Dec 272017
 

One Red Bastard

by Ed Lin

on Tour November 20 – December 31, 2017

Synopsis:

One Red Bastard by Ed Lin

It’s the fall of 1976, and New York’s Chinatown is in turmoil over news that Mao’s daughter is seeking asylum in the U.S. Robert Chow is a detective in training, and he is thrilled when his girlfriend Lonnie scores an interview with the Chinese representative of Mao’s daughter. But hours after the interview, the man is found dead. Lonnie, the last person to see him alive, is the main suspect.

As Lonnie is subjected to increasing amounts of intimidation from his fellow policemen, who want to close the case, Robert is tempted to reach into his own bag of dirty tricks. Will he stay on the right side of the law, or will his loyalty to Lonnie get the better of him? Find out in this exciting and fast-paced mystery set in one of New York’s most fascinating neighborhoods.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: November 21st 2017
Number of Pages:
ISBN: 0062444204 (ISBN13: 9780062444202)
Series: Detective Robert Chow #3
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Ed Lin

Ed Lin:

Ed Lin, a native New Yorker of Taiwanese and Chinese descent, is the first author to win three Asian American Literary Awards and is an all-around standup kinda guy. His books include Waylaid and This Is a Bust, both published by Kaya Press in 2002 and 2007, respectively. Snakes Can’t Run and One Red Bastard, which both continue the story of Robert Chow set in This Is a Bust, were published by Minotaur Books. His latest book, Ghost Month, a Taipei-based mystery, was published by Soho Crime in July 2014. Lin lives in Brooklyn with his wife, actress Cindy Cheung, and son.

INTERVIEW

Welcome!
On Writing and Reading:

Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?

I would say both. Even though One Red Bastard is set in 1976, when I look back through the lens of today to the past, I like to find a way to comment on today’s issues by showing similar events back then. My own take on things is the filter I write through, so my personal experiences and opinions are embedded with the story.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?

I actually go from the beginning to the end, but as I near the end, I jump ahead to write the ending and then backtrack a bit. I’m just so anxious to get the ending right, I want to jump there and get a first crack at that last line as soon as I can!

Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?

All of my characters are based on me. You know what they say about dreams, that every person you meet is really you. That’s what my books are like.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?

I don’t have a routine anymore–having a child will do that to you! Whenever I can clear an hour to work, I will. I made a point years ago to not have any “writing rituals” I needed to get out of the way because it was simply more procrastinating. I do, however, do my writing on vintage Macintosh laptops because I like the feel of the older keyboards, not the super-quiet newfangled ones.

Tell us why we should read this book.

This book will blow your mind with its surprising twists and turns. You will also never be able to look at Chinese people the same way.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Some of my favorite dead writers are Charles Willeford, Dashiell Hammett, Dorothy Hughes, Shirley Jackson and Chester Himes.

What are you reading now?

I am reading The Butcher’s Wife, which features the title novella and a few short stories by Li Ang, a Taiwanese writer. It’s quite ugly and violent but acts as an indictment against misogyny.

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?

I also write a mystery series set in Taipei for Soho Crime. I’m currently writing the third book, the follow-up to Ghost Month and Incensed.

Fun questions:

Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?

I can’t do this. My wife is an actress and so many of our friends are in the acting community, which is rather tight among Asian Americans–these are the people who would populate the film version of the book. Let’s just say that I would try to get all my friends into it!

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?

I really enjoy video games and reading, of course. I play bass, too, but I haven’t been able to round up people to be in a band for years.

Favorite meal?

Anything with decent fries, and by that, I mean real potatoey fries–none of that dry, mummy-meat sticks.
Thank you for stopping by CMash Reads and spending time with us.

Catch Up With Our Author On:
Website 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

Read an excerpt:

The woman was standing in a pool of wet ashes, her hands at her sides. She was about five seven but that was with heels on. Her thick black hair cascaded over her ears and shoulders, and she did something to it to make it shiny. A light brown coat stopped above a skirt that stopped midway down two taut thighs in stockings with a dull glow.

I smirked because I was sure that she had spent some time thinking about how she wanted to look from the rear. To men.

But this was no time for amusement. I came in close to her forehead and growled under my breath, “Barbara, what the hell are you doing here!”

When she turned around I saw my head and torso in her two black, sparkling eyes. Her face was long and not too narrow and came down to a chin that fairy princesses had. Her red lips, usually curved like a little blossom, were pulled taut into a wide smile.

She grabbed my arm and said, “Robert!”

“This is a crime scene! Now let’s get out of this thing!”

“I’m so sorry!”

She continued to hold on to me as we stepped over the tape together, matching leg for leg. I had lost part of my mind in Nam, but she had lost a lot more. Barbara used to be the prettiest girl in Chinatown. Now she was its prettiest widow.

“You know anything about the fire, Barbara?” I looked into her face. There was lightning behind her dark eyes.

“No. I don’t. Can we stop whispering now?”

“Well, I guess it doesn’t matter at this point,” I said in full voice.

“Look, I didn’t mean any harm. I just had to see the place up close. Artie Yee published my first story, back when I was in grade school.”

“I didn’t know about that.”

“I brought it into school to show everybody. Don’t you remember?”

“How am I supposed to remember that one thing? You always had something to show off in school. If it wasn’t a story you wrote, it’d be a story about you.”

She snorted.

“Did you stay in touch with Artie over the years?” I asked.

“I’d run into him from time to time.”

“Were the two of you friends?”

“Oh, no, no. I learned to keep my distance from that one. Did you know that he asked me to marry him when I turned eighteen?”

“He wasn’t much better looking back then, was he?”

“He looked like a younger walrus.”

“You’re not enemies with Artie, though, are you?”

“I’m not one of them, but he has many enemies,” she said. “You know that.”

“He did his part in pissing off all areas of Chinatown.”

“Artie doesn’t respect authority. That’s a good thing for a journalist.”

“Then how come you didn’t keep writing for him?”

“Artie doesn’t respect women.” She shivered and then slapped my arm. “I heard Paul got into that program at Columbia.”

“Thanks to you,” I said.

“Thanks in part to me, anyway.” She paused. “Doesn’t that mean you’ll take me to dinner?”

“Maybe Paul should.”

“Get serious. Actually, maybe Paul should come and meet my youngest sister. You know she’s up at Columbia because she got into Barnard early. Maybe she should stick to Chinatown boys, like I should have.”

“Hey, Barbara, let’s talk about this later. I have to get back to work here.”

“You’re going to call me?”

“I’ll get in touch.”

She walked off and I returned to my post.

Years ago, Barbara and her three younger sisters were the four little princesses of Chinatown. She liked to say that her parents never did get that son, but the truth was her parents learned to love all their daughters to death. They all had beauty and smarts, and because of that you knew they’d get out of Chinatown and never come back.

But Barbara did return after her husband was killed in Khe Sanh. The oldest, the prettiest, and the smartest of the sisters, she moved back alone into their old family home to find some comfort, I guess.

There was a brief period when I thought she was the love of my life, but it was a while ago and it ended embarrassingly enough. Thinking about it again put me in a bad mood.

