Review: <i>A God in the Shed</i> by J-F. Dubeau Review: A God in the Shed by J-F. Dubeau Amber Keller Read Amber Keller's review! "Lacey's Wedding": Excerpt "Lacey's Wedding": Excerpt Sharon Bolton Learn how to win a copy of Dead Woman Walking! <i>American Static</i>: Excerpt American Static: Excerpt Tom Pitts A fast-paced crime novel set in California. Review: <i>Kangaroo Too</i> by Curtis C. Chen Review: Kangaroo Too by Curtis C. Chen Doreen Sheridan Read Doreen Sheridan's review!
From The Blog
June 22, 2017
Q&A with J. Leon Pridgen II, Author of Unit 416
Crime HQ and J. Leon Pridgen II
June 16, 2017
Waiting for Nuggets Leads to 911 Call
Teddy Pierson
June 15, 2017
Adventures in Research, Part II: Storm Rising
Douglas Schofield
June 13, 2017
You Only Live Twice: Discovering Donald Westlake’s Lost James Bond Novel
Charles Ardai
June 9, 2017
Arrogant Drug Dealer Busted During Facebook Live Stream
Teddy Pierson
Showing posts by: Doreen Sheridan click to see Doreen Sheridan's profile
Wed
Jun 21 2017 4:30pm

Cooking the Books: A Just Clause by Lorna Barrett

We're back in Stoneham, New Hampshire, the fabled Booktown that gives this bestselling mystery series its name. It’s just a few days before the first Wine and Jazz Festival, which has several of our cast of characters in a tizzy of organization. Our heroine, Tricia Miles, is in a different sort of tizzy, however. Thriller author Steve Richardson—who she met and flirted with on the cruise detailed in the preceding book, Title Wave—is coming from out of state to the mystery bookstore she owns for a reading and signing.

Tricia isn't sure if she wants to pick up where they left off, as she knows long-distance relationships are more complicated than she has time or energy for. But any worries over her own romantic life are tossed out the window when her father shows up unexpectedly, announcing that he's left her mother and needs money and a place to stay.

John Miles’s previous visit some months earlier hadn't gone very well: he'd left abruptly with a list of outstanding debts as well as a good number of items that did not belong to him. Tricia's older sister, Angelica, is especially steamed, as she had to cover for him with the townsfolk. But then, a woman with a checkered past is found murdered right after Steve’s signing, and John becomes prime suspect.

[Recipe and pictures below!]

Wed
Jun 21 2017 11:00am

Review: Kangaroo Too by Curtis C. Chen

Kangaroo Too by Curtis C. ChenSet in the same world as Waypoint Kangaroo, Curtis C. Chen's Kangaroo Too is bursting with adrenaline and intrigue in this unique outer-space adventure.

Hurray! Finally, the sequel to Curtis C Chen’s hilarious and compelling sci-fi spy thriller Waypoint Kangaroo is out! The tie-in puzzle website (the first book had one too) doesn't seem to be ready yet, however, as I keep getting a “Wait for it…” notification as I tab back and forth between browser windows while I’m supposed to be writing this review. Or maybe I’m not as good at puzzle-solving as I think? Clearly, it must be the former.

Set in a future where mankind is busy colonizing the solar system, our narrator—codenamed Kangaroo—has a superpower and, so far as he and his bosses know, is the only person in the universe to have one. I’ll let him explain it in his own words, though:

[Read Doreen Sheridan's review of Kangaroo Too...]

Wed
Jun 14 2017 4:30pm

Cooking the Books: Title Wave by Lorna Barrett

This was my first foray into the bestselling Booktown Mystery series, and I was a little worried that I’d be a bit lost, as this is the 10th book in. So it was a great relief to find it highly accessible—most likely because the story itself doesn’t take place in Stoneham, New Hampshire (the fabled Booktown), proper, but on an Atlantic cruise.

Quite a few Stoneham residents have embarked on this cruise to escape the New England winter, and they are looking forward to a few days of luxury as they sail to Bermuda and back. Even better, the cruise is mystery-themed, with a good number of authors (mostly in the mystery genre, but not all) aboard to hold panels as well as discuss and promote their books.

