Friday, May 8, 2020

The Boy Detective & The Summer of ’74 and Other Tales of Suspense and the Violet Hour

The new collection The Boy Detective & The Summer of ’74 and Other Tales of Suspense (Crippen & Landru) gathers sixteen stories by Art Taylor—among them stories which have won a dozen of the mystery genre’s leading awards, including the Edgar, the Anthony, and multiple Agatha, Derringer, and Macavity Awards. Recently, another of Art’s stories—“Better Days” from Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine—was named a finalist for this year’s Agatha Award for Best Short Story (read all the nominated stories at that link). Last year, Art wrote a Drinks with Reads post for “Better Days”, and today he offers another cocktail to accompany his new collection.  

The sixteen stories in The Boy Detective & The Summer of ’74 and Other Tales of Suspense cover more than twenty-five years of my writing career. Needless to say, re-reading those stories myself offered opportunities for reflection about that quarter-century of work—where I started as a writer, where I’ve evolved, and where (hopefully) I’ve improved. Some of the individual stories seemed reflective themselves: characters thinking about their lives, pondering existential issues, debating hard choices. The title story especially is steeped in nostalgia, swirled with a bit of melancholy, and topped with a dollop of regret.

The cocktail I’ve chosen to accompany The Boy Detective is called the Violet Hour. I know of at least two mentions of that phrase in books on my shelf. In The Hour: A Cocktail Manifesto, Bernard DeVoto writes about the martini being suited to “the violet hour, the hour of hush and wonder, when the affections glow and valor is reborn, when the shadows deepen along the edge of the forest and we believe that, if we watch carefully, at any moment we may see the unicorn.” And in Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale, James Bond christens his famous version of the martini as The Vesper: “It sounds perfect and it’s very appropriate to the violet hour when my cocktail will now be drunk all over the world.”

While each of those references refer to gin drinks and speak specifically to early evening—day easing toward night—the Violet Hour recipe below is bourbon-based and a drink I would more strongly recommend as a nightcap alongside some late-night reflections of your own: your senses settling, your mind wandering, memories tiptoeing around the edges of your thoughts. 

My friend Brandon Wicks introduced me to this drink. I’m not certain of its origins, and Googling “Violet Hour cocktail” will turn up several other cocktails with markedly different ingredients. But this specific recipe has become a regular at our house, and I’m glad to share it here. 

The Violet Hour

2 oz. bourbon
.75 oz. sweet vermouth
.25 oz. dry vermouth
.10 oz. blackstrap rum (a little over half a teaspoon)
2 dashes old-fashioned bitters

Build in a single old-fashioned glass with no ice. Stir.
Serve at room temperature. No garnish.

Friday, May 1, 2020

Here Come the Body and The NY Sour

Today we celebrate the first book in the Catering Hall Mystery series, Here Comes the Body. Written by long-time Mystery Playground fan favorite, Ellen Byron as Maria DiRico, Here Comes the Body, delivers a catering packed punch and a great drink below.

In Here Comes the Body, the first Catering Hall Mystery from Maria DiRico, Mia Carina moves back home to Queens after being cleared as a person of interest in her husband’s presumed death. She’s there to help her father Ravello, a capo with the Boldoni crime family, turn a rundown banquet hall that was surrendered to him by a broke gambler into a successful, legitimate enterprise. Mia has always wanted her father to go straight and she’s determined to help succeed. But who knew working for a catering hall could be as dangerous as working for the Mob?

Many is the night Mia comes home in need of a drink. Being a Big Apple native, even if she’s an outer borough girl, she turns to local recipes, like this one…

2 oz. rye or bourbon whiskey
1 oz. fresh lemon juice
1 oz. simple syrup
½ oz. fruity red wine

Combine the rye or bourbon whiskey, lemon juice, and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Fill with ice, cover, and shake until outside of shaker is frosty, about 30 seconds. Strain into a rocks glass that’s filled with fresh ice. Slowly and carefully poor the wine over the back of a spoon held just above the drink's surface so wine floats on top.
Recipe by Mary-Frances Heck, Bon Appetit

BIO: Ellen’s Cajun Country Mysteries have won an Agatha award and multiple Lefty awards for Best Humorous Mystery. Her new series, the Catering Hall Mysteries, written as Maria DiRico, was inspired by her real life. She’s an award-winning playwright and non-award-winning TV writer of comedies like WINGS, JUST SHOOT ME, and FAIRLY ODD PARENTS. But her most impressive credit is working as a cater-waiter for Martha Stewart. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Review: Paul Levine's Cheater's Game

Mary Putnam takes a break from her usual crafty creations and literary libations to review Paul Levine's Cheater's Game today. Let's hear what she has to day...

