Tuesday, October 12, 2021

ROCCO reviews TWISTED TEA CHRISTMAS by Laura Childs

 





TWISTED TEA CHRISTMAS
A TEA SHOP MYSTERY
LAURA CHILDS
HARDCOVER/PENGUIN/BERKLEY/10-5-21
FIVE STARS



Tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier, Drayton Conneley, are catering a Victorian Christmas party at a swanky mansion in downtown Charleston. Drucilla Heyward, the hostess, is one of the wealthiest women in town.


As the champagne flows and the tea steeps, Drucilla is so pleased with the reception by her partygoers that she reveals her secret plan to Theodosia. The Grande Dame has brought the cream of Charleston society together to reveal that she is planning to give her wealth away to various charitable organizations. However, before she can make the announcement, Theodosia finds her crumpled unconscious in the hallway. It looks like the excitement has gotten to the elderly woman--except that there is a syringe sticking out of her neck.

Once again Theodosia Browning and her 'posse', Drayton and Haley, are on the job!  Theo attacks the case with her usual aplomb. Drayton seems like an unwilling helper at times, but we all know deep down he loves to help Theo with her sleuthing!  Theodosia's latest  beaux, Detective Riley, is pretty much absent in this one, but never fear!  Theodosia has Bert Tidwell front and center to keep her on her toes! (and I confess, I've missed Tidwell)   Not certain how much longer that romance between Theo and Riley will go on, though, because he doesn't seem very supportive of her sleuthing! Time will tell.  Longtime fans will not be disappointed and new readers can pick this adventure up without having read any previous, but we highly recommend you do so!  Five paws!!!!!!!


GIVEAWAY!

Laura will give away a signed copy of TWISTED TEA CHRISTMAS to one lucky commenter!  To enter, leave your name and email address in our comments section, along with 'what's your favorite holiday?.  ROCCO's brother Maxx will select one winner at random.  US entries only please. Contest ends mdnight, October 17.

Friday, October 8, 2021

ROCCO's October Cozy Reviews!

Merow, here are my October cozies!


We'll start off with a brief look at a favorite. We'll take a closer look at this one in a separate post next week!


TWISTED TEA CHRISTMAS

A TEA SHOP MYSTERY

LAURA CHILDS

HARDCOVER/BERKLEY PRIME CRIME/OCTOBER 5

FIVE STARS


An attack on the host of a fancy tea party sends Theodosia Browning looking for answers in the latest entry in the New York Times bestselling series.

Tea maven Theodosia Browning and her tea sommelier, Drayton Conneley, are catering a Victorian Christmas party at a swanky mansion in downtown Charleston. Drucilla Heyward, the hostess, is one of the wealthiest women in town.

As the champagne flows and the tea steeps, Drucilla is so pleased with the reception by her partygoers that she reveals her secret plan to Theodosia. The Grande Dame has brought the cream of Charleston society together to reveal that she is planning to give her wealth away to various charitable organizations. However, before she can make the announcement, Theodosia finds her crumpled unconscious in the hallway. It looks like the


excitement has gotten to the elderly woman--except that there is a syringe sticking out of her neck.




NO MEMES OF ESCAPE

OLIVIA BLACKE

A Brooklyn Murder Mystery

Trade PB; Berkley; October 5th

Four Paws



Amateur sleuth Odessa Dean is about to discover the only thing harder than finding her way out of an escape room is finding an affordable apartment in Brooklyn in this sequel to Killer Content.

Odessa Dean has made a home of Brooklyn. She has a fun job waiting tables at Untapped Books & Café and a new friend, Izzy, to explore the city with. When she's invited on a girls' day out escape room adventure, she jumps at the chance. It's all fun and games until the lights come on and they discover one of the girls bludgeoned to death...

The only possible suspects are Odessa and the four other players that were locked in the escape room with the victim. She refuses to believe that one of them is responsible for the murder, despite what the clues indicate. In between shifts at the café, Odessa splits her time interviewing the murder suspects, updating the bookstore's social media accounts, and searching for the impossible--an affordable apartment in Brooklyn.

