Debut Author

“One Murder More” by Kris Calvin

 

Book Cover - One Murder More

As Kris Calvin’s “One Murder More” opens, Sacramento lobbyist, Maren Kane, is having a really tough day. She's driving to a breakfast meeting at the governor’s office and sees a car go over the railing into the water-filled drainage ditch beyond. She and a Good Samaritan stranger are able to rescue two children from a rapidly submerging car, but the woman at the wheel, a famous investigative journalist, is dead on impact. After the accident, Maren continues on to work, and before going home, happens upon a bloodied colleague, Tamara Barnes, in the ladies’ room. And she is decidedly dead.
 

Two bodies in one 24-hour cycle? Wait. There are a few hours left to this day. Maren’s former intern, Sean Verston (and friend to Barnes) shows up at Maren’s doorstep at 2am to crash on her couch. When Sean is accused of Barnes’ murder, Maren doesn’t believe he could do it and can’t rest until she uncovers evidence that will clear him. It’s not easy to do, because Sean is hiding a secret he refuses to reveal, even to save himself.
 

Maren’s questions take her in surprising directions as the complex plot unfolds. The people involved and the connections between them could be ripped from the headlines. Who did what to whom, and most importantly, how did they get away with it for so long?
 

The people in “One Murder More” are well drawn, with intriguing, powerful men, and accomplished, multi-faceted women. Details about the California countryside and its restaurants, as well as the colorful outfits the characters wear, add to this entertaining read.
 

Kris Calvin’s political insider knowledge of how lobbying works in Sacramento is central to the effectiveness of “One Murder More.” She was an elected public official in California and was known for her work as an advocate for children. Maren Kane is an Ecobabe lobbyist working to pass legislation that would ban the complete use of cellphones while driving- not an easy or popular bill. The cell phone bill storyline is topical in real world discussions and in some States, highly controversial.
 

“One Murder More” won Silver Falchion awards for Best First Novel, and Best Political Thriller.

 

Please visit www.kriscalvin.com for more information about Ms. Calvin and her work.

 

Top 10: The First Four Years of Nightstand Book Reviews

 

Book Cover - Cold Dish

The first four years of Nightstand Book Reviews delivered a wide range of books to my doorstep and to my email inbox. Right from the beginning, I have received more than 100 requests a month (once over 400) from writers and publicists and friends of writers and publicists to review the latest book they had to offer.

 

It has been a fun problem to have. The strategy was (and remains) to choose great reads to chat about and share with the thousands of Nightstand Book Reviews followers around the world. The books on the site are by and large fiction, and tell a well-plotted story involving nicely developed characters. The authors are a mix of bestselling writers of longstanding, and newbies to the field when I first met them. Traditionally published or ebook only? Both happily co-exist on NBR. Occasionally I highlight biographies, great cookbooks, and helpful gardening books. A new feature in 2016 was Author Profiles. You’ll see more of those in 2017.

 

Below is the list of Top 10 books reviewed on Nightstand Book Reviews over the last four years, listed in ABC order by author. These were the books that garnered the most interest on NBR from the worldwide audience during the four years. Six books on the list were the debut novels from those authors. Some powerhouse writers (long, successful careers with great popularity) mixed in with newbies? A good book is a good book.

 

All of these authors now have multiple books out. Click on the book title to read the review.

 

Lee Child – “The Killing Floor”

 

Robert Dugoni – “My Sister’s Grave”

 

Robert Dugoni – “The Conviction”

 

Sherry Harris – “Tagged for Death”

 

Sue Harrison – “Mother Earth, Father Sky”

 

Erin Hart – “Haunted Ground”

 

Tami Hoag – “Alibi Man”

 

Craig Johnson – “The Cold Dish”

 

Leigh Perry – “A Skeleton in the Family”

 

Andy Weir – “The Martian”

 

 

Have you read any of the titles on the list? Wildly different books to be sure, with thrillers, sci-fi, traditional mysteries, and cozies in the group. 

