Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Ten Days Gone by Beverly Long

Ten Days Gone (A.L. McKittridge #1)
Welcome!  Egg Drop Dead by Vivien Chien along with Murder Makes Scents by Christen Brecher releases on February 25.  The Crow's Call by Wanda E. Brunstetter publishes on March 1.  It is the first novel in Amish Greenhouse Mystery series.  The Sisters Grimm by Menna van Praag comes out 31.  I cannot wait to read this book.  Pumpkin Spice Peril by Jenn McKinlay is the 12th A Cupcake Bakery Mystery and it releases on  April 28.  Will you be adding any of these books to your TBR pile?
Chicago cops are searching for a possible serial killer
Ten Days Gone by Beverly Long has Detectives A.L. McKittridge and Rena Morgan searching for a serial killer in Baywood, Wisconsin.  There have been four women killed in forty days.  Each kill was ten days apart.  They now have ten days to identify the killer before another woman is murdered.  Unfortunately, there is very little evidence at the crime scenes, and they cannot find a connection between the victims.  The pair finally get a break in the case and know the identity of the next target.  Tess Lyons was severely injured, and she is suffering from depression.  They need Tess to work with them if they are to stop this killer.   A.L. McKittridge and Rena Morgan come up with a plan to keep Tess safe and end the killer’s spree.
Flanagan led police on a chase before he crashed the Chevy Sonic he rented from an airport (above)
Ten Days Gone by Beverly Long is the first An A.L. McKittridge Novel.  Ten Days Gone is a police procedural mystery set in Baywood, Wisconsin.  We follow Detective A.L. McKittridge (we do not get to find out what A.L. stands for) and Detective Rena Morgan as they search for a deadly killer.  Four women have been murdered in forty days.  They were murdered ten days apart with them just discovering the latest victim.  Our duo has ten days to find the killer before he strikes again.  The killer is smart enough to leave to no forensics.  They cannot find a connection between the four women.  The detectives work on questioning the latest victims’ husband, co-workers and friends to see if they can find any connection to the other three victims.  The point-of-view switches between McKittridge and Morgan.  McKittridge is divorced with a sixteen year old daughter who is acting out (dating a man who is over twenty-one) and skipping school to drink alcohol.  Rena Morgan is wed, and they have been trying to conceive for years unsuccessfully.  It is taking its toll on their marriage.  Rena is worried that her husband is cheating on her. The detectives’ personal lives are woven in with the investigation.  I thought the detective’s lives are realistic.  They work hard which affects their personal lives which are complicated (just like real people).  The mystery was representative of a real police case.  Television makes police work look exciting, but, in real life, it is tedious.  They must ask questions, follow up leads, fill out paperwork and deal with bureaucracy (like a new pompous chief).  Identifying the guilty party was effortless.  There is suspense and tension especially as they were getting close to their prey.  There were some areas of the book that lagged, and I was put off by the amount of foul language (I do not understand why people feel they need to use such offensive words).   Ten Days Gone will appeal to readers who enjoy suspenseful police procedural mysteries.  Ten Days Gone has a mysterious murderer, a conceited chief, disconsolate target, and two determined detectives.
Black woman in handcuffs
To get a sample of Ten Days Gone or find out more about the book, click here*.  The next An A.L. McKittridge Novel is No One Saw which releases on June 30, 2020.  Thank you for stopping by today.  Tomorrow I am featuring Witness Protection Widow by Debra Webb.  It is the fifth A Winchester, Tennessee Thriller.  I hope you have a satisfying day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
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Monday, February 17, 2020

