Halloween Mysteries

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Halloween Party Murder (Juniper Holiday Cozy Mystery Book 1) by Leighann Dobbs

Everyone knows a Juniper Holiday Halloween party is to die for.

To get an invite is the most talked about topic in Crescent Cove. To experience the Holiday mansion in all its (supposedly) haunted glory is the stuff of legend. Of course, no one has actually seen a ghost in residence—but how could they when they’re having the time of their life?

As an eccentric with too much money and time on her hands, Juniper Holiday loves any excuse to throw a party, and with Halloween just around the corner, she’s in go mode. Everything is going splendidly—until her fake corpse prop ends up being a real body.

With her reputation hanging in the balance, can Juniper unmask the murderer before stuffy Detective Desmond Mallard cuffs the wrong perp, or will her next block party be in a prison block?

~~ Amazon ~~

Halloween at Pumpkin Hill (Inn Vermont Cozy Mysteries Book 7) by Thea Cambert


Sometimes truth is more mysterious than fiction.

It’s Halloween in Williamsbridge, Vermont, and the whole town is getting ready for the annual Spookfest celebration. With jack-o’-lanterns scattered all over Pumpkin Hill, the inn full of guests, and a cozy chill in the air, Eloise and Matthew are all set for a wonderful weekend. But spooky turns scary when they discover a body while judging the downtown decorating contest. And when what had appeared to be an accidental death turns out to be murder, El and Matthew will have to help track down the killer.

Brew a cup of hot tea or coffee, bake a batch of June’s apple dumplings (recipe included), and be transported to autumn in cozy Williamsbridge, Vermont.

~~ Amazon ~~


A Halloween Homicide (Holiday Cozy Mystery Book 3) by Tonya Kappes


It's spooky season in Holiday Junction and Halloweenie Festival is a hauntingly great time. Treats aren’t just sweet and delicious, sometimes they’re also deadly.

Holiday Junction really knows how to throw holiday festivals, and it goes all out for Halloween.

The holiday celebration includes a ghost walk of haunting tales, a hay ride, carnival games, pumpkin carvings and costume party.

Violet Rhinehammer has the perfect assignment—represent the Junction Journal by attending all the fun festive activities and reporting on them.

When Violet reluctantly goes on the ghost walk, she realizes the body that fell out of the fake casket is a real one and not a prop. She knows trouble is brewing. She puts on a sleuthing costume after someone she loves becomes Chief Strickland's number one suspect in order to catch the real monster.

~~ Amazon ~~


A Catered Halloween (A Mystery With Recipes Book 5) by Isis Crawford

With the promise of a hefty commission and some valuable word-of-mouth for their catering business, A Little Taste of Heaven, sisters Bernadette and Libby Simmons agree to cater the charity haunted house being staged at the old Peabody School. But when wealthy socialite Amethyst Applegate is found dead in the haunted house, Bernie and Libby wonder if a murderer might also be lurking about Peabody’s gloomy halls…

While almost everyone Amethyst ever met might have a motive for killing her, not everyone had access to the Peabody School. All Bernie and Libby know is if they don’t solve this mystery soon, they might become the next stars in a real-life horror flick…

~~ Amazon ~~

The Halloween Caper: A Tyler Tate Mystery (Tyler Tate Mysteries) by E. A. Allen

Tyler, Lindsey, and Sheman are looking forward to Halloween night—all the candy, the spooky decorations, and even old Mr. Tuttle with his crazy bulldog named Mavis.

But instead of trick-or-treating until dark, the kids find themselves running under the stars chasing ghostly villains who are clearly up to no good.

Will Tyler, Lindsey, and Sherman solve the mystery in time? Find out in this spooky Halloween Caper.

~~ Amazon ~~

Saturday Quote

This week's Saturday quote is from Dead in a Dumpster by B. L. Blair available on Amazon.

Kill Them With Canvas by Bailee Abbott


Paint by Murder Mystery #2

Cozy Mystery

Date Published: 10-11-2022

Publisher: Crooked Lane Books

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In Bailee Abbott’s second book in the Paint by Murder mysteries, Chloe and Izzie are taking their paint party business on the road—with murder as the first stop!

