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Wednesday 27 February 2013

‘Hunted’ by Emlyn Rees.

Published by Constable and Robinson, 2012.
ISBN:  978-1-84901-884-5

This is an excellent thriller set in modern-day London with the action moving back and forth from various well-known parts of the capital.  When Russian agent, Colonel Zykov, picks up an attractive Scottish girl in a bar and takes her back to his luxury penthouse for sex, he discovers she is really a Russian-born agent. Aided by two brutal henchmen, he is beaten and tortured and fears his life is in danger. 

On the other side of London, Daniel Shanklin and his current girlfriend return to his canal boat after a night out; she believes he is employed by a security firm to protect VIP businessmen but, in truth, he is a British ex-army agent working for military intelligence. His wife and son have been killed in the course of his work, but he still has a young daughter whom he is determined to protect at all costs.

When he finds he has been cleverly set up for the brutal murder of the Russian colonel, he turns for help from The Kid - his hi-tech support friend whom he trusts implicitly. There follows a fast-moving and exciting series of events as he struggles to escape the police and to  discover who has set him up for this brutal crime and why. The plot become more complex as he runs from the police, copes with threats to himself and his young daughter and meets with violence and finally a cruel betrayal. Daniel is a convincing character, so are the frightening and ruthless villains in a book which has many surprising twists and turns. This is a fast-moving, exciting novel written in a terse, convincing style. A must for those who enjoy a good thriller.
Highly recommended.  
Reviewer: Edna Jones

Emlyn Rees spent his early twenties traveling around Asia and pouring drinks in London for the likes of Sylvester Stallone and Princess Anne. He published his first crime novel aged twenty-five, his second a year later, and then co-wrote seven comedies with Josie Lloyd, including the Number One Sunday Times bestseller Come Together. Emlyn is the editor of Angry Robot's new crime fiction imprint, Exhibit A. For all enquires about this, please go and visit the brilliant Emlyn is currently working on the sequel, to Hunted, entitled Wanted.

Edna Jones has been writing novels, articles, book reviews and short stories for some years. Using the pseudonym Clare Dawson for crime novels and short stories, a few other pseudonyms had been used for romantic fiction etc. Born in the West Midlands she has had a variety of jobs, is now retired and lives in Cambridgeshire. Has had two crime novels published (one as an e-book) and several short stories in various anthologies and magazines here and abroad. Single. As well as reading, enjoys outdoor life, travel, and crosswords.  

Monday 25 February 2013

‘Stop Dead’ by Leigh Russell

Published by No Exit Press, 
May 2013.
ISBN: 978-1-84243-858-9

This the fifth in a very popular police procedural series, set in London and featuring DI Geraldine Steel. The first of the series was nominated for a highly prestigious CWA New Blood Dagger

When a rich businessman is found murdered the police immediately suspect his wife and the young  lover who she had been preparing to elope with, believing they would have all his money, however when the will is read nothing is as straight forward as it might appear. The victim had quite a few well-kept secrets, giving more than just his young and beautiful wife a reason to want him dead. Then forensic evidence also points the police in another direction. Someone else closely connected with victim is found murdered shortly afterwards and DI Steel needs to find this killer before they strike again. A lot of people have motive for both killings it seems. And- the body count rises.

This is a well written, a well-researched, and a well-constructed whodunit.   I have read all in this series. Each one is richer in police procedural and forensics making the pieces in the jig-saw harder to fit and the story intriguing. DI Geraldine Steel is a multi-layered character, an adopted child spilling into an insecure adulthood.  Russell isn’t afraid to show her vulnerability in a personal life and then the tough-nosed cop when working. One suspects a lonely and unfulfilled personal life, and an understandable ambitious professional one. A character with a lot more to tell, and one we will be happy to journey with for many books to come. Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Linda Regan

Leigh Russell is the author of four books Cut Short, Road Closed, Dead End, and this latest book Death Bed, published May 2012. Cut Short (2009) was shortlisted for the CWA New Blood Dagger Award for Best First Novel. Leigh studied at the University of Kent gaining a Masters degree in English and American literature. A secondary school teacher, specializing in supporting pupils with Specific Learning Difficulties as well as teaching English, Leigh Russell is married with two daughters and lives in Middlesex.


