Mystery

“The Gun Also Rises” & “Let’s Fake a Deal” by Sherry Harris


 

Sherry Harris has delivered two exciting new books in her Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mystery series. “The Gun Also Rises” and “Let’s Fake a Deal” continue to follow Sarah’s life as a former military spouse who is (mostly) successful at navigating singlehood and establishing her own identity and livelihood.

 

Sarah Winston is a warm, relatable character and when she has moments of doubt, we struggle with her, weigh the pluses and minuses of her romantic choices, cheer her achievements, and groan when tragic/terrible events take over her life. She has a delightfully varied recurring support system of friends who lend texture to the stories and act as sounding boards. Sarah even has a serious ‘don’t-ask-what-he-does-for-a-living’ backup guy when needed in tight situations. We know that Sarah will eventually get through the latest challenge, but Harris creates a world so compelling that we enjoy every question, every impulsive move, and every ‘gotcha’ moment along the way.

 

 

 

In “The Gun Also Rises,” Sarah takes on her wealthiest client yet, the owner of perhaps the most extensive collection of mystery novels ever assembled. While Sarah appraises and prices the books, a treasure is uncovered – so valuable that people are willing to kill for it. Complete with scheming relatives, a stalker, a group of cult-like League of Literary Treasure Hunters, Sarah’s reporter brother Luke, clever plotting, and an original take on a famous real life missing manuscript, “The Gun Also Rises” surprises and entertains from start to finish.

 

 

 


“Two police cars squealed to a halt at the end of the driveway, lights flashing, front bumpers almost touching.” That’s the eye-popping beginning line for Let’s Fake a Deal.” Everything at Sarah Winston’s latest garage sale has been stolen from the actual homeowners and Sarah is arrested for being in possession of those stolen goods. Worse yet, the storage unit that contained the goods until the sale, had been rented using her credit card. Say what? Sarah Winston is the victim of identity theft.

 

In addition to that hot topic, Harris takes a look at sexual harassment and gender discrimination in the military in “Let’s Fake a Deal.” The decisions that women in the military must make – that men rarely face – are highlighted: report the incidents and face the innuendo and name-calling (and worse) while the case is adjudicated – or accept the objectionable behavior and keep to the chosen career path. Another timely theme, indeed.

 

Several great characters assist Sarah’s efforts to find the real thieves and to prove that her friend did not commit murder. Angelo and Rosalie are back and supportive as ever, dishing out advice and the best pizza anywhere in New England. Luke makes a brotherly appearance in tandem with another character, help comes from an unexpected source, and investigations reveal some astonishing associations – including a shocking link with the past. “Let’s Fake a Deal” includes an important romantic turn of events and if she can stay out of jail, Sarah’s future is hers to choose.

 

One of the reasons that the Sarah Winston series works so well is the importance of relationships between the characters. There are natural, warm connections that evolve with the storylines, that ebb and flow as they would with real friends and family. I come to the end of each book, wishing the next one was already at my fingertips.

 

Start with the first book in the series, “Tagged for Death,” and read them all.

 

 

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Bloody Scotland Crime Book of the Year 2019 – McIlvanney Prize

 

The Scotland Crime Book of the Year Award, now called The McIlvanney Prize, is given at Bloody Scotland, a premier conference for crime writers. Eligible authors must be born in Scotland, live there, or set their books there. The winner receives 1,000 pounds and the book is promoted for a year by a major bookstore chain in Great Britain. The winners of both awards will be announced on Friday, September 20, 2019.
 

McIlvanney Prize Shortlist:
 Breakers, by Doug Johnstone
 Conviction, by Denise Mina
 The Way of All Flesh, by “Ambrose Parry”, aka Chris Brookmyre and Marisa Haetzman
 A Treachery of Spies, by Manda Scott

 

McIlvanney Debut Prize Shortlist:
 All the Hidden Truths, by Claire Askew
 From the Shadows, by G.R. Halliday
 Black Camp 21, by Bill Jones
 In the Silence, by M.R. Mackenzie
 The Peat Dead, by Allan Martin

 

 

Congratulations to all! 