“Hello Sunshine,” said Vandyne.

“It was Barbara,” I said.

“Oh! What the hell was she doing there?”

“She wanted to see the place up close. Artie published one of her stories back when she was a smart, little girl.”

“Seriously, though, could she have had anything at all to do with this?”

“Her? No way, man!”

“Do you know that for sure?”

“Yes,” I said. “I would bet my soul on it.”

***

Excerpt from One Red Bastard by Ed Lin. Copyright © 2017 by Ed Lin. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.

Tour Participants:

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Ed Lin and Witness Impulse. There will be 5 winners of one (1) small incense box with a Chinese opera mask. The giveaway begins on November 20th and runs through December 30, 2017.

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Dec 072017
 

Strong to the Bone by Jon Land Banner

Strong to the Bone

by Jon Land

on Tour December 4, 2017 – January 31, 2018

Synopsis:

STRONG TO THE BONE by Jon Land

1944: Texas Ranger Jim Strong investigates a triple murder inside a Nazi POW camp in Texas.

The Present: His daughter, fifth generation Texas Ranger Caitlin Strong, finds herself pursuing the killer her father never caught in the most personal case of her career a conspiracy stretching from that Nazi POW camp to a modern-day neo-Nazi gang.

A sinister movement has emerged from the shadows of history, determined to undermine the American way of life. Its leader, Armand Fisker, has an army at his disposal, a deadly bio-weapon, and a reputation for being unbeatable. But he s never taken on the likes of Caitlin Strong and her outlaw lover, Cort Wesley Masters.

To prevent an unspeakable cataclysm, Caitlin and Cort Wesley must win a war the world thought was over.

**Read my review HERE and enter the giveaway**

Strong to the Bone is another fine effort by Jon Land, who manages to mix character development with gripping, page-turning plots. This is his best novel yet.”
StrandMagazine

Book Details:

Genre: Thriller
Published by: Forge Books
Publication Date: December 5, 2017
Number of Pages: 368
ISBN: 0765384647 (ISBN13: 9780765384645)
Series: Caitlin Strong Novels (Volume 9)
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗| Macmillan 🔗

**Q&A with Jon Land**

Welcome!

Writing and Reading:
Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?

Definitely from current events. I call myself a sponge in that I’m not only always looking for obvious fodder for my thrillers, but also for the less than obvious. For example, STRONG TO THE BONE features, as a Maguffin, a groundbreaking discovery of a new anti-rejection drug that could change the lives of transplant patients. That sprang directly from an article in the New York Times about the developmental progress of such drugs. That’s the equivalent of the light bulb going on and then burning even brighter once I figure out how to weaponize this potentially life-changing discovery because, hey, I write high-stakes thrillers, right? Outside of setting scenes in places I’ve visited, I never draw on my own personal experiences because, truth be told, almost all of mine are mundane or boring.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?

I start at the beginning and let the story takes me where it needs to and let my characters do their share of the heavy lifting. Knowing too much of a book before you start lends the final product a formulaic feel, whereas spontaneity implies that if I don’t know what’s going to happen next, the reader can’t possibly know. I like to let my stories develop organically from the inside out. In STRONG TO THE BONE again, for instance, the villain doesn’t have a nefarious plot to wreak havoc on mankind when the book opens—that plot develops in the course of the story because of something that happens in the course of the story.

Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?

I find inspiration in real people or situations, mostly to build villains more than good guys but almost never from those I know personally, because then it doesn’t feel like fiction anymore. In STRONG TO THE BONE, the evil Davey Skoll is a thinly disguised version of Martin Shkreli, the pharmaceutical tycoon prone to jacking up prices astronomically on commonly-used drugs. And the neo-Nazi villain Skoll hooks up with, Armand Fisker, is based on a story I once read of towns in California and elsewhere that are actually controlled and run by lawless biker gangs.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?

I write in two shifts, each 2-3 hours; say, from 12-3 in the afternoon and then in the evening maybe from 10-midnight. I’ve always been a late night person, so sometimes I work even later. The key is to always feel like the writing is fresh, kind of like when you’re a runner and want to push yourself just hard enough. I have two idiosyncrasies that have become kind of staples. The first is that I always try to leave off in the middle of something so I have a running start the next day when I pick up the work. The second is I’ll have some books set aside by my favorite authors to read to get into the proper mindset before I start writing. Nothing gets me in the right frame of mind better than that!

Tell us why we should read this book.

Oh, lots of reasons! It’s got all the hallmarks—action, suspense, a great puzzle, history—that all the Caitlin Strong books have. But it’s also the most personal of any title in the series. That’s because instead of just tracking a random bad guy, this time out Caitlin finds herself on the trail of the man who sexually assaulted her eighteen years before and has now resurfaced. So at long last she gets to finally slay the dragon. But that gives her cause for concern because she’s not sure she really wants to catch him. What if that costs Caitlin her edge? What if this horrible experience from her past is the primary driver of who she is, her very sensibility? So what happens after she slays the dragon.

Who are some of your favorite authors?

Lee Child, James Lee Burke, James Rollins, Steve Berry, David Morrell, Stephen King, James Hall, Brad Meltzer, Stephen Hunter, John Hart—the list goes on and on!

What are you reading now?

I’m finishing GONE DARK by James Hall, in the middle of G-MAN by Stephen Hunter, and have just started THE MIDNIGHT LINE by Lee Child.

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?

I’m just starting STRONG AS STEEL, the next in the Caitlin Strong series which will be published in December of 2018. All I can tell you, because it’s all that I know, is that involves skeletal bones being uncovered in the Texas desert where something else was also dug up out of the ground. Something with the potential to be world changing, maybe in more ways than one. Check back with me in a couple months and I might be able to tell you more!

Fun questions:

Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?
Anyone who gets the movie made!

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?

I love working out at the gym and following Brown University football for which I serve as vice president of the Brown Football Association.

Favorite meal?

Nothing beat a great steak, although a great lobster comes close!

Thank you for stopping by CMash Reads and spending time with us.

Author Bio:

Jon Land

Jon Land is the USA Today bestselling author of 43 books, including eight titles in the critically acclaimed Caitlin Strong series: Strong Enough to Die, Strong Justice, Strong at the Break, Strong Vengeance, Strong Rain Falling (winner of the 2014 International Book Award and 2013 USA Best Book Award for Mystery-Suspense), Strong Darkness (winner of the 2014 USA Books Best Book Award and the 2015 International Book Award for Thriller, and Strong Light of Day which won the 2016 International Book Award for Best Thriller-Adventure, the 2015 Books and Author Award for Best Mystery Thriller, and the 2016 Beverly Hills Book Award for Best Mystery. Strong Cold Dead became the fourth title in the series in a row to win the International Book Award in 2017 and about which Booklist said, “Thrillers don’t get any better than this,” in a starred review. Land has also teamed with multiple New York Times bestselling author Heather Graham on a new sci-fi series, the first of which, The Rising, was published by Forge in January of 2017. He is a 1979 graduate of Brown University and lives in Providence, Rhode Island.