But crime--and criminally high rent--waits for no woman. Can Odessa clear her and Izzy’s names before the police decide they're guilty?

A good follow up to the first in the series.  We are curious to see if Odessa finds that apartment!!!!  four paws.


MULLED TO DEATH

KATE LANSING

COLORADO WINE MYSTERY

MMPB/BERKLEY/OCTOBER 5

FOUR AND A HALF PAWS


When Parker Valentine decides to take a weekend getaway with her boyfriend Reid, a ski trip seems like the perfect choice. Between hitting the slopes and persuading the resort's wine director to sell her mulled wine, Parker is eager to mix business with pleasure. But her plans are muddled when she finds the resort owner's body on a treacherous portion of ski trail near the resort.

As a result, not only is Parker's romantic weekend thrown into chaos, but now that the owner has died, her business deal is due for a frosty reception, and her life might be in danger as well. After a series of unfortunate mishaps befall Parker, she realizes that whoever killed the resort owner might want to tie up loose ends. Parker's going to need all of the investigative skills at her disposal to catch a killer before they put her on ice.


An interesting plot and a spunky heroine. Who could ask for more?  Except maybe more books LOL.  4 1/2 paws.


IN THE COMPANY OF WITCHES

AURALEE WALLACE

AN EVANFALL WITCHES B&B MYSTERY

MMPB/BERKLEY/OCT 5 2021

FOUR PAWS



For four hundred years, the Warren witches have used their magic to quietly help the citizens of the sleepy New England town of Evenfall thrive. There's never been a problem they couldn't handle. But then Constance Graves--a local known for being argumentative and demanding--dies while staying at the bed and breakfast Brynn Warren maintains with her aunts. At first, it seems like an accident...but it soon becomes clear that there's something more sinister at work, and Aunt Nora is shaping up to be the prime suspect.

There's nothing Brynn wants more than to prove Nora's innocence, and it hurts her to know that even two years ago that might have been easier. Brynn, after all, is a witch of the dead--a witch who can commune with ghosts. Ghosts never remember much about their deaths, but Constance might remember something about her life that would help crack the case. But Brynn hasn't used her powers since her husband died, and isn't even sure she still can. Brynn will just have to hope that her aunts' magic and her own investigative skills will lead her to answers--and maybe back to the gift she once thought herself ready to give up forever.

A good start to what looks like an interesting series. Then again, we've always been a sucker for the supernatural, witches in particular!  Four paws! 


GOD REST YE, ROYAL GENTLEMEN

Royal Spyness Mystery

Rhys Bowen

HC/Berkley/Oct 5, 2021

Four Paws!



Georgie is excited for her first Christmas as a married woman in her lovely new home. She suggests to her dashing husband, Darcy, that they have a little house party, but when Darcy receives a letter from his aunt Ermintrude, there is an abrupt change in plans. She has moved to a house on the edge of the Sandringham estate, near the royal family, and wants to invite Darcy and his new bride for Christmas. Aunt Ermintrude hints that the queen would like Georgie nearby. Georgie had not known that Aunt Ermintrude was a former lady-in-waiting and close confidante of her royal highness. The letter is therefore almost a royal request, so Georgie, Darcy, and their Christmas guests: Mummy, Grandad, Fig, and Binky all head to Sandringham.

Georgie soon learns that the notorious Mrs. Simpson, mistress to the Prince of Wales, will also be in attendance. It is now crystal clear to Georgie that the Queen expects her to do a bit of spying. There is tension in the air from the get-go, and when Georgie pays a visit to the queen, she learns that there is more to her request than just some simple eavesdropping. There have been a couple of strange accidents at the estate recently. Two gentlemen of the royal household have died in mysterious circumstances and another has been shot by mistake during a hunt. Georgie begins to suspect that a member of the royal family is the real target but her investigation will put her new husband and love of her life, Darcy, in the crosshairs of a killer.


Fans of this long running series will not be disappointed as Georgie puts on her sleuthing cap again!  We admit we are not fond of period mysteries but this one is an exception. Four paws.


