Saturday, January 26, 2019

ROCCO reviews the latest Haunted Guesthouse!

EJ Copperman is back with the tenth installment of his popular Haunted Guesthouse mystery series!

Crooked Lane Books
January 8, 2019
four and one half paws

Innkeeper Alison Kerby is determined to keep her mind, body, and soul focused on bringing high-spirited hospitality to her lodgers at the Haunted Guesthouse. She simply has no time for any more murder investigations, no matter what Paul Harrison, her resident ghost detective, says. Until workers unearth a 1977 Lincoln Continental buried in the sand behind Alison’s guesthouse—and they discover a skeleton still belted in behind the steering wheel. 

Paul, of course, is on the cold case—to the extent that a ghostly gumshoe can be—but Alison is still determined not to do the incorporeal investigator’s legwork. Not this time. But her new husband Josh is intrigued, and he offers to help Paul poke into the case of the cold Continental. Uh-oh…has Josh caught the investigation bug? It’s a harsh wake-up call for a harried businesswoman who’d thought she’d told the detective life to hit the road. 

What can go wrong? How about everything? Copperman, as usual, spins an excellent tale of mystery balanced with his own special brand of humor.  highly recommended.  Four and 1/2 paws!!!

Saturday, January 12, 2019

ROCCO welcomes guest blogger Debra H. Goldstein

Being a Thief Benefits My Writing by Debra H. Goldstein

I am a thief. On a regular basis, I steal characteristics, mannerisms, physical traits and even anecdotes from people I meet or observe.

What do I do with my loot? It’s worthless on the resale market. Without even asking, I know no fence will touch my haul. My options are limited. Either I can hide my stash in my brain for future use or immediately incorporate parts of it into my present work in progress. I’ve used both methods.

In One Taste Too Many, the first of Kensington’s Sarah Blair cozy mystery series, RahRah, a Siamese cat, is an important character. For readers to enjoy RahRah, there had to be more description than “the cat purred,” but I didn’t know how Siamese cats behave. There was only one solution – steal cat data from a friend who has a beautiful Siamese cat. She thought I was doing simple research, but during the two hours I spent with her, she anecdotally described her cat’s normal and quirky behaviors, physical look, and toys. I walked away with a gold mine of information. Almost all of it found its way into One Taste Too Many to make RahRah a well- rounded and realistic character. Even better, from the way I described the beauty and coloring of her cat, the Kensington artist, who designed the book’s cover, caught her cat’s appearance for perpetuity.

The information gained was immediately incorporated into One Taste Too Many. That wasn’t the case with my 2018 Anthony and Agatha short story finalist “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place,” (Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine May/June 2017). In that story, I used information pulled from the stockpiles in my brain.

Set in the civil rights era in Birmingham, Alabama, Ms. Dixie’s place is a house where the sheets are changed more than once a night. The story includes the death, in one of the bedrooms, of a politician who campaigned against the red-light district, but frequented it. To write the story, I used what I know from living in Birmingham but the street with the brothel is modeled after one I observed in the 1970’s in Atlanta, Georgia. At that time, every local politician embraced cleaning up the red-light district, but many were well known to be visitors to the street’s adult stores and brothels. A third part of the story pulled from the recesses of memory was its most colorful character, Ms. Dixie. She is a composite of two people I met at different times in my life coupled with the flavor of Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With the Wind’s Belle Watling.

In order to be able to have enough memory and current observation material to bring my writing realistically to life, I have no choice. I must steal from the minds and experiences of others. What about you? Do you expand your writing with bits and pieces of other people’s lives? Do you like it when an author adds extra details?

Judge Debra H. Goldstein is the author of One Taste Too Many, the first of Kensington’s new Sarah Blair cozy mystery series. She also wrote Should Have Played Poker and 2012 IPPY Award winning Maze in Blue. Her short stories, including Anthony and Agatha nominated “The Night They Burned Ms. Dixie’s Place,” have appeared in numerous periodicals and anthologies including Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazine, Black Cat Mystery Magazine, and Mystery Weekly. Debra is president of Sisters in Crime’s Guppy Chapter, serves on SinC’s national board, and is president of the Southeast Chapter of Mystery Writers of America. Find out more about Debra at .

One Taste Too Many Buylinks:

 Thanks Debra!
Debra will give away either a print or an e-copy of ONE TASTE TOO MANY to one lucky commenter!  Just leave your name and email address in our comments section. winner will be chosen by random. org on January 25th.  Foreign entries are accepted, but winner will receive e-book ONLY.

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!! ROCCO goes to the dogs! (With his review of a new mystery)


I just finished reading an advance copy of a new book that debuts on January 8 and wanted to share it with you!

The name of the book is IN DOG WE TRUST.  Yeah, I know, it's not the type of book a cool cat like  myself would usually read, but this was too good to pass up!


Here's a brief synopsis:

When Jocelyn Hillier is named legal guardian for the late Mr. Allardyce’s pack of pedigreed Labrador retrievers, her world is flipped upside down. She’s spent her entire life toiling in the tourism industry in Black Dog Bay and never expected to be living the pampered life of a seasonal resident in an ocean side mansion, complete with a generous stipend. But her new role isn’t without its challenges: The dogs (although lovable) are more high-maintenance than any Hollywood diva, the man she wants to marry breaks her heart, and she’s confronted at every turn by her late benefactor’s estranged son, Liam, who thinks he’s entitled to the inheritance left to the dogs.

Jocelyn has worked too hard to back down without a fight, and she’s determined to keep her new fur family together. As she strives to uphold the “Best in Show” standards her pack requires, Jocelyn finds love, family, and forgiveness in the most unexpected places.

This book is the fifth in a series called the "Black Dog Bay' series.  It's the first one Ive read, but  now I want to read the rest, meow!  Throughout this novel, many of the characters face the question: Your money or your life?  Some of them make very interesting choices.  It got me to wondering how my life would change if i inherited millions of dollars. Wel, first thing I'd invest in a catnip factory. The rest I'd probably leave up to the human!

All in all, I found this a very enjoyable read.  Four and half paws!!!!!!

To learn more about the author, Beth Kendrick, visit
also: books


To enter,just leave your name and email address in our comments section!  Either Maxx or wlll plick the lucky winner!  US entries only please. Contest ends Jan 14.