Linda Regan is the author of six police procedural crime novels. She is also an actress. She holds a Masters degree in critical writing and journalism, and writes a regular column, including book reviews, for three magazines. She also presents the book-club spot on BBC Radio Kent. She is an avid reader, and welcomes the chance to read new writers

Monday 18 February 2013

‘Wine of Violence’ by Priscilla Royal

Published by Head of Zeus,
26th November 2012.
ISBN: 978-1-781850008

Following the death of prioress Felicia in the summer of 1270, twenty-one-year-old Eleanor of Wynethorpe is appointed prioress by King Henry III. A political move that pleased the family, but not the monk and nuns of Tyndal Priory, which belongs to the Order of Fontevraud, where monks and nuns live and work in close proximity.

Within a day of her arrival Eleanor is apprehensively aware that she has usurped the order’s elected choice, Sister Ruth. Then the one person who had welcomed her, and who she had seen as a support is found dead in the cloister gardens.  As a replacement Brother Thomas is brought in to act as crowner.  Brother Thomas has a secret that has changed his life and left him in mortal fear of discovery.

So the young inexperienced Eleanor has to tread a careful path attempting to gain the respect of her resentful flock, and unmask a violent killer, whilst trying not to totally alienate Prior Theobald who had incorrectly assumed headship of Tyndal Priory whilst prioress Felicia was alive.  But another death brings great pressure to bear on the new prioress.

I absolutely loved this book, and I didn’t expect to, as I am not a huge fan of historical crime. But I have just become a huge fan of medieval mysteries.  I was totally drawn into both the time and the characters. This has to be attributed to the writing.  I was gripped from the beginning.   I found the foreword in the book very useful as it enabled me to enjoy the story without struggling with some of the terms which I would possible have done without the foreword.

For a book collector of fifty years I must pay tribute to the publishers Head of Zeus.  The book itself as an object is a joy. Beautifully presented it is a book to keep and cherish. 
Reviewer: Lizzie Hayes
Priscilla Royal was born in Seattle, and grew up in British Columbia. She has a degree in world literature from San Francisco State University, where she discovered the beauty of medieval literature. She is a theater fan as well as reader of history, mysteries, and fiction of lesser violence. Until 2000, she worked for the Federal government in a variety of positions, all of which provided a wonderful education in the complexity of human experience and motivation She lives in Northern California and belongs to the California Writers Club and Sisters in Crime.

Sunday 17 February 2013

‘Rocastle’s Vengeance’ by James Morley

Published by Behams Books, 2006.
ISBN: 0-9548880-1-4

Captain Peter Wilson is a Captain with no ship, being unemployed following a disagreement with his former employer. Now he has taken on the position of Harbour Master in small-yacht Marina in the village of Duddlestone on the South Coast.

His first encounter with his new employer, United Marinas does not fill him with confidence. He is particularly unimpressed by the company’s main investor Doctor Paul Hooder, who owns the site. When he later meets attractive Laura Tapstall, Paul Hooder’s business manager, he begins to learn that all is definitely not going to be plain sailing.  For the Duddlestone community have secrets that go back fifty years -  dark unresolved secrets that Peter Wilson discovers have links to his own family about which he had no knowledge.

A fast-paced thriller, this is a real page turner, as Peter tries to understand just what actually happened fifty years ago to instil such silence and fear amongst the inhabitants, and what part his own family played in the events.  As in many small villages, everyone in Duddlestone is related, which makes it impossible to get anyone to open up. There are twists upon twists, and it kept me guessing right to the end, and the final unexpected twist.

I love a good mystery, and I heartily recommend this book as one of the best I have read in a long time.
Reviewer: Lizzie Hayes

James Morley sis a local author, writing books under the name Benham's Sea Mysteries. Retired from an agricultural background Jim has been writing books since 2005. He is well known in the local area for his novels, short stories and publicity writing.
for pleasure.

Saturday 16 February 2013

‘Loose Ends’ by Susan Moody

Published by Severn House,
June 2012. 
ISBN: 978-0-7278-8227-1

Since Kate’s father, stepmother and eight-year-old sister were killed in a mysterious car accident in South America, when Kate was nineteen, Kate has been drifting. Although she was a passenger in the car, she has no recollection of what actually happened.

This is the story of a number of people who appear initially to be unconnected.  There is Kate unsettled and in need of a ‘proper job, who is currently a waitress following her divorce living with her brother Magnus. There is retired Dora Harding who on her early morning dog walking routine encounters something surprising. There’s Janine, formerly ’plain Jane’ who has been determined to ’make something of herself’; And Jefferson,  who wanted to be a detective, but ended up with a high-powered job at a merchant bank in London.