[Recipe and pictures included below!]

Wed
Jun 7 2017 4:30pm

Cooking the Books: A Frying Shame by Linda Reilly

The third book in the Deep Fried Mystery series has us back in the Berkshires, as our heroine Talia Marby is about to enter a cooking contest! Sponsored by Steeltop Foods to help launch its newest kitchen gadget, the Flavor Dial, the grand prize is $25,000—a welcome windfall to all six wannabe winners. But things seem off from the very start, as the owner of Steeltop Foods, Wesley Thurman, seems both weirdly preoccupied and weirdly put off by several of the locals, including the eventual winner, Norma Ferguson.

While Talia is disappointed to lose, she is determined to enjoy the rest of her town’s summer festival, which the competition was set up to coincide with. But then Norma is found dead, and one of Talia’s own employees is assaulted and left in critical condition, presumably by Norma’s killer. To make matters worse, the police arrest Crystal Galardi, another contestant and co-owner of the Fork And Dish, a culinary supplies store located right across from Talia’s own deep-fried restaurant, Fry Me A Sliver.

[Recipe and pictures below!]

Thu
Jun 1 2017 1:00pm

Review: He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly

He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly is a gripping tale of the lies we tell to save ourselves, the truths we cannot admit, and how far we will go to make others believe our side of the story (available June 6, 2017).

I almost don’t know how to discuss this tremendously affecting, tremendously disturbing book. It has so many twists that to bring up the themes I felt most important—the ones that resonated most with me—feels like I’m doing you, the reader, a disservice by forewarning you of things you’ll want to discover for yourself.

So what’s safe to talk about? Well, there’s Laura and Kit, a young couple fresh out of university. Kit was brought up to chase eclipses, and he’s drawn Laura into the scene—half-hardcore science, half-Burning Man hedonism—as well. Honestly, when I picked up the book, I hadn’t the slightest interest in eclipse chasing. Its devotees travel the world searching for the right time, place, and most importantly, weather to experience totality, which is the brief period in which the moon completely covers the sun. But then Erin Kelly describes it, and I completely understand why people do it if their experiences are like this:

[Read Doreen Sheridan's review of He Said/She Said...]

Wed
May 31 2017 4:30pm

Cooking the Books: Caramel Crush by Jenn McKinlay

Nine books into the Cupcake Bakery Mystery series and Angie deLaura, co-owner of Fairy Tale Cupcakes, is about to marry the man of her dreams. The problem is she’s turned into that most tiresome of creatures: the Bridezilla.

Her best friend and business partner, Mel Cooper, has her hands full talking Angie down from the various ledges she keeps climbing on, so she isn’t too thrilled when a former college roommate comes asking for a spiteful favor. Hard-charging, business-minded Diane Earnest has just discovered that her fiancé, Mike Bordow, is only marrying her for her money. So she wants Mel to personally deliver a caramel-flavored kiss-off in the form of cupcakes announcing that she’s dumping him and record the proceedings on video. Mel is understandably reluctant to participate in all this drama, but she owes Diane big time. Plus, doing this will clear the debt for good.

[Recipes and pictures below!]

Wed
May 24 2017 4:30pm

Cooking the Books: Silence of the Jams by Gayle Leeson

Hurray, we’re back in Winter Garden, Virginia, to visit with the delightful Amy Flowers and her family and friends! This is one of those series where I’m there as much for the cast and their personal issues as I am for the mystery itself, and immersing myself back in the series was as truly cozy as wrapping a nice toasty blanket around myself.

Here in the second installment, Amy has finally realized her dream of opening a healthy, homey cafe after helping to solve the murder of her former boss in the series debut. Business at Amy’s Down South Cafe is good, perhaps unsurprisingly given that the only other place to eat out in this small town is a somewhat greasy pizza parlor.

[Recipe and pictures included below!]

Wed
May 17 2017 4:30pm

Cooking the Books: Town in a Maple Madness by B. B. Haywood

I'd never read anything from the Candy Holliday Murder Mystery series before, so I was quite surprised by how decidedly un-cozy the prologue was! A man is brutally murdered in a manner I'm more used to reading of in thrillers and police procedurals. This is by no means a criticism, but it definitely set the tone for a book that isn't your ordinary culinary cozy.