 

And soooo much fun to read.  🙂

 

Thank you all, kind readers, for being part of the Nightstand Book Reviews community during the first four years. Your comments and participation make me smile as I search for the next great read to share with you.

 

“Just Killing Time” by Julianne Holmes

 

book-cover-just-killing-time

Ruth Clagan’s grandfather, a clockmaker, dies during a robbery in “Just Killing Time” and leaves his Massachusetts clock shop, the Cog & Sprocket, to her. A rift between them caused by her ex has kept her away from the Berkshires for five years and now she has been robbed of a chance to reconnect. Why would anyone do this to a lifelong member of the community?

 

To complicate matters, the business is a puzzle, the shop is a mess and Ruth must deal with the oddly massive inventory as well as her grandfather’s widow. It makes sense to sell the Cog & Sprocket and get on with her life, but does Ruth really want to? Why did her grandfather have so much inventory? Could it be the reason he was killed?

 

“Just Killing Time” is complete with small town politics, reunions with old friends, and beautifully written dialogue that makes you feel as if you could join the conversation and fit right in. The wonderfully diverse cast of characters made me yearn for the days of small towns and friendly neighborhoods, where everybody knows your name. There is a real connection to the past with Orchard’s grandfather clocks and clock towers and small businesses on Main Street. Ahhh… life as it used to be outside the metropolitan areas of the country, before big box stores and fast food joints.

 

I connected immediately with Ruth, a fellow coffee addict. 😉 Julianne Holmes’ richly drawn Clagan clicks as a character trying to begin again, sorting through her life’s complications, but adapting as she sees alternate paths to follow. How many of us are given the opportunity to go back home to something familiar when life has taken an unexpected turn? And this clockmaker is always late? A giggle of a quirk.

 

We learn a great deal about the fascinating world of clocks – how they function and what makes the business model succeed in a time where digital seems to rule our lives. Grandfather’s repair specialty was clock towers, which require a tremendous amount of skill to maintain. Coincidentally, I saw a TV show about Big Ben (the clock tower in London) at the time I had started reading “Just Killing Time.” There’s more to its operation than climbing the steps to wind the clock or replace the parts. Wind can catch at the hands, pulling at them and slowing down the time. Minute changes in the atmosphere can affect the clock time. When I picked up “Just Killing Time” again, I found that it wove technical information in with the clever plot, giving us a clear understanding of why the Clagans love the business they’re in.

 

The layered storyline in this Agatha nominated debut novel involves possible fraud, people with hidden agendas, a tug-of-war between those that want a more modern town and those who wish to create an historic district. Happily, there is the potential for a little romance with a suitably hunky barber. “Just Killing Time” also includes some deviously nasty characters who will do anything to get what they want, including murder.

 

The second book in the series, “Clock and Dagger,” has recently been released and you should make time to read both.

 

Please visit www.jahennrikus.com for more information about Julianne Holmes and her alter ego, J.A. Hennrikus.

 

 

Happily Ever After – 2016

 

Sunsetpismo

Summer is almost here, when there is lots of talk about weddings and romantic getaways.

 

June is the biggest month for weddings in the United States – or so all the bride magazines would have you believe. In fact, while June may be the most popular month to tie the knot, it’s only by a small margin. 10.8% of yearly weddings are performed then, followed closely by August, at 10.2%. But, that’s still over six thousand weddings a day, explaining why wedding venues must be booked months in advance.

 

For those of us not getting married or traveling to a romantic destination anytime soon, we can get lost in a ‘Happily Ever After’ book and be transported via heart and mind.

 

Below is a list of titles suggested by readers that enjoy more sweet romance in their stories than the murder mysteries usually reviewed or listed here at NBR. These books got raves from the readers that made the suggestions.  😀

 

No dead bodies to be found among the pages – or so I’ve been told – just romance in many forms. Think Hallmark Channel on Saturday and Sunday nights during June.