In Cold Chamomile by Joy Avon

In Cold Chamomile (A Tea and Read Mystery #3)
Good Day!  British Murder by Leslie Meier releases on February 25.  It contains English Tea Murder and British Manor Murder (two previously published Lucy Stone Mysteries).  Botched Butterscotch by Amanda Flower publishes on April 28.  It is An Amish Candy Shop Mystery.  Murder Outside the Lines by Krista Davis releases on July 28. It is the third A Pen & Ink Mystery.  The Secret Staircase by Sheila Connolly comes out August 18 and it is the third A Victorian Village Mystery.  Dying in a Winter Wonderland by Vicki Delany will be out on September 29.  It is the fifth A Year Round Christmas Mystery (it's back)!  
A beautiful & elegant Morning Tea for some friends, and thought I’d do my best to treat everyone in traditional Pretty & Elegant High Tea style with cupcakes, friands, scones and sandwiches.
In Cold Chamomile by Joy Avon has Callie Aspen organizing a Valentine’s event at Haywood Hall.  There is tea and delectable delights from Book Tea as well as a concert, a book exchange, pet event, seed swap, and book appraisals.  Mrs. Forrester arranged for appraiser, Mr. King to evaluate books.  Aunt Iphy is stunned when she notices the baritone who has arrived to sing at the concert.  She will only tell Callie that he is an old acquaintance who she never thought to see again.  Later in the day, Mrs. Moffett comes running up to Callie to announce that Mr. King is dead.  Callie quickly calls Deputy Ace Falk and awaits his arrival.  Mrs. Forrester is under suspicion and then Deputy Falk narrows his sights on singer, Sean Strong.  Ace tells Callie to not get involved in the case, but Aunt Iphy needs her help in clearing Sean.  Callie, accompanied by Aunt Iphy, begin questioning people who attended the event.  What happens, though, when they get to close for the killer’s comfort?
Birthday Party Food Ideas For Kids Little Girls Tea Cups 38+ Ideas #food #party #birthday
In Cold Chamomile by Joy Avon is the third A Tea and Read Mystery.  It can be read as a standalone.  Callie Aspen is organizing a Valentine’s fundraiser at Haywood Hall with a variety of events.  My favorite was Fall in Love with Books where there was a book exchange, a book sale, and book appraisals.  There was also plants for sale, seed swap, dogs for adoption, a concert with a singer as well as tea and pastries.  Mrs. Forrester is in charge of the book events and she is a perfectionist.  She also organized the appraiser, Mr. King who had recently been on a television appraisal show.  Aunt Iphy is out of sorts after seeing the replacement baritone.  Turns out Aunt Iphy has a history with the singer, Sean Strong but she does not share the details with Callie.  When Callie is taking a quiet moment outside, Peggy comes running towards her car and she is crying.  She is upset by something Quinn has done, but (once again) she does not share what happened.  Then Mrs. Moffett comes running out and announces, “he’s dead”.  Mr. King, the appraiser, has been murdered.  Mrs. Forrester was seen arguing with him and her prints are on the murder weapon.  Deputy Ace Falk determines that Sean Strong, the baritone, is the killer.  Aunt Iphy knows Sean did not kill the victim and needs Callie’s help in proving it.  Ace Falk warns Callie to stay out of the investigation.  Callie is aware that by becoming involved in the case, it may affect their personal relationship.  The mystery was very straightforward and could easily be solved (early in the book).  There was a lack of suspects, clues and investigation.  Callie does not even check out the body or the room he was in before the police arrive.  The majority of In Cold Chamomile focused on romantic issues.  Peggy and Quinn, Aunt Iphy and Sean, plus Ace and Callie.  I know the book is for Valentine’s Day, but the mystery should have been more complex and prominent.  There were several inconsistencies in this book as well (those who have read the first two books will notice).  Deputy Ace Falk treats Callie terribly and acts like a jerk.  Callie needs to find a new love interest.  Someone who will appreciate her and her curiosity.  I thought the ending was odd.  In Cold Chamomile was a miss for me. My favorite line in Cold Chamomile is, “...if there was an object in the world you could easily fall in love with, it had to be books.”  In Cold Chamomile has a deceased evaluator, romantic morasses, tempting treats, a stylish singer, and a daft deputy.
Pink Heart Macarons from a Galentine's Day Valentine Brunch on Kara's Party Ideas | KarasPartyIdeas.com (23)
In Cold Chamomile can be obtained through Amazon*.  I suggest you obtain a sample to judge the book for yourself.  The first two novels in A Tea & Read Mystery series are In Peppermint Peril and Sweet Tea & Secrets.  Thank you for taking the time to read my review.  I will be back tomorrow to feature Ten Days Gone by Beverly Long.  It is the debut of An A.L. McKittridge series.  I hope you have an uplifting day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
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Sunday, February 16, 2020

