Sunday, March 18, 2018

ROCCO's March Cozy Review Roundup!

Hey Kiddies!  It's time for ROCCO's March cozy review roundup!

Starting with his top pick:

A Tea Shop Mystery
Penguin Random House
Laura Childs
On Sale: March 6, 2018

Theodosia Browning is back in her 19th adventure, along with Drayton, Hayley, and all your old favorites and some new ones too!

Timothy Neville's mansion is perfect for parade watching, and he hosts a party to do just that.  Everyone is shocked, though, when local banker Carson Lanier tumbles over the window walk railing, but tension rises when it's learned it was more than an accident - it was murder!  Theodosia (of course) finds a bolt form a crossbow and the incident is ruled a homicide.  While the police would prefer Theo mind her own business, Neville calls on her to help solve the case.  It's not long before Theo and her pal Drayton find a cast of characters who would have gladly seen the banker dead - but which one was actually crazy enough to kill?

Fun as usual watching Theo and Drayton weed through thier list of suspects.  Theo has her third (or is it fourth) romantic interest and i have to admit I like this guy the best! I also have to admit this is one of the prettier covers in the series!!!! Laura Childs, we'll keep reading as long as you keep writing! Five Paws!!!!!

A Coffeehouse Mystery
Penguin Random House
March 6, 2018
Cleo Coyle

From tea to coffee!  This popular series is another that never seems to run out of steam.  Claire and her NYPD detective boyfriend are all aglow after his marriage proposal, but the celebration of thier engagement is short lived.  First their celebration is interrupted by a letter bequeathing a hidden treasure to Claire's daughter; next the jeweler who designed Claire's ring is found poisoned in her shop.  Both events appear to be connected to a cold case murder involving a sunken ship, an Italian curse, a jewel thief and a family secret!

One of the  most engaging series out there. I haven't read them all but I fully intend to!  This one is a must read for die hard fans of the series!  Four and a half paws.

Linda Wiken
Penguin Random House
March 6, 2018
four and a half paws

The Culinary Capers Club is back in ful lswing, planning a fall picnic for their next meeting. But when Alison Malkovich opens the back of her SUV to load in picnic supplies, she finds the dead body of her ex-husband.  Alison gets suspended from the force pending investigation and it's up to JJ and the Culinary Capers gang to clear thier pal's name!

I liked the premise of a "dinner club" from the first book in the series and the third does not disappoint.  Fans both new and old will enjoy following along as JJ and her pals track down the clues to expose a killer!  Four and a half paws!

Dipped to Death
An Olive Grove Mystery
Kelly Lane
March 6, 2018
Four Paws

Eva Knox knows there's trouble afoot when her ex-boyfriend, Dudley Dexter Codman III, shows up for a bird watching holiday. And she's not wrong - Dudley's body is soon found drowned in a pond.  When authorities determine Dudley was poisoned by one of Eva's family's olive oils, she has to find the killer before someone in her family is framed for murder.

This was the first instalment of this series that I read, and I found it thoroughly enjoyable!  I would definitely recommend it for anyone who wants to curl up with a good cozy!  Four Paws!

Last but not least:

Now in paperback, the exciting new mystery from the New York Times bestselling author, in which China Bayles fears for her husband's life as an escaped convict targets him...

A killer McQuaid put away years ago has busted out of Huntsville Prison and appears to be headed for Pecan Springs. China wants to stay by her husband's side and keep him from harm, but McQuaid insists that she get out of town and go to the Last Chance Olive Ranch, where she's agreed to teach a workshop on herbs.

The owner, Maddie Haskell, has her own troubles. She inherited the ranch and olive oil business from the late matriarch, Eliza Butler, but Eliza's nephew is contesting the will. While China throws herself into helping Maddie, McQuaid's plan to stop the convict backfires. And now McQuaid's life is not the only one at stake--and this time may really be his last chance...

Another excellent entry in this long-running mystery series! Four paws!

Win ROCCO's review copy of DIPPED TO DEATH!

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Sunday, March 11, 2018

ROCCO salutes EJ Copperman (and Jeff Cohen, too!)


Way before the human got into writing cozies, she and I were a fan of a gentleman named Jeff Cohen.

Jeff is a native of the Garden State, New Jersey (where the human and I currently make our home...for now)  and has been writing for a living ever since graduating from Rutgers.  Jeff has had numerous articles published in such publications as Writer's Digest, TV Guide and Premiere (and the New York Times, too)

The human first became a fan with Jeff's Double Feature Mystery series.  Published by Berkley Prime Crime back in the day when they liked cozies, it began with SOME LIKE IT HOT-BUTTERED. 
The series follows the adventures of Elliot Freed and his all-comedy movie theater, Comedy Tonight. The other books in the series are IT HAPPENED ONE KNIFE and A NIGHT AT THE OPERATION.

And then there's Jeff's good friend, E.J.Copperman.

