee Campbell thrillers, under the name C.E. Lawrence, include Silent Screams and its sequels, are about a criminal profiler pursuing serial killers in New York City. Find her at  http://celawrence.com/

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New Release Mondays: Wild Card by Luke Murphy

Author Name: Luke Murphy

Book Title: Wild Card

Book Genre: Mystery, Thriller, Suspense, Crime-Fiction, Police Procedural

Release Date: October 14, 2017

Synopsis: Calvin Watters believes he can finally move on—until Ace Sanders’ prison escape. When Detective Dale Dayton reopens the Sanders’ case, he’s introduced to new evidence that leads him into a political nightmare.

While Calvin tracks Sanders across continents, Dale remains in Vegas to uncover the truth behind police corruption, prison escapes, and hired assassins. But Calvin and Dale must be vigilant, because there’s a deadly, new player in town.

Excerpt: Detective Dale Dayton sat at his desk in the Robbery/Homicide division office of the new LVMPD Headquarters on four hundred South Martin L. King Boulevard.

He tapped his pen unproductively on the desk, where a ubiquitous stack of papers awaited. His jacket was off, sleeves rolled up, as Dale stared at the cold case files wondering how his life had come unglued.

He looked around the empty office, the only glow coming from his desktop lamp. He was alone. His long-time partner, Detective Jimmy Mason, had long ago surrendered to the friendly surroundings of his home, wife and children.

The newly built, four-hundred thousand square-foot headquarters, which opened in 2011, seemed almost haunting in its emptiness. The building consolidated twenty-seven bureaus, including his Robbery/Homicide division, previously located in various buildings around Las Vegas. It also housed the Southern Nevada Counter Terrorism Center, Police Records, and a Fingerprint Bureau annex.

But tonight, silence reigned, almost a peaceful isolation from the everyday hustle and bustle of a police station in full-running mode.

His phone rang. He unclipped it from his waist and answered, “Detective Dayton.”

“Detective, this is Colonel John Hughes of the United States Marine Corps.”

Dale’s skin prickled and his heart caught in his throat. A chill ran through his body from hearing a voice he’d never forget.

It had been over a year since the city’s debacle that had brought Hughes to Vegas, stirring the colonel from the cozy confines of his military base. Dale had hoped he’d never hear from the man again. What a fiasco that had been. But a call from the colonel could only mean one thing, Dale’s priority case-list just shifted.

Baxter, said a shaky voice inside Dale.

A man as cold-blooded as killers came. It was a national pastime for him. Baxter had been an instrumental part in one of the most vicious crime-sprees in the city’s history.

“We need to talk,” Hughes said.

About the author: Luke Murphy is the bestselling author of Dead Man’s Hand (2012), Kiss & Tell (2015), and Wild Card (2017).

Murphy played six years of professional hockey before retiring in 2006. His sports column, “Overtime” (Pontiac Equity), was nominated for the 2007 Best Sports Page in Quebec, and won the award in 2009. He has also worked as a radio journalist (CHIPFM 101.7).

Murphy lives in Shawville, Quebec,  with his wife, three daughters and pug. He is a teacher who holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing, and a Bachelor of Education (Magna Cum Laude).

For more information on Luke and his books, visit: www.authorlukemurphy.com.

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New Release Monday: The Haunting of Dr. Bowen by C.A. Verstraete

Author Name: C.A. Verstraete

Book Title: The Haunting of Dr. Bowen, A Mystery in Lizzie Borden’s Fall River

Book Genre: historical, mystery, paranormal, light horror

Release Date: August 2017

Synopsis: Gruesome deaths haunt the industrial city of Fall River, Massachusetts.

Dr. Seabury Bowen—physician to the infamous Lizzie Borden—swears he’s being stalked by spirits, though his beloved wife thinks it’s merely his imagination. But the retired doctor insists that neither greed nor anger provoked the recent sensational axe murders in Fall River. Rather, he believes the city is poisoned by bad blood and a thirst for revenge dating back to the Indian and Colonial wars.