Paul Levine's CHEATER'S GAME, book 14 in his series of Jake Lassiter legal thrillers (to be released on April 20, 2020), struck a chord with me on many happy levels even though I'd not previously read any of Paul's books. Before I delve into the details, a few disclaimers:

Disclaimer #1: Although I'd not met his characters before, I have had the pleasure of meeting Paul a few times at various mystery conferences and events. Also, I received a copy of this book for free. I've done my best to write a fair and unbiased review.

Disclaimer #2: It's April 14 of 2020 and I've not left my house since a month ago--Friday the 13th!--due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Of course the world is not the same since I read this book, while on a cruise ship the first week in March. So the lens through which I'm seeing everything at the moment is a bit skewed.

I hope we'll all persevere and find humor in a variety of non-ideal situations, like the novel's hero, Jake Lassiter, does often. For example, as Jake grapples with his own medical challenges he observes: "I'm sure doctors invented hospital gowns to embarrass patients so completely that they'll be more amenable to following orders." (I'm also noticing you can't say "embarrass" without saying "bare-ass" -- coincidence? -- I think not.)

As the story unfolds, the author deftly illuminates various themes and topics "ripped from the headlines" (e.g. the college admissions scandal and football head injuries) as well as timeless questions like: "How can I convince my kid of anything while he thinks he knows more than me?"

Jake's character is well-drawn and well-balanced; not too perfect so as to become a caricature (as happens in some thrillers!) yet not so flawed we don't believe he has a chance of succeeding in his mission to save his nephew, Kip, from himself. I'm a sucker for an underdog, and also for a guy who's secure enough to NOT be intimidated by a strong and/or smart woman, so I enjoyed the relationship between Jake and his super-smart fiancee, Dr. Melissa Gold. They make a great team, struggling to help the still-very-much-a-kid Kip, who's smart on many counts--except seeing that he needs help.

I agree with Michael Connelly who called CHEATER'S GAME: "Clever, funny and on point when it comes to the inequities of society and the justice system." My favorite books enlighten while they entertain. This does both while talking the reader on a fun ride with surprising plot twists, a tour of sunny Florida and parts of California, and even some tasty food. Yum!

Friday, April 24, 2020

The Lost Boys of London and #Cocktails

We welcome Mary Lawrence to Mystery Playground to introduce her new novel, The Lost Boys of London. This is the 5th book in the Bianca Goddard Mysteries. 

Today I’m celebrating the upcoming release (April 28) of The Lost Boys of London—a Bianca Goddard Mystery. The series features the daughter of an infamous alchemist who uses her wits and a bit of alchemy to solve murders in the slums of London during King Henry VIII’s reign.
In the Lost Boys of London, Bianca's husband is fighting the Scottish rebellion while Bianca remains in London creating medicines for the sick. When a boy is found hanging from a church dripstone Bianca is consulted about a sole piece of evidence--a sweet-smelling cloth. Bianca suspects the murder may not be an act of impulse, but something far more calculated. And when her young acquaintance, Fisk, goes missing, Bianca fears he may become the next lost boy...
I chose the Smirking Priest Gimlet to go with my latest book. The name came up on a cocktail drink name generator but I couldn’t find a recipe so I conjured my own. I took a basic gimlet and added a touch of red—appropriate for a murder mystery. Enjoy this while you read about some dastardly priests working at cross purposes in The Lost Boys of London
The priest at St. Benet’s, Father Wells, began each day with a meal of poached quail eggs. While he waited to be served, he studied the silvery gray light outside his window, which overlooked a long stretch of enclosed garden—alas, still dormant and showing no signs of waking. The overcast sky promised another dreary day, and he felt his mood adversely affected. It made him think—why was it that one associated sunshine with a sanguine disposition? He tapped his spoon on the table as he considered this, then the spoon stopped midair. Likely, it was because sunshine was so uncommon. It was like a gift from God every time colors were lit to their full intensity. He nodded, content with his explanation.
   Finally, his meal arrived. The platter was lowered in front of him and his wine refreshed. His cook had arranged the twelve eggs—one for each disciple—around the periphery of the plate; an artful attempt to symbolize the seating at the Last Supper. In the center was a slice of bread, toasted lightly on one side—Jesus. 
He scooped up an egg and deposited it on one corner of the toast, then raised it level with his mouth. “Peter,” he said, naming the first apostle, and he bit off the corner. With each successive egg he named a disciple and ate “him” along with “Jesus,” saving “Judas Iscariot” for last, taking the time to bite “Judas” in half and watch his little yolk bleed. 