Some people say that Jeff and EJ are so close it's almost like talking to the same person!  Like Jeff, EJ writes mysteries.  His Haunted Guesthouse series, formerly published by Berkley and now by Crooked Lane, is immensely popular. 
It follows the adventues of Alison Kerby, a divorcee with a nine year old daughter who buys a huge Victorian on the Jersey shore to renovate into a guesthouse.  The house isn't empty, though. It's haunted by two spirits, Paul and Maxie, and after a conk on the head Alison is able to both see and talk to them.  Paul, a former PI, soon convinces Alison to go into that same business with him.  

EJ writes three other series as well.  The Mysterious Detective series, published by Crooked Lane, has an unusual premise. 
Rachel Goldman is a midlist crime fiction writer whose slightly odd protagonist Duffy Madison consults with the local prosecutor’s office on missing person cases. She’s just finishing up her latest novel in Written Off, the first in the series, when her phone rings. The caller is a man who says he needs her help: he’s a consultant for the local prosecutor’s office who specializes in missing person cases and a mystery novelist has gone missing. He wants Rachel to help. And he says his name is Duffy Madison.

The "Agent to the Paws" series from St. Martin's deals with a woman, Kay Powell, who's a theatrical four footed clients. 
She thinks she's got it made with her first client, a lovable dog...until his owner turns up dead in the dog's dish.  the book is titled, appropriately, DOG DISH OF DOOM.

E.J. collaborates with Jeff Cohen on the Asperger’s Mysteries from Midnight Ink, in which Samuel Hoenig opens a storefront in a strip mall and hangs a sign (with tape) in the window reading Questions Answered. A borderline genius who happens to have an Autism Spectrum Disorder, Samuel narrates his tales with a… unique perspective. In the opening novel, The Question of the Missing Head, Samuel and his new associate Janet Washburn are asked a simple question by the head of a New Jersey cryonics institute: “Who took one of our frozen heads?” And the game is afoot. Or ahead. Or something.
If you haven't tried either of these remarkable writers, I suggest you go out and pick up one of their books today!  You will not be disappointed.  Or, you could enter our giveaway!
Leave your name and email address below to win a copy of the latest HAUNTED GUESTHOUSE MYSTERY, THE HOSTESS WITH THE GHOSTESS!

Find Jeff and EJ at:

Sunday, March 4, 2018


Laura Childs, New York Times bestselling author
of Plum Tea Crazy, talks about toggling between
writing cozy mysteries and thrillers.

     Most of my readers know me as Laura Childs, author of three different cozy mystery series – the Tea Shop Mysteries, Scrapbooking Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. But under my “other” name of Gerry Schmitt, I also write the Afton Tangler Thriller series.

     As you can imagine, this double life presents a few writing problems. Cozy mysteries are a kinder, gentler form of mystery, what I often call G-rated, good for girls to grandmas. Thrillers on the other hand are basically no holds barred crazy action novels. As a thriller author, you can kill, pillage, and plunder your way through your entire story. Serial killers and mad bombers? No problem. Tea drinking? A problem. (Though perhaps Hannibal Lector enjoys a cup of English breakfast tea now and then.) So how, you might wonder, do I keep these two genres separate? I’ll share a secret with you – I kind of don’t.
     My cozy mysteries have evolved into a sort of hybrid, what I now call a “thrillzy.” This means my cozies are still based on traditional cozy guidelines (amateur sleuth, no gratuitous violence, etc.) but I’ve imbued them with the action and pace of a thriller. That is, scenes that include car chases, bodies tumbling in the surf, drones shooting down hot air balloons, rogue killers, alligators, haunted cemeteries, the supernatural, and even a food truck chase.
     My thrillers are even more action-packed. Big time shocker in the opening chapter, lots of plot twists with even more action, and a huge confrontational grand finale. But woven into my thrillers is a little bit of cozy sensibility. This means more in-depth characters, more emotional turmoil, and a point of view that also includes the bad guy. Instead of your flat out, cookie-cutter psychotic bad guy, I try to give them some much-needed emotional and psychological depth. So the crimes they commit actually seem rational to them. In other words, I portray their humanity – no matter how flawed that might be.
     So . . . women who serve tea residing cheek to jowl with crazed killers? Certainly not in the real world. But inside my computer, from whence the words all flow, they get along just fine.


Laura Childs is the USA Today and New York Times bestselling author of the Scrapbooking Mysteries, Tea Shop Mysteries, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. Recently, Book Riot named the Tea Shop Mysteries to their list of “25 of the All Time Best Cozy Mystery Series.” In her previous life Laura was CEO of her own marketing firm, authored several screenplays, and produced a reality TV show. She is married to Dr. Bob, a professor of Chinese art history, enjoys travel, and has two Chinese Shar-Pei dogs.

Thank you, Laura!

Laura's latest Tea Shop mystery, PLUM TEA CRAZY debuts this Tuesday March 6 ( Read my review next week in my cozy blog).  and isn't that a beautiful cover!!!!!!Laura will give away a copy of Plum Tea Crazy to one lucky commenter!

 To enter, leave a comment on this blog post with your name and email address (entries without email will be disqualified). For extra entries, you can do any or all of the below:

* Follow my blog (+ 1 point)
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Winner will be chosen at random using  Don’t forget to mention all you’ve done in your comment. Good luck!  Contest ends midnight, March 10!