Now, two years after the Borden murders, Dr. Bowen is determined to uncover the mysteries stirring up the city’s ancient, bloodthirsty specters. Can he discover who, or what, is shattering the peace before Fall River runs red? Or will he be the next victim?

Excerpt:

Prologue

“Never did I say to anyone that she had died of fright.

My first thought, when I was standing in the door, was that she had fainted.”

—Testimony of Dr. Seabury W. Bowen, Trial of Lizzie Borden, June 8, 1893

“Why won’t anyone believe me? Why, Phoebe, why?”

Dr. Seabury Bowen shoved back the shock of white hair hanging over his forehead and wiped a wrinkled hand across his stubbled chin.

His appearance, like his surroundings, could stand a bit of major housekeeping, not that he cared a whit.

“Here, it’s here somewhere,” he mumbled.

The old man rummaged among the giant pile of documents, books, and what-not littering the large walnut desk in his study. Several minutes later, and after the search through dozens of loose papers, he saw the faded red book lying beneath a tottering pile. He pulled at it, sending the rest of the stack falling like so much unwanted garbage.

The good doctor, but a shadow of his once-robust self, flipped the pages. He stared at the offending journal entry before setting the book aside with a heartrending sob.

Chapter One

   “I saw the form of Mr. Borden lying on the lounge at the left of the sitting-room door. His face was very badly cut, apparently with a sharp instrument; his face was covered with blood.”

—Testimony of Dr. Seabury W. Bowen, Trial of Lizzie Borden, June 8, 1893

The man reached toward him with long, lean fingers. Dr. Seabury Bowen blinked and tried to make out the features of the unknown figure standing in the corner. The unexpected visitor had a broad, dark face and what looked like a band across his forehead. Bowen stretched out his arm in turn and jumped when their fingers touched, the jolt surging through him like the electricity he knew would soon replace all the gas lights.

“Seabury, dear, are you all right?” His wife, Phoebe, sounded concerned. “What’s wrong?”

Bowen breathed hard. He bolted upright and held a hand on his chest, trying to catch his breath. Still stunned, he gazed about the room, disturbed at the odd shapes until he recognized familiar things… the bureau, the armoire, the paintings on his bedroom walls. He swallowed and nodded.

“Ye-yes. I-I’m fine. A bad dream, that’s all it was. Just a dream.”

About the author:  Christine (C.A.) Verstraete enjoys putting a bit of a “scare” in her writing. He stories have appeared in various anthologies and publications including Mystery Weekly, Happy Homicides 3: Summertime Crime, Siren’s Call and more. She is the author of Lizzie Borden, Zombie Hunter and The Haunting of Dr. Bowe, A Mystery in Lizzie Borden’s Fall River. Learn more at her website, http://cverstraete.com and visit her blog, http://girlzombieauthors.blogspot.com.

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New Release Mondays: No Fury Like That by Lisa de Nikolits

I first met Lisa de Nikolits at the Sleuth of Baker Street bookstore in Toronto, where we were celebrating the launch of The Whole She-Bang-3. It’s my pleasure to introduce her, and her latest work.

Author Name: Lisa de Nikolits

Book Title: No Fury Like That

Book Genre: Crime fiction, mystery, suspense/thriller, noir, psychological suspense.

Release Date: September 15, 2017

Synopsis: Imagine if characters from The Devil Wears Prada got trapped in Sartre’s play No Exit, where “hell is other people.” Julia Redner seemed to have it all: stunning good looks, a fantastic job, and enough money and perks to live in the style she’d grown accustomed to. But after it all went down and she finds herself in the afterlife, Julia realizes that she has a whack of unfinished business to settle and a handful of murders to solve.

