Tuesday, October 20, 2020


Today I'm spotlighting THE SUN DOWN MOTEL on the blog!

Welcome to Fell, NY. It’s no usual place.

TheSunDownMotel_UPDATEDFor decades, the small town of Fell has been a place where girls grow up being warned by their mothers to be careful or they’ll end up like Cathy Caldwell, the girl who was murdered and found under an overpass, or Victoria Lee who was killed and dumped on a jogging trail on the edge of town. There are a lot of dead girls in Fell.

One particular unsolved missing persons case is the reason behind Carly Kirk’s visit to town. Carly has always been fascinated by her aunt Viv, who disappeared in the 80’s while working at the Sun Down Motel before Carly was born. Using a small inheritance from her deceased mother, Carly leaves college to go to Fell and figure out what happened to her aunt thirty-five years ago. 

Soon Carly is mirroring her aunt’s life, working the same night shift at the motel, which hasn't changed since 1982. The guest book is still handwritten, the rooms still have actual keys, and the Wifi is spotty at best. But that’s not the only unsettling thing about the Sun Down Motel. Doors are opening themselves. Someone prank calls the front desk every night with only static on the other end of the line. Lights go out. And then there’s the mysterious smell of cigarette smoke with no smokers in sight.

As Carly uncovers more about the mysterious happenings at the motel and Fell’s secrets, she discovers that Viv had been trying to unravel mysteries of her own—including a possible serial killer working in Fell targeting women. If Carly can find the answers Viv was searching for, she might be able to solve the mystery that has haunted her family for years. But as Carly digs deeper, she puts herself in front of the same dangers that faced her aunt all those years ago.

The story moves between Carly Kirk in 2017 and her aunt Viv Delaney in 1982—two equally fearless women determined to uncover the truth.  James seamlessly weaves together both time periods and crafts a novel so scary and propulsive that readers will find themselves at the edge of their seats, ripping through the pages to connect the dots while simultaneously never wanting the ride to end.

About the Author
Simone St. James is the USA Today bestselling and award-winning author of The Broken GirlsLost Among the Living, and The Haunting of Maddy Clare. She wrote her first ghost story, about a haunted library, when she was in high school, and spent twenty years behind the scenes in the television business before leaving to write full-time.

Grab your copy on Amazon or Barnes and Noble. Book debuts today, October 20.  Trade paperback from Berkley.

Friday, October 9, 2020

ROCCO's October Cozy Reviews

Meow!  It's time for our October cozies!!!!

first up:
Year Round Christmas Mystery
Vicki Delany
five stars

n the town of Rudolph, New York, the Christmas season should make spirits bright, but as the year comes to an end, so does a life, in the fifth installment of this charming cozy mystery series.

Christmas has arrived in Rudolph, New York, and Merry Wilkinson is looking forward to a much needed rest. But before that can happen, Luanne Ireland walks through her door. Luanne had asked Merry to help make decorations for her wedding, but has suddenly moved the wedding months earlier and is now demanding that everyone follow her lead, regardless of the cost.

But that cost is much higher than anyone anticipated. When Luanne's fiancé is found murdered at their proposed wedding venue, Merry resolves to restore peace and calm to the community of Rudolph. But the closer she gets to the killer, the more personal the case becomes, and Merry begins to worry that a death knell could ring in the New Year.

This is one of my favorite series as I love Christmas! that and Halloween are my two favorite holidays.  Vicki Delany is a talented author and every one of her series is enjoyable, this is no exception. Five Paws.

Haunted Homicide
A Haunted Mansion Mystery
Lucy Ness
September 29, 2020
Berkley Mass Market
Four stars

Avery Morgan has been hired to breathe new life into the Portage Path Women's Club, but first she'll have to deal with a dead body and a meddling ghost.

Avery Morgan has had a harrowing first week on the job as manager of the Portage Path Woman's Club. Not only is she in charge of a grand old home with a mountain of maintenance problems and scheduling nightmares--thanks to a recent fire in the Marigold meeting room--but she's also got Muriel Sadler to deal with. Muriel is the current president of the club, the one "nay" vote when the rest of the board voted "aye" to hiring Avery.