We'll Meet Again by Rosie Archer

We'll Meet Again (The Bluebird Girls #2)
Welcome! Secrets of My Heart by Tracie Peterson publishes on March 3 along with Lavender Blue Murder by Laura Childs and The Ungodly Hour by Laura A. EganRevenge is Sweet by Kaye George releases on March 10.  It is the debut of The Vintage Sweet Mysteries.  Is there a new release you are looking forward to reading?  On Sunday's I feature books that I was unable to when they were released.  Today I am featuring We'll Meet Again by Rosie Archer.
The Andrews Sisters
The Andrews Sisters (The Bluebird Girls were similar)
We’ll Meet Again by Rosie Archer begins in January of 1941 in Gosport.  Ivy Sparrow, Bea Herron, and Rainey Bird are The Bluebird Girls who performed at the King’s Theatre for which they received a standing ovation.  The bookings begin pouring in for the girls much to their delight.  Blackie Wilson, their manager, works out a schedule and Jo Bird, their chaperone, must request more time off from her position at the newsagents in Alverstoke.  Travel is perilous thanks to the blackout and the frequent bombings.  Ivy has a crush on Eddie Herron, but he still views her as a kid.  Eddie is stepping out with Sunshine who takes a fancy to German POW, Max.  Max has an agenda and he needs Sunshine to accomplish it.  Jo has fallen in love with Blackie, but she is not sure he feels the same way about her.  Will The Bluebird Girls achieve fame?  Come along on tour with The Bluebird Girls in We’ll Meet Again.
Kings theatre Sunderland
Kings Theatre
We’ll Meet Again by Rosie Archer is the second novel in The Bluebird Girls series.  You do need to read The Bluebird Girls before embarking on We’ll Meet Again.  I enjoyed reading this engaging World War drama.  Ivy, Bea and Rainey performed at the King’s Theatre and they received a good write up in the local paper.  Blackie is busy fielding calls from people who wish the book the female trio.  We follow the day-to-day lives of Ivy, Bea, Rainey, Jo, Blackie, Eddie and others.  I like that there are side stories woven into the book.  Eddie has decided to employee German POWs to help with his rebuilding projects.  Max, a German POW, is determined to escape.  He has a plan and it involves conning a woman.  Various romantic relationships, and Little Annette’s act and estrangement from her mother.    I thought the author captured the feel of the time period where bombs are being dumped on the area, spending nights in air raid shelters, and rationing of most items is in effect.  Of course, there are ways to get around the rationing if you know the right people or have enough money.  The Bluebird Girls sing in a variety of clubs.  I liked the girls’ energy and lovely singing voices (I could just imagine them).  I felt bad for Blackie and Jo who quickly tired of the singers bickering (whenever they got into a car).  Their careers are taking flight and the ladies have some wonderful opportunities coming their way.  We’ll Meet Again has drama, suspense, romance, and music.  It was lovely catching up with The Bluebird Girls in We’ll Meet Again and I am eager to read The Forces’ Sweethearts.  
EVERYDAY LIFE AT A MINISTRY OF SUPPLY SHELL FILLING FACTORY, ENGLAND, UK, 1941. A female factory worker fits exploders into rows of shells at this filling factory. Behind her, other munitions workers can also be seen.
Munitions factory worker
Bea, Rainey and Ivy worked at Priddy's
We'll Meet Again is available through Amazon* along with The Bluebird Girls.  The next book in The Bluebird Girls series is The Forces' Sweethearts which is now out.  The fourth book in The Bluebird Girls series is Victory for the Bluebird Girls which releases on June 11, 2020.  Thank you for stopping by today.  On Monday, I am reviewing In Cold Chamomile by Joy Avon which is the latest A Tea and Read Mystery. I hope you have a lovely day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Judy Garland reading at home (1941).
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Saturday, February 15, 2020

Cold Case Connection by Dana Mentink: Review & Giveaway!