Tuesday, October 5, 2021

ROCCO reviews E. J. Copperman's latest Jersey Girl Mystery!

T. C. Here!


Seven years ago this December, the first Nick and Nora mystery debuted and I had my very first author appearance at a Barnes and Noble a week later.  It was a joint appearance with another author...E.J.Copperman, aka Jeff Cohen. Believe me, I could not have gotten through that without Jeff's help, and I will be forever grateful to him.

It doens't hurt, either, that I was a fan of Jeff's writing long before I met him.  I was introduced to his Comedy Tonight mysteries by a friend of  mine after Jeff made an appearance at their book club.  Jeff (and E.J.) write their mysteries with suspense and just the right splash of humor...trust  me, there have been many times when I've pounded my keyboard and wished I were half as talented!

Jeff/EJ now has another excellent series out - the Jersey Girl Legal mysteries.  Book one was fantastic, and book two debuts today!

Here's the synopsis from Amazon:


JUDGEMENT AT SANTA MONICA

E. J. COPPERMAN

A JERSEY GIRL LEGAL MYSTERY

FIVE STARS


The last person family lawyer Sandy Moss expects to walk into her courtroom, right in the middle of a trial, is TV star Patrick McNabb: prime suspect in her first (and she hopes, last) murder case.

Sandy knows what Patrick’s like. Friendly, overconfident, dazzlingly handsome . . . and a well-meaning menace. But his request seems harmless enough. His dear friend Cynthia is getting divorced, and he thinks Sandy’s perfect for the job. She accepts – because he’s Patrick and there is no denying him.

But of course it’s not that simple. Soon Sandy’s tangled up in yet another murder – and Patrick, who’s currently playing a private detective on TV, believes he’s essential to solving the whole thing . . .


I did not think that EJ could surpass Book #1 Inherit the Shoes, but guess what!  He has!  Very memorable characters, particularly Sandy Moss and of course, Patrick.  I can't wait to see what other trouble EJ has planned for them to get into!  A resounding five stars (we'd give it ten if we could).  Pick up your copy today!   

Friday, September 10, 2021

ROCCO's September Cozy Reviews!

 Meow!


It's time for September cozies!!!!

First up:

DEADLY SUMMER NIGHTS

A Catskill Resort Mystery

Vicki Delany

Berkley; MMPB; Release Date9/7/21

4 1/2 stars


A summer of fun at a Catskills resort comes to an abrupt end when a guest is found murdered, in this new 1950s set mystery series.
 
It’s the summer of 1953, and Elizabeth Grady is settling into Haggerman’s Catskills Resort. As a vacation getaway, Haggerman’s is ideal, and although Elizabeth’s ostentatious but well-meaning mother is new to running the resort, Elizabeth is eager to help her organize the guests and the entertainment acts. But Elizabeth will have to resort to untested abilities if she wants to save her mother’s business.


When a reclusive guest is found dead in a lake on the grounds, and a copy of The Communist Manifesto is found in his cabin, the local police chief is convinced that the man was a Russian spy. But Elizabeth isn’t so sure, and with the fate of the resort hanging in the balance, she’ll need to dodge red herrings, withstand the Red Scare, and catch a killer red-handed.

Looks like an interesting start to a new series by Vicki Delany (author of the Sherlock Holmes Bookshop series).  It's set in the 1950's, which is unusual.  Will be interesting to see where this goes.  Solid plot, as per usual with Delany's writing.  four and a half paws!


THE CHUCKLING FINGERS

MABEL SEELEY

BERKLEY; TRADE PAPERBACK; 9/7/21

FOUR PAWS


An urgent note from a friend spurs Ann Gay to visit her recently married cousin, Jacqueline Heaton. Upon her arrival at Fiddler's Fingers, a remote, pine-grown estate on Lake Superior, Ann immediately senses her cousin's fear—someone has been playing increasingly malicious tricks on the Heatons, a proud family of Minnesota lumber tycoons, and worse yet, they seem determined to frame Jacqueline.
 
