Tag Archive | Cozy Mystery Review

Give the Devil His Due Review and Giveaway

GIVE THE DEVIL HIS DUESteve Hockensmith is here today to tell us about Give the Devil His Due, a book he co-wrote with Lisa Falco. He’s a funny guy,
and it is reflected in this new cozy mystery about tarot card reading, con men and the White Magic Five and Dime.  He was kind enough to answer a few questions about his newest cozy mystery. After the interview check out my review and then find the Prize Guy to enter the giveaway for a print copy of this book!
Have you ever had your tarot cards read? If you did were you surprised by the result?
I’ve had my cards read several times over the years. The biggest surprise came when I encountered a reader who wasn’t full of it. That reader: Lisa Falco, who co-created the “tarot mystery” series with me. Before Lisa, I’d done readings as an occasional lark, and the results had never been impressive. Sometimes the reader was a flat-out cold-eyed con artist. (“The woman in your life…she isn’t true to you. You need to come back for a special reading. I can help you.”) Sometimes the reader was simply full of baloney. (“I see you running through the jungle with a war club in your hand. You were a barbarian warrior in a past life…and you’re still a strong, rough, dominant man today.” Uhh, no. That’s why I let my girlfriend talk me into coming in here.) Lisa is an old friend, and I’d known her for years before I discovered she read tarot cards. I don’t remember what exactly she told me the first time she did a reading for me, but I remember my response: “Wow! This isn’t all horse@$%# after all!” Her readings have always been insightful, helpful and even, yes, prophetic. I’m not a believer in the supernatural, but yowza – sometimes the things Lisa sees makes me wonder. So when she said, “I’m thinking of doing a book about a tarot reader who helps her clients through the cards,” I had no hesitation about saying, “Make it a mystery, and we’ll do it together!”
 Is Give the Devil His Due a mystery that can stand alone or is it better for readers to read the other books in the series first?
It can definitely be read on its own, but I’ll be honest: It’s probably best to read the other two books first. (Hear that strange, haunting, distant sound? That’s the publisher’s publicist screaming.) In Give the Devil His Due, our hero, Alanis, has to face something from her past that we’ve only hinted at in the other novels. You can jump right in and not be confused at all, but to fully appreciate her reaction you might want to get to know her a bit more first.
Have you published short stories in magazines?
I started out writing stories for Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine and Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine. I saw it as an apprenticeship. Before I tried to write a novel, I wanted to make my bones working on things that wouldn’t be such a daunting commitment. Cuz short stories are, you know, short. It worked out really well. All the crap I had to write to learn what the heck I was doing only took a couple years. Then once I was actually writing good stuff, it started selling, and that gave me the confidence I needed to write a novel. Which wasn’t very good. So I went back to short stories, wrote one that seemed like a good set-up for a series, and was inspired to try another novel. That one got published – it’s called Holmes on the Range – and I’ve been doing books ever since. I still write the occasional short story for Alfred Hitchcock and Ellery Queen, though. In fact, I’ll be in both in the next few months. And I’ve put out some collections of my short fiction, too. But don’t worry: I left out the crap.
What is your favorite character or scene in Give the Devil His Due?
I love breaking up the format of the traditional mystery story. Anytime I can throw in something that’s a little different, a little funny, a little surprising, it makes the writing more fun for me. In Give the Devil His Due, an eccentric German music mogul becomes important to the plot – he’s sort of a nutty, Teutonic Richard Branson – so our heroes look him up on Wikipedia. All they see is the Contents list for his page, but that’s enough to give you his biography and a sense of who he is. What the heck – here it is:
 
