Tag Archives: mystery fiction

Top 10 Tuesday — Mysteries I Still Haven’t Read

17 May

It is not a mystery why I have not read the books on my list yet. I cannot resist a shiny new book, even if I have a stack of others ahead of it. I refuse to believe that I have more books than time, though, so I continue to buy more and more. One day cannot get here fast enough. 😉 The books that I have chosen to confess are all mysteries — my very favorite genre. They at least have a fighting chance of being read. My list contains classic mysteries, cozy mysteries, historical mysteries — I read them all. And in the spirit of honesty, this list is just the tip of the iceberg. Let me know if you have read any. I need some motivation!

For more confessions, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Mysteries I Haven’t Read Yet

( though they reside on my shelves)

The Boy Who Followed Ripley by Patricia Highsmith

The Cairo Brief by Fiona Veitch Smith

The Cat’s Pajamas by Gilbert Morris

The Club Dumas by Arturo Perez-Reverte

Enemy Action by Mike Hollow

Jane And The Twelve Days of Christmas by Stephanie Barron

The Long Goodbye by Raymond Chandler

Sidney Chambers And The Shadow of Death by James Runcie

The Sweetness at The Bottom of The Pie by Alan Bradley

The Thin Man by Dashiell Hammett

Author, Author! — Janet Sketchley

11 May

Please welcome Janet Sketchely, author of Bitter Truth, book 3 in the Green Dory Inn Mystery Series. I love talking to authors about what motivates them, how they organize their writing life, and the books that they have created. Thanks Janet for sharing with my readers!

Many authors say that they have always been a writer — making up stories as a child. When did you first become a writer?

I did make up stories as a child—I even cleared out a corner of my closet for a tiny writing nook, although I don’t think I ever finished anything I started. My teen years brought other interests, and it wasn’t until my late 20s or early 30s that I started writing again.  


Was there a special someone, such as a teacher, parent, or other relative, who encouraged you to pursue writing?

My grade 9 English teacher, Mr. Campbell, was a great encourager. My short stories then bear no resemblance to what I write now. I did send him a copy of my first book to thank him for his influence, and he appreciated the gesture but I don’t know what he thought of the story.

Why did you choose Christian mystery/suspense?

The genre chose me! I had this idea of a woman abducted by the serial killer she’d been praying for—and I couldn’t get it out of my head. Basically I started writing in hopes it’d go away. (It was eventually published as Heaven’s Prey.) By the time I finished, I knew I wanted to keep writing Christian fiction because I value stories that show people working out how their faith applies to life’s challenges. I lightened the suspense level but continued with mystery-suspense because those are some of my favourite stories to read.

Were there any obstacles you faced in your journey to publication?

Other than learning how to craft fiction well enough? 😊 It was almost 25 years before that first book found a home, so I’m definitely on the slow road. As a Canadian writer, I’ve faced a few extra challenges over my US peers. Attending conferences allowed me to connect with a few agents and publishers, and online groups like American Christian Fiction Writers also helped bridge that divide.

What types of research do you pursue? Books, on-site visits, etc.

I like to do on-site visits when I can, to get a feel for the setting and atmosphere. And I’ve joined a couple of Facebook groups for the area where my stories are set (locals give great information!) and one where writers can ask medical research questions. Most of my research is online, though. Google is my friend, even for things like street view of a location.

What does a typical writing day look like? Are you structured or informal in your writing schedule?

My goal is to spend weekday afternoons writing. Far too often I lose some of that time to other responsibilities. I’m ever more aware of the need to start each writing time with prayer—this is too big and too complex for me to craft a God-honouring story and characters on my own. I like to start with a tumbler of ice water or a cup of tea. Right now, the plotting stage, involves covering my table with sheets of graph paper and breaking out the coloured pens and highlighters. I’ll eventually move to my laptop to develop an outline and to write.

How long does it usually take to craft your books?

I think I can do it in a year, but between COVID-19 and family health issues, the last one was two years or more. I love being an independent publisher, because deadlines stress me. I still want to produce books in a regular and timely manner, but as one of my characters (he’s a writer) likes to point out, “deadline” contains the word “dead.”

Can you tell us a little about what inspired your latest novel?