Candy, our heroine, has acquired a reputation in her small town of Cape Willington, Maine, for solving problems large and small—the occasional murder mystery included. She just wants to lead a peaceful life farming blueberries with her dad and writing her community notices column for the local paper.

[Recipes and pictures included!]

Wed
May 10 2017 4:30pm

Cooking the Books: For Cheddar or Worse by Avery Aames

The town of Providence, Ohio, is ready to host its annual Cheese Festival, and cheese shop owner Charlotte Bessette is excited—not only for the increased revenue brought by tourist traffic (though that is certainly a plus!), but also at the prospect of a weekend getaway to Emerald Pastures, a nearby dairy farm and inn. Run by Charlotte’s best friend, Erin, the small creamery will be hosting a “brain trust” where experts will discuss the latest in all things cheese. Charlotte and her one-time-dairy-farmer husband, Jordan, are looking forward to a physically relaxing and mentally stimulating few days, especially with the last-minute announcement of surprise guest Lara Berry.

Lara is a star in the cheese world, having worked her way up from humble cheese monger to renowned consultant and critic. Her interviews and reviews can make or break a cheese producer—and frequently have. Charlotte is expecting to spend time with a woman who is as open and humorous as in her TV interviews. It comes as quite a surprise, however, when Lara turns out to be a colossal diva with a short temper and sharp tongue who quickly riles up her fellow guests.

[Recipe and pictures included!]

Tue
May 9 2017 11:00am

Review: Party Girls Die in Pearls by Plum Sykes

Party Girls Die in Pearls by Plum Sykes takes us back to the decadent 1980s in a comic murder mystery set in the tony world of Oxford University.

I'm a thoroughly modern woman, and the idea of going back in time to live in a previous age generally has me aghast. I quite enjoy living in an age of indoor plumbing, climate control, and accessible high-speed Internet, thank you very much. But Plum Sykes’s delightful debut mystery novel has me thinking that perhaps an exception could be made for going back in time to 1980s Oxford, populated as it was by young people who were probably just a bit too clever, too glamorous, and too decadent for their own good. Of course, present-day me is a touch too old for that, but college-aged me would—like Party Girls Die in Pearls’ charming, somewhat sheltered heroine Ursula Flowerbutton—have thrived even as I fretted about having enough party dresses to wear to the seemingly endless social whirl.

[Read Doreen Sheridan's review of Party Girls Die in Pearls...]

Wed
May 3 2017 5:00pm

Cooking the Books: Iced Under by Barbara Ross

In this 5th installment of the Maine Clambake Mystery series, we learn a lot more about the history of Julia Snowden’s mother’s family. Once rich enough to own and entertain lavishly on Windsholme—their estate set on an island in the bay of Busman’s Harbor, Maine—several generations later see Morrow Island used only for the Snowden Family Clambake Company’s seasonal clambakes, the present-day primary source of income for Julia’s family.

Now in the off-season, Julia is battling the gloomy northeastern weather while her boyfriend Chris embarks on a guys’ trip sailing a yacht down to Key West. She's only too happy to help pick up her mom's mail from the post office and trudge through the snow for a visit, not realizing that this fateful trip will set her on a path to finally meet distant relatives, including one thought long dead.

[Recipe and pictures included below!]

Fri
Apr 21 2017 3:00pm

Cooking the Books: Fogged Inn by Barbara Ross

Fogged Inn by Barbara Ross is the 4th book in the Maine Clambake Mystery series, nominated for an Agatha Award for Best Novel.

This 4th installment of the Maine Clambake Mystery series has been nominated for the Agatha Award for Best Novel, and deservedly so! Julia Snowden has decided to give up her career and New York City lifestyle to open a restaurant with her boyfriend Chris in her hometown of Busman's Harbor, Maine. Meant as a place for the locals to have a nice dinner out during the off-season—when all the other nice restaurants have closed—Gus’s Too is slowly finding its feet and a regular clientele. Julia is also gradually settling into the studio apartment over the restaurant that came as part of the lease, a place of her own after months of living with her family.