The unwanted attentions of a customer in the bar where Kate works spark off a chain of events that bring these unconnected characters together and eventually lead back to the accident in Ecuador ten years previously.

Cleverly plotted and with marvellous characterisation, Susan Moody is a gifted story-teller, as she draws the reader into the lives of each of the characters.  And then skilfully pulls the threads together, but slowly, so that as the truth began to emerge, I was turning the pages faster, eager to learn what happened on that fateful day.
Compelling reading.
Reviewer: Lizzie Hayes

Susan Moody was born in Oxford is the principal nom de plume  of Susan Elizabeth Donaldson, née Horwood, a British novelist best known for her suspense novels. She is a former Chairman of the Crime Writer's Association, served as World President of the International Association of Crime Writers, and was elected to the prestigious Detection Club. Susan Moody has given numerous courses on writing crime fiction and continues to teach creative writing in England, France, Australia, the USA and Denmark.  In addition to her many stand alone books, Susan has written two series, on featuring PI Penny Wanawake (seven books) and a series of six books featuring bridge player Cassie Swan.

Friday 15 February 2013

‘Murders Most Foul’ by Alanna Knight

 Published by Allison & Busby Ltd, 
28 January 2013.
ISBN: 978-0-7490-1352-3

Fleshers Close in Edinburgh had attained notoriety some forty years ago by association with serial killers Burke and Hare.  Now here in 1861  Detective Constable Faro is looking at the body of a young woman as he waits for the mortuary van. In the surrounding tenements no one saw anything!

It is assumed to be a random act of violence, until Faro finds a single playing card under the body – the nine of diamonds.  But Inspector Wade is dismissive and Detective Sergeant Gosse openly hostile, but then Faro and Gosse have history.

Some days later an elderly man is attacked. As it was assumed by Wade and Gosse that the dead girl founds days earlier was a prostitute, they do not consider any connection with this crime, but the nine of diamonds is found in the man’s pocket.

Faro is walking out with Lizzie Laurie, a servant girl who has raised herself up from humble beginnings and is deeply in love with Faro. But Faro’s heart still remains in his native Orkney with Inga St Ola. When a servant at Lizzie's place of work goes missing, Lizzie reports it to the police causing trouble for herself with both her employer and with Faro.

The mystery is intriguing, as are the many facets of the characters. All have something to hide, and many much to lose.  Apart from Faro it seemed to me that they all lived in fear, even those who looked secure on the outside live with the knowledge that at any moment their prized security could be ripped away from them.  

Just what is the significance of the nine of diamonds?  And how does it link to a servant girl and an elderly retired boxer Evoking the period vividly, with some interesting references to the many legends of ’The Curse of Scotland’  Knight weaves a fascinating tale of murder and revenge.
Highly recommended.
Reviewer: Lizzie Hayes

Alanna Knight published her first novel in 1969 and has been writing ever since. She is the author countless novels, short stories and even plays and her work includes three historical crime series – the Victorian detective Inspector Faro series, her Rose McQuinn series (featuring Faro’s daughter) and her intrepid time-traveller Tam Eildor series.
She is also an authority on Robert Louis Stevenson, a founder member and official of Scottish Association of Writers, and a regularly at Edinburgh International Book Festival. She lives in Edinburgh

Wednesday 13 February 2013

‘The Poachers Son’ by Paul Doiron

Published by Robinson, 
17 January 2013. 
ISBN: 978-1-78033-815-6

Here it is, still only January, and already I feel I've read one of the very best crime novels of the year. THE POACHER'S SON is the first in a series (at least one more is out there somewhere, with more to follow) set in the vanishing rural beauty of north-west Maine. I can't see how award-winning Doiron (himself a registered Game Warden) can hope to surpass this excellent novel in a subsequent one.

The plot hinges on the events following the evening when Mike Bowditch, Maine Game Warden, learns that his Vietnam-damaged father, Jack, stands accused of murdering two men, one of them another Warden. Despite a dysfunctional upbringing, in his father's harsh 'care', Mike knows that there is no way his dad could have murdered anyone. Drunk, dissolute and irresponsible Jack may be, but Mike knows he's not a killer. Jack goes on the run in the backwoods and at the risk of losing the job he loves, Mike disobeys his superiors' orders to leave the matter alone, and sets out track down his sorry excuse for a father, in order to prove the man's
innocence and clear his name. The story moves forward in what at first seems to be a fairly conventional manner, but gradually, as more information is disclosed, the tension ratchets up and up. In the rural communities Doiron is so eloquently describing, where moose and bear and deer roam freely, not only does everyone have a gun but they are also prepared to use it. I can promise you that the ending is a surprise.