Chloe Abbington and her sister, Izzie, are enjoying huge success running Paint with a View, their paint party business in the tranquil western New York lakeside town of Whisper Cove. Now, their aunt Constance—president of the local chapter of the Chautauqua Sisterhood—has hooked them up with a gig hosting a Halloween painting party. The guests will be painting a local ghost legend, the Lady of Chautauqua Lake, who died a hundred years earlier and rises from the lake every October to haunt anyone who dares venture out on All Hallows’ Eve.

The event seems to be going off without a hitch, until Chloe overhears an argument between Constance and Viola Finnwinkle, the Sisterhood director, about the fate of the local chapter. Both women leave and the sisters finish their painting. But the next morning, Viola’s body is discovered floating face down near the town ferryboat dock, her long red hair spread around her. Eerily, the image is an exact replica of a painting Chloe and Izzie had discovered at the event the night before.

What’s more, the police find Constance’s purple knit hat lying on the ground near the crime scene. Constance pleads innocence, saying the hat mysteriously went missing during the event. Frantic that she might be charged with murder, she begs Chloe and Izzie to help her. The sisters believe their aunt is innocent, but if so, who’s the real killer—and when will the next victim turn up?

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Dusk soon turned to dark with the stars and moon casting a yellow glow. A few guests lingered to talk with friends. One or two helped Izzie and Willow carry chairs and easels back to the shop while I stayed behind to clean up. A burst of laughter echoed and filled the air but cut short when a piercing scream interrupted.

“Look! Out on the lake.” With her arm trembling, Rita Morgan pointed toward the water.

Everyone’s gaze, including mine, turned to face that way. I squinted to see in the dim light. A small fishing boat floated by and sitting inside was a figure in white.

“What the…” I gave my head a firm shake, blinked, and studied the image again.

“It must be the ghost of Abigail Bellows,” Rita screeched. “She’s come to warn us.”

“Warn us of what?” Izzie ran up behind me, out of breath. “I heard the scream. What’s going on?”

I pointed out at the lake. “That.”

“It’s her ghost, I tell you. The Lady of Chautauqua Lake is coming for one of us.” Rita covered her face and turned away. “I’m going home and locking my doors. You all should do the same.” With that, she ran across the lawn to the parking area, leaving her painting behind.

“Oh wow.” Izzie wrapped her arm around my shoulders. “Who would be mean enough to play such a prank?”

“Yeah, I wonder.” I hugged her close and forced my imagination to shut down. Pranks and superstitious beliefs like Rita’s would only add unwanted attention to the already creepy mood of the Halloween season.  


About the Author 

Bailee Abbott is a native Ohioan who spends her days plotting murder and writing mysteries. She's a member of Sisters in Crime as well as of International Thriller Writers. Bailee lives with her husband and furry friend Max in the quiet suburbs of Green, Ohio. Bailee also writes the Sierra Pines B&B mystery series under the name Kathryn Long.

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Chaos and Cranberries by Joann Keder

Chaos and Cranberries
Joann Keder
Publication date: November 1st 2022
Genres: Adult, Cozy Mystery

Paranormal investigator, Feather Jones and her boyfriend, Tug have arrived in picturesque Piney Falls for their Christmas getaway. To their dismay, they learn that their suite isn’t available because the last guest, author Dash Vixen, never checked out.

Dash was murdered when a copy of his own horror Christmas anthology was used to beat him to death.

Coming to their rescue is local sleuth, Lanie Anders, who invites them to spend the holiday with her and her husband. Unbeknownst to all of them, the murderer has bigger plans. Soon Lanie, Feather and their respective other halves are embroiled in a mystery that will stretch them both to their crime-solving limits!

This is a crossover book: Feather is a sleuth from the Charming Mysteries series and Lanie is a sleuth in the Piney Falls Mysteries.

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Vem stood uncomfortably close and read aloud:

Ivy Merrilee Globe was a prolific author, completing seventy-nine books in her twenty-six years of life. Her most recent, Snowily Severed, was a short story featured in the massively popular Christmas horror anthology, Strung by the Fire.

She recently signed a contract with Brain Gravy Pictures to turn her short story into a movie.