After a morning of dealing with another one of Muriel's snits and a meeting with the delicious and delightfully unsettling Ben Harkness, who will be handling renovations in the fire-damaged portions of the house, the last thing Avery needs is for one of the fuses to blow. Again.

She grabs her handy flashlight and heads into the basement, where she stumbles across Muriel's body. She also stumbles across an unexpected helper, Clemmie Bow, the ghost of a young woman who was accidentally killed in the building almost a hundred years ago.

Together Clemmie and Avery are determined to solve Muriel's murder before the killer sends Avery to join Clemmie on the other side.

A good start to what looks to be an interesting new series.  If you like mysteries with a touch of the supernatural, this might be for you!!!!!  Four paws.

A Lighthouse Mystery
Eva Gates (aka Vicki Delany)
Crooked Lane
October 10, 2020
Four Paws

When her former director is found dead in the water, librarian Lucy Richardson will have to get to the bottom of the mystery before the killer ends her tale.

It's summertime in the Outer Banks of North Carolina and Bertie James's college class is having their 40th anniversary reunion. The opening night reception is held at the Lighthouse Library and Lucy and her colleagues have assembled an exhibit of library artifacts showing how libraries have changed over the years. After the reception, some of the women take a walk down the boardwalk to the pier, using flashlights to illuminate the dark path, but what's scarier than the dark is finding the former director of the Lighthouse Library floating lifeless in the water.

Helena Sanchez, the former director, wasn't much loved and spent the party being rude to almost everyone there. As a result, Lucy finds herself in deep water as she rocks the boat, questioning several suspects. But she'll have to batten down the hatches and fast before she's left high and dry...and right in the killer's crosshairs.

Crooked Lane picked up this popular series from Berkley and we are glad they did!  Four paws!!!!

A Crime of a Different Stripe
Sally Goldenbaum
Seaside Knitters Mystery
October 27,2020
Four paws

As sleepy Sea Harbor, Massachusetts settles into the glow of autumn, a baby-on-the-way has the Seaside Knitters feeling warm and fuzzy. Only, these crafty ladies can’t get too cozy when sweater weather delivers an unexpected arrival—murder!

While no-nonsense mother-to-be Cass Halloran tries downplaying her pregnancy and her frequent doctor’s visits as an “older” mother-to-be, a softer side of the lobsterwoman emerges as she joins the Seaside Knitters in knitting an abundance of delicate hats and booties. But in contrast to the happy news, terrifying events unfold at the town’s art series that puts a real chill in their New England fall . . .

Izzy Perry’s husband Sam had reservations about inviting his one-time mentor Harrison Grant to speak at the opening reception, although he never imagined the famed and charismatic photographer would rudely embarrass his hosts that evening. But when a dead body turns up along the wooded shoreline the next day, startling secrets come into focus that could undo the tight-knit community of local artists . . .

With a mysterious murder pitting neighbors against each other, Izzy, Birdie, Nell, and a vulnerable Cass find themselves entangled in a dangerous hunt for answers. Can four best friends somehow tie together scattered clues and pacify a list of potential culprits before a cascade of fallen foliage buries the pièce de résistance of a ruthless killer?

Who wouldn't want to read this with that gorgeous cat on the cover?  and the story isn't bad either LOL.  Avid knitters will enjoy the many referneces.  
Four paws.

OCTOBER 27, 2020

Make way for the long paw of the law as police officer Megan Luz and her K-9 partner Brigit investigate a baffling new mystery in Bending the Paw, by Diane Kelly.

A bloodbath is a shocking new challenge for Megan and Brigit when Detective Audrey Jackson calls them to the scene of what could only be a brutal murder. But the one thing the nightmarish scene is missing is a victim. The frantic homeowner’s husband is gone, seemingly without a trace—and so is the money he was holding. Has a vicious killer committed what might just be the perfect crime?