Ann quickly resolves to take Jacqueline and her young daughter, Toby, away from the danger. But what began as seemingly trivial pranks—ruined clothes, a burnt bed, a smashed boat—escalates to direct attacks and ultimately murder. Dangerous waters crash against the finger-like rocks on the lakeshore, making a sound like a guttural chuckle, one that seems to mock the murder that took place there—but no one is laughing when everyone on the estate becomes a suspect. Potential motives are revealed as Ann learns more about the Heaton family, and with no chance of anyone leaving Fiddler's Fingers until the killer is caught, Ann realizes that the only way to prove her cousin's innocence is by snaring the murderer herself.
 
The trap is set; with herself as bait, Ann's door creaks open in the night as a cloaked figure moves silently toward her bed....

Another period mystery, this one reminiscent of those old William Castle noir thrillers.  Who wouldn't be interested in finding out what makes fingers chuckle?  A solid four paws.


HOOKED ON A FELINE
MAGICAL CATS #13
SOFIE KELLY
BERKLEY; HARDCOVER 9/7/21
FIVE PAWS




It's Summer in Mayville Heights, and Kathleen Paulson and her detective boyfriend Marcus, are eager to attend the closing concert of the local music festival. The concert is a success, but then one of the band members is discovered dead shortly after it. At first it’s assumed the death is a robbery gone wrong, but Kathleen suspects foul play—and she’s certain that she, along with her trusty side-cats, Owen and Hercules, can help solve the murder.

Before his death, Kathleen had noticed the victim in the library researching his genealogy, and when she and Marcus take a closer look at the man's family tree, they begin to think a previous death of one of his relatives now seems suspicious. The more Kathleen thinks about it, the more this murder feels like it could be an encore performance. Kathleen and her cats will need to act fast and be very careful if they want to stay off of a killer's hit list.

We love, love, love this series and number 13 still does not disappoint.  We love Kathleen and the antics of both her magical cats...and the mystery isnt bad either!  Five Paws


DEATH OF A RED HOT RANCHER
A LOVE IS MURDER MYSTERY
BERKLEY; MMPB; 9/7/21
MIMI GRANGER
4 1/2 PAWS


Love meets murder in this new cozy mystery series set in a quirky romance bookstore, with a heroine to die for.

Lizzie Hale may be the lucky owner of a successful romance bookshop, Love Under the Covers, but she's decidedly un-lucky in love. Though she's read almost every famous romance novelist, from Jane Austen to Nora Roberts, none have helped her figure out how to get—and keep—a man.

But Lizzie has bigger problems to worry about. Like murder.


When Brody Pierce, swoon-worthy ranch owner and resident bachelor, is found stabbed through the chest, hearts were heard breaking all over idyllic Tinker's Creek. But when Lizzie's aunt is implicated in the murder, she's determined to clear her name. Lizzie quickly realizes that Brody was a hunk with many hidden

secrets, and she's soon leafing through a stack of suspects longer than Brody's list of lovers.


With the killer still on the loose, Lizzie will have to find the truth before this act of passion ignites a fire she can't put out.

Points for the different premise; cozy meets rom-com.  Another promising first entry that we will be watching!  four and a half paws.


CLAWS FOR ALARM
A CAT CAFE MYSTERY
CATE CONTE
ST. MARTIN'S MMPB
FOUR STARS




Maddie James has finally given in to her friend Katrina’s pleas to open up her cat cafe to more than ten felines: they’re now up to fifteen purring friends. In fact, JJ’s House of Purrs is making such a splash that she’s getting national attention. The East Coast Animal Rescue League is quite interested in the cafe, and so Maddie accepts a request to meet with Jillian Allen, the executive director. Jillian shows up at the cafe and asks Maddie if they can partner on a fundraiser to support the local rescue efforts―and she offers up her celebrity endorser and her celebrity cat to sweeten the deal. Maddie, caught up in the prospect, offers up her sister Val to help plan the event.