Driving home from physical therapy, she stopped for children crossing three blocks from her home, when her neighbor’s sleigh ornament slid off the roof of their home and through her car windshield, impaling her. Ivy herself couldn’t have written such a dramatic end.

Ivy leaves behind three brothers and a cat named Ice.

“She didn’t die on the twenty-second like the other two. Find the date of the Frosty attack, Lanie,” Vem urged.

I typed in the information and when the page came up, our mood was somber. “Ivy was attacked on the twenty-second by the Frosty wannabe. They intended to kill her that day, and when it didn’t work, they came back to finish the job.”

“Poor Ivy,” Vem lamented.

My phone rang and I jumped up to answer. Even though we’d been together for several years, I was always expecting his call.


“Mrs. Hill? This is the Tucson police department.”

Author Bio:

USA TODAY bestselling author, Joann Keder spent most of her years in the Midwest, growing up and raising a family on the Great Plains of Nebraska. She worked for sixteen years as a piano teacher before returning to school to receive a master's degree in creative writing. A mid-life move to the Pacific Northwest led her to re-examine her priorities. She now creates stories about life and relationships in small towns while her ever-patient husband encourages her on.

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Goldenrod for Gunman by C.R. Fulton

About the Book


When professional sharp shooter Sydney Smith is in Cincinnati for a gun show, a senator is killed by a sniper. Sydney is horrified to find herself the prime suspect, and it takes all her essential oils and the help of a mysterious man to keep her from being falsely imprisoned. With the evidence stacked against her, she must prove her innocence before the real clues are erased.


FLAME Sparks fly when Harper Wasden, a highly capable Navy Seal, makes his presence known. Can they repair a prior misunderstanding while they work on clearing her name? The stakes have never been higher, and it will take every last drop of peppermint oil and ingenuity to come out on top.

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Monday 7:00 A.M. March 28th.

For the top female sharp shooter in the U.S., getting a hotel key into the slot should be easy, but this morning, it eludes me. I’d very nearly been born on horseback, and ranching in Montana teaches you one thing, never give up. Maybe that’s the problem, I’ve been in the city to long. I reach into the hotel room, grab the bag I’d forgotten, and stack it on the others.

 “Ma’am.” I ignore the distant voice as the hotel luggage cart runs over my foot.

“Ouch.” I rub my forehead, my mouth feels like it’s stuffed with cotton balls, as I leave room 402. The grogginess is so foreign, I don’t know how to cope with it.

“Ma’am, excuse me.” I punch the elevator button a little too hard, my flight back to Atlanta leaves in three hours.

“Come on.” I mutter, ready to put Cincinnati behind me. Teaching at the gun show had been great, but I’m ready for my familiar apartment.

“Ma’am!” The voice is growing closer. My brain feels like mush as I look down the hall to find a bellhop running toward me. Is that my gun case he’s holding? I shift my bags on the cart, searching. Sure enough my case is absent. Sydney Smith you are slipping.

“You dropped this.” He says in a thick Hispanic accent.

“Oh, thank you. That’s one bag I wouldn’t want to lose.” I say, horrified at my thoughtlessness. I struggle against the disorientating feeling that’s gripped me since I woke up.

“Have a nice…” We both look up, searching the hallway, as a muffled pop interrupts his words. “Day.” He ends flatly, scowling down the hall. I’d say it was a gun, shot through a Ruger silencer. I push off the thought, probably be hearing gunshots in my sleep after working the B&E gun show all weekend.

“You too, thanks again.” I say as he heads off down the hall. The elevator dings and I step in, stomach rolling hard as the elevator drops. I pull out my phone, 7:04 March 28th. Just enough time to grab a caramel macchiato before my flight. Hope the caffeine will clear the unfamiliar pounding in my head.

I sigh, back to Atlanta and Brian. We’ve been dating for six months. I try to erase my frown. He’s no Harper Wasden that’s for sure. I sigh deeply, it’s an old argument I’ve had with myself a million times. Wasden’s not part of your life anymore, Brian is.

I trade my room key for a receipt and soon enough I’m inhaling the tantalizing scent of coffee and donuts. I stand in a long line of people, my travel bags taking up way too much space in the small shop. I set my gun case on the tips of my cowboy boots and pull my hoodie sleeves over my hands, longing for a hot cup.