Catch Up With Our Author On:
Website 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

Read an excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

Austin, Texas

What the hell?

Caitlin Strong and Cort Wesley Masters had just emerged from Esther’s Follie’s on East 6th Steet, when they saw the stream of people hurrying down the road, gazes universally cocked back behind them. Sirens blared off in the distance and a steady chorus of honking horns seemed to be coming from an adjoining block just past the street affectionately known as “Dirty Sixth,” Austin’s version of Bourbon Street in New Orleans.

“Couldn’t tell you,” Cort Wesley said, even as he sized up the scene. “But I got a feeling we’re gonna know before much longer.”

* * *

Caitlin was in town to speak at a national law enforcement conference focusing on homegrown terrorism, and both her sessions at the Convention Center had been jam-packed. She felt kind of guilty her presentations had lacked the audio-visual touches many of the others had featured. But the audiences hadn’t seem to mind, filling a sectioned-off ballroom to the gills to hear of her direct experiences, in contrast to theoretical dissertations by experts. Audiences comprised of cops a lot like her, looking to bring something back home they could actually use. She’d focused to a great extent on her most recent battle with ISIS right here in Texas, and an al-Qaeda cell a few years before that, stressing how much things had changed in the interim and how much more they were likely to.

Cort Wesley had driven up from San Antonio to meet her for a rare night out that had begun with dinner at Ancho’s inside the Omni Hotel and then a stop at Antone’s nightclub to see the Rats, a band headed by a Texas Ranger tech expert known as Young Roger. From there, they’d walked to Esther’s Follies to take in the famed Texas-centric improve show there, a first for both of them that was every bit as funny and entertaining as advertised, even with a gun-toting woman both Caitlin and Cort Wesley realized was based on her.

Fortunately, no one else in the audience made that connection and they managed to slip out ahead of the rest of the crowd. Once outside, though, they were greeted by a flood of pedestrians pouring up the street from an area of congestion a few blocks down, just past 8th Street.

“What you figure, Ranger?”

“That maybe we better go have ourselves a look.”

CHAPTER 2

Austin, Texas

Caitlin practically collided with a young man holding a wad of napkins against his bleeding nose at the intersection with East 7th Street.

“What’s going on?” she asked him, pulling back her blazer to show her Texas Ranger badge.

The young man looked from it back to her, swallowing some blood and hacking it up onto the street. “University of Texas graduation party took over all of Stubb’s Barbecue,” he said, pointing in the restaurant’s direction. “Guess you could say it got out of hand. Bunch of fraternities going at it.” He looked at the badge pinned to her chest again. “Are you really a Texas Ranger?”

“You need to get to an emergency room,” Caitlin told him, and pressed on with Cort Wesley by her side.

“Kid was no older than Dylan,” he noted, mentioning his oldest son who was still on a yearlong leave from Brown University.

“How many fraternities does the University of Texas at Austin have anyway, Cort Wesley?”

“A whole bunch.”

“Yeah,” she nodded, continuing on toward the swell of bodies and flashing lights, “it sure looks that way.”

Stubb’s was well known for its barbecue offerings and, just as much, its status as a concert venue. The interior was modest in size, as Caitlin recalled, two floors with the bottom level normally reserved for private parties and the upstairs generally packed with patrons both old and new. The rear of the main building, and several adjoining ones, featured a flattened dirt lot fronted by several performance stages where upwards of two thousand people could enjoy live music in the company of three sprawling outdoor bars.

That meant this graduation party gone bad may have featured at least a comparable number of students and probably even more, many of whom remained in the street, milling about as altercations continued to flare, while first responders struggled futilely to disperse the crowd. Young men and women still swigging bottles of beer, while pushing and shoving each other. The sound of glass breaking rose over the loudening din of the approaching sirens, the whole scene glowing amid the colors splashed from the revolving lights of the Austin police cars already on the scene.

A fire engine leading a rescue wagon screeched to a halt just ahead of Cort Wesley and Caitlin, at the intersection with 7th Street, beyond which had become impassable.

“Dylan could even be here, for all I know,” Cort Wesley said, picking up his earlier train of thought.

“He doesn’t go to UT.”

“But there’s girls and trouble, two things he excels at the most.”

This as fights continued breaking out one after another, splinters of violence on the verge of erupting into an all-out brawl going on under the spill of the LED streetlights rising over Stubb’s.

Caitlin pictured swirling lines of already drunk patrons being refused admittance due to capacity issues. Standing in line full of alcohol on a steamy night, expectations of a celebratory evening dashed, was a recipe for just what she was viewing now. In her mind, she saw fights breaking out between rival UT fraternities mostly in the outdoor performance area, before spilling out into the street, fueled by simmering tempers now on high heat.

“You see any good we can be here?” Cort Wesley asked her.

Caitlin was about to say no, when she spotted an anxious Austin patrol cop doing his best to break up fights that had spread as far as 7th Street. She and Cort Wesley sifted through the crowd and made their way toward him, Caitlin advancing alone when they drew close.

“Anything I can do to help,” she said, reading the Austin policeman’s nametag, “Officer Hilton?”

Hilton leaned up against an ornate light pole that looked like gnarled wrought iron for support. He was breathing hard, his face scraped and bruised. He noted the Texas Ranger badge and seemed to match her face to whatever media reports he’d remembered her from.

“Not unless you got enough Moses in you to part the Red Sea out there, Ranger.”

“What brought you boys out here? Detail work?” Caitlin asked, trying to account for his presence on scene so quickly, ahead of the sirens screaming through the night.

Hilton shook his head. “An anonymous nine-one-one call about a sexual assault taking place inside the club, the downstairs lounge.”

“And you didn’t go inside?”

Hilton turned his gaze on the street, his breathing picking up again. “Through that? My partner tried and ended up getting his skull cracked open by a bottle. I damn near got killed fighting to reach him. Managed to get him in the back of our squad car and called for a rescue,” he said, casting his gaze toward the fire engine and ambulance that were going nowhere. “Think maybe I better carry him to the hospital myself.”

“What about the girl?”

“What girl?”

“Sexual assault victim inside the club.”

Hilton frowned. “Most of them turn out to be false alarms anyway.”

“Do they now?”

Caitlin’s tone left him sneering at her. “Look, Ranger, you want to shoot up the street to get inside that shithole, be my guest. I’m not leaving my partner.”

“Thanks for giving me permission,” she said, and steered back for Cort Wesley.

“That looked like it went well,” he noted, pushing a frat boy who’d ventured too close out of the way, after stripping the empty beer bottle he was holding by the neck from his grasp.

“Sexual assault victim might still be inside, Cort Wesley.”

“Shit.”

“Yeah.”

“Got any ideas, Ranger?”

Caitlin eyed the fire engine stranded where East 7th Street met Red River Avenue. “Just one.”

CHAPTER 3

Austin, Texas

Four firemen were gathered behind the truck in a tight cluster, speaking with the two paramedics from the rescue wagon.

