Dear Murderous Reader –
It doesn’t get any better than Berkley Prime Crime. I follow their serials like the Victorians followed Dickens. Berkley’s February list is out and I made my own list of what had to be my “must reads.” The ones I picked didn’t disappoint. Here are my three of my nine Toppers in my Part 1 of 3 coverage. You’ve got a whole month of February. And remember, if you buy your books through the links on Killer Nashville, you’ll still get the great Amazon discount prices, but – better yet – a portion of the proceeds goes towards the educational events sponsored by the good volunteers at Killer Nashville. So support Killer Nashville while you’re supporting our featured authors! Let’s get cracking!
BEEWITCHED by Hannah Reed
Dead witches in a corn maze. What could be finer? Written by author Deb Baker under her “Hannah Reed” moniker, this is Book 5 in a series about a quaint town and a beekeeping business set in Moraine, Wisconsin. In this installment, a self-proclaimed witch moves into town followed by a whole coven in which one witch ends up dead in a cornfield. I rarely find my name in books so when I find a series where the main character’s womanizing ex-husband’s name is Clay, it always jolts me to attention and makes me want to follow to find where he pops back up again. (I’m nothing like him. Seriously.) Beewitched is a cozy delight. I love the town of Moraine (probably named after Kettle Moraine). I love the small town feel and the Wisconsin references.
BOOKS, COOKS, AND CROOKS by Lucy Arlington
Down in Inspiration Valley, North Carolina – don’t you just love the name? – the kitchen blows up and the mystery hits the fan. The problem is not finding the killer, but eliminating everyone who would like to see the deceased dead. Ellery Adams and Sylvia May are the writing team behind “Lucy Arlington” and, boy, do they work well together. Distance is no barrier for this creative team: Adams lives in Virginia and May lives in Bermuda. (I’d love to have a collaborative partner somewhere in the Caribbean; would love to get a tax write-off on that get-together.) “Books, Cooks, and Crooks” is the third book in their series. In this episode, Inspiration Valley is having their annual Taste of the Town Festival. Lila Wilkins is a literary agent in town (the Novel Idea Literary Agency) and sleuth, who happens to be helping to put this event together. She’s probably not the first agent to think she has a killer client. (I know my agent thinks that about me…yeah, right.) Anyway, living in an idyllic little town myself, I can relate completely to these annual town gatherings. If you like a book about crazy agents…well, I won’t go there. Arlington writes clever mysteries with characters I can completely understand. It’s always a pleasure spending an evening in Inspiration Valley.
DAYS OF WINE AND ROQUEFORT by Avery Aames
Murder, like Roquefort, stinks. I love it. Moving westwardly, we go to the fictional town of Providence, Ohio for the Agatha Award-winning Cheese Shop Mysteries. In this series, you have people who eat cheese and drink wine. For a guy (me) who thinks wine is for drinking, not sniffing, and can’t taste the difference between a $6 bottle and a $600 dollar bottle, this series is a trip with characters I can definitely be amused by. In this third installment, a guest arrives at the house of cheeky cheese shop owner Charlotte Bessette and then drops dead. Written by multi-faceted author Daryl Wood Gerber under the pseudonym of Avery Aames, the delightful plotting of this series and the equally gratifying town of Providence, make this an incredibly fun series to read. We all have such relatives.
This should give you something to read for the next few days. Get in touch with these authors, learn about them, check out their other series, and buy their books. And tell them you would like to see them at this year’s Killer Nashville.
Until next time, read like someone is burning the books!
– Clay Stafford is an author / filmmaker (www.ClayStafford.com) and founder of Killer Nashville (www.KillerNashville.com). As a writer himself, he has over 1.5 million copies of his own books in print in over 14 languages. Stafford’s latest projects are the feature documentary “One of the Miracles” (www.OneOfTheMiracles.com) and the music CD “XO” (www.JefferyDeaverXOMusic.com). A champion of writers, Publishers Weekly has identified Stafford as playing “an essential role in defining which books become bestsellers” throughout “the nation’s book culture.” (PW 6/10/13)
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Remember that these books are listed at a discount through Amazon. You also don’t have to purchase the version that is featured here. Many of these books are available in multiple formats: e–book, hardcover, softcover, and audio. Enjoy!