About the Book

Book:  Cold Case Connection

Author: Dana Mentink

Genre:  Romantic Suspense

Release Date: February 1, 2020

Convinced his sister’s death wasn’t an accident, private investigator Sergio Ross is determined to catch her killer. But with all the clues hinting at a connection to another unsolved murder, he has to join forces with Helen Pike—a woman linked to both deaths—to find the truth. Can they follow the cold evidence trail to get justice…before they become the next victims?

Click here to get your copy.

The Ranch at Rock Creek–All Inclusive Ranch Vacation in the United States! – Nothing if Not Intentional
My vision of Roughwater Lodge in January

About the Author
Dana Mentink is a two time American Christian Fiction Writers Carol Award winner, a Romantic Times Reviewer’s Choice Award and a Holt Medallion winner. She is a national bestselling author of over forty titles in the suspense and lighthearted romance genres. She is pleased to write for Harlequin’s Love Inspired Suspense, Harlequin Heartwarming and Harvest House. Besides writing, she busies herself teaching third grade. Mostly, she loves to be home with Papa Bear, teen bear cubs affectionately nicknamed Yogi and Boo Boo, Junie, the  nutty terrier, and a chubby box turtle. You can connect with Dana via her website, on Facebook, YouTube, and Instagram.
Creepy Tunnel by David Garber on 500px Sloss Furnaces
Creepy tunnels the five teens explored

More from Dana

Cold Case Connection was really fun to write because it’s Helen’s story. She’s an intelligent, sensitive woman who is the sister to the men living on the Roughwater Ranch. Liam is her biological brother, but she’s just as close to Chad and Mitch who might as well be blood relatives. In this novel, Helen has to relive the worst moment of her teenage life, the night when a mysterious murder occurred during a teen prank. Helen is going to have to face the past in order to preserve her future. Cowboys, a case gone cold, a coastal ranch and a whole lot of danger…I hope you will enjoy the ride!

Title: Rustic Log Cabin I found this cabin in Northern California, high in the mountains north of Mammoth Lakes. Please use the drop-down list, on the right side, to select size and type (print or canvas) Please note that some sizes require a bit of cropping to fit the size selected. PRINT DETAILS:
Cabin Helen is in when the book begins
My Thoughts

Cold Case Connection by Dana Mentink is the third book in the Roughwater Ranch Cowboys series.  It can be read as a standalone.  Helen Pike is checking out the old cabin one last time before it is demolished when she hears a noise outside.  Everything fades to black when she is whacked on the head.  Sergio Ross arrives at the cabin to find it on fire and quickly gets Helen outside.  Fifteen years ago, Helen and four of her friends entered the old tunnels on a dare.  Only four of them walked out alive.  Three years ago, Fiona Ross was at the cabin and died later that day from a hit-and-run driver.  Neither culprit has been apprehended.  Helen recently found a note from Fiona in the cabin and turned it over to the police which is why Sergio has returned to Driftwood.  He wants justice for Fiona and Helen is determined to help him.  Cold Case Connection is a riveting tale with suspense, mystery and action.  Sergio Ross wants to find the person responsible for his sister’s death and he believes Fiona’s death is connected Trish’s who died fifteen years prior.  Helen feels responsible for Fiona’s death and she knows that Sergio blames her.  They end up working together especially after someone tries to kill Helen in the cabin fire.  Helen’s older brothers would prefer to wrap Helen in cotton wool and keep her locked in her bedroom, but Helen is just as stubborn as her brothers.  The characters are developed, and I like how they progress.  There are two adorable little girls along with a cute dog which add humor and lightness to the story.  I like how faith is woven into the tale along with the importance of forgiveness.  The mystery was interesting, but it was a cinch to solve.  However, I enjoyed following our characters on their journey for the truth and justice.  It has me eager to read Chad’s story.  The ending of Cold Case Connection will leave readers smiling.  Cold Case Connection is a well-written story with solid characters, an intriguing plot, and two mysterious deaths.  Cold Case Connection is an enticing suspense with sweet twins, a precious puppy, a callous killer, overbearing brothers, and two cold cases.  
3 Year Old Birthday Shirt Girl Three Years by BumpAndBeyondDesigns
Laurel and Lucy Ross