“I’m a Texas Ranger,” Caitlin announced, approaching them with jacket peeled back to reveal her badge, “and I’m commandeering your truck.”

“You’re what?” one of the fireman managed. “No, absolutely not!”

The siren began blaring and lights started flashing, courtesy of Cort Wesley who’d climbed up behind the wheel.

“Sorry,” Caitlin said, raising her voice above the din, “can’t hear you!”

* * *

The crowd that filled the street in front of Stubb’s Barbecue saw and heard the fire truck coming and began pelting it with bottles, as it edged forward through the congested street that smelled of sweat and beer. What looked like steam hung in the stagnant air overhead, either an illusion or the actual product of so many superheated bodies congealed in such tight quarters. The sound of glass braking crackled through Caitlin’s ears, as bottle after bottle smashed against the truck’s frame.

The crowd clustered tighter around the fire engine, cutting off Cort Wesley’s way backward or on toward Stubb’s. The students, their fervor and aggression bred by alcohol, never noticed Caitlin’s presence atop the truck until she finally figured out the workings of the truck’s deck gun and squeezed the nozzle.

The force of the water bursting out of the barrel nearly knocked her backward off the truck. But she managed to right and then repositioned herself, as she doused the tight cluster of students between the truck and the restaurant entrance with the gun’s powerful stream.

A wave of people tried to fight the flow and ended up getting blown off their feet, thrown into other students who then scrambled to avoid the fire engine’s surge forward ahead of its deafening horn. Caitlin continued to clear a path for Cort Wesley, sweeping the deck gun in light motions from side to side, the five hundred gallon tank still plenty full when the club entrance drew within clear view.

She felt the fire engine’s front wheels mount the sidewalk and twist heavily to the right. The front fender grazed the building and took out a plate glass window the rioting had somehow spared. Caitlin saw a gap in the crowd open all the way to the entrance and leaped down from the truck to take advantage of it, before it closed up again.

She purposely didn’t draw her gun and entered Stubb’s to the sight of bloodied bouncers and staff herding the last of the patrons out of the restaurant. Outside, the steady blare of sirens told her the Austin police had arrived in force. Little they could do to disperse a crowd this large and unruly in rapid fashion, though, much less reach the entrance to lend their efforts to Caitlin’s in locating the sexual assault victim.

She threaded her way through the ground floor of Stubb’s to the stairs leading down to the private lounge area. The air felt like it was being blasted out of a steam oven, roiled with coagulated body heat untouched by the restaurant’s air conditioning that left Caitlin with the sense she was descending to hell.

Reaching the windowless sub-level floor, she swept her eyes about and thought she heard a whimpering come from a nest of couches, where a male figure hovered over the frame of a woman, lying half on and half off a sectional couch.

“Sir, put your hands in the air and turn around slowly!” Caitlin ordered, drawing her SIG-Sauer nine-millimeter pistol. “Don’t make me tell you twice!”

He started to turn, without raising his hands, and Caitlin fired when she glimpsed something shiny in his grasp. Impact to the shoulder twisted the man around and spilled him over the sectional couch, Caitlin holding her SIG at the ready as she approached his victim.

She heard the whimpering again, making her think more of the sound a dog makes, and followed it toward a tight cluster of connected couch sections, their cushions all stained wet and smelling thickly of beer. Drawing closer while still keeping a sharp eye on the man she’d shot, Caitlin spotted a big smart phone lying just out of his grasp, recognizing it as the object she’d wrongly taken for a gun. Then Caitlin spied a young woman of college age pinned between a pair of couch sections, covering her exposed breasts with her arms, her torn blouse hanging off her and jeans unbuttoned and unzipped just short of her hips.

Drawing closer, Caitlin saw the young woman’s assailant, the man she’d just shot in all likelihood, must’ve yanked them down so violently that he’d split the zipper and torn off the snap or button.

“Ma’am?” she called softly.

The young woman tightened herself into a ball and retreated deeper into the darkness between the couch sections, not seeming to hear her.

“Ma’am,” Caitlin said louder, hovering over the coed while continuing to check on the man she’d shot, his eyes drifting in and out of consciousness, his shirt wet with blood in the shoulder area from the gunshot wound.

Caitlin only wished it was her own attacker lying there, from all those years before when she’d been a coed herself at the Lone Star College campus in West Houston. Some memories suppressed easily, others were like a toothache that came and went. That one was more like a cavity that had been filled, forgotten until the filling broke off and raw nerve pain flared.

Caitlin pushed the couch sections aside and knelt by the young woman, pistol tucked low by her hip so as not to frighten her further.

“I’m a Texas Ranger, ma’am,” she said, in as soothing a voice as she could manage. “I need to get you out of here, and I need you to help me. I need to know if you can walk.”

The young woman finally looked at her, nodded. Her left cheek was swollen badly and one of her arms hung limply from its socket. Caitlin looked back at the downed form of the man she’d already shot once, half hoping he gave her a reason to shoot him again.

“What’s your name? Mine’s Caitlin.”

“Kelly Ann,” the young woman said, her voice dry and cracking.

Caitlin helped her to her feet. “Well, Kelly Ann, I know things feel real bad right now, but trust me when I tell you this is bad as they’re going to get.”

Kelly Ann’s features perked up slightly, her eyes flashing back to life. She tried to take a deep breath, but stopped halfway though.

Caitlin held her around the shoulders in one arm, SIG clutched in her free hand while her eyes stayed peeled on the downed man’s stirring form. “I’m going to stay with you the whole way until we get you some help,” she promised.

The building suddenly felt like a Fun House Hall of Mirrors. Everything distorted, perspective and sense of place lost. Even the stairs climbing back to the ground floor felt different, only the musty smell of sweat mixed with stale perfume and body spray telling her they were the same.

Caitlin wanted to tell Kelly Ann it would be all right, that it would get better, that it would all go away in time. But that would be a lie, so she said nothing at all. Almost to the door, she gazed toward a loose assemblages of frat boys wearing hoodies displaying their letters as they chugged from liquor bottles stripped from the shelves behind the main bar on the first floor. How different were they from the one who’d hurt her, hurt Kelly Ann?

Caitlin wanted to shoot the bottles out of their hands, but kept leading Kelly Ann on instead, out into the night and the vapor spray from the deck gun now being wielded by Cort Wesley to keep their route clear.

“’Bout time!” he shouted down, scampering across the truck’s top to retake his place behind the wheel.

Caitlin was already inside the cab, Kelly Ann clinging tight to her.

“Where to, Ranger?”

“Seton Medical Center, Cort Wesley.”

Before he got going, Caitlin noticed Officer Hilton and several other Austin cops pushing their way through the crowd toward the entrance to Stubb’s.

“Don’t worry, Officer, I got the victim out safe and sound,” she yelled down to him, only half-sarcastically. “But I left a man with a bullet in his shoulder down there for you to take care of.”

“Come again?”

“I’d hurry, if I were you. He’s losing blood.”

***

Excerpt from Strong to the Bone by Jon Land. Copyright © 2017 by Jon Land. Reproduced with permission from Jon Land. All rights reserved.