Meanwhile, it’s hailing cats and dogs all over Fort Worth, and roofing contractors have descended on the city in droves. With plenty of damage and continuing storms, work delays are building up like so much runoff, but Megan is suspicious that one roofer may be a scam artist. Determined to leash every lawbreaker she and her K-9 partner find, Megan is building a case for prosecution, all while Brigit has her nose to the ground for a murderer…

For a mystery starring a dog, it's pretty good. Top notch, actually. This series always delivers!  Four and a half paws.

A July release that we forgot to include!


Murder isn’t always crystal-clear . . . especially when the prime suspect discovers she’s a witch.
Violet Mooney owns The Full Moon crystal shop in quaint North Harbor, Connecticut. Still grieving her beloved grandmother’s recent unexpected death, she takes comfort in her fat orange cat Monty and her work. Not everyone in town is thrilled with her business, however. When disagreeable town councilwoman Carla Fernandez picks a fight over Violet’s "voodoo shop," the two have a very public confrontation. Of course, when Carla turns up dead, Violet gets little sympathy from the police as suspect #1.
But the shock of two policemen showing up at her door pales in comparison to the sudden appearance of her estranged mother Fiona and a surprise sister, Zoe. What Fiona reveals will rock her world and her sense of self—and reawaken her long-dormant mysterious power. Good thing. She’s gonna need it . . .
new mystery series by the writer also known as Liz Mugavero!  I enjoyed Liz's other series and since I am also a fan of the supernatural, liked this one as well!

Win one of ROCCO's review copies!
To enter, leave your name and email address in our comments section. winner will be chosen at random.  US entries only, please.  Contest ends midnight, October 23.

Tuesday, October 6, 2020



Calling your attention to Book Number Five in the Lady Sherlock Series.

Sherry Thomas


Charlotte Holmes, Lady Sherlock, investigates a puzzling new murder case that implicates Scotland Yard inspector Robert Treadles in the USA Today bestselling series set in Victorian England. 
Inspector Treadles, Charlotte Holmes’s friend and collaborator, has been found locked in a room with two dead men, both of whom worked with his wife at the great manufacturing enterprise she has recently inherited. 
Rumors fly. Had Inspector Treadles killed the men because they had opposed his wife’s initiatives at every turn? Had he killed in a fit of jealous rage, because he suspected Mrs. Treadles of harboring deeper feelings for one of the men? To make matters worse, he refuses to speak on his own behalf, despite the overwhelming evidence against him.
Charlotte finds herself in a case strewn with lies and secrets. But which lies are to cover up small sins, and which secrets would flay open a past better left forgotten? Not to mention, how can she concentrate on these murders, when Lord Ingram, her oldest friend and sometime lover, at last dangles before her the one thing she has always wanted?


“With an increasingly beloved detective crew, this Victorian mystery offers thrills and sharp insights into human behavior.” — Kirkus Reviews (starred review) on Murder on Cold Street

Publisher: Berkley
Release Date:  October 6, 2020

Friday, September 18, 2020

ROCCO reviews Anna Gerard's PEACHY SCREAM

Meow! Today I'm reviewing PEACHY SCREAM, second in the Georgia B&B mystery series by Anna Gerard.


The Plot:

t's nothing short of inevitable that Cymbeline, GA, hosts an annual Shakespeare festival. But stage-struck Nina Fleet is about to learn that putting on an amateur theatrical production can be murder. Nina's anticipating showbiz glamour and glitz when a community Shakespearean troupe arrives for a two-week stay at her B&B. But the lights dim when she learns the company's director is her nemesis, struggling actor Harry Westcott--who still claims to be the rightful heir to Nina's elegant Queen Anne home.

Meanwhile, the troupe members are not content to leave the drama upon the stage. Accusations of infidelity and financial malfeasance make a shambles of rehearsals. And then, two days into the troupe's stay, the lead actor is found dead in Nina's formal Shakespeare garden. Natural causes...or murder most foul?