  • 2 ounces fine Gin
  • 1 ounce Rose’s Sweetened Lime Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Pomegranate Juice

In a shaker with ice combine the gin and lime juice. Shake for a minute. Strain into a chilled glass. Drizzle in a teaspoon of pomegranate juice which will sink to the bottom to look like a spot of blood. Enjoy!

Saturday, April 11, 2020

Poetry Month: Florida Man

April is Poetry Month so every Saturday we are featuring one of the poems from Gerald So's crime poetry site, the 5-2. The poem "Florida Man" by Peter M. Gordon just struck me, so I had to share it. The author of "Florida Man", Peter M. Gordon, has published over 100 poems in publications such as Slipstream, the Journal of Florida Literature, Poetry Breakfast, and others. He is the author of two collections: Two Car Garage and Let's Play Two: Poems about Baseball. Peter earned a BA from Yale and MFA from Carnegie-Mellon, and teaches in Full Sail University's Film Production MFA program. 

- Deborah Lacy

FLORIDA MAN by Peter M. Gordon

When breathing air feels like drinking swamp water
and sweat falls unevaporated to sizzle on sidewalks

Florida Man emerges, to start a fight in a pizza joint
when wrong cheese is applied to his garlic knots.

Florida Man provides pot and ecstasy to reward his
children for good grades. Florida Man writes his cell

phone number and address on the stickup note to
make it easy for the teller to send more money after

the robbery. Only Florida Man snorts bath salts and meth,
walks next door to bludgeon his neighbors and eat their flesh

raw, in their driveway, where everyone can see him.
Perhaps it’s this thumb-shaped peninsula’s fault, the

right-angled thrust into the Atlantic that causes lightning
to clash over its center, illuminating all our dark places,

that makes us all a little bit Florida Man, waiting for the
weight of sin to sink our sandbar into primordial swamp.

Here Peter is reading his poem. 

Friday, April 10, 2020

Ed Ruggero and Blame the Dead

Ed Ruggero joins us today on Drinks with Reads to celebrate his new thriller, Blame the Dead with a drink called the Sicilian '43. 

Blame the Dead is a thriller set against the chaotic background of the World War Two Allied invasion of Sicily. 

Former Philadelphia beat cop Eddie Harkins is not surprised when the Army makes him a Military Policeman; he is surprised when, in the bloody summer of 1943, he is tapped to figure out who gunned down a surgeon in a US Army field hospital. Harkins, who has spent his Army time hauling in drunken GIs and breaking up traffic jams, has never worked a homicide. The lurching start to his investigation proves he is in over his head, but Harkins is not one to back down from a fight. 
  Cooperation is hard to come by in part because the victim—who was universally despised—bullied and tormented nurses. Harkins hears, “He got what was coming to him,” so often he stops scribbling the response in his notebook. Harkins’ low rank bestows little authority in his battles with the hospital commander, who is hiding bigger sins in his camp. Then, just when Harkins is starting to drag some facts from the chaos, a key witness is shot to death. Meanwhile the flood of broken bodies never slows as the hospital leapfrogs forward just behind the battlefront. Harkins is exhausted and demoralized, clueless, filthy, and far from home, and everyone is struck dumb by the heat.

The Sicilian ‘43

Eddie Harkins and his fellow soldiers would have been thrilled to get their hands on a cool drink, especially one with impossible-to-find ice. Creating this beauty of a cocktail in wartime would have been challenging; but with a thriving black-market, the more inventive and determined GIs might have made a go of it.  The inspiration for this cocktail comes from Sicily’s orange and lemon orchards, and the name is a variation on the “French 75,” a cocktail that gets its name from the French 75mm field gun of World War One. The Sicilian 43 is a nod to the land where the Allies first cracked the walls of Hitler’s “Fortress Europe.”

1 oz fresh blood orange juice
1 and ½ oz gin
½ oz Maraschino Liqueur
¼ oz Amaro Averna (an Amaro from Sicily is best; it’s a bitter liquor like Campari, easy to find, but Campari would also work as a substitute)
2-3 oz Prosecco
Orange twist 

Combine orange juice, gin, maraschino, and Averna in a cocktail shaker, fill with ice, and shake. Strain into a cocktail glass and top with Prosecco. Garnish orange twist.  Drink a toast to Victory in Europe!