Tour Participants:

Visit the other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

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Nov 212017
 

Down to No Good

by Earl Javorsky

on Tour October 30, 2017 – January 6, 2018

Synopsis:

Down to No Good by Earl Javorsky

Private investigator Charlie Miner, freshly revived from his own murder, gets a call from Homicide Detective Dave Putnam. Self-styled “psychic to the stars” Tamara Gale has given crucial information about three murders, and the brass thinks it makes the Department look bad. Dave wants Charlie to help figure out the angle, since he has first-hand experience with the inexplicable. Trouble is, Charlie, just weeks after his full-death experience, once again has severe cognitive problems and may get them both killed.

Read my review and enter the giveaway HERE

Earl Javorsky’s DOWN TO NO GOOD is wildly original, wildly energetic, wildly funny – it’s just straight up wild, and I mean that in the best possible way.
– Lou Berney, Edgar Award-winning author of THE LONG AND FARAWAY GONE

It’s a shame you missed Down Solo:

“Earl Javorsky’s bold and unusual Down Solo blends the mysterious and the supernatural boldly and successfully. The novel is strong and haunting, a wonderful debut.”
– T. Jefferson Parker, New York Times bestselling author of Full Measure and The Famous and the Dead

“Awesome”
– James Frey, New York Times bestselling author

“Don’t miss Earl Javorsky’s Down Solo. It’s kick-ass, man. Excellent writing. This guy is the real deal.”
– Dan Fante, author of the memoir Fante and the novel Point Doom

“Javorksy’s writing reminded me of the Carl Hiaasen novels I’d read sprawled out on the deck on one sunny Florida vacation. Perfect entertainment, with the right amount of action to keep me alert (and to keep me from snoozing myself into a sunburned state). But there’s also a deeper layer in Down Solo, which left me thinking past the final page.”
– Bibliosmiles

“Javorsky’s dark and gritty prose is leavened with just enough humor to make Down Solo a compelling story that will take readers to the outer limits of noir.”
– San Diego City Beat

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: The Story Plant
Publication Date: October 31st 2017
Number of Pages: 224
ISBN: 1611882532 (ISBN13: 9781611882537)
Series: This is the sequel to DOWN SOLO.
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗| Goodreads 🔗

Author Bio:

Earl Javorsky

Daniel Earl Javorsky was born in Berlin and immigrated to the US. He has been, among other things, a delivery boy, musician, product rep in the chemical entertainment industry, university music teacher, software salesman, copy editor, proofreader, and author of two previous novels, Down Solo and Trust Me.

He is the black sheep of a family of high artistic achievers.

INTERVIEW

Welcome!
Writing and Reading:

Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
I am not a topical writer except to the extent that our national policy toward drug addiction is not only ineffective but also harmful in a number of ways—Down to No Good is a PI mystery, but it also serves as an allegory for the current addiction crisis and the failed and failing War on Drugs.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the storyline brings you?
I start with a character and put him in a situation. My rendering of the character determines how he’ll react to a given circumstance, whether he resolves a problem or makes it worse. At some point, I have to decide where its all going and set the trajectory in that general direction.

Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?
Yes. In Down to No Good, my principal character, Charlie Miner, is entirely an invention, but his partner is based on a friend of mine—a fine writer who was a cop for over thirty years. I even—with his permission, use his real name. In Trust Me, the last book I had published, the villain is based on a sex predator in the Los Angeles recovery community.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
I am idiosyncratically devoid of routine.

Tell us why we should read this book.
Charlie Miner is a unique character, and I’m proud of his creation. He is a damaged person groping toward wellness while he stumbles through a murder investigation.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
Kem Nunn, James Lee Burke, Graham Greene, John Le Carre, Iain Pears, T. Jefferson Parker, and so many more.

What are you reading now?
A Simple Plan by Scott Smith. So far, it’s a perfect balance of characterization, description, and forward movement.

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
I’m working on a collaboration with an interesting writer who submitted a book to me for editing (my day job). I told her it wasn’t ready and returned her check, then gave her some books on writing and some reading suggestions. She then asked me to ghostwrite her book. We’re working on building a foundation for the project. After that (or during, I don’t know), I’ll be working on two new books that I already have sketched out.

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?

Colin Farrell as Charlie Miner, in a heartbeat. Katherine Moennig (from Ray Donovan) as Z.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
I play a lot of basketball. I’ve surfed since I was a kid and still love it, but it’s damn crowded.

Favorite meal?
The chicken salad with orange currants, onions, mini-peppers, cherry tomatoes, basil, feta cheese, and a balsamic reduction/olive oil dressing my wife and I eat almost every day for lunch.

Thank you for stopping by CMash Reads and spending time with us.

Catch Up With Our Author On: earljavorsky.com 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

Read an excerpt:

I wake up looking down at my body, naked on a gurney at the morgue.

No.

That’s a memory.

This has happened to me before.

I was riding my bike, working a case, high as a meteorite that doesn’t yet know it’s about to crash and burn, still happily tooling along in space, at night, wrapped in a warm blanket of summer air, Jack Daniels, and a smidgen of heroin. Some creep shot me in the temple, and I woke up hovering above my own corpse.

This time is different.

Not a gurney. Not the morgue.

A bed. My body, eyes closed, on a bed. I’ve got a bird’s-eye view, hovering like a kite, still tethered, but barely, by an invisible string.

Let’s get clear on my condition. I don’t know what it is, but I know what it is not. I am not a vampire, or a zombie, or a ghost. I’m not a thousand years old, I have no superpowers, and I’ve never been a hero. What I do have is a broken life, a broken family, and, so far, an inexplicable inoculation against dying. And a daughter I would die for—or, in this case, return to life for.

The tether reels me in. I descend toward the body, a mirror image to it, my arms at my sides, my feet slightly apart. Three bullet holes in my face—and one in my gut—are going to need some repair. At contact, I am absorbed and no longer looking down at myself but looking up at the ceiling.

I stretch my fingers, curl them into fists, and stretch them again.

“Jesus holy fucking Christ!”

I know that voice.

I turn my head. It’s awkward, after the lightness of floating, to be in the body, to know its heaviness and vulnerability. There’s a man sitting in a chair next to the bed. He’s a cop, and the first thing I think is: He knows my secret. Now he really knows it. But it’s okay, because he’s also my friend and I trust him. I have to.

“Hey, Dave, how’s it going?” My voice sounds artificial—a forced process of pushing air, modulating vibrations with my vocal cords, shaping syllables with my mouth and tongue. I make my lips grin.

Dave sits there like a stuffed panda in his rumpled white shirt and cheap black sports coat. There’s blood on his clothes. It’s in his fingernails—my blood, dried and caked on his hands. His right hand is clasped around a Heineken, which he finally tilts to his mouth and drains.

I force the body up and into a sitting position, feet on the floor. I flex my fingers a few more times, roll my shoulders, and look at Dave. For a moment, I close my eyes and leave the body, just as an experiment, and roam around the room. From over Dave’s shoulder I watch it slump back into the pillows like a marionette whose strings have been cut. Dave stands and moves toward the bed, but I slip back into the body and work my mouth and tell him it’s okay.