 

If you’ve read any of the titles from the authors in this genre, let us know in the comments below.

 

Click on the author names for the links to their websites.

 

Rachael Anderson:  “Not Always Happenstance”

 

Tamie Dearen:  “A Rose in Bloom”

 

Shannon Guymon:  “Free Fallin’ ”

 

Liwen Ho:  “Drawn to You”

 

Melanie Jacobson:  “Always Will”

 

Stacy Juba:  “Fooling Around with Cinderella”

 

Sophie Kinsella:  “Shopaholic Takes Manhattan”

 

Jane Lebak:  “Honest and For True”

 

Debbie Macomber:  “Love Letters”

 

Catherine Maiorisi:  “Matters of the Heart”

 

Jill Mansell:  “The Unpredictable Consequences of Love”

 

Jules Nelson:  “Shadows”

 

Jenny Proctor:  “Love at First Note”

 

Ann Roberts:  “Complete Package”

 

Curtis Sittenfeld:  “Eligible”

 

Heather Sutherlin:  “Loose Ends”

 

Debbie White:  “Finding Mrs. Right”

 

Susan Wiggs:  “Summer by the Sea”

 

Sherryl Woods:  Chesapeake Shores series

 

HeartsIMG_4243

Is there a swoon worthy title in the list?  Happily Ever After reading!   🙂

 

*Photos by Patti Phillips

 

 

Texas Fiction – 2016 List

 

WEnnisTexasBarnFlipDSC_0658_2-2 copy 2

Every once in a while, it’s fun to focus on regional fiction. It’s a chance for readers to concentrate on stories that take place in their favorite part of the world or an area that has aroused their curiosity. Sometimes, fans like to search for books written by authors that live in that region.

 

The Texas list of 36 authors is a mix of:

 

  • Authors who live there, but write books set elsewhere
  • Authors that have written novels set in Texas, but live elsewhere.
  • Authors who live in and write about Texas.

 

Click on the names to take you to the author sites.

 

Kathleen Rice Adams: “Prodigal Gun”

Susan Wittig Albert: “Blood Orange”

 

Linda Bingham: “Skyscraper Caper”

Parris Afton Bonds:  “Blue Bayou” box set

James Lee Burke: “House of the Rising Sun”

 

Valerie P Chandler: ‘Rota Fortunae’ in “Murder on Wheels”

Caroline Clemmons: “Angeline”

Catherine Coulter: “Nemesis”

Bill Crider: “Between the Living and the Dead”

 

Stephanie Jaye Evans:  "Safe from Harm"

Ann Everett: “Say You’ll Never Love Me”

 

Kay Finch: “The Black Cat Knocks on Wood”

Kinky Friedman – series about a Texan living in NYC

 

Meg Gardiner: “Phantom Instinct”  (reviewed here)

Kaye George: Imogene Duckworthy series, “Broke”

 

Linda Kozar: “Weighty Matters”

Billy Kring:  “Tonton”

 

Liz Lipperman:  “Chicken Caccia-Killer”

 

Nancy Martin: “Miss Ruffles Inherits Everything”

Larry McMurtry: “Lonesome Dove”

James Michener: “Texas”

 

Golden Keyes Parsons: “His Steadfast Love”

Mark Pryor: “Hollow Man”    

 

James Reasoner: “The Last War Chief”

Catie Rhodes:  “Rest Stop” 

Rick Riordan: “Rebel Island”

 

Terry Shames: “The Necessary Murder of Nonie Blake”

Leann Sweeney: Yellow Rose Mystery Series

 

Livia Washburn: “Peach of a Murder”

Nancy G. West:  "Smart, but Dead"

George Wier: “Cold Rains”

Lori Wilde:  “Love of the Game”

Lynn Chandler Willis: “Wink of an Eye”  (reviewed here)

Manning Wolfe:  "Dollar Signs"

Reavis Z. Wortham:  “Dark Places”

 

Celia Yeary:  “Annalisa”

 

 

Have fun choosing from this great list of Texas fiction.  🙂

 

 

 

“Cold Feet” by Karen Pullen

 

Book Cover - Cold Feet by Karen Pullen

“Cold Feet,” Karen Pullen’s debut novel, introduces us to ambitious Stella Lavender, a North Carolina SBI (State Bureau of Investigation) agent. Lavender is working as an undercover drug agent, wearing skimpy outfits and making drug buys in questionable neighborhoods. She’d rather switch to homicide investigations.