Friday, March 27, 2020

Rum Coolers and Murder at the Taffy Shop

Agatha and Macavity finalist Edith Maxwell, author of the Quaker Midwife Mysteries and award-winning short crime fiction joins us today for Drinks with Reads. As Maddie Day she pens the Country Store Mysteries and the Cozy Capers Book Group Mysteries. With twenty books in print and more in production, Maxwell lives north of Boston, where she writes, gardens, and cooks. Today she's whipping up the Pineapple Run Cooler...and giving away one of her books.

Pineapple Rum Cooler

In Murder at the Taffy Shop, it’s August, full season on Cape Cod, with plentiful sunshine and tourists alike. When Mac Almeida heads out for her early daily walk with her friend, she finds a horrified Gin staring at Beverly Ruchart, an imperious summer person, dead on the sidewalk in front of Gin’s candy shop, Salty Taffy’s.

Lots of people wanted Beverly gone. But when the police find the murder weapon in Gin’s garage, the Cozy Capers book group members put their heads together to clear Gin’s name and to figure out who killed the woman whom almost everyone disliked. Mac’s bike shop is vandalized one night, and when the killer later invades her tiny house to finish her off, Bella, Mac’s African Gray parrot, comes to the rescue.

Mac Almeida’s friend and book group member Zane King owns the only liquor store and distillery in town. He recommends this summer drink to Mac, a perfect cooler for a Cape Cod summer day, using his own King’s Bounty rum. In this version, I use a rum made locally near me north of Boston, but any good rum will do.

Pineapple Rum Cooler

Pineapple juice
Tonic water
Fresh mint

For one drink, mix two ounces each of pineapple juice, a good rum, and tonic water. Squeeze half a lime into the drink. Crush a mint sprig and swirl it through the drink. Add more juice if you like it sweeter, or substitute seltzer water for the tonic if you prefer it less sweet.

Murder at the Taffy Shop, releasing March 31, is available exclusively in paperback from Barnes & Noble for the first year, then it will be re-released on all platforms and formats. I’m happy to send one commenter here a signed copy of the book(US residents only)!

Friday, February 7, 2020

The Heartless and A #Giveaway

Author David Putnam has a new book out and his partner-in-crime and wife, Mary, has been making drinks to celebrate. The book is called, The Heartless, and we're giving away FIVE copies of the book to the first five people who comment (US residents only). Let's see what Mary has been cooking up to celebrate David's book...

David often gets questions about his main character, Bruno Johnson. As the series began to unfold, I too, asked questions about a character who appeared in, THE DISPOSABLES. His name is Junior, and is the inspiration for this drink.

But before we get to Junior, a note about the name, “Bruno Johnson.”  Bruno's an amalgamation of several people David worked with in real life, combined with some elements from his imagination. The name was taken directly from a male but he was a dog, a scrappy wired-haired terrier that belonged to David's childhood friend, Bill.

Earlier this year, our two rescue dogs were joined by a puppy a friend gave us. All the dogs we’ve had in our 25 years together came with names from previous owners or shelters, so our “rookie pup” -- a Queensland heeler -- was the first dog we’ve ever named. A tough (and scrappy) lovable little guy who reminded us of Bruno in the book. So now that name has come full circle.

Meanwhile, the big dog in David’s first Bruno book, named Junior, went missing in the story for awhile. I kept pestering David (so did some other fans): “What ever happened to Junior?” Dave finally gives us some answers. In the new book, THE HEARTLESS (release date: Feb 2020), we learn how Junior originally came into their lives and how he got the name “Junior” – short for Junior Mint. 


And if you want a boffo glass to serve it in, check out these super easy instructions to make fabulous bullet hole drink ware. And of course Mary made that too! 

Here's the recipe for the drink...

The Junior Mint

Ingredients (for one 1.5 oz shot)
1/2 oz. Irish Cream
1/2 oz. Frangelico
1/2 oz. Peppermint Schnapps 
Optional: Whipped Cream, Chocolate sauce, Junior Mints!

Chill glass, decorate with chocolate sauce. Mix booze, top w/whip cream (regular or chocolate) and a junior mint!

 Don't forget to comment below because the first five people to comment will win a book from David. We'll need your email address as well so we can get your address. 