I loved this book. I loved Doiron's lyrical descriptions of the natural beauty of the wilderness, of forests and lakes, bogs and hills. Above and beyond the plot is the ever-present sense that this idyll is about to be lost forever by the greed of the logging companies who are threatening to destroy it. I loved, too, the subtle delineation of the relationship between Jack and Mike, the exasperated affection with which son views father and his longing for his dad's love, and the very different father-figure presented by Charley Stevens and his wife Ora. I loved the beautifully-rounded figures who move through this book, each character, even the peripheral ones, perfectly realised, so that you would recognise them immediately were you to meet them.

I am now Doiron's Number One fan, and will be getting hold of the second – and third – books in this series as soon as I can.
Reviewer: Susan Moody
Paul Doiron is a native of Maine, he attended Yale University, where he graduated with a degree in English, and he holds an MFA in creative writing from Emerson College. He is the author of the Mike Bowditch series of crime novels, including The Poacher's Son, which won the Barry Award and the Strand Critics Award for Best First Novel and Thriller Award for Best First Novel, and the Maine Literary Award for "Best Fiction of 2010. His second book in the Mike Bowditch series, Trespasser, won the Maine Literary Award for crime fiction, was an American Booksellers Association Indie Bestseller and has been called a "masterpiece of high-octane narrative" by Booklist. His third novel in the series, Bad Little Falls, will be published on August 7.  He is the editor in chief of Down East: The Magazine of Maine, Down East Books, and He is a former member of the Maine Arts Commission and a current member of the Maine Humanities Council. Paul is a Registered Maine Guide specializing in fly fishing and outdoor recreation and lives on a trout stream in coastal Maine.
Susan Moody was born in Oxford is the principal nom de plume  of Susan Elizabeth Donaldson, née Horwood, a British novelist best known for her suspense novels. She is a former Chairman of the Crime Writer's Association, served as World President of the International Association of Crime Writers, and was elected to the prestigious Detection Club. Susan Moody has given numerous courses on writing crime fiction and continues to teach creative writing in England, France, Australia, the USA and Denmark.  In addition to her many stand alone books, Susan has written two series, on featuring PI Penny Wanawake (seven books) and a series of six books featuring bridge player Cassie Swan.

Tuesday 12 February 2013

‘Exposé!’ by Hannah Dennison

Published by Robinson,
20 September 2012.
ISBN: 978-1-78033-063-1

Investigative reporter Vicky Hill’s dream of the gorgeous Lieutenant Robin Berry is abruptly shattered by her the ringing of her mobile phone.  An anonymous voice tells her that she should get to St Peter’s where a funeral is taking place.  As the Reverend Whittle is away on holiday instructions had been left that any bodies were to be kept in the
Gipping morgue until his return.  Knowing that in the one hundred and forty-odd years of being in existence, the Gipping Gazette had never once missed sending a reporter to the church to record the funeral, Vicky is soon astride her red Yamaha heading for Gipping church. Sure enough there is a hearse parked outside. But not the Gipping-on-Plym’s
funeral directors – Dust to Dust With Dignity, but a garish American Cadillac bearing the slogan Go-Go Gothic – Our Passengers Go All the Way. Convinced something is a foot, Vicky is amazed to see parked behind the hearse, the car of Douglas Fleming, Managing Director of Gipping-on-Plym Power Services. 

Even more amazing is that this early morning’s unheralded funeral is for his wife, local celebrity Scarlett Fleming. And Scarlett would have wanted a funeral that everyone would remember. The whole thing looks to Vicky extremely suspicious.

Hardly has Vicky decided that there is definitely more here than meets the eye, than she is accosted by Eunice Pratt, screaming ‘Dougie is mine at last!’ A bitter woman in her sixties with a nasty temper, Eunice is not one of Vicky’s favourite people.  She is however, Lieutenant Robin Berry’s adored aunt.

As Vicky heads into the office to write up the story she is informed that hedge-jumping having ended on 30th April, from 1st May until end of August it's snail-racing season, and that will be the lead story.

But our Vicky is tenacious and is determined to uncover the secret behind this hasty burial.  As she investigates she discovers that Douglas is on somewhat shaky financial ground, and that surprisingly Eunice is not the only one after him.  In the midst of her investigations, prompted by her love for Robin she agrees to something she later regrets.