I sit back up and ask Dave, “Why am I naked?”

“Because you were shot full of holes and clinically dead. I brought you back to my place and cleaned you up. I took off your clothes to see how many more bullets there might be in you. Your things are right over there.” He points to a chair in the corner.

“You’re taking this pretty well.”

He shrugs. “I feel like I’m in a bad movie, but hey . . .”

“I appreciate your bringing me here.”

“I knew if I called the paramedics you’d have been sliced and diced at the coroner’s.”

“How long have I been here?”

Dave looks at his watch. “It’s noon. Call it thirty-six hours.”

“What day is it? And date?”

“Wednesday. Last day in August.”

I stand and walk to the chair to get dressed. Roaming—moving freely out of the body—is easier than this, but I’ll adjust. I have before. The gorilla-suit quality of living in the body becomes commonplace, the intentional management of operating the system, beating the heart, making the blood run in the veins, the conscious act of breathing: all of it becomes second nature.

It’s almost like being alive.

***

Excerpt from Down to No Good by Earl Javorsky. Copyright © 2017 by Earl Javorsky. Reproduced with permission from The Story Plant. All rights reserved.

Tour Participants:

Visit the other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews, interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Earl Javorsky and The Story Plant. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card and 2 winners of one (1) eBook copy of Down Solo by Earl Javorsky. The giveaway begins on October 30 and runs through January 8, 2018.

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Nov 132017
 

Snifter of Death by Chris Karlsen Tour Banner

Snifter of Death

by Chris Karlsen

on Tour November 1 – December 2, 2017

Synopsis:

Snifter of Death by Chris Karlsen

The summer of 1889 was proving to be a strange one for Detective Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone and his partner.

They had a sexual pervert loose. The man didn’t actually harm women but threatened them at knife point, fondling them, and ultimately stealing their stockings.

Far more serious were the murders of influential men, which appeared random other than they were all killed by arsenic poison. Never had he and his partner had cases with so little workable evidence.

Also, the rivalry between him and his detective nemesis at London’s other police department was intensifying. That nemesis was the boxing champion of their department and looking to challenge Rudyard, who never trained as a boxer.

Besides Rudyard’s pride being at stake, and the pride of his station, his nemesis also had in his possession a photograph of the woman Rudyard cares very much for. The new lady in Rudyard’s life had captured his heart and he’d fight the devil himself to save her reputation.

Book Details:

Genre: Historical Suspense
Published by: Books to Go Now
Publication Date: May 16, 2017
Number of Pages: 376
ISBN: 9781545211090
Series: The Bloodstone #2 | This is a Stand Alone Novel
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Kobo 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Author Bio:

Chris Karlsen

I was born and raised in Chicago. My father was a history professor and my mother was, and is, a voracious reader. I grew up with a love of history and books.

My parents also love traveling, a passion they passed onto me. I wanted to see the places I read about, see the land and monuments from the time periods that fascinated me. I’ve had the good fortune to travel extensively throughout Europe, the Near East, and North Africa.

I am a retired police detective. I spent twenty-five years in law enforcement with two different agencies. My desire to write came in my early teens. After I retired, I decided to pursue that dream. I write three different series. My paranormal romance series is called, Knights in Time. My romantic thriller series is Dangerous Waters. The newest is The Bloodstone Series. Each series has a different setting and some cross time periods, which I find fun to write.

I currently live in the Pacific Northwest with my husband and five wild and crazy rescue dogs.

Interview

Welcome!
Writing and Reading:

Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?

Mostly from personal experience as I use historical settings and weave in my interpretation of events based on my experience along with the culture of the period.

In Journey in Time, there’s a scene where my heroine, a modern London attorney must conduct a trial where she is both prosecutor and defendant. The trial is before King Edward 111 in the year 1355. I used my experience testifying in court for that scene.

In Snifter of Death, the handling of much of my protagonist, Detective Rudyard Bloodstone’s police world, from the crime scene activity to the people he works with to victims, witnesses, and suspects all result from my experience as a detective.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?

I have the basic idea for the storyline in mind and the end. I write out an outline but I’m not married to it. I let the story take me to other places not in the outline. That said, the basic ending doesn’t change. I might add something to it, color it with another event or character’s involvement but it is what I planned when I started.

Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?

No, not in the Knights in Time series or in the Bloodstone series. In the Bloodstone series, there are colorful or background characters who reflect some of the people whose paths I crossed in my law enforcement career. But there isn’t one person I can point to in those books and say, “that is so and so.”

The only time I used a real life person was in a short story in an anthology I was part of this year. 12 authors got together to do an anthology for children’s cancer research. The series was called Code Redhead and my short story was called Moonlight Serenade. It is set in WW2 and the hero is based on my father. That is the one true person exception and I stated how it related to him in the author’s note.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?

I am not a morning person. I write in the afternoon and stop around 5 and spend the rest of the evening watching television with my husband.

Tell us why we should read this book.

Ruddy (Detective Inspector Rudyard Bloodstone) is my favorite character to write. As a retired detective myself I was often asked about writing a cop story. But I never wanted to write a cop story, especially a contemporary one. Then I started thinking about putting a detective in a historical setting. I couldn’t imagine a more atmospheric city for murder and mystery than Victorian London. Once I began writing Ruddy, I found myself having a great time with him.

He’s a war hero who doesn’t think of himself as a hero. When asked, he just says he did what was necessary at the time. I was able to give him that typical droll/dry humor so common to cops. He is clever and observant, not much gets by him. But unlike Sherlock Holmes, he follows bad leads at times and isn’t perfect, which I really like about him. He has a sharp tongue, a short fuse, and a sometimes healthy and sometimes troublesome disrespect for administrators and politicians.

One of my favorite things about the Bloodstone series and this book is filling his world with colorful support characters. I love showing Ruddy’s nature and personality through his interaction with them.

He’s a man of his time and I try to make the politics and culture of Victorian England almost another character. Ruddy and his associates live and function in a world with a strict class structure and that is an interesting aspect to address. He must work within the confines of the social mores but that can never take over the story. I enjoy using that element to enhance the plot and action.
-Who are some of your favorite authors?

I love Bernard Cornwell, Julie Anne Long, Julia Quinn, Michael Connolly, and enjoy much of John Sanford.

What are you reading now?

I’m reading Sharpe’s Rifles by Cornwell as my current wip (a historical romance with time travel element and book 5 in my Knights in Time series) has a section that is set in the Peninsula War. I wanted to get a feel for that war. Behind it, I have The Crossing by Michael Connolly. I love his Harry Bosch and Mickey Haller characters. After that, I have a Julia Quinn book, “The Girl with the Make Believe Husband.”

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?

As I mentioned in the previous answer, I’m working on book 5 in my Knights in Time series. That is a historical romance series with a time travel element. My heroine in this story is a modern English doctor. A group of scientists near where she lives are working on a time travel project. She accidentally crosses into one of their experiments and is caught in a time tear where she is sent back to medieval England.