To celebrate her tour, Dana is giving away the grand prize of a Mentink giveaway bundle, including a bag, a copy of the book, and an Amazon gift card.  Be sure to comment on the blog stops (schedule below) for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the here enter.  Good Luck!  Cold Case Connection is available from Amazon* and other major booksellers (Barnes & Noble, Harlequin, Kobo). The other novels in the Roughwater Ranch Cowboys series are Danger on the Ranch and Deadly Christmas Pretense.  The fourth tale in the Roughwater Ranch Cowboys series will be Chad's story.  Thank you for stopping by today.  I am reviewing We'll Meet Again by Rosie Archer on Sunday.  It is the second book in The Bluebird Girls series. I hope you have a joyful day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader 

Blog Stops

Among the Reads, February 14
The Avid Reader, February 15
Texas Book-aholic, February 15
Inklings and notions, February 16
janicesbookreviews, February 16
Betti Mace, February 17
She Lives to Read, February 17
Genesis 5020, February 17
For Him and My Family, February 18
Remembrancy, February 20
Older & Smarter?, February 20
“A well read woman is a dangerous creature” 📖. . Day three of being snowed in, I’ve read all the books, drank all the coffee, the cabin…
Blogging With Carol, February 20
deb’s Book Review, February 21
Bigreadersite, February 21
EmpowerMoms, February 21
Christian Bookaholic, February 23
KarenSueHadley, February 23
Emily Yager, February 24
Cabin & Cottage
Pause for Tales, February 24
Simple Harvest Reads, February 25 (Guest Review from Mindy Houng)
Maureen’s Musings, February 26
Hallie Reads, February 26
Livin’ Lit, February 27
Daysong Reflections, February 27
Cozy log cabin fire - reading a book in pyjamas. Rustic living room ideas.
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Friday, February 14, 2020