Ulf Pichler
1 Early life
2 Career
2.1 Ice cream truck
2.2 Sonntagnachmittagunwholsein Records
2.3 “Einhundertein Schokoladenhasen (101 Chocolate Bunnies)”
2.4 http://www.glucklichsittiche.de launch and Amazon buyout
2.5 Multimedia empire
2.6 Other business ventures
2.7 Dagegengeld implosion and lawsuit
3 World record attempts
3.1 Mountaineering
3.2 Ballooning
3.3 Deep-sea diving
3.4 Firewalking
3.5 Hot dog eating
4 Politics
5 Controversies and criticism
5.1 Mother Teresa feud
5.2 Vatican streaking incident
5.3 Art and relics collection
5.4 Dalai Lama headbutt
6 Honours and awards
7 Personal life
7.1 Marriages
7.2 Palimony suits
7.3 Paternity suits
7.4 Vow of celibacy
10 Bibliography
11 References
What are you writing now?
Steve-HockensmithI wrote five novels in my Holmes on the Range historical mystery series a while back, and for a long time I’ve wanted to revisit those characters. So that’s what I’m doing right now. I put out a collection of Holmes on the Range short stories that’s sold really well over the years, so I’m going to see how it goes with a novel. After that I’ll probably write some more short stories and then see what kind of mood I’m in. I have a lot of ideas – enough to keep me writing for the next 50 years. We’ll see if I get to them all….
My Review- 5 Stars
Come to the White Magic Five and Dime and find out what is in your future. Not a believer? So many of these people are simply scam artists so how can this one be any different? Alanis McLachlan’s mother was one of those scammers who operated with a con artist named Biddle. When she dies, Alanis inherits the store and when Biddle shows up after being out of the picture for decades she knows there is a con afoot. He is looking for an old painting of Elvis her mother used to own. It turns out several people are looking for the king. This is a funny mystery filled with con men,  an investigative reporter, mafia types, old ladies with uzis, a pony-tailed German man, and a touch of the occult. The story has good pacing and leans toward the suspense/caper side. I enjoyed Give the Devil His Due and look forward to more adventures in the world of tarot card reading. Oh, a handy tip I picked up from the book–Never use Google maps if you’re planning on rescuing someone!
                             Click Here to Pick Up Your Copy of Give the Devil His Due!

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Book Review- A Whole Latte Murder

a-whole-latte-murderI like coffee.  I like tea. I like the Java Jive, and it likes me.

Ah yes, let’s head to the coffee shop for a cup of joe and a slice of murder! This cozy mystery takes place in Nashville and so, of course, the amateur sleuth is an aspiring singer with a grande dose of stage fright. A Whole Latte of Murder is the third book in Caroline Fardig’s Java Jive series published by Alibi, and after reading this one, I’m going to need to go back and read the other two.  There is some mild language in this one, but you will find the pacing of the story is excellent.

 

Meet the Author:

Caroline Fardig Author

Caroline Fardig
Author

Caroline Fardig is the author of Death Before Decaf and the Lizzie Hart series. She worked as a schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom before she realized that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Born and raised in a small town in Indiana, Fardig still lives in that same town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.

My Review

5 Stars

Juliet Langley, a coffee shop manager in Nashville tries to return a scarf and finds herself in the middle of a murder mystery. Even though she’s dating cop, Ryder Hamilton, she sets on her road to discovery along with old love and best friend Pete Bennet.  Readers are never sure just which guy Juliet really cares for in the story and that adds to the suspense. Juliet is all over the place solving the crime, and there was a pretty funny scene where she was signing up to be an escort in the name of investigation. The characters, the pacing and the crime are set up well.  The cover for this cozy mystery drew me in and the writing kept me there. Now I need to go back and read books 1 and 2 of the Java Jive Series.

 

Book Review: The Cat, The Collector and The Killer

True confession. I’m not much of a cat person. I think they’re beautiful, but they make me sneeze and then wheeze.  I have always been a dog lover starting with my rascally beagle, Goliath, who I used to take with me on my paper route. How Norman Rockwell can I get here?

When the opportunity came up to review LeAnn Sweeney’s latest book in her Cats in Trouble Series I had to grab it, even if I did have to take a Claritan. Many years ago when I was deciding if I wanted to try this writing thing for real, Leann came to my local library for a book talk. She was the first cozy mystery writer I had ever met, and I found her charming. She answered all my questions and even recommended a book on police procedure. After meeting her, I realized I could write a book. I needed to learn some things, and still do, but I felt ready to finally finish my first novel, A Dash of Murder.

So, thanks Leann for planting a seed and growing a writer. You have been an inspiration to me.

Here is my review of The Cat, The Collectorcatcollectorcover and The Killer:

5 Stars

I really enjoyed this mystery with its many twists and turns. The is a lot happening and plenty of characters to line up as suspects. I especially enjoyed how Leann slowly unraveled the mystery as with each chapter the characters revealed a little bit more. The small town of Mercy, South Carolina must be crawling with cats and unsolved murders! Great series.

I was given a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.