Nina uncovers evidence that something is indeed rotten in the town of Cymbeline. Too bad Harry is the only one who believes that she's not going completely off script. And exposing the truth isn't easy when the remaining troupe members say the show must go on...particularly when all of them seemingly had a motive for wanting their fellow actor to permanently exit stage right. Determined to keep the killer from making a curtain call, Nina and her trusty Australian Shepherd, Matilda, join forces with Harry to sleuth out the murder plot. 

ROCCO's Rating:  Four and a half Paws!!!!!!

ROCCO's Review:  

I have been a fan of this author’s since her Black Cat Bookshop series (written under the name of Ali Brandon) so I was anxious to give this new series a try.  I enjoyed the first in the series, Peach Clobbered, and looked forward to the second, Peachy Scream with much anticipation.

I was not disappointed.

Nina Fleet owns a B&B in Cymbeline, Georgia. She welcomes a Shakespearean troupe into her B&B, but considers throwing them out when she learns her nemesis, Harry Westcott, is directing the play.  She's not looking forward to dealing with him again, but unless she wants to ruin the festival, there's no way to turn them out.

Once everyone is settled it’s not long before Len March, who is playing the lead in the production of Hamlet, establishes himself as a real PITA.  Following several pranks on the players, Len is found dead in Nina’s garden. At first everyone assumes it was natural causes, until Nina finds the champagne glass Len was drinking out of.  That, plus another member of the troupe falling ill convince Nina foul play is afoot.  She reluctantly enlists Harry’s aid, and Harry assigns her to work as an extra in the play so she can keep an eye on things before someone else turns up dead.

I am a big fan of Ms. Gerard’s writing style and enjoyed this book as much as I did the first.  The only reason it got 4 ½ stars instead of five is because I guessed the killer and the motive early on. Anna Gerard always delivers a sound mystery with interesting characters that you find yourself caring about, and that’s the main thing!!!!!!  Definitely looking forward to Number Three.

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Friday, September 4, 2020


Here are my cozy reviews for September!

Library Lover's Mystery
Jenn McKinlay
Berkley Hardcover
September 1, 2020
five stars

Love is in the air in Briar Creek as library director Lindsey Norris and boat captain Mike (Sully) Sullivan are finally tying the knot. The entire town is excited for the happy day, and Lindsey and Sully's plan for a small wedding evaporates as more and more people insist upon attending the event of the year.   

When Lindsey and her crafternoon pals head out to Bell Island to see if it can accommodate the ever-expanding guest list, they are horrified to discover a body washed up on the rocky shore. Even worse, Lindsey recognizes the man as the justice of the peace who was supposed to officiate her wedding ceremony. When it becomes clear he was murdered, Lindsey can't help but wonder if it had to do with the wedding. Now she has to book it to solve the mystery before it ends her happily ever after before it's even begun....

I am a big fan of this series and of Lindsey Norris! She gets better with each adventure!  So happy that they finally made it to the altar!!!!!!  Even if you have not read the others (I haven't read them all either) it's easy to pick up.  five paws!!!!!

A magical cats mystery
Sofie Kelly
Penguin group; hardcover
September 1, 2020
five stars

A reality TV crew has come to town and brought librarian Kathleen Paulson and her two magical cats more than their fair share of real-life drama, in the newest installment of this New York Times bestselling series.

Spring has come to charming Mayville Heights, and with it, some Hollywood glamour. The little town is abuzz because the reboot of a popular baking TV show is filming there. Librarian Kathleen Paulson is working as an advisor on historical facts for the show, local restaurants are providing catering for the camera crews, and Kathleen's faithful felines, Hercules and Owen, are hoping there is a cat treat challenge.

But then Kathleen finds one of the judges dead. She has solved many-a-murder with help from the supernaturally gifted Herc and Owen, and with the whole town on tenterhooks, the talented trio will have to have all paws on deck to chase down this killer.

No one is a bigger fan of this great series than I.  Imagine having not only one magical cat, but two!!!  Owen and Hercules are in top form as usual!!!!!!!  And Kathleen isn't bad either.  Fans of this series will love it!!!  and new fans will too!!!  Five paws up!!!!!!!!