The Long Bridge Home by Kelly Irvin

A Long Bridge Home (Amish of Big Sky Country #2)
Happy Valentine's Day! Murder Makes Scents by Christin Brecher releases on February 25 along with Egg Drop Dead by Vivien Chen and Here Comes the Body by Maria DiRico.   The Numbers Game by Danielle Steel comes out March 3 with One Little Lie by Colleen Coble.  Nothing better than a pile of new books to read!
Travel deep into the Montana forest and discover the secret Kootenai Falls suspension bridge! With a roaring waterfall, (which is the set of many Hollywood movies!) it's now a popular Inland Northwest destination. Come see it for yourself with our all-inclusive mountain guide! #montana #hiking #outdoors #montanamoment #usa
A Long Bridge Home by Kelly Irvin the residents of West Kootenai, Montana evacuating when the Caribou wildfire raging in the Kootenai National Forest gets close to their homes.  Ben Mast, Christine’s father, had decided before the fire to move his family back to Haven, Kansas.  Christine does not wish to move that far away from her beau, Andy Lambright who has yet to propose.  Andy has received news that his father is hill and will be journeying to the family farm.  Christine can tell Andy has another reason for returning home, but he is unwilling to share it with her.  She wants to stay close to Andy so Christine obtain permission to live with her relatives in St. Ignatius which will allow them to visit.  While working in her uncle’s store, Christine meets Raymond Old Fox.  He introduces her to the history of his people and their views.  Christine is getting to learn things firsthand that she has only read about in books.  A whole new world has opened for Christine much to her family’s dismay.  They do not understand her thirst for knowledge or her friendship with Raymond.  Christine has changed from the woman Andy courted before the fire.  Will Andy love the woman Christine has become? 
Taken on my research trip to St Ignatius, MT. A fantastic celebration.   #stignatiusarlee #powwow #Esyapqeyni #nativeamerican #indigenouspeoples #amishfiction #amishromance #amish #stignatiusmontana #montana #kootenai
A Long Bridge Home by Kelly Irvin is the second novel in Amish of Big Sky Country series.  It can be read on its own for those new to the series.  A Long Bridge Home is different from other Amish novels (in a good way).  I like the setting of Montana with its beautiful mountains.  I thought the story was well-written with developed, engaging characters.  Christine Mast was content in her world until the fire made them flee.  She has been waiting for Andy Lambright to propose (it has been a long courtship).  When Christine learns that her family is relocating to Haven, Kansas, she does not wish to be that far away from Andy.  Christine had no idea that living in St. Ignatius with her aunt and uncle would be life changing.  She meets Raymond Old Fox.  Raymond teaches her about his native heritage and culture.  She is fascinated by their views and is eager to learn more (I found the information fascinating as well).  I could certainly understand Christine’s thirst for knowledge even though her relatives did not. Christine finds herself in the position of making a difficult choice.  I like seeing Christine grow as a person.  While I wanted her to find happiness, I did not want to see her spirit broken (she was so happy learning and meeting new people).  Andy has an issue from his past that he feels he needs to resolve before he can move forward with Christine.  The problem is that Andy fails to share (communicate) with Christine. Forgiveness is one of the main themes in A Long Bridge Home.  We learn the importance of forgiving others and ourselves.  Prayer and trusting in God are two other topics addressed.  A Long Bridge Home gives us a glimpse into the life of the Amish in Montana where a woman must decide which path to follow.  There are discussion questions at the end along with an excerpt from Kelly Irvin’s Over the Line.  A Long Bridge Home is an emotional story where love, a strong faith, close family, a loving God and good friends can help us overcome any difficult situation.
The New Order Amish community near St. Ignatius, Montana
A Long Bridge Home is available from Amazon* along with Mountains of Grace.  The next novel in Amish of Big Sky Country is Peace in the Valley which can pre-ordered now.  It will release on August 4.   Thank you for reading my review.  Do you like to listen to audiobooks?  Audible is having a special promotion for new or returning members that ends on February 18.  Just $7.95 a month for the first 4 months (then goes back to regular price).  It is a good opportunity to give Audible a try (I am going to take advantage of this special).  I listen to audiobooks while driving because it helps me concentrate on the road (otherwise, my mind tends to wander).  I will be back tomorrow to share Cold Case Connection by Dana Mentink.  It is the third book in A Roughwater Ranch Cowboys series.  I hope you have a very special day.  Take care and Happy Reading!

The Avid Reader
Vintage Holidays
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Thursday, February 13, 2020

Playing the Devil by R.J. Lee: Excerpt, Review & Giveaway!

Playing the Devil 

A Bridge to Death Mystery

by R.J. Lee

About Playing the Devil

Cozy Mystery
2nd in Series
Publisher: Kensington (January 28, 2020)
Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-10: 1496719166
ISBN-13: 978-1496719164
Digital ASIN: B07R7M378R
Reporter and bridge player Wendy Winchester once again plays ace detective when a country club member is murdered in a hot tub . . .

Now an investigative reporter for the Rosalie Citizen in the Mississippi River port of Rosalie, Wendy still likes to unwind over a game of cards. Following the demise of the Rosalie Bridge Club, she's started her own group at the Rosalie Country Club. During the first meeting of the Country Club Bridge Players, the dummy has barely been laid down when another dummy gets in a scuffle at the bar across the room. Bridge player Carly Ogle's husband Brent is at it again.