Soon Vicky realises that she is chasing a killer, and could have an exposé scoop, if she can stay alive long enough. Of course she could confide in that rather nice DS Colin Probes, except that he is a policeman, and family history forbids fraternising with the law. And anyway she is in love with Robin. But could her affections be misplaced?

A truly wonderful romp, as Vicky grapples with a mysterious death, intrigue, and snail-racing season. Not to be missed.
Reviewer: Lizzie Hayes.

Hannah Dennison One constant, however, was that I always sought after adventure. It was one of the reasons why I enlisted in Her Majesty's Royal Navy, only to discover that women sailors (known then as "wrens") never went to sea.  I hoped the local newspaper might offer some excitement-at the very least, the odd murder or two. So spent two years tucked away in beautiful Devon writing obituaries.  This was followed by a wonderful job in an antique, a spell as a secretary to a Formula One World Champion, a hostess in a nightclub, and then nearly a decade as a flight attendant for both commercial airlines and private jet charters. Eventually, I landed an agent and a three-book deal for Vicky Hill-and the rest, as they say, is history. One thing I've learned through it all is that "overnight success" actually takes about ten to fifteen years of consistent hard work. There are no short cuts to achieving your dreams.

Friday 8 February 2013

‘Dying Fall’ by Elly Griffiths

Published by Quercus,
11 February, 2013.
ISBN: 978-0-85738-887-2

Forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway is saddened when she is contacted by her Caz her university friend, who tells her that her old friend Dan Golding, the coolest archaeologist ever, has been killed in a fire at his home in Lancashire.  Whilst preparing dinner for herself, and her eighteen-month-old daughter Kate, Ruth reflects on Dan and is dismayed that she had not kept in closer touch, and that she will now never hear from him again.  The next day brings a letter.

Dan is certain he has made a huge discovery but needs an opinion on the bones, Ruth’s area of expertise.  He thinks that he has found the tomb of the Raven King. Unnervingly, he writes that he is afraid!  With this in mind Ruth contacts DCI Harry Nelson, who comes from Lancashire, to ask if he has a contact in the area.  Harry learns from his old mate Sandy Macleod at Blackpool CID that there are suspicious circumstances.

When she receives a call from Clayton Henry at Pendle University concerning Dan’s discovery she is intrigued and decides to take up their offer. Unbeknown to her, Harry, who is owed some holiday, had suggests to his wife that they should take a holiday in Blackpool.

Accompanied by Cathbad, Kate’s Druid godfather, they travel north. Arriving at Dan’s University Ruth meets Dan’s colleagues, who all seem on edge.  A Neo-Nazi group at Dan's University has been making threats and it is possible that some of these colleagues could be involved. Certainly they all seem to be hiding something. Another death draws Ruth further into the mystery, which puts her and Kate in danger.

This is the fifth book in this series and Elly Griffiths has surpassed herself. The mystery is intriguing, keeping the reader constantly on edge and avid to read what happens next. But also the development of the characters makes this a fascinating story. Kate is now almost two and is clearly a strong character. Cathbad, who in the early books I was unsure of is now a marvellous part of Ruth and Kate’s life.   Although Ruth has established a relationship with her friend Max who lives in Brighton, I got the feeling that this time away is making her reassess her life – but maybe that’s natural when we learn of the untimely death of a friend.  Whether you have read the earlier books in the series or not, I heartily recommended that you do not miss this book, which is already on my top ten best books of the year.
Reviewer: Lizzie Hayes

Elly Griffiths is the author of a series of crime novels set in England’s Norfolk county and featuring forensic archaeologist Ruth Galloway. The first in the series, Crossing Places, earned a good deal of praise both in Griffiths’ native country, England, and in the U.S. The Literary Review termed it “a cleverly plotted and
extremely interesting first novel, highly recommended.  Since then Elly has written four further novels featuring forensic archaeologist, The Janus Stone, The House at Seas End, A Room Full of Bones. Her latest book is Dying Fall. See page 16 for a review of this book.

Wednesday 6 February 2013

Karen Pullen talking to Lizzie Hayes

Karen Pullen grew up in Riverton, New Jersey and moved to St. Petersburg, Florida when she was 16. In college she majored in math which she then taught for two years: teaching, she says, is the hardest most exhausting job in the world. 
After having a family she decided to train for a different job, and went back to school to earn a PhD in operations research. Five years later, she took a job with a systems engineering consulting firm in the Boston area. After her youngest child graduated from college, she left her job, intent on a major life change, and moved to a small town in North Carolina where she opened a bed and breakfast. Harvard Extension offered a class in the short story, and she got hooked on the challenge of writing fiction.