But when Val shows up for a site visit at the venue, she finds Jillian strangled with a fancy cat leash―a piece of swag they were intending to use for the fundraiser―leaving Maddie with a lot of questions to answer. Was her death a tragic one-off event, or is there something more sinister going on? Maddie has to figure it out fast, before anyone else in the rescue community is jeopardized.

Have always been a JJ fan!  Good solid cozy. (Even if they did borrow my Nick and Nora title LOL.  No copyright on titles!!!!!!)  This was a july release from St. MArtin's and we are reviewing it because we feel it's worth a look!  Better late than never LOL.


Want to win one of ROCCO's review copies? Leave your  name and email address in our comments section.  One winner will be selected at random.  US entries only please!  Ends midnight, 9/30/21

Saturday, August 21, 2021

ROCCO'S August Cozy Reviews!!!!!!!

Meow, here are my cozy reviews for August!

All cozies here are published by Berkley.


MURDER ALWAYS BARKS TWICE

A chatty corgi mystery

Jennifer Hawkins

MMPB - Aug 3, 2021

ROCCO's rating: Four paws



A charming tea room owner and her excitable talking corgi will need to work together to bring a killer to heel in this delightful cozy mystery. 

For ex-accountant Emma Reed and her beloved corgi, Oliver, opening Reed’s Classic Tea & Cakes in the idyllic village of Trevena in Cornwall has been the fulfillment of a lifelong dream.  Her cakes are popular, she has a host of wonderful new friends, and even a potential new romance.  There’s even time left over for plenty of long country walks with Oliver, who is not only the cutest corgi on record (at least to Emma), he happens to talk (at least to Emma).  What could be better?   

How about being asked to help cater the local Daphne DuMaurier literary festival?   

But when the festival organizer is found dead and foul play is suspected, Emma, Oliver and their friends are plunged deep into a poisonous mix of village jealousy, family tension, money troubles, and secret love affairs.  Emma quickly realizes it’s up to her and her intrepid corgi to discover a canny killer whose bite is worse than their bark.


Number two in a promising series.  Speaking for myself, I'm glad that now Berkley publishes cozies featuring animals that talk LOL.   Four paws!


THE CHOCOLATE RACCOON RIGAMOROLE

A Chocoholic Mystery

JoAnn Carl

HC - Sale date 8/3/21

ROCCO's Rating:  4 1/2 paws




In this eighteenth mystery in the national bestselling Chocoholic series, a gang of crooks with a wicked sweet tooth wreaks havoc on the resort town of Warner Pier, and it's up to Lee Woodyard to rout the hungry rascals.

A frantic late-night phone call from her right-hand woman Dolly Jolly brings Lee Woodyard to the scene of a break-in at the Warner Pier jewelry store next door to TenHuis Chocolade. To her shock, the suspect being held at gunpoint by police is Dolly's boyfriend, Mike Westerly, who was recently hired as a night watchman specifically to prevent break-ins. Dolly hopes Lee can help straighten out the crazy misunderstanding.
 
Even crazier? The thieves took nothing of value from the jewelry store, only swiping some snacks. It's another in a series of break-ins by burglars the media has dubbed the Cookie Monsters. They've been hitting shops selling everything from sunglasses to shoes but stealing only sweets: lollipops, cookies, even chewing gum!
 
It all seems pretty funny--until the discovery of a dead body. With her friends and community in danger, Lee must stop one very sour killer before someone else comes to a bitter end.

Another long time series that never seems to run out of steam. Then again, who can resist a mystery featuring chocolate??????  four and a half paws



DEATH IN CASTLE DARK

Dinner and a Murder Mysteries

VERONICA BOND

MMPB - Sale date:  8/3/21


Actress Nora Blake finds her dream job when she is cast in a murder-mystery troupe that performs in an imposing but captivating old castle. When she stumbles upon a real murder, things take a nightmarish turn in this first book in an exciting new series.

Maybe it was too good to be true, but when Nora Blake accepted the job from Derek Corby, proprietor of Castle Dark, she could not see any downsides. She would sink her acting chops into the troupe’s intricately staged murder-mystery shows, earn free room and board in the fairy tale–like castle, and make friends with her new roommates, which include some seriously adorable kittens.