After the club's new female golf pro breaks up the fight, Brent storms off to soak in a hot tub. But Carey soon finds the bullying Brent dead in the water, clubbed over the head with the pestle the barkeep uses to crush leaves for mint juleps.
Racist, sexist, homophobic, and an all-around lout, Brent made enough enemies to fill a bridge tournament. So Wendy has to play her cards right to get the story—and stay out of hot water long enough to put the squeeze on the killer . . .

About the Author

R. J. Lee follows in the mystery-writing footsteps of his father, R. Keene Lee, who wrote fighter pilot and detective stories for Fiction House, publishers of WINGS Magazine and other ‘pulp fiction’ periodicals in the late ’40’s and ’50’s. Lee was born and grew up in the Mississippi River port of Natchez but also spent thirty years living in the Crescent City of New Orleans. A graduate of the University of the South (Sewanee) where he studied creative writing under Sewanee Review editor, Andrew Lytle, Lee now resides in Oxford, Mississippi.
Author Link:  Facebook  

My Thoughts

Playing the Devil by R.J. Lee is the second tale in A Bridge to Death Mystery series.  Wendy Winchester got together with Deedah Hornesby, director of Rosalie Country Club, to organize the Rosalie Country Club Bridge Bunch.  To complete their first table is Carly Ogle and Deedah’s son, Hollis.  They are enjoying their inaugural bridge game until Carly’s husband Brent causes a ruckus and then the lights go out courtesy of the storm.  Thirty minutes later the power is restored, and Brent is dead in the club’s hot tub.  Detective Ross Rierson is on the case and, of course, so is Wendy.  Wendy, an investigative reporter for the local newspaper, is quick to dive into the case, gathering information and trying to fit the pieces together to solve the case.  Playing the Devil can be read on its own if you have not had the time to read Grand Slam Murders.  The information a reader needs to know about Wendy and the town is included in Playing the Devil.  Wendy is the daughter of Rosalie’s police chief, Bax Winchester and is dating Detective Ross Rierson.  She has a knack for getting information out of people and solving crimes.  Wendy wants to be a top notch investigative reporter. Brent Ogle was an obnoxious and pompous man who was lucky not to have been killed earlier in life.  It was only a matter of time before someone did him in.  He went too far this time and the killer took advantage of a power outage to do away with the man.  There were eight suspects (give or take) who all had good reasons for wanting Brent Ogle dead.  There are pointed clues to help the reader solve the whodunit before Wendy arrives at the solution.  I thought the mystery went with the story.  Those who play bridge will like that aspect of Playing the Devil and a preemptive bid is explained as well as utilized.  I found Playing the Devil to be a slow starter, but I felt the pacing picked up after the crime takes place.  There are a variety of quirky characters in the small Southern town of Rosalie, Mississippi.  I thought the author captured the feel of the south.  Playing the Devil is a blithe cozy mystery with a loathsome lout, a mystifying murder, a surfeit of suspects, a dreamy detective, and a nosy newsperson.
Vintage bridge invitation | by B-Kay


Finally, it was time for the Bridge Bunch to get things started, and it was Wendy who did the honors after everyone was seated. “Well, here we are,” she began, smiling at the look of anticipation on their faces, “and I trust we will become the only game in town after a little time has passed. We’re only four right now, but we can always hope that we will grow to four or five tables with two dozen regulars. Maybe we can eventually hold our very own championship that will mean something.”

“That would be lovely,” Deedah chimed in, and the others nodded approvingly.

“Before we begin,” Wendy continued, “I’d like to offer a helpful pointer. I thought it would be fun for one of us to take turns explaining one particular element of bridge that’s not used as much as it could be. I’ll be the one this first time, and we’ll go around the table as the weeks pass.”
"Bridge Game", October 14, 1950 Giclee Print by Constantin Alajalov at AllPosters.com
She paused and then drew their attention to a hand she had already arranged for herself, separating it by suits and displaying it in the center of the table. “If you need to get up and stand behind me while I discuss this, be my guest.”