Previous winners are noted below:

2018: Liam McIlvanney – “The Quaker”

2017: Denise Mina – “The Long Drop”

2016: Chris Brookmyre – “Black Widow”

2015: Craig Russell – “The Ghosts of Altona”

2014: Peter May – “Entry Island”

 

 

 

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Author Profile: Julie Hennrikus

 


 

Meet Julie Hennrikus, a multi-talented author with three names and three different mystery series:

  • The Clock Shop series by Julianne Holmes

 

  • The Theater Cop series by J.A. Hennrikus

 

  • The Garden Squad series by Julia Henry

 

NBR: Your first series was about a Clock Shop. How did that come to be?

Julie: It’s an interesting story, actually. There was an editor who had an idea for a series. More than an idea, a pretty full book bible for a three book series. She was looking for a writer. Through some opportunistic happenings (partly thanks to Barbara Ross), I was suggested as a writer to the editor. I wrote a proposal, and got the opportunity to write the three books in the series. I’d never imagined that that would be how I was first published, but what a wonderful opportunity. I’d been trying to sell A Christmas Peril for a while, so I was grateful to have the opportunity to write the three Clock Shop books, to get them published, and to learn more about that side of the writing life. Also, I loved the series! The first book was greatly influenced by the editor’s ideas (she was so great to work with), but the next two had more and more input from me.

 

NBR: Writing as Julianne Holmes, the first book in the Clock Shop series, “Killing Time,” was so well crafted that Ms. Hennrikus received an Agatha Award nomination in the Best First Mystery category.

I was in the audience for the Best First panel at Malice Domestic when Margaret Maron interviewed the five finalists in the category. Look closely at Julie’s outfit (clock fabric). She was completely into the Clock Shop role and the onlookers loved it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


NBR: Read the review for "Just Killing Time" here.

 


 

NBR: About the Theater Cop series – were you ever an actor or was your theater work always behind the scenes?

Julie: I always wanted to be an actor, but I was never that brave! Maybe I’ll find the courage as I get older. I’ve made a career working behind the scenes. I’ve run box offices, company managed shows, done marketing, run a service organization. I’ve also taught arts management classes for close to 15 years. The list is long. I love the performing arts, and am blessed to have found a way to make a life in the field.

 

NBR: With the Clock Shop series getting great reviews, Ms. Hennrikus found a home for “A Christmas Peril,” and the series highlights much of the behind-the-scenes life in the theater world.

 

 

 

 

 

 


NBR: Read my review of "A Christmas Peril" here.

 

 

 

Book #2 in the series, “With A Kiss I Die,” is out now.

 

 

NBR: It looks as if you created your own arts related business. Is this a fulltime job outside of the writing?

Julie: A year ago I started Your Ladders. Most artists are taught the craft of their work, but nothing about the business side of the arts. Your Ladders is a subscription that artists can use to learn the business side of show business without having to go back to school. Getting it up and running has been more than full time, but my goal is to incorporate my writing life more and more. So many folks who have creative pursuits have to work several jobs to make it all work. I’m one of those people. But the jobs I have–writing, teaching, running Your Ladders–are all joyful pursuits.

 

My goal has been, is, to empower artists on their journey. As a published author, I navigate my own artistic journey, and know that the skills I teach have helped me move from writer to multi-published author.

 

 

NBR: The new Garden Squad series features gardening. Do you have a garden?  Photos? Tips?

Julie: I used to have a house, and loved gardening. My sister Caroline is an amazing gardener, and she is one of my sources for tips. By the way, if any of your readers has a tip they’re willing to share, please do! Here’s a form to fill out. I include tips in the back of the books. (NBR: The list in “Pruning the Dead” is practical and easy to use.)

 

There is something so joyful about gardening, isn’t there? I love writing this new Garden Squad series, and exploring the different ways of gardening. I was worried about the seasonality of the books, but Lilly Jayne has a greenhouse, so it’s working out. I’m still not exactly sure how I was inspired to create Goosebush and all the characters in the series, but I’m so glad that I was. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


NBR: Read my review of "Pruning the Dead" here.

 

 

Book #2 in the series, "Tilling the Truth," will be out later this month.

 

NBR: Do you have pets?

Julie: I do! Three years ago, a friend reached out. She was trying to place two cats who had been found in an abandoned house in Stamford, Connecticut. They both have FIV (feline immunodeficiency virus), so they couldn’t be placed in a shelter. I adopted them both, and named them Fred and Ginger. Ginger was likely feral, and it took her a while to settle in. She is now a lovebug who is this close to being a lap cat. Fred is a big boy, a gray tuxedo cat. They think he was dumped, because he was fixed when they found him. He’s settled in as well. They are probably around 5 now, and are great company.