While the scientists continue to try to find a way to bring her home, she begins to fall in love with a medieval knight. As she and the knight are working out if they have a future, the scientists engage another system to bring her home. However, there’s a glitch. She and the knight don’t make it to modern England but find themselves in 1815 and surrounded by the French and English armies at Waterloo.

The hero and heroine have to escape before they’re killed by one or the other battling armies. Then they have to figure out how to get back to England and get word to the scientists who now have no idea where they are in time.

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?

Karl Urban as Rudyard Bloodstone
Elizabeth Taylor as Honeysuckle Flowers
Thomas Craig as Archie Holbrook (Ruddy’s partner)
Hugh Bonneville as Henry Jameson (Superintendent of Ruddy’s police station)
Clive Standen as Will Bloodstone (Ruddy’s brother)
Myanna Buring as Graciela Robson

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?

Reading, dinner with friends (theme dinners are especially fun), and just watching television.

Favorite meal?

Toss up: French onion soup or crab and/or lobster bisque, crab cakes or scallops, mashed potatoes, creamed spinach, tiramisu or any French pastry.

Thank you for stopping by CMash Reads and spending time with us.

Catch Up With Chris Karlsen On:
Website 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

Read an excerpt:

“What address do you show for the Cross family?” the Vicar asked. Her mind went completely blank. Finally, she blurted the only one that came to her, which was no doubt wrong. “Park Lane.”

The Vicar smirked. Not smiled. Smirked. That meant it had to be wrong.

“I suggest you start there. In the meantime, I will have my housekeeper escort you out. I don’t know what you’re playing at but I don’t care for mischief. You’ll do your soul a good turn to drop a coin in the poor box on your way to the street.” He rang a small bell on his desk and the housekeeper came. “See this lady out.”

Graciela stood on the top stair of the chapel cursing her luck when a man’s disturbingly familiar laugh interrupted her thoughts. She took a quick step to the left and flattened herself against one of the portico pillars. The horrible laugh rippled over from close by. It sounded like Detective Bloodstone’s from the morning she’d bailed out Addy. He’d said something that sent the shine boy scampering away and had all the detectives snickering, including Bloodstone.

Taking a deep breath, she peered around the edge of the pillar expecting to see the detective. His presence would’ve been the perfect end to this entire St. Jude’s Chapel mission-turned-catastrophe. To her great relief, it came from a carriage driver. She hadn’t noticed a group of them gathered at the corner waiting to be hired. Graciela, you had no reason to be frightened. You’d done nothing wrong. Stop being such a ninny.

She left the church and headed home. Zachary would be getting up from her nap soon. The whole way home she questioned her luck. A dozen people are murdered every day in London.

How hard can it be to kill someone?

***

Excerpt from Snifter of Death by Chris Karlsen. Copyright © 2017 by Chris Karlsen. Reproduced with permission from Chris Karlsen. All rights reserved.

Tour Participants:

Stop by these great hosts for guest posts, interviews, reviews, and giveaways!

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Chris Karlsen. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on November 1 and runs through December 4, 2017.

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Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

Oct 242017
 

Killer Holiday

by Amy Korman

on Tour October 23 – November 30, 2017

Synopsis:

Killer Holiday by Amy Korman

Kristin Clark and her offbeat crew of Bryn Mawr socialites are ready for a fun and festive winter holiday—one that involves sipping martinis by a crackling yule log, hot guys beneath the mistletoe, and Gucci under the Christmas tree. But this year, Old Saint Nick has something more dangerous in store. A stranger dressed in a Santa suit has Kristin’s friends on his naughty list. First, Sophie’s favorite handbag is blasted by a bullet. Then, Father Christmas shatters her brother Chip’s car window with a golf club and leaves a threatening note demanding fifty grand. Both are convinced it has to be a mistake. But when Chip goes missing, the stakes become deadly. Eula Morris is also back in town for the holidays, more bossy and boastful than ever after winning a mega-jackpot in the lottery. She’s returned from a luxury cruise around the world with a handsome new boyfriend (who looks oddly familiar…) and a Samsonite suitcase filled with gold bars. When the suitcase is snatched, Eula implores Kristin and the team to track it down. Where is Chip? Why is a vengeful Santa targeting the gang? Who stole Eula’s suitcase? And how are these events linked? The WASPs and Kristen’s basset hound Waffles are on the case—before this white Christmas turns even darker…

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery
Published by: Witness Impulse
Publication Date: October 24th 2017 by Witness Impulse
Number of Pages: 320
ISBN: 0062431366 (ISBN13: 9780062431363)
Series: A Killer WASPs Mystery, #4
Purchase Links: Amazon 🔗 | Barnes & Noble 🔗 | Goodreads 🔗

Amy Korman

Author Bio:

Amy Korman is a former senior editor and staff writer for Philadelphia Magazine, and author of Frommer’s Guide to Philadelphia. She has written for Town & Country, House Beautiful, Men’s Health, and Cosmopolitan. Killer WASPS is her first novel.

Interview

Welcome!
Writing and Reading:

Do you draw from personal experiences and/or current events?
The main character in Killer Holiday, antiques dealer Kristin Clark, is always stumbling into crime scenes with her friends, which doesn’t happen to me in real life—fortunately! And I’ve never had the good luck to own a charming shop like Kristin, but I’ve had plenty of bad part-time jobs like Kristin does. Also, Kristin and her friends find themselves on last-minute, impulsive trips to the Jersey Shore pretty frequently, and who doesn’t love a good road trip in real life? And, I love to include current trends that I find funny, cool and unlikely for the characters I write about, like the current obsessions with barbecue and artisanal booze that Holly and the Colketts are into in Killer Holiday.

My Killer Wasp series is set in a fictional version of the Philly suburbs, which is a beautiful place filled with cute small towns, farms, and of course the occasional country club like the ones in the books. I’ve lived my whole life in this area, so I combined some of my favorite parts of amazing towns like Lambertville and Frenchtown, NJ, with the real area known as the Main Line of Philly to create a version of Bryn Mawr.

Do you start with the conclusion and plot in reverse or start from the beginning and see where the story line brings you?
I like to know where the story and Kristin and her friends are headed! Detours happen, but the route and destination are fairly well mapped out.

Are any of your characters based on you or people that you know?
The character of Kristin is much more free-spirited than I am—and she’s younger, more of a risk-taker, and even though she worries that her friends are going to land her in risky situations, she’s careful but fearless.
I wish I had the free time and energy Kristin and her friends have to do stakeouts, break-ins, and pose as hotel staff and postal employees. I don’t base characters on real people, but I’ve always liked the country clubbing types that are featured in the books, and I love confident, sporty tennis girls like Bootsie, since I personally can’t play at all! I also really enjoy being around world-weary, slightly bitter types like Joe, who’s secretly an optimist.

Your routine when writing? Any idiosyncrasies?
JUST DO IT works for me, as soon as I can get to my desk first thing in the morning. Think positive and be fully caffeinated!