 

Lavender and her free-thinking grandmother attend an almost wedding that never takes place because the bride is found dead before she can walk down the aisle. Stella is pumped. A homicide dumped into her lap and she’s the first one on the scene? She’ll have the chance to prove that she’s ready to transfer out of the unpredictable narcotics scene.

 

But wait…why would anyone want to kill the bride? And poison her with such a grotesque result? The secret that Stella uncovers about the bride will pull the family apart and challenge the belief system of all those who knew her. But, was the secret worth killing for? As a bonus, the investigation reveals more than one secret during the search for the murderer.
 

Lavender teams up with a local detective and the autopsy discloses a fact about Justine (the victim) that creates a list of likely suspects longer than they thought possible. Nobody is beyond suspicion – even the groom is on the list. Jealousy, rage, old boyfriends, and cover-ups all play a part in the expertly crafted, multi-layered, adult plot threads. Not the least of which is that Stella’s day job is still ongoing, so she must balance the druggies with the murder, while saving herself and protecting her grandmother from the crazies in both arenas.

 

Pullen has written some great dialogue, in addition to interesting characters in “Cold Feet” that balance each other nicely. Stella herself is a well-drawn young woman with her own set of issues, and has the appropriate training, attitude, and skill set to carry off the lead role in an investigative series.

 

Interwoven with the action, “Cold Feet” presents an interesting look at a modern Southern value system – part religious, part political, part historical – that outsiders encounter whenever they enter the world graced with languid days, unspoken corruption, and slowly changing standards. Pullen describes the beauty of the countryside and the cherished traditions, while at the same time gently exposing the pull/push between the realities of the Old and New South.

 

Big takeaway from “Cold Feet”: The past will out and come back to trip you up. It may even get you killed. 

 

Whatever you do, get Pullen’s next book, “Cold Heart,” out in 2017. For more information about Karen Pullen and her work, please visit www.karenpullen.com

 

 

Writers and The Writers’ Police Academy

 

WPA Logo.jpg

The readers at www.kerriansnotebook.com have heard me chat about The Writers’ Police Academy (created by Lee Lofland) on many occasions. They have seen the photos, read the posts and remarked on the amazing experiences shared at each WPA. The questions I hear most often are:

 

  • Since a bunch of writers attend those events, what kinds of books do they write?
  • Are any of them reporters?
  • Are they all mystery/crime writers?
  • Do they write cozies or thrillers?

 

Here’s a chance to let the readers of both Kerrian’s Notebook and Nightstand Book Reviews know what the FAB writers from WPA contribute to our reading pleasure.

 

The authors are listed alphabetically, along with a photo of one of their book covers and the clickable links to their websites. Many of the writers in this terrific list have been nominated (and/or awarded) for their great writing. Their websites will reveal all! Some are debut novelists; some have several series underway. Book content ranges from PG to hot and steamy, from cozy to hard-boiled, from friendly adventure to fast-paced thriller, along with non-fiction titles that provide true crime and forensics information, so there is something for everyone. More will be added to the list each week until the middle of September (2015). Please check them out. 🙂

 

Stacy Allen  "Expedition Indigo"    

Book Cover - Expedition Indigo

 

 

 

 

www.stacyallenauthor.com

 

 

 

 

 

Melanie Atkins  "Bayou Bounty Hunters Book 2: Sealing His Fate"

WPASealingHisFate - Melanie Atkinswww.melanieatkins.com

 

 

 