 

 

NBR: What is your favorite place to vacation?

Julie: My folks have a place on Cape Cod, so I love visiting there. And my grandparents had a place on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire, and some of my happiest memories are there. But I’ve take two river cruises with my friends Marianne and Stephanie in the past five years. I know that a river cruise isn’t a place, but what a wonderful way to travel!

 

 

NBR: Are you a city gal or country gal?

Julie: I am a city gal. I live in Somerville, MA, which is a small city right outside Boston. I love the convenience, the plethora of things to do, and the different opportunities the city offers. That said, I do enjoy visits to the country. Though dead silence keeps me up at night.

NBR: LOL Me, too! I need at least crickets in the background.

 

 

NBR: Many cozy/mystery writers include food and/or cooking scenes in their books. You do that as well, especially in “Pruning the Dead.” Do you have any favorite foods or recipes?

Julie: My grandmother taught me how to bake. I have a very soft spot for pies, and make a mean apple pie if I do say so. I bake with my nieces and tell them stories about Grandma so they know her, and they also get the recipes. Her secret, by the way, was to overseason. One teaspoon of cinnamon is one tablespoon. One quarter teaspoon of nutmeg is one full teaspoon.

NBR: Great tip. I upped the seasoning in my apple tart this past weekend and the flavor really pops!

 

Julie: As for other food? I’m a decent cook, and love all sorts of food. I love going out to dinner, but at home I cook for myself. Unless I’m on deadline. Then I order a pizza and eat it for a few days.

 

 

NBR: Do you write every day? What is your favorite time to write and where?

Julie: My goal is to write every day. It is surprisingly hard to get started and to do it, but writing gives me such joy. I am a plotter, which makes a daily practice a bit easier, since I work hard at the roadmap, so sitting down and writing is a bit easier.

 

Up until last August I had an office job, so I only wrote nights and weekends. It’s so hard to get out of that habit! But now that I’m running my own business I find that my best time writing is early afternoon. I wish I could say that writing at my desk works best, but I have a big red couch, and sitting on that with my laptop is my favorite writing place.

 

Recently I got an iPad, and I installed Scrivener on it. I used the iPad to do the edits on my most recent manuscript as well. That has made my writing life much more transportable, so I may try writing outside this summer.

 

NBR: It’s rumored that Julie Hennrikus has a WIP (work-in-progress) of a thriller she’s “been noodling for a while.” We shouldn’t expect to see lots of blood in the book, but she admits a car has been blown up. Hmmm…a cozy thriller? If anyone could pull it off, Julie/JA/Julianna could.

 

 
Julie: I tweet under @JHAuthors, am on Pinterest and Instagram, and have a page on Facebook. I also blog on Live to Write/Write to Live, and I blog on Killer Characters on the 20th of each month. My email is jhauthors@jhauthors.com

I blog with the wonderful Wicked Authors. These women are my friends, my blog mates, and my cheering squad. Come by and visit us!

NBR: Back in November, 2018, the recipients of the 3rd annual Massachusetts Artists Leaders Coalition (MALC) "Champions of Artists" awards were announced. The awards are given to recognize 'exceptional support of the artists community.' Julie was one of the six recipients! We congratulate her for making a difference in the lives of so many artists, both on and off the stage, throughout the years. Bravo!!!

 

Many thanks to Julie Hennrikus for generously sharing so much of her time to answer my questions for the profile.  🙂  Please visit www.jhauthors.com for more about this delightful bestselling author and her books.
 

 

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Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Awards – 2019

 

 

Killer Nashville is one of the most popular conferences in the country for writers and readers and is held each year in the Nashville, Tennessee area. Established by writer and filmmaker Clay Stafford in 2006, the conference assists authors in the craft of mystery, thriller, suspense, and crime fiction writing. Stafford and American Blackguard, Inc. also work to further various literacy programs throughout the year.