Bitter Truth is book 3 in my Green Dory Inn Mystery Series, so I already knew the setting and the series characters. This particular story came from an idea I’d had about a young woman returning to her hometown to regroup and being pushed over a cliff by someone who perceived her as a threat. The mental picture was of her on the side of a cliff, being held in place by a passing motorcyclist who’d seen the attack and climbed down to help her. Bitter Truth also let me introduce a character I’ve thought about for years but didn’t know how I’d use him. The original concept wasn’t one I wanted to write, but I’m pleased with how he “adapted” to this story and allowed me to address his core idea.

What do you want your readers to take away with them after finishing one of your novels?

“Whatever happens, Jesus will be there.” I often sign that in books. Too many times, when we imagine troubling “what ifs,” we imagine ourselves facing them alone. I hope readers will be satisfied that they’ve enjoyed a good story, but I also pray that a reader who needs a little spiritual encouragement will find it in what the characters learn in their struggles.

Readers always want to know what is next for an author. Do you have any works in progress you can share about?

I’m excited about Green Dory Inn 4, which will be a Christmas book. So far, I have an unwelcome snow globe gift, a cast of suspects, a victim, and a killer. And I’ve “overheard” a conversation between two series regulars about “invisible mistletoe.” The way Bitter Truth ended, neither of them will be expecting that!

Janet Sketchley is the author of the Green Dory Inn Mystery Series, the Redemption’s Edge Christian suspense series, and the daily devotional books A Year of Tenacity and Tenacity at Christmas. She likes her fiction with a splash of mystery and a dash of Christianity. Why leave faith out of our stories if it’s part of our lives? Janet writes in Atlantic Canada, and you can find her online at https://janetsketchley.ca/. Or you can follow Janet on BookBub at https://bit.ly/JanetSketchleyBookBub.

Who would want Ciara dead? And why?

Against all odds, Landon Smith and her ordinary-hero neighbour Bobby Hawke survived a murderous plot six weeks ago. Now, she’s determined to leave solving mysteries to the experts—like handsome local police officer Dylan Tremblay.

But when a friend is nearly killed in a daring daylight attack, Landon can’t sit this out. Not when she knows the anger of being a victim.

Her faith tells her to leave room for God’s vengeance. Her heart says to retaliate.

The fight to expose Ciara’s enemy will uncover secrets and betrayal that could cost Landon her life.

If you like clean Christian mystery and suspense, read Bitter Truth today!

PURCHASE LINK: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B09MDY3SZQ

********************

Welcome to the Green Dory Inn, a fictional bed & breakfast set outside the real town of Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.

Meet Landon, a young Christian woman with a traumatic past. And Anna, recently widowed, who owns the inn.

Meet Roy, their wisecracking elderly neighbour, and his adult grandson Bobby, who writes space novels.

And meet the cats, fastidious Timkin and the battle-scarred marmalade stray.

Come for the clean, faith-based mysteries.
Stay for the characters.



TITLES IN THE GREEN DORY INN MYSTERY SERIES:

Unknown Enemy(novella length) Who is the secretive prowler harassing innkeeper Anna?

Hidden Secrets(novel length) What secrets has the inn’s original owner left behind, and how far will Anna’s enemy go to find them?

Bitter Truth (novel length) Who would want Ciara dead? And why?

And more TBA…

If you like clean Christian mystery and suspense, visit the Green Dory Inn today!

Top 10 Tuesday — Professional Book Pushers

10 May

Happy Tuesday! This week’s prompt is a joy. It’s all about bookish characters. I chose to focus on books in which the main character(s) is a professional book pusher — one who gets paid to get someone to read. (As opposed to those of us who just do it for fun. 🙂 ) Basically booksellers and librarians. I am currently listening to The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar. It is riveting, and naturally it is on my list. With the variety of genres represented, I hope you find a book to pique your interest.