But something sinister lurks behind the walls of Castle Dark. During Nora’s second performance, one of her castmates plays the part of the victim a little too well. So well, in fact, that no one can revive him. He has been murdered. Not ready to give up her dream gig—or to be the next victim—Nora sets out to see which one of her fellow actors has taken the role of a murderous real-life villain.

I admit, the premise of this series intrigued me.  I've always loved a good mystery dinner theatre. and I'm sufficiently intrigued to see where the author will take the series next.  Four and a half paws!!!!!!!!


An old favorite rounds out this  month's entries from Berkley Prime Crime.....

WHAT THE CAT DRAGGED IN

Cat in the Stacks Mystery

Miranda James

HC - Sale date 8/31/21


ROCCO's rating:  Five Paws, of course!!!!!!





Librarian Charlie Harris and his faithful feline companion, Diesel, have inherited Charlie’s grandfather’s house, along with a deadly legacy: a decades-old crime scene, in this all-new mystery in the New York Times bestselling Cat in the Stacks series.

Charlie has always believed that his grandfather had sold his house to his longtime tenant, Martin Hale. So when Martin dies, Charlie is surprised to discover the house was not left to Martin but instead belongs to Charlie. As he and Diesel check out the house he remembers fondly from his childhood, he is pleasantly surprised that it is in better condition than expected. That is, until they find a literal skeleton in a closet.

While the sheriff’s department investigates the mysterious remains, Charlie digs deeper into the past for clues to the identity of the bones and why they are there. But the cold case heats up quickly when Martin’s grandson is found dead on the farm.

As Charlie delves into his own family history, he encounters many people who might have been motivated to take a life. But Charlie and Diesel know that things are not always what they seem, and that secrets seemingly lost to time have a way of finding their way back to haunt the present.

We always enjoy the adventures of Charlie and Diesel and this is another series that gets better with age like a fine wine.  And dont' those covers just keep getting cuter!!!!!!!!!  As always, Miranda James crafts a fine mystery, but the real stars are Charlie and Diesel.  Five paws



Want to win one of ROCCO's review copies?  Just leave your  name and email address in our comments section below.  ROCCO and random.org will choose one winner on August 31st!  US entries only, please.

You must leave e-mail address to qualify for the drawing.  Good luck!

Wednesday, August 18, 2021

Spotlight- Lexie Elliott HOW TO KILL YOUR BEST FRIEND


SPOTLIGHT ON NEW RELEASE

HOW TO KILL YOUR BEST FRIEND

LEXIE ELLIOTT

BERKLEY; HARDCOVER

RELEASE DATE: 8/17/21




If you suspected your best friend, the person you were closest to in the whole world, was a murderer, what would you do? Would you confront her? Would you help keep her secret? Or would you begin to feel afraid? Most importantly, why don't you feel safe now that she's dead? From the author of The French Girl comes a novel full of secrets, suspense, and deadly twists.


Georgie, Lissa, and Bronwyn have been inseparable since dominating their college swim team; swimming has always been an escape from their own problems, but now their shared passion has turned deadly. How can it be true that Lissa, the strongest swimmer they know, drowned? Granted, there is something strange about Kanu Cove, where Lissa was last seen, swimming off the coast of the fabulous island resort she owned with her husband.

Lissa’s closest friends gather at the resort to honor her life, but Georgie and Bron can’t seem to stop looking over their shoulders. Danger lurks beneath the surface of the crystal-clear water, and even their luxurious private villas can’t help them feel safe. As the weather turns ominous, trapping the funeral guests together on the island, nobody knows who they can trust. Lissa’s death was only the beginning....


EDITORIAL REVIEWS:

“Elliott, author of the psychological thrillers The French Girl (2018) and The Missing Years (2019), outdoes herself here. Readers might feel like they need a notebook to keep track of the threads of the complex plot: who has a secret history with whom, who has been telling lies about what, who really knows what happened on the day Lissa disappeared? Revelation follows revelation, with the pace increasing as the mysteries pile up, leaving us genuinely shocked at the end. A rousing success.”―Booklist

Tuesday, August 17, 2021

Interview with Lexie Elliott, author of HOW TO KILL YOUR BEST FRIEND

A Conversation with Lexie Elliott, Author of HOW TO KILL YOUR BEST FRIEND

Tell us about HOW TO KILL YOUR BEST FRIEND! What inspired you to write this story?