 

As a part of both encouraging and rewarding writers in their varied fields, the Killer Nashville Silver Falchion Awards are given to authors and their outstanding books published in the previous year. This year, the awards will be presented on August 24th at the Killer Nashville Awards Banquet. The finalists and winners (in red) are:

 

Best Action Adventure
Baron Birtcher  “Fistful of Rain”
Linda Sands  “Precious Cargo”
Robert Slayton  “Running to Graceland”
Mary Ting  “ISAN”
Jill Wallace  “War Serenade”


Best Cozy Mystery
Traci Andrighetti  “Campari Crimson”
L.A. Chandler  “The Gold Pawn”
Phyllis Gobbell  “Treachery in Tuscany”
Morgan James  “Quiet Fury”
Jill Orr  “The Bad Break”


Best Mystery
Delphine Boswell  “Unholy Secret”
Larry Enmon  “The Burial Place”
Allan Eskens  “The Shadows We Hide”
Mike Faricy  “Star Struck”
Alexia Gordon  “Killing in C Sharp”
Bradley Harper  “A Knife in the Fog”
Roger Johns  “River of Secrets”
Ann Parker  “A Dying Note”
Keenan Powell  “Deadly Solution”
Cindy Sample  “Dying for a Deal”


Best Procedural
Bruce Robert Coffin “Beyond the Truth”
James Doherty  “An Obscure Grave”
Amanda Feyerbend  “Girls of Summer”
Margaret Mizushima  “Burning Ridge: A Timber Creek K-9 Mystery”
Saralyn Richard  “Murder in the One Percent”


Best Thriller
R.G. Belsky  “Yesterday’s News”
Timothy S. Johnston  “The War Beneath”
Thomas Kelso “Fractured”
Michael Niemann “Illegal Holdings”   (tie)
T.J. O’Conner  “The Consultant”
Rick Outzen  “City of Grudges”
Eliot Parker  “A Knife’s Edge”
Charley Pearson  “Scourge”   (tie)
Rick Pullen  “Naked Truth”
Dana J. Summers  “The Dark and the Dead”

 

Winners in other categories:

Best Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
Maggie Toussaint  "Confound It"


Best Short Story/Anthology
Carmen Amato  "The Artist"

 

Please visit https://killernashville.com/2019-killer-nashville-awards-winners/?fbclid=IwAR1x_ for finalists and winners in the YA, Non-fiction, and Suspense categories.   Congratulations to all!

 

 

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Book List: Author Sherry Harris

 

Sherry Harris writes the Agatha nominated, wonderful Sarah Winston Garage Sale Mysteries.
 

Sarah Winston is a military spouse who must transition to being on her own. Her emotional struggles to make her own way as a newly single woman are realistic, and her scenes detailing military life ring true. Harris’ storylines peel back the layers of Winston’s battle with feelings about her ex in each book, while delivering great mysteries.

 

Have you read all the books in this marvelous series? Take a look at the book list below, listed in order, with links included.

 

 

 

"Tagged for Death”   read review here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"The Longest Yard Sale”  read review here.  

 

 

 

 

 

All Murders Final

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"A Good Day to Buy”   read review here.

 

 

 

 

 

I Know What You Bid Last Summer


 

The Gun Also Rises

 

and….just released today, July 30, 2019:

 

Let’s Fake A Deal”  

 

 

Sherry’s other writing includes:

A short story called “Country Song Gone Wrong” in the Deadly Southern Charm anthology from the Central VA chapter of Sisters in Crime. It's a Sarah Winston story — She goes to Virginia.

 

Good news for Mrs. Harris’ fans – a future series is in the works:  In 2020, the first book of the Chloe Jackson Sand Dollar Saloon mysteries comes out – “From Beer to Eternity.”

 

The Sherry Harris Author Profile can be read here.

 

Please visit https://sherryharrisauthor.com to see what else Sherry is up to.  🙂
 


(Photos courtesy of Sherry Harris)

 

 

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The “Tell Me…” series by Lynn Chandler Willis

 

North Carolina author, Lynn Chandler Willis, has written an engrossing three book “Tell Me…” series set in Appalachia. “Tell Me No Lies,” the first in the series, introduces us to Ava Logan, newspaper owner/publisher/editor/reporter, as the lead protagonist. Willis’ personal background as a former newspaper owner that did everything except print the Pleasant Garden Post, lends wonderful authenticity to the newspaper life both in and out of Ava’s office.