Allison Brennan  "Best Laid Plans"

WPA Best Laid Plans - Allison Brennan

 

 

 

 

 

www.allisonbrennan.com

 

 

 

 

Robin Burcell  "The Kill Order"

WPA The Kill Order - Robin Burcell

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.robinburcell.com

 

 

 

 

Kris Calvert  "Sex, Lies & Sweet Tea"

SexLiesSweetTeaCover1

 

 

 

 

 

www.kriscalvert.com

 

 

 

 

Kait Carson  "Death by Blue Water"

WPADeath By Blue Water - Kait Carsonwww.kaitcarson.com

 

 

Merit Clark  "Killing Streak"

WPAkilling Streak - Merit Clark

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.meritclark.com

 

 

 

Marco Conelli  "Matthew Livingston & The Politics of Death"

WPA Politics of Death - Marco Conelli

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.marcoconelli.com

 

 

 

Doug M. Cummings  "Easy Evil"

WPA Easy Evil - Doug M Cummings

 

 

 

 

 

www.dougmcummingsauthor.com

 

 

 

 

 

Kate Flora  "And Grant You Peace"

WPA And Grant You Peace - Kate Flora

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.kateflora.com

 

 

 

 

Kaye George/Janet Cantrell  "Fat Cat Spreads Out"

WPAFat Cat Spreads Out - Janet Cantrell-Kaye Georgewww.kayegeorge.wix.com

 

 

John Gilstrap  "Against All Enemies"

WPA Against All Enemies -John Gilstrap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.johngilstrap.com

 

 

 

Stacy Green  "All Good Deeds"

WPA All Good Deeds - Stacy Green

 

 

 

 

www.stacygreen.net

 

 

 

 

Judy Hogan  "Farm Fresh and Fatal"

WPAFarm Fresh and Fatal - Judy Hogan

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.judyhogan.home.mindspring.com

 

 

 

Bill Hopkins  "Courting Murder"

WPACourting Murder - Bill Hopkinshttp://deadlyduo.wix.com/thedeadlyduo

 

 

Sharon Woods Hopkins "Killerwatt"

WPA Killerwatt - Sharon Woods Hopkins

 

 

 

 

 

http://deadlyduo.wix.com/thedeadlyduo

 

 

 

 

 

Polly Iyer  "Backlash"

WPABacklash - Polly Iyer

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.PollyIyer.com

 

 

 

Linda Johnson  "Trail of Destruction"

WPA Trail Of Destruction - Linda Johnson

 

 

 

 

 

www.LindaJohnson.us

 

 

 

 

Lee Lofland  "Police Procedure & Investigation"

WPA Police Procedure & Investigation - Lee Lofland

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.leelofland.com

 

 

 

 

 

Linda Lovely  "Dead Hunt"

WPADead Hunt - Linda Lovely

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.lindalovely.com

 

 

 

 

Edith Maxwell  "Farmed and Dangerous"

WPAFarmed and Dangerous - Edith Maxwell

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.edithmaxwell.com

 

 

 

Patricia McLinn  "Sign Off"

WPA Sign Off - Patricia McLinn

 

 

 

 

 

www.patriciamclinn.com

 

 

 

 

Donna Blanchard McNicol  "Barely a Spark"

WPA Barely a Spark - DB McNicol

 

 

 

 

 

www.dbmcnicol.com

 

 

 

 

Catriona McPherson  "The Child Garden"

WPA The Child Garden - Catriona McPherson.png

 

 

 

 

 

www.catrionamcpherson.com

 

 

 

 

Linda Mickey  "Test Scores"

WPA Test Scores - Linda Mickey

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.lindamickey.com

 

 

 

 

Liz Mugavero  "Icing on the Corpse"

WPAIcing onthe Corpse

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.lizmugavero.com

 

 

 

Pamela Oberg  "Rogue Wave"

WPA Rogue Wave - Pamela Oberg

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.facebook.com/stonecreekwriting

 

 