For more lists of bookish characters, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Professional Book Pushers

Bloomsbury Girls by Natalie Jenner

Camino Island by John Grisham

Crime And Poetry by Amanda Flower

Hidden Among The Stars by Melanie Dobson

The Librarian of Saint-Malo by Mario Escobar

Miss Zukas And The Library Murders by Jo Dereske

The Printed Letter Bookshop by Katherine Reay

The Secrets of Paper And Ink by Lindsey Harrel

Until Leaves Fall in Paris by Sarah Sundin

Wonderland Creek by Lynn Austin

First Line Friday — A Fool And His Monet

1 Apr

Happy Friday and Happy April Fool’s Day! Do you have any tricks up your sleeve today? I am not much on pranks, but a good April Fool’s joke is a bit fun. The book I am highlighting today is no joke, though. A Fool And His Monet is a lighthearted, cozy-ish style mystery by Sandra Orchard. It and the other 2 books in the series were published some years ago, so if the first line piques your interest then you have your weekend all booked up! No fooling 😉 .

Here’s the first line:

I should have listened to my mother.

Serena Jones has a passion for recovering lost and stolen art–one that’s surpassed only by her zeal to uncover the truth about the art thief who murdered her grandfather. She’s joined the FBI Art Crime Team with the secret hope that one of her cases will lead to his killer. Now, despite her mother’s pleas to do something safer–like get married–Serena’s learning how to go undercover to catch thieves and black market traders.

When a local museum discovers an irreplaceable Monet missing, Jones leaps into action. The clues point in different directions, and her boss orders her to cease investigating her most promising suspect. But determined to solve the case and perhaps discover another clue in her grandfather’s murder, she pushes ahead, regardless of the danger.

With spunk, humor, and plenty of heart-stopping moments, Sandra Orchard gives readers an exciting string of cases to crack and a character they’ll love to watch solve them.

Top 10 Tuesday — Spring TBR

15 Mar

It’s Spring here in the sunny South, but you never really know what that means. Highs in the 80s, tornado watches, hard freezes, snow — all in one week. That’s what it was like last week. Next week, who knows? 😉 But one constant is I always have great books on my TBR list! I have a bunch of different genres I am looking forward to reading. What about you? What’s on your Spring TBR list?

For more great Spring reading, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top 10 Books on My Spring TBR

Breach of Honor by Janice Cantore

As a police officer in Table Rock, Oregon, Leah Radcliff puts her life on the line to help others every day. But at home, Leah’s battling her own personal nightmare: Brad, her abusive husband, a fellow officer, celebrated hero, and beloved son of a powerful prominent family. Brad’s violent outbursts and suspicious activities have left Leah physically and emotionally scarred, until one desperate action to put a stop to his abuse results in deadly consequences.

Though public opinion seems ready to convict Leah, Officer Clint Tanner is one of the few to believe she acted in self-defense. As he works with Leah’s attorney to produce the evidence they need, new truths about Brad’s dark side come to light―and reveal a deep-rooted problem in Table Rock. There are some who have breached their sworn duty to serve and protect . . . and they’ll do anything to keep their secret safe.

Every Word Unsaid by Kimberly Duffy

Augusta Travers has spent the last three years avoiding the stifling expectations of New York society and her family’s constant disappointment. As the nation’s most fearless–and reviled–columnist, Gussie travels the country with her Kodak camera and spins stories for women unable to leave hearth and home. But when her adventurous nature lands her in the middle of a scandal, an opportunity to leave America offers the perfect escape. 

Arriving in India, she expects only a nice visit with childhood friends, siblings Catherine and Gabriel, and escapades that will further her career. Instead, she finds herself facing a plague epidemic, confusion over Gabriel’s sudden appeal, and the realization that what she wants from life is changing. But slowing down means facing all the hurts of her past that she’s long been trying to outrun. And that may be an undertaking too great even for her. 

False Pretense by Heather Day Gilbert

Tess has her work cut out for her—from her day job at the police station to her nights on the campaign trail with her husband, she’s stretched thin. Her two young children also keep her busy, but thankfully she has a supportive mother-in-law who lives just next door.

When the legendary Mothman makes a terrifying appearance and a local librarian goes missing, Tess feels compelled to get involved, convinced something evil has been unleashed on her little town. Then another woman disappears—this one bearing an eerie resemblance to Tess—and the police receive a cryptic message hinting that a serial killer is on the prowl.

After a nightmarish turn of events completely upends the Spencer family, Tess musters her courage to hunt for the monstrous murderer in the woods…even if she has to walk straight into the Mothman’s lair to do it.