 

“Tell Me No Lies” deals with ginseng poaching, betrayal, a love lost and found, and of course, a murder. Ava’s complex relationship with Sheriff Grayson Ridge makes for gasp-out-loud reading as their astonishing secrets are revealed little by little in the middle of the murder and ginseng poaching investigations. How far can Ava go in crossing the line to ‘get the story’ without getting into trouble with the law herself? Will she put her family at risk with her decisions? Can she protect the baby she rescued from the murder scene? With a diverse cast of characters and a well-developed, layered plot, “TMNL” is a solid beginning to the Ava Logan stories.

 


“Tell Me You Love Me,” the third in the series, opens with rich descriptions of a shivering hike through the winter gloom of leafless woods and surroundings. Ava is there to do a feature story about a local legend and his rabbit-hunting beagles, but one of the dogs finds bones. What follows is an absorbing search for the identity of the remains. An anthropologist is called in to help with the cold case, but Ava has deep roots in Jackson Creek, a nose for a big story, and has her own methods of uncovering old connections.

 

Willis’ core people are gradually developed through the three books, and Doretha, a recurring character, takes on a bigger role in “Tell Me You Love Me.” As Ava’s former foster mother, Doretha protects and advises Ava. But Doretha has a secret or two of her own, one of which could drive the two women apart for good. Ridge has a larger personal role in Ava’s life, but they continue to have trouble with boundaries between the needs of the newspaper and the restrictions that murder investigations place on Ava’s need to know. Willis has a special knack for writing about the children in the series and anyone with teenagers of their own will laugh and moan while reading about the trials the son puts Ava through. Priceless.

 

In a fascinating subplot, Willis’ page-turner explores an Appalachian tradition of using a granny witch for healing. Locals rely on her for medical treatment since traditional medicine is too far away and too expensive for people in need without insurance. Differences between Appalachia and the world outside the misty hills, in both cultural beliefs and traditional practices, drive the sometimes tragic motives in “Tell Me You Love Me.”

 

Fall in love with Ava as she balances family, work, and love, while solving crimes in Appalachia.

 

Please visit www.lynnchandlerwillis.com for information about Willis’ appearances and her award-winning books.

 

 

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“Murder in an English Village” by Jessica Ellicott

 

“Murder in an English Village” is the first title in the wonderful new Beryl and Edwina Mystery series by Jessica Ellicott (aka Jessie Crockett/Jessica Estevao). Old school mates, Beryl Helliwell and Edwina Davenport, have lived wildly different lives since leaving Finishing School. American Beryl has been a world traveler and well known adventuress, while English Edwina has lived quietly in Walmsley Parva in picturesque southern England. But Beryl is tired of the demands of public life and Edwina needs a boarder now that her post WW1 income has shriveled. A perfect setup for the old chums to meet again after all these years.

 

Beryl discovers the seriousness of Edwina’s plight, but when she takes it upon herself to pay the shopkeepers for some of Edwina’s bills, she also attempts to divert the gossip about Edwina’s situation with an outlandish lie she reveals to the biggest gossip in town.

 

Beryl persuades Edwina that the BIG LIE will not remain one if they work together to solve a few crimes. What crimes? Warmsley Parva is a fairly quiet place…or is it? The seemingly peaceful village has a great many secrets, some tragically kept to preserve reputations. Villains parade as upstanding citizens with devastating consequences.

 

Ellicott’s marvelously descriptive writing transports us to rustic English cottages, dressed country fields, one phone in a sparsely populated countryside, and small shops showing their wear, while revealing societal views about women of 100 years ago. It was a hard life for everyone worldwide that lived during WW1, but England took years longer to adjust to the new economic reality with money, food, and manpower shortages. In a masterful touch of subtlety, Ellicott shows how Edwina’s financial circumstances change because of Beryl’s presence, and dinners become more varied. Even the occasional outing for tea can be enjoyed.

 

One of the interesting historical references in “Murder in an English Village” is The Women’s Land Army, a government program initiated because able-bodied men that might otherwise have been farming the land, were off fighting for home and country. Women committed to a year to work the land, but despite doing a great service, the women were not always looked upon with favor, considered by some to be a lesser class of citizen. This attitude was exploited by some and used to great effect in the book through Ellicott’s deft character development.

 

“Murder in an English Village” is both historically enlightening and entertaining, launching the new series with two engaging, intelligent women who will capture your hearts and minds.

 

Please visit https://www.jessicaellicott.com for more information about the talented Ms. Ellicott and the next book in the series, “Murder Flies the Coop,” out in September, 2019.

 

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