The Monday after Thanksgiving promises to be slow, but bad weather and a traffic accident detain the nine guests that Gus’s Too does serve until well into the night. Imagine Julia's surprise when the corpse of one of those guests, the only single man in the group, is discovered in the walk-in freezer the next morning! And if it isn't terrible enough to find a body in her building, items related to the death begin disappearing from her apartment over the course of the next few days. Scared but determined, Julia begins to investigate in order to find a murderer and stop a sinister intruder whom she fears may be one and the same.

[Recipe and pictures included below!]

Wed
Apr 19 2017 4:45pm

Cooking the Books: Musseled Out by Barbara Ross

Barbara Ross is back to her best in this gripping tale that takes a good hard look at the lives of those involved with the commercial lobster catch in Maine. Summer is drawing to an end, and our heroine Julia Snowden must decide whether to return to her venture capitalist job in New York City or stay with her loved ones in Busman's Harbor.

The Snowden Family Clambake Company that she came home to save looks like it'll do just fine without her … until Peter Thwing, hotshot restaurateur, comes nosing around to open a rival company right by hers. Mostly, it's been her hot-headed brother-in-law Sonny who's had to deal with him—often publicly, loudly, and angrily. It's thus almost inevitable that Sonny becomes the prime suspect when Peter's corpse is fished out from under an abandoned lobster boat.

[Recipes and pictures included below!]

Fri
Apr 14 2017 3:00pm

Review: Design for Dying by Renee Patrick

Design for Dying by Renee Patrick is the 1st book in the Lillian Frost & Edith Head series, nominated for an Agatha Award for Best First Novel.

This delightful novel of Old Hollywood is as heady and beguiling as the champagne that flows freely at the parties that litter its pages. It imagines famed costume designer Edith Head as a mystery-solver and mentor to our plucky fictional heroine Lillian Frost, who came to Hollywood to become a movie star but found herself far more talented at selling underthings at the department store Tremayne’s.

When a glamorously dressed corpse is found in the alley outside Lillian’s former boarding house, the newspapers lose little time in dubbing the unidentified body “The Alley Angel.” Lillian’s worst fears are realized when two LAPD detectives—grumpy Hansen and handsome Morrow—show up at her workplace to show her some pictures. Lillian identifies the dead woman as her former roommate, the aspiring and penniless starlet Ruby Carroll.

[Read Doreen Sheridan's review of Design for Dying...]

Fri
Apr 14 2017 12:00pm

Review: Devil’s Breath by G. M. Malliet

Devil's Breath by G. M. Malliet is the 6th book in the Max Tudor series.

I’ve always enjoyed the novels in G. M. Malliet’s Max Tudor series and find that they tend to get better as the series progresses. That said, I haven’t been the good completist that I usually am, and so I want to know (since I have woefully skipped past books 4 and 5 to get here): where is Suzanna Winship, and why are she and DCI Cotton not together?!

Ahem. DCI Cotton does make an appearance here, of course, as a body is found washed ashore at Monkslip-super-Mare, the delightfully named resort town in the parish administered by our hero—Anglican priest, former MI5 agent, and resident of the nearby village of Nether Monkslip—the Reverend Maxen “Max” Tudor. Ordinarily, Max would be happy to leave all the investigating to his good friend Cotton, especially with his wife and young child to dote on, but MI5 has other plans.

His former boss attaches him to the case in order to further an investigation that began when the deceased film star Margot Browne was still aboard the globe-trotting yacht Calypso Facto. MI5 suspects at least one of the passengers or crew of being involved in an international drug-smuggling ring, and so calls in Max when their active agent becomes indisposed and needs to come ashore.

[Read Doreen Sheridan's review of Devil's Breath...]

Wed
Apr 12 2017 5:00pm

Cooking the Books: Boiled Over by Barbara Ross

With the loss of the Snowden Family Clambake Company no longer imminent, our heroine Julia Snowden can focus on helping to make something else a success too: the inaugural Busman’s Harbor Founder's Weekend that she's still not sure how she got herself roped into. Spearheaded by the energetic head of the Tourism Board, Bunnie Getts, the weekend promises to be a huge boon for the many local businesses that rely on tourist dollars, Julia's included. Everything seems to be going swimmingly till a charred human foot falls out of the log pile the Snowden Family Clambake Company set up on the town's bustling main pier.