Excerpt:  “We’re here,” Grace says after we turn a corner and walk past a series of yellow doors with yellow half-moon handles. I want to ask what’s with the yellow all of a sudden, but I sense it’s not a good time for questions. I don’t want the others to bounce me. They haven’t said they can do that, but I’m pretty certain they have the power.

We stopped at a door and no one wants to be the first to venture inside.

But then something creepy happens — the door handle twists down and the door swings quietly open.

“I know you lot are out there,” a hoarse voice bellows, “so come on in, you ninnies. I know what you’re going to ask me and I can tell you now that the answer is still the same, it’s no, nada, zip, zero, and I’ve got no idea why you wasted your time coming out all this way. I guess you had nothing better to do or you wanted to introduce me to your new friend. hear this, Julia, you’re a longer ways off from a Viewing than you can imagine. You, with your ego the size of Jupiter, well, you’ll have to wait in line like the rest of them, your charms hold no currency here.”

I feel as if someone has thrown a bucket of ice water on me. I can’t move or speak. I just stand there, dripping with the venom of this woman’s sarcasm.

“Come on in,” the voice bellows again. “Bloody rude to stand out there and make me shout.”

“Hardly a point in coming in, is there?” Fragile little Isabelle shouts back and I am surprised. The mouse has roared. But then again, this is a girl who had sex with strangers, she isn’t afraid of anything.

“You should at least give us a timeline,” Isabelle says loudly, and she marches inside and I can see that her fists are clenched and her face is white.

The others creep in behind her and I bring up the rear. 

About the author: Originally from South Africa, award-winning author Lisa de Nikolits has lived in Canada since 2000. She has a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature and Philosophy and has lived in the U.S.A., Australia and Britain. No Fury Like That, her seventh and most recently published work, has received glowing preview reviews from internationally acclaimed authors, Metroland Media, and high-profile members of the Crime Writers of Canada. Find her at lisadenikolitswriter.com

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New Release Mondays: Death Overdue by Allison Brook

Author Name: Marilyn Levinson aka Allison Brook

Book Title: Death Overdue

Book Genre: cozy mystery

Release Date: October 10, 2017

Synopsis: Carrie Singleton, forgoes her purple hair and Goth attire to become head of programs and events of the Clover Ridge Library. She finds herself embroiled in solving a cold case and a new murder with the occasional help of the library’s sixty-something ghost amid family squabbles, romance and discovering her place in life.

Excerpt: “We’ve a real exciting program coming up in two weeks,” Trish said, her eyes lighting up with excitement.

“You mean Al Buckley’s talk,” Barbara said. “I’m sorry I’ll be missing it. You’ll have to email me all about it.”

“Who’s Al Buckley?” I asked.

“Al was a detective on the local police force. Fifteen years ago he was in charge of a murder case that was never solved,” Trish said.

A chill snaked up my back. “Around here? Who was murdered?”

“A lovely woman named Laura Foster,” Barbara said. “She was married and had two boys in high school. Someone came into the house and struck her when no one else was home.”

“How awful,” I said. “And how awful that they never found out who killed her.”

Barbara and Trish exchanged glances.

“What is it?” I asked.

“The word is that Al was drinking a lot in those days and wasn’t on top of things like he should have been,” Barbara said. “In fact, there was a hearing and he ended up leaving the force.”

“But he’s cleaned up his act,” Trish said. “And feels terrible for not finding Laura’s killer.”

Barbara nodded. “When he called a few months ago, he said he couldn’t get the case out of his head. He’d started investigating on his own a year or so ago, and found what he believes is new evidence that will put the killer away.”

I shook my head. “I don’t get it. Why didn’t he go to the police with what he’s found?”

“He did,” Barbara said, “but Al doesn’t know if they’ll follow up on it, given his history with the department.”

“They should listen to him!” Trish said. “Al’s a great guy and a terrific detective. He and my dad have been friends for years. I know what a bad time he was going through around the time Laura was murdered. His son nearly died in a car accident, then his wife left him. Now all he wants is to solve the case and write a book about it.”