False Pretense brings a stunning and memorable conclusion to the award-winning Murder in the Mountains series.

Fatal Code by Natalie Walters

In 1964, a group of scientists called the Los Alamos Five came close to finishing a nuclear energy project for the United States government when they were abruptly disbanded. Now the granddaughter of one of those five scientists, aerospace engineer Elinor Mitchell, discovers that she has highly sensitive information on the project in her possession–and a target on her back.

SNAP agent and former Navy cryptologist Kekoa Young is tasked with monitoring Elinor. This is both convenient since she’s his neighbor in Washington, DC, and decidedly inconvenient because . . . well, he kind of likes her.

As Elinor follows the clues her grandfather left behind to a top-secret nuclear project, Kekoa has no choice but to step in. When Elinor learns he has been spying on her, she’s crushed. But with danger closing in on all sides, she’ll have to trust him to ensure her discoveries stay out of enemy hands.

Natalie Walters sucks you into the global race for space domination in this perfectly paced second installment of her SNAP Agency romantic suspense series.

In Search of A Prince by Toni Shiloh

It seems like a dream come true . . . until it forces her to question everything.  

Brielle Adebayo is fully content teaching at a New York City public school and taking annual summer vacations with her mother to Martha’s Vineyard. But everything changes when her mom drops a bombshell–Brielle is really a princess in the island kingdom of Ọlọrọ Ilé, off the coast of Africa, and she must immediately assume her royal position, since the health of her grandfather, the king, is failing.

Distraught by all the secrets her mother kept, Brielle is further left spinning when the Ọlọrọ Ilé Royal Council brings up an old edict that states she must marry before her coronation, or the crown will pass to another. Brielle is uncertain if she even wants the throne, and with her world totally shaken, where will she find the courage to take a chance on love and brave the perils a wrong decision may bring?

Life Flight by Lynette Eason

EMS helicopter pilot Penny Carlton is used to high stress situations, but being forced to land on a mountain in a raging storm with a critical patient–and a serial killer on the loose–tests her skills and her nerve to the limit. She survives with FBI Special Agent Holt Satterfield’s help. But she’s not out of the woods yet.

In the ensuing days, Penny finds herself under attack. And when news reaches Holt that he may not have gotten his man after all, it will take all he and Penny have to catch a killer–before he catches one of them.

Bestselling and award-winning author Lynette Eason is back with another high-octane tale of close calls, narrow escapes, and the fight to bring a nefarious criminal to justice.

Sea Glass Cottage by Irene Hannon

Christi Reece is desperate. The one-time golden girl’s life has tarnished, and a cascade of setbacks has left her reeling. She needs help, and she’s certain Jack Colby is in a position to provide it. 

When she shows up in Hope Harbor, however, Jack wants nothing to do with the woman who betrayed him. He’s built a new life on the Oregon coast–and there’s no room in it for Christi, even after she takes refuge in a charming but mysterious cottage nearby. Yet it soon becomes apparent his opinion of her may need revising . . . especially when he ends up needing her help. 

Can these two hurting souls make peace with their past and open their hearts to a new beginning? 

Come home to Hope Harbor–where hearts heal . . . and love blooms.

Shadows in The Mind’s Eye by Janyre Tromp

Charlotte Anne Mattas longs to turn back the clock. Before her husband, Sam, went to serve his country in the war, he was the man everyone could rely on–responsible, intelligent, and loving. But the person who’s come back to their family farm is very different from the protector Annie remembers. Sam’s experience in the Pacific theater has left him broken in ways no one can understand–but that everyone is learning to fear.

Tongues start wagging after Sam nearly kills his own brother. Now when he claims to have seen men on the mountain when no one else has seen them, Annie isn’t the only one questioning his sanity and her safety. If there were criminals haunting the hills, there should be evidence beyond his claims. Is he really seeing what he says, or is his war-tortured mind conjuring ghosts?

Annie desperately wants to believe her husband. But between his irrational choices and his nightmares leaking into the daytime, she’s terrified he’s going mad. Can she trust God to heal Sam’s mental wounds–or will sticking by him mean keeping her marriage at the cost of her own life?