 

Terry Odell  "Deadly Production"

WPADeadly Production - Terry Odell

 

 

 

 

 

www.terryodell.com

 

 

 

 

Alec Peche  "Death on a Green"

WPA Death on a Green - Alec Peche

 

 

 

 

 

www.alecpeche.com

 

 

 

 

Ashantay Peters  "Death Stretch"

WPADeath Stretch - Ashantay Peters

 

 

 

 

 

www.Ashantay.com

 

 

 

 

 

Patti Phillips  "Kerrian's Notebook, Volume 1"

WPA KN_Vol 1 fingerprint_cover_- copy 3

 

 

 

 

 

www.kerriansnotebook.com

 

 

 

Mar Preston  "A Very Private High School"

WPA A Very Private High School - Mar Preston

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.marpreston.com

 

 

 

 

Karen Pullen  "Cold Feet"

WPACold Feet - Karen Pullen

 

 

 

 

 

www.karenpullen.com

 

 

 

 

Fiona Quinn  "Weakest Lynx"

Book Cover - Weakest Lynx

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.ThrillWriting.blogspot.com

 

 

 

 

Dr. Katherine Ramsland  "The Mind of a Murderer"

WPA The Mind of a Murderer - Katherine Ramsland

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.katherineramsland.com

 

 

 

 

K.T. Roberts  "Deadly Obsessions"

WPA Deadly Obsessions - KT Roberts

 

 

 

 

 

www.ktrobertsmysteries.com

 

 

 

 

Mike Roche  "The Blue Monster"

WPA The Blue Monster - Mike Roche

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.mikeroche.com

 

 

 

 

Lori Ryan  "The Billionaire's Suite Dreams"

WPAThe Billionaire's Suite Dreams - Lori Ryan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.loriryanromance.com

 

 

 

 

Jamie Lee Scott  "Let Us Prey" – Gotcha Detective Agency Mystery, Book 1

WPA Let Us Prey - Jamie Lee Scott

 

 

 

 

 

www.jamieleescott.com

 

 

 

 

Terry Shames  "A Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge"

WPAA Deadly Affair at Bobtail Ridge - Terry Shames

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.TerryShames.com

 

 

 

 

Sarah Levine Simon  "Winged Victory"

WPA Winged Victory - Sarah Levine Simon

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.sandbookstudio.com

 

 

 

 

 

Alexandra Sokoloff  "Cold Moon" – The Huntress/FBI thrillers

WPA Cold Moon - Alexandra Sokoloff

 

 

 

 

 

www.alexandrasokoloff.com

 

 

 

 

Nancy Sweetland  "The Virgin Murders"

WPA The Virgin Murders - Nancy Sweetland

 

 

 

 

 

www.NancySweetlandWrites.com

 

 

 

 

 

Ellis Vidler  "Prime Target"

WPAPrime Target - Ellis Vidler

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.ellisvidler.com

 

 

 

 

Elaine Viets  "Checked Out"

WPA Checked Out - Elaine Viets

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.elaineviets.com

 

 

 

 

 

Tamara Ward  "Private Deception"

WPA Private Deception - Tamara Ward

 

 

 

 

 

www.authortamaraward.com/jade-oreilly-series/

 

 

 

 

Nancy G. West  "Smart, But Dead"

WPA SMART BUT DEAD - Nancy G West

 

 

 

 

 

www.nancygwest.com

 

 

 

 

Lynn Chandler Willis  "Wink of an Eye"

Book Cover - Wink of an Eye

 

 

 

 

 

 

www.lynnchandlerwillis.com

 

 

 

 

 

Not a novel, but several WPA presenters contributed stories to this Mystery Writers of America collection, "Vengeance."

Lee Child, Editor

WPA Vengeance Anthology

Alafair Burke

Michael Connelly

Rick McMahan

Karin Slaughter

 

http://amzn.com/0316176354

 

Happy Reading, everyone!!!  🙂

 

 

 

 

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