Q Karen, your book Cold Feet was published in January 2013 – Congratulations. The bookfeatures undercover drug agent Stella Lavender. Can you tell us something about  her?
A Stella is 26; she works for the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation. Stella went into law inforcement because her mother’s abduction and disappearance, which happened when Stella was five years old, is an unsolved crime. She was raised by her grandmother Fern, studied criminal justice at NC State, was planning a wedding with an SBI researcher until he cheated.  She’s attracted to the detective that she works with but, to confound matters, he’s married. Her current job is buying drugs undercover.  It’s a dangerous job that becomes complicated when Fern takes up with a cocaine dealer.  Unwittingly, of course.

Q Is Cold Feet your first novel? How long did it take to write it?
It’s my first published novel. An earlier one sleeps in a drawer. Cold Feet took two years to draft and revise, revise, revise. To get it in print took much longer.

Q Why the SBI, and not a police force or some other branch of law enforcement?
I couldn’t find any mysteries with an SBI sleuth, so I thought the SBI would be an original choice. Also, a main character who could travel anywhere in the state would give me more flexibility in sequels. I went through official channels and found someone to answer questions, but I didn’t talk with any working SBI agents until I read a newspaper article about a woman who’d recently retired from the SBI after 30 years.  Very luckily, she’d worked undercover buying drugs!  She gracefully answered many naive questions. 

Q Cold Feet’s title traditionally means someone is having second thoughts about a decision, like marriage. Many of your characters are dubious about the institution.
A The topic of marriage is fascinating in a novel – so much potential for conflict! Not only interpersonal conflict, but financial, cultural, legal. And weddings provide a perfect situation for a murder mystery.  Lots of potential suspects because family, friends, and perhaps enemies are gathered in one place for a day or more.  Feelings are heightened by memories, old secrets, newer struggles, and possibly unhappiness with this particular couple’s marriage. All the ingredients for a colorful emotional stew

Q You own and operate a bed-and-breakfast. Do you use that experience in your fiction writing?
A Occasionally I’ve been inspired (not in a good way) by the rare painful guest. Innkeepers will know what I mean. Nice people don’t make good fiction; conflict does. There are two fictional B&Bs in Cold Feet; an upscale faux Scottish castle and a peeling-paint Victorian. Since I know how B&Bs operate, it was easy to create scenes in them, and to understand one innkeeper’s anguish when someone begins to sabotage his business.

Q One of your characters is transsexual. How did you happen to write about her?
A It fascinated me that some individuals are aware from a very young age – around three – that they have been assigned the wrong gender. It’s more common than you’d think. Can you imagine the despair, the struggle, the loneliness of that boy or girl? Cold Feet’s transsexual character is flawed and not necessarily sympathetic, but I tried to convey the drive and desperation that motivated her to alter her sex.  And I hope that the character is realized as a whole person, not defined solely by her gender change

Q When you sat down to write a novel what area did you find most challenging?
A Originally I chose the mystery genre because it had a framework on which I could hang any characters, themes, settings, conflicts.  I thought that a skeleton would make the writing easier. But a traditional mystery is actually very difficult, because there are so many elements that have to work just so.  Pacing is important:  revealing clues and red herrings to pull the reader along, keep her guessing. Plots and subplots must be resolved. One serious challenge that I didn’t realize until well into it was that the most dramatic scene – the murder – happens right at the beginning.  That’s the opposite of all those “rising action” plot diagrams you see.

Q. Is Cold Feet, the start of a series?
A Yes, I plan at least two more Stella Lavender books. I’d like her to solve the mystery of her mother’s
disappearance. And there are plenty of drug dealers still to arrest.

Q Who are your  favorite mystery writers?
A This is a terrible question because I hate to leave anyone out, and there are so many wonderful writers in the mystery genre! I enjoy the books of Julia Spencer-Fleming, Hank Philippi Ryan, Deborah Coonts, Beth roundwater and Nevada Barr. Dennis Lehane, George Pelecanos, James Lee Burke, and Craig Johnson are fun to read. The British crime writers Ruth Rendell, Susan Hill, and Kate Atkinson are royalty in my mind; their pictures are tacked to my bulletin board for inspiration. Ken Bruen is brilliant, and I love to read Benjamin Black for the language

Q So what’s next Karen?
A I’ve started another Stella Lavender mystery, and would like to publish a short story collection