When suspicion falls on a young employee who bolts at the discovery, Julia becomes determined to prove his innocence, which puts her on a quest that will take her to the heart of blueberry country in northern Maine. She'll discover, though, that the seeds of this murder were sown in New York City decades earlier, where greed destroyed the lives of many and continues to cast a long shadow many states and years away.

[Recipes and pictures included!]

Wed
Apr 5 2017 4:45pm

Cooking the Books: Clammed Up by Barbara Ross

At the end of this delightful series debut, I literally squealed like a schoolgirl with glee. It’s easy to discern why this novel and several of its sequels have been nominated for the Agathas, among other awards: the writing is whip-smart, the characters are deeply sympathetic, and—most importantly—the murder mystery is clever and compelling.

Our heroine, Julia Snowden, has left behind New York City and her life as a venture capitalist to help resuscitate the family business, the Snowden Family Clambake Company. Providing visitors to Busman’s Harbor with an authentic Maine dining and sailing experience, the company is also the only thing keeping several local families afloat, Julia’s included. When a murder occurs that threatens to shut down not only the entire clambake season but the company for good, Julia has to go into high gear to find a murderer in order to save both her family’s livelihood and her mother’s childhood home.

The beautiful white elephant of Morrow Island has been host to clambakes, memories, ghosts, and secrets for as long as Julia has been alive. But a murderer may put an end to far too many things far too soon, including perhaps Julia’s own life.

[Recipe and pictures included below!]

Wed
Mar 29 2017 4:30pm

Cooking the Books: Pekoe Most Poison by Laura Childs

The 18th installment of the Tea Shop Mystery series has our heroine, the beautiful and clever Theodosia Browning, attending a Rat Tea—a reprise of the charitable events that helped eradicate rat infestations in early 20th-century Charleston, South Carolina. Along with Drayton—the sommelier of the tea shop she owns—she is the guest of Doreen Briggs, social powerhouse and devoted wife of Beau, until poor Beau drops dead of poisoning.

Intrepid Theo does her best to save him but to no avail. Her grace under pressure is not lost on the otherwise rapidly collapsing Doreen, who engages Theo to find out whether someone really did poison Beau’s cup of pekoe and help bring the murderer to justice, if so. Drayton, somewhat uncharacteristically, is encouraging. Doreen has promised the historical society for which Drayton volunteers a very large grant if Theo is able to solve the case. This somewhat offsets Theo’s reluctance, as does the involvement of a handsome police detective who is coming into his own at the Charleston PD.

[Recipes and pictures included below!]

Wed
Mar 22 2017 5:00pm

Cooking the Books: Cold Pressed Murder by Kelly Lane

In this delightful 2nd installment of the Olive Grove mystery series, Eva Knox collides with not one but two dead bodies and has to contend with a whole passel of sisterly secrets and gossipy townsfolk.

It’s the weekend of Abundance, Georgia’s, Farm Family Fare—held this year at the Knox family’s olive oil plantation. Three celebrity chefs are headlining the event, raising funds for the local needy. Eva is grinning and bearing her way through both the oppressive heat and the incessant disapproval of her eldest sister—prim, pretty southern belle Daphne—when a local farmer literally collapses on top of Eva. And if that isn’t enough tragedy for one festival, the next morning one of the celebrity chefs is found dead in the deceased farmer’s refrigeration truck.

[Recipe and pictures below!]

Wed
Mar 15 2017 4:30pm

Cooking the Books: Roux the Day by Linda Wiken

The 1st book in the Dinner Club Mystery series, Toasting Up Trouble, introduced us to Linda Wiken’s excellent palate. The follow up, Roux The Day, continues to serve up exquisite recipes, this time from a very thematically appropriate source.

Beth Brickner, one of the members of the Culinary Capers cookbook club to which our heroine J.J. Tanner belongs, has chosen The Mystery Writers Of America Cookbook for their monthly dinner. She also urges the members to read a novel by the author of their chosen recipe in addition to preparing their dishes.

[Recipe and pictures included!]