“It will make for an interesting program,” Barbara said, “but now we have to get to work.”

About the author:  A former Spanish teacher, Marilyn Levinson is the author of mysteries, romantic suspense and novels for kids. She writes the Twin Lakes Mystery series and the Golden Age of Mystery Book Club Mystery series. DEATH OVERDUE, written as Allison Brook, is the first in her Haunted Library Mystery series. Library Journal has given the book a starred review and had made it a Pick of the Month. Blackstone has recorded an audiobook version of DEATH OVERDUE. Marilyn lives on Long Island, where many of her novels take place. Find Marilyn on her website

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New Release Mondays: A Cajun Christmas Killing by Ellen Byron

I first met Ellen Byron at Bouchercon Raleigh in 2015 and immediately knew I’d found a kindred spirit. I’ve since come to love her books and it’s my honor to present her latest here.

Author Name: Ellen Byron

Book Title: A Cajun Christmas Killing

Book Genre: Cozy

Release Date: October 10, 2017

Synopsis: Maggie Crozat is home in Cajun Country during the most magical time of the year. But the Grinch has come to stay at Crozat Plantation B&B, and he’s flooding travel websites with vicious reviews. Maggie ID’s him as rival businessman Donald Baxter –until Baxter is found stabbed to death. With her detective boyfriend sidelined as a suspect, Maggie must catch the real killer or it will be the opposite of a Joyeux Noel for the Crozats.

Excerpt: For Maggie Crozat, there was nowhere lovelier than Pelican, Louisiana, during the holidays. Its wrought iron balconies were threaded with sparkling garlands, and from them dangled colorful Christmas ornaments. Town businesses painted their windows with snowy scenes that delighted the local children, most of whom had never seen real snow thanks to Louisiana’s mild winters. In a time-honored tradition, images of pelicans were hidden among the decorations and anyone who mapped all of them received a prize: a toy pelican for the kids or a shot-glass shaped like one for the adults. The festive atmosphere brought forth much good cheer among the locals. It also allowed them to ignore the fact the sleepy Cajun village had been the site of four murders in a mere three months.

Maggie decided to join the collective state of amnesia, even though each of the murders had somehow involved Crozat Plantation B&B, her family’s ancestral home turned hostelry. As she drove down the Great River Road, she took in the bonfires that were in various stages of construction on the Mississippi levee. This was where Pelican’s good-natured competitive spirit really manifested itself. In centuries past, the bonfires had served as blazing signposts guiding travelers up the river, but they had evolved into a tradition of lighting the way for the Cajun Santa Claus, Papa Noel, on Christmas Eve. Eager participants who vied to create the most ornate structure often began building them right after Thanksgiving. Others didn’t care about looks, opting for the honor of loudest bonfire. Maggie couldn’t even see one of them under its layers of firecrackers. She noticed someone else had simply roped together stacks of sugar cane, which popped like firecrackers when they blazed.

In past years her father, Tug Crozat, had gone log for log with Belle Vista’s bonfire by erecting a detailed model of Crozat. But this year, Tug had unexpectedly opted for the more standard pyramid structure. He also bowed out of the fireworks display that always accompanied the bonfire’s burning. This really surprised Maggie, since Tug usually took to it with the glee of a ten-year-old budding pyromaniac.

About the author:  Body on the Bayou, the second book in Ellen’s Cajun Country Mystery Series, recently won the Left Coast Crime Lefty Award for Best Humorous Mystery, and was nominated for an Agatha Award in the category of Best Contemporary Novel. Ellen’s debut novel in the series, Plantation Shudders, was nominated for Agatha, Lefty, and Daphne awards, and made the USA Today Bestseller list. Book three, A Cajun Christmas Killing, launches October 10th. TV credits include Wings, Just Shoot Me, Fairly OddParents, and many pilots. She lives in Los Angeles with her husband, daughter, and two spoiled rescue dogs. Visit her at http://www.ellenbyron.com/

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