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

Review: The Book of Candlelight by Ellery Adams

Today Kerry Hammond is throwing caution to the wind and jumping into book three in a new-to-her series.

The Book of Candlelight by Ellery Adams was published on January 28, in Hardcover, by Kensington Books. It is the 3rd book in the Secret, Book, and Scone Society series. I had never heard of this series, but am always drawn in by a good premise. A book store owner who has a great group of female friends to help her solve a murder was right up my alley. I decided to throw caution to the wind and jump in at book three.

In the book, our protagonist, Nora Pennington, finds herself knee deep in tourists at her bookshop. The town is experiencing torrential rains and shoppers are looking for respite, not only in the stacks, but in her cafĂ©. One afternoon, she heads to the local flea market to replenish her store’s stock of knickknacks and ends up buying a beautiful bowl from a local man named Danny, a Cherokee potter. The day after Nora buys the bowl, she discovers Danny’s body floating in the river. Nora enlists the help of her friends in the Secret, Book, and Scone Society to not only try and make sense of Danny’s death, but to figure out who killed him and why.

I could tell that there was more to the backstories of each of the characters, information that was presumably given in books one and two. However, I was still able to enjoy the mystery and didn’t feel like I needed to stop where I was to go back and read the earlier installments. The author gave me just enough information to allow me to follow along and enjoy the story as is.

I consider the book a cozy mystery, but Nora’s character isn’t light and fluffy. She’s been through some things in her life that she is still working out. She’s bonded with her group of friends and shared part of her secret with them, but there still seems to be more that she’s holding back. I think this character will grow a lot as the series progresses. I really enjoyed spending time with the Secret, Book, and Scone Society.

This book was provided to Mystery Playground by the publisher. The review was fair and completely independent.

You can always find Mystery Playground on Twitter @mysteryplaygrnd and on Facebook. You can also follow the blog by clicking the link on the upper right-hand corner of this webpage. 

Thursday, January 30, 2020

Review: Grace is Gone by Emily Elgar

Kerry Hammond is here today with her review of a new novel of psychological suspense with a dark twist.

Grace is Gone by Emily Elgar was published on January 7, in Trade Paperback, by Harper Paperbacks. This is Elgar’s second novel of psychological suspense. Her first, If You Knew Herwas well received in both the UK and the US.

Grace is a girl with severe health issues. Wheelchair-bound and suffering from MS and seizures, she is completely reliant on her mother, Meg, for her care. Since the two came to town, after escaping Grace’s abusive father, they have captured the hearts of everyone they meet. They are so loved, it’s hard to think who would want to hurt them. But someone does.

Cara, Grace and Meg’s neighbor, discovers Meg, murdered in her home. Grace is missing, her wheelchair left in the chaos of the crime scene. The whole town is devastated and fearful for Grace. How will she survive without her medication? Who would kidnap a helpless child? Where is her father?

I love a book that makes you wonder what you might do in a given situation. Grace’s story really makes the reader think—about the people we think we know and the truths we choose to believe.

This was one of those just one more chapter books. I’ll go to bed after I read just one more chapter. Much like a thriller, you think you know where the book is going, but you want to see how it gets there and what surprises will be laid out along the way, and trust me, there were surprises. The book was told in alternating chapters from two different points of view, but the reader also got glimpses into Grace’s life through her journal entries. It was well written and I had a hard time putting it down.

This book was provided to Mystery Playground by the publisher. The review was fair and completely independent.

You can always find Mystery Playground on Twitter @mysteryplaygrnd and on Facebook. You can also follow the blog by clicking the link on the upper right-hand corner of this webpage. 

Wednesday, January 29, 2020

Sherlock Holmes and Reichenbach Falls

Kerry Hammond visited Switzerland and came across a Sherlock Holmes gem.

Are you one of those mystery lovers who goes on vacation and tries to find sights to see that relate to your favorite books? No….is that just me? Well, I have to admit that on a recent visit to Switzerland, I was too busy dreaming of fondue and raclette to even think about mysteries—other than the books I would bring to read. Luckily, I spoke to a friend on the phone prior to my flight. “Are you going to Reichenbach Falls?” she asked. “Reichenbach Falls? The one Sherlock Holmes and Moriarty fell from?” I asked. “That’s in Switzerland?”

I may have been slow in realizing I was near an iconic Sherlock Holmes sight, but once I found out, I wasted no time planning a visit. The town of Meiringen, Switzerland was one of the highlights of my trip. They had a wonderful Sherlock Holmes museum, full of period artifacts and references to Sherlock’s trip through the Swiss Alps. They even have a couple of sculptures out front, and the one of Holmes is filled with 60 hidden clues, one for each of the detective’s cases.