Debut novelist Janyre Tromp delivers a deliciously eerie, Hitchcockian story filled with love and suspense. Readers of psychological thrillers and historical fiction by Jaime Jo Wright and Sarah Sundin will add Tromp to their favorite authors list.

Then Sings My Soul by Amy K. Sorrells

1904, Chudniv, Ukraine. Playing hide-and-seek in bucolic fields of sunflowers, young Jakob never imagines the horrific secrets he will carry as he and his brother escape through genocide-ridden Eastern Europe.

1994, South Haven, Michigan. At age 94, time is running out for any hope that Jakob can be free from his burden of guilt.

When Jakob’s wife dies, he and his daughter, Nel, are forced to face the realities of his worsening dementia—including a near-naked, midnight jaunt down the middle of main street—as well as emerging shadows Nel had no idea lay beneath her father’s beloved, curmudgeonly ways.

While Nel navigates the restoration and sale of Jakob’s dilapidated lake house, her high school sweetheart shows up in town, along with unexpected correspondence from Ukraine. And when she discovers a mysterious gemstone in Jakob’s old lapidary room, Jakob’s condition worsens as he begins having flashbacks about his baby sister from nearly a century past.

As father and daughter race against time to discover the truth behind Jackob’s fragmented memories, the God they have both been running from shows that he redeems not only broken years, but also the future.

Turn to Me by Becky Wade

His promise will cost him far more than he imagined.

Guilt has defined Luke Dempsey’s life, but it was self-destructiveness that landed him in prison. When his friend and fellow inmate lay dying shortly before Luke’s release, the older man revealed he left a string of clues for his daughter, Finley, that will lead her to the treasure he’s hidden. Worried that she won’t be the only one pursuing the treasure, he gains Luke’s promise to protect her until the end of her search.

Spunky and idealistic, Finley Sutherland is the owner of an animal rescue center and a defender of lost causes. She accepts Luke’s help on the treasure hunt while secretly planning to help him in return–by coaxing him to embrace the forgiveness he’s long denied himself.

As they draw closer to the final clue, their reasons for resisting each other begin to crumble, and Luke realizes his promise will push him to the limit in more ways than one. He’ll do his best to shield Finley from unseen threats, but who’s going to shield him from losing his heart?

Happy Release Day! — False Pretense

14 Mar

It is finally release day for False Pretense by Heather Day Gilbert! Double woohoo!! I have been impatiently waiting for the final book in Heather’s Murder in The Mountains mystery series. Tess Spencer is one of my all time favorite amateur sleuths and I really, really need to find out Axel’s secrets. If you are as big a fan as I am, order now. If you haven’t read this series yet, there’s wonderful book bingeing ahead for you.

Tess has her work cut out for her—from her day job at the police station to her nights on the campaign trail with her husband, she’s stretched thin. Her two young children also keep her busy, but thankfully she has a supportive mother-in-law who lives just next door.

When the legendary Mothman makes a terrifying appearance and a local librarian goes missing, Tess feels compelled to get involved, convinced something evil has been unleashed on her little town. Then another woman disappears—this one bearing an eerie resemblance to Tess—and the police receive a cryptic message hinting that a serial killer is on the prowl.

After a nightmarish turn of events completely upends the Spencer family, Tess musters her courage to hunt for the monstrous murderer in the woods…even if she has to walk straight into the Mothman’s lair to do it.

False Pretense brings a stunning and memorable conclusion to the award-winning Murder in the Mountains series.

Award-winning novelist Heather Day Gilbert enjoys writing mysteries and Viking historicals. She brings authentic family relationships to the page, and she particularly delights in heroines who take a stand to protect those they love. Avid readers say Heather’s realistic characters–no matter what century–feel like best friends. When she’s not plotting stories, this native West Virginian can often be found hanging out with her husband and four children, playing video games, or reading Agatha Christie novels.

Find all her books and her newsletter signup at heatherdaygilbert.com.

First Line Friday — Legacy of Lies

11 Mar

Happy Friday! This weekend I am attending my nephew’s wedding. Along with getting together with family, I will have some time to read because, road trip. 😉 I am taking along the unputdownable Legacy of Lies by Christy Barritt. It really is a page turner that grabbed me from the beginning. Alas, life causes me to do other things besides reading. But with a few hours on the road, I hope to knock this mystery/thriller out. And just a hint, the first line is not about food. Yikes!