HOW TO KILL YOUR BEST FRIEND is a psychological thriller, told through the eyes of Georgie and Bronwyn, who, together with Lissa, have been inseparable since dominating their college swim team. But Lissa, the strongest swimmer they know, has somehow drowned off the coast of the fabulous island resort she owned with her husband. Gathering together with Lissa’s closest friends on the island for her funeral, the two women find more questions than answers, and as the weather turns ominous, trapping them on the island, nobody knows who they can trust… The idea came to me whilst I was on holiday and I really liked the juxtaposition of the beautiful, sun-drenched setting with the inner darkness within the friendship group.

 

HOW TO KILL YOUR BEST FRIEND finds a group of college friends reunited in a tropical paradise to attend a memorial service. But it’s well known on the island that something sinister lurks beneath the blue waters. What made you choose this setting for the book? Is it based on a real place?

It is based (loosely) on a real island resort in Southeast Asia, but I won’t be spilling the beans on exactly where! The idea came to me whilst on holiday there; we were fortunate enough to be staying in a beautiful eco-resort, which was just heavenly, but it occurred to me that, despite the sunshine and the luxury, it could actually be quite terrifying if you were somehow stuck there, with the staff gradually melting away…

 

The story explores changing relationships between friends over time. What do you think is a key takeaway from the interactions in the book?

The characters all met when they were much younger, and much more careless and reckless—but time and circumstances have changed that, and they have to take responsibility now for their actions, both those in the present and those in the past.  To me, responsibility is really the key theme of the novel: both responsibility for oneself and to what extent one should take responsibility for friends and loved ones.

 

Each character in this novel has something to hide. Do you think everyone has secrets?

I’m not sure everybody has secrets of the magnitude of the characters within my novel, but I do think everyone has secrets—or at least, some part of them that they want to keep private. Nobody is an entirely open book; it’s part of human nature to present a curated facade. And that’s okay—the demands of society are such that we can’t display every little annoyance and irritation. Our curated facades allow us to have a civil, functioning relationship with the friend that we harbor some lingering resentment toward. Of course, in extreme cases, it might also allow us to consider killing that same friend!

 

Your two protagonists, Bronwyn and Georgie, are very different from each other. Do you relate to either character?

I relate to both, actually; more than that, I like them both very much. I think there’s a lot to like in both of them: Bronwyn is both a loving mother and a bright, practical woman who is trying to find some balance for herself now that family has overtaken career in her life, and Georgie is an extremely resilient young woman who has dragged herself out of desperate circumstances and is trying, in the face of all obstacles, to be a loyal friend.

 

Your characters are bonded by their love for swimming – tell us about your hobbies, and what you enjoy doing in your spare time?

Spare time—hah! There’s not a lot of that in my schedule! Exercise is important to me, though; I try to run most days, and I usually enter a marathon every year or so. Swimming has long been a passion of mine, both in the pool and in open water (I swam the English Channel solo in 2007), and I have a lovely group of like-minded friends with whom I used to go on swimming holidays, back in the days when travel was possible… As a family, we like to go on bike rides together and then snuggle up to watch a movie afterwards, and when we have the chance to travel again, anywhere with either surfing or skiing will be top of our list.

 

If HOW TO KILL YOUR BEST FRIEND became a movie, who would you cast as its main characters?

I always struggle with this question. The characters are exactly who they are in my mind, I can’t really think of them as anyone else—though I dare say if you gave me some suggestions, I’d have an opinion!

 

What are you working on next?

I’m working on my fourth novel, but it’s very early days and not fully formed in my head at present, so I can’t say too much about it for now. It will definitely be another psychological thriller, though.

 

 

Lexie Elliott, Photo © Nick James Photography