The hotel where Holmes and Watson stayed is still standing (although the name has changed) and several other places in town have used the famous detective’s name on their doors. The references are in no way overdone, and the visit was well worth it. The tram to the falls is closed in wintertime, but I view that as just another reason to come back during warmer weather.

What’s your favorite mystery related vacation visit?

Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Review: Dead in Dublin by Catie Murphy

Kerry Hammond is here with her review of a new cozy series set in Ireland.

Dead in Dublin by Catie Murphy is the first book in the author’s new series, which features Megan Malone, a limo driver whose American heritage gives her a unique take on Ireland. The book was published on December 31, 2019, in Mass Market Paperback, by Kensington Books. The second in the series, Death on the Green, is due out this September.

I’m always in search of a good cozy mystery series and this one rates high on my scale of worthy contenders. A good cozy mystery is heavy on character development, but if you have a boring plot you won’t get the book off the ground. In Dead in Dublin, I first fell in love with the characters. Murphy does a great job of writing interesting characters, making them both vivid and three dimensional. But it doesn’t stop there, the author has created not only an interesting mystery, but managed to take me on a journey of confusion as I followed along, trying to solve the puzzle.

I didn’t solve the mystery, and that suits me just fine. I love a good surprise ending and I got just that; it was a plausible and satisfying end to a great story. As an added bonus, the author takes you on a fun trip to Ireland. If you’ve never visited, you get to enjoy a few bits and pieces of local culture and color. If you have visited, you are reminded of some of the interesting qualities you experienced on your trip, from the pronunciation of words to the fun quirks of the Irish. It’s armchair traveling at its best.

If you’re a cozy mystery fan, this is a great read. I’m glad that I got in on the ground floor, starting at book one. It’s always fun to read series books in order so that you can get to know the characters as they change and grow. I will definitely continue reading this series!

This book was provided to Mystery Playground by the publisher. The review was fair and completely independent.

You can always find Mystery Playground on Twitter @mysteryplaygrnd and on Facebook. You can also follow the blog by clicking the link on the upper right-hand corner of this webpage. 

Tuesday, January 21, 2020

The Last Sister by Kendra Elliot & A Giveaway

Today Kerry Hammond reviews The Last Sister by Kendra Elliot, and we have a great giveaway. By commenting below you could get a copy of The Last Sister, and Kendra's previous bestsellers, Vanished and A Merciful Death. Just comment below to enter, US residents only. We'll pick a winner next Saturday. 

And now for Kerry's review...

The Last Sister by Kendra Elliot was published on January 14, in Hardcover, by Montlake. Elliot is the award-winning author of several mystery series that take place in the Pacific Northwest. The characters she creates, and her readers fall in love with, often cross over from series to series, allowing her fans to get their fix of their favorites in each and every book.

In The Last Sister, Elliot starts a new series with FBI agents Zander Wells and Ava McLane. Both agents arrive in the town of Bartonville to investigate the suspected murder-suicide of two of the town’s citizens. It doesn’t take long for the agents to determine that what they’re looking at is murder, and that many of the townspeople know more than they’re saying.

As the investigation continues, Zander finds a correlation between the current murders and a hanging that took place two decades earlier. He also finds out that the woman who found the bodies was the daughter of the victim of that old crime. He’s not sure how she is connected to each scene, but he’s sure that she is a link that could lead him to discovering the truth.

This was my first experience with Zander Wells and I instantly liked his character. He is diligent, hard-working, and dedicated to finding the truth. I often read a book for the setting—what better way to visit a place and get a sense of its character than to read a mystery? Elliot, who hails from the Pacific Northwest, takes advantage of everything her locale has to offer. The area can be rugged, mysterious, and unrelenting and the climate lends itself to the suspense genre. The author definitely makes the most of the setting and her stories have an atmospheric quality that adds to the great plots.  

Don't forget to comment below with your name and email address to be eligible for the giveaway for one person to get three Kendra Elliot books. 

The Last Sister is on blog tour with gifts at almost every stop. You can check out the blog tour here

You can find Kendra on social media  @AuthorKendraElliot (Facebook), @KendraElliot (Twitter), @Kendraelliot (IG) @Kendra_Elliot (GoodReads).

You can find Mystery Playground on twitter @mysteryplaygrnd and on Facebook