A.M. Stuart
  • Series: A Harriet Gordon Mystery (Book 2)
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (September 15, 2020)
  • Trade Paperback
  • Four stars
  this is the second in the Harriet Gordon series. The series is set in 1910 and features Harriet Gordon as a sort of Jessica Fletcher, aided by inspector Robert Curran. to be honest I'm not much on period pieces but t his one  is definitely worth a look! four paws.

Vivien Chien
Noodle Shop Mysteries
St. Martin's Paperbacks
August 25, 2020
Five stars

Is life at the Ho-Lee Noodle House becoming too hot to handle?

Lana Lee’s plate is already plenty full. Running her family’s Chinese restaurant in Cleveland’s Asia Village is challenging on the best of days. But just when Lana thinks she might be able to catch her breath before the weekend―which she’s eager to spend with her equally overworked boyfriend, Detective Adam Trudeau―Lana witnesses a car accident in the parking lot. And now she has no choice but to get involved.

June Yi, of Yi’s Tea and Bakery, is a serious businesswoman well-known for her heartlessness. But June meets her match when she rear-ends the Cadillac belonging to Mah Jong lover Mildred “Millie” Mao. As each woman curses―and threatens―the other, it becomes clear to Lana that trouble lies ahead. Still, who could have imagined that Millie would end up dead at the beauty salon? The evidence suggests that she was electrocuted while having a foot bath, and all eyes are on June. Can Lana find a way to solve this case before another fatality occurs in Asia Village?

We love Chinese food and we love this series!  Lana Lee is sassy and nosy, just the type of person you'd want investigating a murder!  Can't wait for the next one, and we wish Vivien Chien all the best.  Five Paws.

Alison Brooke
Haunted Library Mystery
Crooked Lane; Hardcover
September 8, 2020
Four stars

Daphne Marriott strolls into Clover Ridge and informs librarian Carrie Singleton that she's a psychic. But had she foreseen what fate awaited her, Daphne would have steered clear of the quaint Connecticut town. Evelyn, the library ghost, tells Carrie that there's more to Daphne than she lets on.

The mysterious woman grew up in Clover Ridge with her no-good dad, who apparently met his end at the hands of Daphne's brother, Billy. Still, Daphne proves a welcome distraction when Carrie's overbearing mother hits town. Mom's much younger husband, Tom, is in a movie that's lensing locally, and she's there to keep an eye on him: Tom's costar, sultry Ilana Reingold, is also his ex-fiancée, and there's no denying the chemistry is still there. Soon after mingling with the moviemakers at a meet-and-greet, Daphne is found dead.

Carrie and Evelyn investigate, assisted by bushy-tailed library cat Smoky Joe. But the suspect list could overflow the library shelves. Has Billy killed another relative? Is their long-missing mother involved? Or Daphne's mean ex-husband? Carrie's sure she knows who committed the crime, but can she bind together the clues before the culprit Dewey-decimates the town? Four paws!!!!

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Tuesday, September 1, 2020


tONI, the human here!

It's been a year since the release of THE TIME FOR MURDER IS MEOW, the first Pet Shop Mystery. Since KILLERS OF A FEATHER, Pet Shop #2, will be debuting from Beyond the Page Publishing in 2021, I thought I'd take this opportunity to refresh everyone's memories of Shell, Gary, and, of course, Purrday!