Tell us why we should read this book.
Killer Holiday is light, escapist, and transports you to a world where the biggest problem is a stolen suitcase full of jewelry and gold that a lottery winner named Eula “forgot” to declare at Customs when stepping off a round the world cruise. There’s mystery in Killer Holiday—where is Bootsie’s missing brother Chip, and will his left eyelid get chopped off if he doesn’t come up with fifty grant by Christmas?—but there’s also “drama lite” such as Kristin and her friends needing to convince two upscale party planners that most people don’t want fancy food and DO want baked ziti and pulled pork at a holiday party.

Who are some of your favorite authors?
Agatha Christie and P.G. Wodehouse are timeless, smart, inventive and hilarious.

What are you reading now?
Jan Karon’s To Be Where You Are. So sweet and positive.

Are you working on your next novel? Can you tell us a little about it?
I’m working on a tropical mystery with an unlikely group of criminals and detectives, with margaritas and sunshine to keep things light.

Fun questions:
Your novel will be a movie. Who would you cast?

Prince Carl Phillip of Sweden would be the perfect Mike Woodford! I think he’s busy being a gorgeous, dashing prince though.

Favorite leisure activity/hobby?
There’s nothing better than walking our basset hound, and love to jog, work on my veggie garden, and head to concerts. We’ve also been taking Murphy the dog on weekend getaways, since he loves a road trip.

Favorite meal?
Chocolate, especially dark and with almonds. Is that a meal?
CM: A girl after my own heart. I think chocolate should be served with every meal! 🙂

Thank you for stopping by CMash Reads and spending time with us.

Catch Up With Ms. Korman On: amykorman.com 🔗, Goodreads 🔗, Twitter 🔗, & Facebook 🔗!

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

Bootsie McElvoy burst through the front door of The Striped Awning, a bag of ice in her right hand and the biggest bottle of Maker’s Mark bourbon I’ve ever seen in her left. She dug into her L.L. Bean tote for a bottle of red wine, a shaker of nutmeg, and a bag of fun-size candy canes, all of which she deposited next to a display of 1940s barware near the front of my antiques store.

“Kristin, it’s December fifteenth, which means it’s time for you to start offering shoppers a specialty cocktail the minute they set foot inside your store,” Bootsie told me. “I’m going to mix up a batch of the Delaney family Christmas drink, the Bourbon Blitzen, which never fails to produce a White Christmas vibe. One sip and you’ll feel like you’re singing and dancing with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye at a snowy Vermont inn. This should double your sales totals for the month.”

“Thanks!” I said gratefully, since Bootsie’s family’s boozy drinks are known throughout our village of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, for their potency and tendency to produce unwise purchases.

“The drinks sound good, but you’re also going to need about four thousand more of these pinecones, triple the greenery, and eight hundred additional strands of lights,” Joe Delafield informed me; he’d arrived twenty minutes earlier to help me decorate my store for the Christmas rush.

To lure in passing foot traffic, I’d brought in armloads of holly and spruce branches from my backyard (cost: free, thankfully), spray-painted pinecones silver (the paint was only $5.28 at the hardware store), and added some cheerful-looking blinking white lights. This would probably bring tons of holiday shoppers through my front door!

Joe paused, eyeing the room with his signature critical stare. “The effect I’m going for is that a bunch of HGTV-crazed elves with subscriptions to Veranda magazine snuck in and decorated for four straight days. Gerda, we’re going to need the blinking lights to stop blinking, pronto. Pull the plug, please.”

Joe’s assistant for the day was the eponymous owner of Gerda’s Bust Your Ass Gym, which is housed inside the beauty salon across the street. Since Gerda stands a lofty six feet tall in flats (or sneakers, which is her usual footwear, since fancy shoes aren’t her style), she’d agreed to hang ornaments, bringing her signature grim attitude to the proceedings.

“Cute idea,” Bootsie observed, casting a dubious stare at my front window, which was filled with antique silver-plated candlesticks, flatware, and wineglasses. “Is that your holiday inventory?”

“Nobody going to want that stuff,” said Gerda, who moved here from her native Austria a few years back. Gerda, who’s incredibly muscular and brings in sell-out crowds at her Pilates classes, isn’t the most tactful person in the world. “People want, like, scarves and Fitbits and iPhones.”

I sighed, knowing Gerda was right. Those were the gifts on most holiday wish lists.

“Luckily, I’ve solved all your problems,” Bootsie told me. “I ran into Eddie from the Pub this morning, and he needs a place to hold some late-night poker tournaments this month, so I brokered a deal for The Striped Awning. You’ll be hosting twice-weekly games from 10 p.m. till 1 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays till Valentine’s Day.”

“What!” I erupted, alarmed by this idea. “First of all, that doesn’t sound legal.”

“It’s fine,” she told me, waving away my concerns. “I mean, it’s not like it will be a professional betting operation. Eddie’s limiting each night to ten players and three hours. Some cards, a few drinks, a few small wagers. What could go wrong?”

“A lot!” I said. “They’ll blow cigar smoke and drop Dorito crumbs everywhere. Not to mention get arrested for operating a casino without a license. A lot could go wrong!”

“You worry too much,” Bootsie informed me dismissively. “Plus, he’ll pay you two hundred dollars a night.”

I opened my mouth to respond, but no words came out. Bootsie knew she had me—there’s no way I can refuse an extra four hundred dollars a week, even if it puts me on the wrong side of the state gaming commission.

Just then, though, the front door was thrown open by one Sophie Shields, a tiny blonde who at the moment was looking slightly wild-eyed.

“Ya won’t believe what just happened!” shrieked Sophie. “The Colketts were helping me put up curtains in my new dining room, since Joe here never finished decorating my place—and the curtains are orange silk, by the way, they’re totally Elle Decor meets a J. Lo red-carpet gown. So Tim and Tom Colkett were talking paint colors when I heard a horn honking, so I opened the front door, thinking it was the delivery boy from the Hoagie House. I figured I’d go out and pay the driver, when boom!

“A guy dressed as Santa leaned out of the driver’s seat of a black SUV that had pulled right up in my driveway and aimed a gun at me and the Colketts!” The Colketts are the town’s leading landscape designers, who’ve lately turned their talents to party planning and interior design.

“Then the guy yelled, ‘Hey, Sophie, this one’s from your ex, Barclay!’ and shot my favorite handbag!” Sophie finished. “I was reaching into it to pay for the hoagies, thank goodness, so it acted as a protective shield. Also, I think maybe this Santa guy doesn’t have great aim.”

We all stared at her for a moment.

“Are you sure, Sophie?” said Bootsie finally. “Because this sounds like BS.”

“Yeah, Sophie, maybe you been hitting the wine bottle today,” seconded Gerda. “I know the Colketts are day drinkers. Maybe you been guzzling alcohol, too.”

“It’s true!” Sophie bleated. “Just look at this Ferragamo satchel! If it hadn’t had gold hardware to block the trajectory of the bullet, me and the Colketts would have been toast!”

***

Excerpt from Killer Holiday by Amy Korman. Copyright © 2017 by Amy Korman. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.

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