Now the first line:

Insatiable hunger growled inside me, and all I could think about was eating.

The justice system failed her family—and so did her hometown.

Madison Colson knows deep down that her father—a convicted serial killer—is innocent. But believing it and proving it are two entirely different things. Unable to help her father, Madison has spent most of her adult life overcompensating by helping others. When her aunt dies unexpectantly, duty calls her back to Fog Lake, Tennessee, a beautiful but painful place she’d rather forget.

Terrifying events begin to unfold once she arrives, unleashing her worst nightmares. The Good Samaritan Killer—or a copycat—is back, and now Madison Colson is his target.

FBI Special Agent Shane Townsend is determined to stop the deadly rampage that has sent the tightknit community into a frenzy. But he needs to earn Madison’s trust first. The task feels impossible, especially considering his father is the one who put her dad in prison.

With the whole town on edge and pointing fingers, tension escalates out of control. Madison and Shane must sort the facts from the lies—and fight for a legacy of truth—before The Good Samaritan Killer has the final say

Top 10 Tuesday — Coming Home to A Small Town

8 Mar

No, I cannot forget from where it is that I come from
I cannot forget the people who love me
Yeah, I can be myself here in this small town
And people let me be just what I want to be
— John Mellencamp

I wasn’t raised in a small town, although the Orlando area wasn’t huge before Disney. I would never say I had a small town upbringing, but I have lived in small towns all my married life. I love a small town, and I think it was the best environment for my children growing up. Is that why I love stories set in small towns? Maybe.

This week TTT is featuring favorite literary tropes. One of my favorites is a character that returns to their roots and discovers truths about their lives. Although the small town mystery/suspense novels I have on the list may make them regret their decision, at least for a while. 😉 I’ve included recent novels I have read — historical romance, women’s fiction, mystery/suspense, contemporary romance — something for everyone. I hope you find a small town to love too.

For more favorite tropes, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Coming Home to A Small Town

After She Falls by Carmen Schober

The Cedar Key by Stephenia McGee

Deadly Target by Elizabeth Goddard

The Edge of Belonging by Amanda Cox

The Inn on Hanging Hill by Christy Barritt

The Secret Keepers of Old Depot Grocery by Amanda Barritt

The Secret Place by Camille Eide

Shadows of Swanford Abbey by Julie Klassen

The Sound of Falling Leaves by Lisa Carter

Sunrise by Susan May Warren

Top 10 Twos-day — Dynamic Duos

22 Feb

Happy Twos-day everybody! In honor of 2-22-22, TTT is featuring Dynamic Duos. While I suspect the theme runs to books with 2 main characters that you love, I have selected books with 2 word titles that pack a punch. My selections are all mystery/suspense novels, so the titles hint at all the action inside. Hope you find a book to love!

For more dynamic duos, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Two Word Titles

Collateral Damage by Lynette Eason

Dead Silence by Robin Caroll

Deadly Target by Elizabeth Goddard

Lethal Intent by Cara Putman

Lights Out by Natalie Walters

Malicious Intent by Lynn H. Blackburn

Mind Games by Nancy Mehl

Never Miss by Melissa Koslin

Perilous Treasure by Dan Walsh

Power Play by Rachel Dylan

Top 10 Tuesday — Titles with Names

1 Feb

Happy Tuesday everyone! Who knew there were so many book titles that feature names? That’s the prompt for this week’s TTT. I didn’t have to go far in my reading log to find some great books. I have included a few older titles to go along with new-ish releases. There are lots of genres too — something for everyone.

For more bloggers’ lists, check out That Artsy Reader Girl.

Top Book Titles with Names

Becoming Mrs. Lewis by Patti Callahan

Belinda Blake And The Snake in The Grass by Heather Day Gilbert

Burying Daisy Doe by Ramona Richards

For The Love of Joy by Janet W. Ferguson

Judah’s Wife by Angela Hunt

Keturah by Lisa T. Bergren

Missing Isaac by Valerie Fraser Luesse

My Dearest Dietrich by Amanda Barratt

The Pursuit of Tamsen Littlejohn by Lori Benton

Saving Mrs. Roosevelt by Candice Sue Patterson