To save their pet shop, Shell and her two furry sidekicks must cat-ch a killer
Crishell "Shell" McMillan sees the cancellation of her TV series as a blessing in disguise. The former actress can now take over her late aunt's pet shop, the Purr N' Bark, and do something she loves.
While getting the shop ready for re-opening, Shell is asked to loan her aunt's Cary Grant posters to the local museum for an exhibit. She finds the prospect exciting―until a museum board member, who had a long-standing feud with Shell's aunt, votes against it. When she discovers the board member dead in the museum, Shell becomes suspect number one. Can she, her Siamese cat Kahlua, and her new sidekick―her aunt's Persian Purrday―find the real culprit, or will her latest career go up in kitty litter?
"[A] buoyant start to a new series ... Fans of feline mysteries will relish The Time for Murder is Meow's pet shop framework in this story of finding one's second act."―Foreword Reviews
"[An] entertaining series debut. ... Feline-loving cozy fans will be satisfied"―Publishers Weekly

Shell McMillan is busy making plans for the grand re-opening of her Aunts Pet Shop, the Purr N Bark, and getting more frustrated by the minute.  Not only has the band she hired bugged out on her, but the fortune telling parrot that she hired has flown the coop – literally.  Seems the bird flew off when his cage was being cleaned.  Fortunately her ex co-star, Gary Presser, has found a substitute parrot.  And fortune seems to smile on her when a man wanders into her store and turns out to have a lovely singing voice.  Shell hires him on the spot, but later regrets her actions when she learns that the man is Johnny Draco, an investment counselor who left town years ago after swindling several people out of a good deal of money, one of them being Shell’s pal Rita.
The day of the grand opening Shell sees Rita arguing with Johnny in the town square.  Later on, the parrot tells Draco’s fortune.  He pulls out a card that has the Ace of Spades on it and one word - BEWARE.  Draco scoffs at it, calling the parrot a fake, and  leaves.  Later on, Shell and her cats, Purrday and Kahlua end up finding Johnny’s dead body.
With Rita and her husband the prime suspects, and both without alibis, Shell knows she has to work double time to convince her crush, Detective Josh Bloodgood, of their innocence.   As the evidence mounts up against Rita, Shell, along with Purrday and Kahlua, delve into Johnny’s past in an attempt to clear her friend-and expose a murderer before someone else suffers a similar fate.

Watch for details of release date here and on my website, www.tclotempio.net

Friday, August 21, 2020


Meow!  Today I'd like to shine a spotlight on Simon Lelic's new thriller, SEARCH PARTY!

Hailed as Kafka meets Orwell (The Herald Scotland), award-winning author Simon Lelic does not shy away from creating twisty, chilling plots. He hooks readers in from the first page, not letting them go until the end. Known for his intricate, powerful, and deeply unsettling crimes and characters, Lelic is back to keep us guessing in THE SEARCH PARTY.

Like his previous highly-praised novel The New Neighbors (2018), which was called an “intense ride” (Publishers Weekly), “a bundle of creepy chills” (The Observer), and “simply ingenious” (BookReporter.com), THE SEARCH PARTY is a masterpiece of tension and a brilliant, frightening look into the core of human relationships.

From the book cover:

A twisty, electrifying new thriller from the author of The New Neighbors and The Liar's Room...

The entire town thinks sixteen-year-old Sadie Saunders is dead. Missing now for a week, they say she was murdered. And they think they know who did it.

Sadie's five best friends aren’t so sure, and they vow to find out the truth. So they pack their bags and head into the woods where Sadie was last seen.

But they’re not just friends, they’re suspects. And each of them has a secret.

As the landscape opens up, and the darkness closes in, the reality of their situation becomes clear…

This was never really a search party.
It’s a witch hunt.

And not everyone will make it home alive.

Editorial Reviews


"Clever and atmospheric, with shades of Stand By Me."—Mark Edwards, author of Here To Stay

"A brilliantly tense tale of teenage frustration, lost souls, and sibling love, with an atmosphere as tense as the end of summer storm that threatens throughout the book. Plus a whirlwind of an ending that's like riding a rollercoaster."—Araminta Hall, author of Our Kind of Cruelty

"I've spent every free moment of the last few days feasting on The Search Party...a bloody good read and the very definition of unpredictable. Twisty, creepy, brilliantly paced, and with a denouement I never saw coming."—John Marrs, author of The One

"A chillingly complex, well-crafted web. The voices cry out from Simon Lelic's pages as if they are standing right next to you."—Jane Corry, author of I Looked Away