Wendy began explaining. “Today’s pointer is the preemptive bid. Take your time to look it over.”
There were, in order:

7 6 4 of spades
K Q J 10 9 6 2 of hearts
9 of diamonds
J 4 of clubs

After a short period of time had passed, Wendy resumed her presentation. “As you all can see, this hand does not have very much in the way of high card points—just seven, counting the four face cards. It does not have the thirteen or fourteen points normally required for an opening bid. But what it does have is length in hearts—seven of them, in fact. This is the perfect hand for a preemptive bid.”

The others agreed by nodding their heads or making soft noises that showed they understood.
There are ‘Ladies who Lunch’ and there are ladies who enjoy a little ‘retail therapy’, but these ladies prefer something a little more exciting. Dressed in their smartest outfits and wearing their best hairdo and makeup, they are really enjoying their weekly game of cards. I can’t help wondering if there might be some cheating going on at the back, or maybe all those long sleeves are concealing more than jewellery, as they all seem so very confident. Perhaps it’s because they’ve all got a winnin
Although it’s possible that the heart suit might become the trump suit, depending upon what your partner has in the way of support, the primary purpose of a preemptive bid is to give the opponents trouble, to disrupt their communication. You preempt by opening at a high level. Thus, if they should get the contract, they will probably be at a much higher level than they would prefer to be. So, you would bid three hearts here, and your partner knows you do not have strength, you have length. The preemptive bid is a defensive bid, but you take the offensive even though you are in a weak position with point count traditionally.”

Wendy allowed a few more moments to pass and then said, “Any questions on the preemptive bid?”
Bridge elegance!
It was Hollis who spoke up, applauding her softly a few times. “You did that beautifully, Wendy. I’ve always understood about preempting, but I must confess, I’m always nervous about actually using it. I’m afraid I’ll actually get caught playing the hand and messing up. You know, going down in flames.”

"Probably not, though,” Wendy said. “At the very least, you will likely rob your opponents of a legit contract they could have had if you hadn’t thrown them off the track and gotten them out of their comfort zone.” Wendy then asked for further questions, but as there were none, the foursome again took their places around the table, and the Bridge Bunch began their very first deal.
Playing the Devil is available at the following retailers:  Amazon*,  B&N, Google PlayIndieBound, and Kobo.  The first novel in A Bridge to Death Mystery series is Grand Slam Murder.  As part of the tour for Playing the Devil, there is a giveaway for five (5) hard copies of the book (sorry, but U.S. Only).  You can click here to enter or use the Rafflecopter form below to enter the giveaway.  Leave a comment on my blog for an extra entry.  Good Luck!  Thank you for visiting today.  Next time I am featuring The Long Bridge Home by Kelly Irvin.  It is the second book in Amish of Big Sky Country series.  I hope you have a merry day.  Take care and Happy Reading!


The Avid Reader

Clubwomen Playing Bridge Photographic Print by Nina Leen | Art.com

Tour Participants

February 13 – The Avid Reader  - REVIEW, EXCERPT

February 13 – Lori's Reading Corner – GUEST POST

February 14 – Elizabeth McKenna - Author – SPOTLIGHT

February 14 – A Blue Million Books – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

February 15 – Baroness' Book Trove – REVIEW

February 15 – Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – GUEST POST  

February 16 – A Wytch's Book Review Blog – GUEST POST

February 16 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST
Snooopy And Bridge - November 07, 1999
February 17 – T's Stuff – SPOTLIGHT

February 17 – Celticlady's Reviews – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

February 18 – I'm All About Books – SPOTLIGHT

February 19 – Brooke Blogs – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT

February 19 – Readeropolis - SPOTLIGHT

February 20 – MJB Reviewers – SPOTLIGHT, EXCERPT 

February 20 – Hearts & Scribbles - SPOTLIGHT

February 21 – Dee-Scoveries – SPOTLIGHT

February 21 – Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers – SPOTLIGHT
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