I shake my head, struggling against the syrupy feeling in my muscles. When I have enough space, I’ll dig my peppermint essential oil out of my backpack, that will help. The television blinks as a serious faced reporter says, “breaking news this morning, Senator Doug Sullivan has been assassinated near the Roebling suspension bridge in Cincinnati Ohio.” I’d looked at the beautiful lights on that very bridge from my room last night.

My mouth hangs open as he continues. “Authorities have issued a warrant for Sydney Smith, the prime suspect in this case.” Time grinds to a halt as my concealed carry photo flashes on the screen. My shoulders shrink forward as the reporter continues.

 “Caucasian, 5’6” brown hair and eyes, she is presumed to be armed and dangerous. As a professional ammunition maker and a skilled marksman, the public should use utmost caution. Any sighting should be immediately reported to the FBI.” A link and phone number scroll across the screen.

“Republican Sen. Doug Sullivan age 65, died instantly when he was shot in his car as his driver was stopped at the foot of the bridge, due to an accident.” 

I stand still as stone watching the picture roll from the Senator’s kind face to a photo of me in a Carhart hoodie and boots taking aim at a target. My gun case is sitting on the same pair of boots, my favorite ones.

About the Author

C.R. Fulton travels the east coast in an RV with her husband, two kids, and two dogs, Atlantic and Ocean. She is also an essential oil lover, so marring oils with murder mystery writing seemed natural. She is the author of A Drop of Mystery, (a cozy mystery series with essential oils at their heart) The light of Andrea, a Robin Hood style action adventure series, and a spiritual thriller due in the 2021, and a best-selling kids series, The Campground kids. Acrylic painting fuels her writing creativity, homeschooling her children keeps her sharp, but Jesus is the center of it all.

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Saturday Quote

This week's Saturday quote is from The Navigator’s Daughter by Nancy Cole Silverman available on Amazon.

Acting Can Be Murder by John Gaspard

About the Book

The Phrase “Dying On Stage” Takes on a Whole New Meaning

After fleeing a failed relationship in New York, actress Leah Sexton finds herself as the new Executive Director of the Como Lake Players—a small community theater nestled in a sleepy St. Paul neighborhood. The initial calm of this new position is shattered immediately when a local critic—who had just panned the theater’s latest production—is found murdered on the show’s set.

On the heels of this grisly discovery, the show’s lead actress tumbles down a flight of stairs—or was she pushed? To keep the show running and the theater afloat, Leah offers to step into the leading role. The arrival of her ex-boyfriend amid anonymous threats against her and the show require Leah to act as if her life depends on it. Because it does.

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The young director looked out at the empty rows of seats in the theater and then once more took in the set around them. “So, what’s the theme?” Jason asked.

“Theme?” Leah said. The question had caught her by surprise.

“You know, what facet of the human condition does this play explore?”

This question brought Leah up short and so she took a moment to consider it. “Well, there’s a lot of death in the play,” she finally said. “It’s not exactly Hamlet, but there are a couple bodies on stage before the final curtain.”

“The critics love that,” Jason said. Leah couldn’t tell if he was being sarcastic or insightful.

“Well, some critics do,” she said. “I wish the same could be said of our local reviewer.”

“A harsh critique?”

“Brutal. The headline was something like, ‘Arsenic is Dead On Arrival.’ It was all downhill from there,” Leah said.

“A hatchet job?”

“Yes, quite literally as it turns out. The critic’s name is Ronald Hatchet.”

Jason laughed. “Looks like that poor lad’s career path was set at an early age.”

“Just our luck. And I thought the critics in New York could be harsh. They have nothing on Ronald Hatchet. Which is a shame,” she said, “because the cast is great and they’re funny and committed and the audience loves the show.”

“Ah yes, the final arbiter. The dreaded general public,” Jason said as he moved upstage to check out the doors, first the one to the cellar and then the one to the off-stage kitchen. Leah watched him, unsure of what the next best step might be.

“Well, we’re looking at several candidates, so unless you have any other questions for me...” she said, letting her words trail off.

“’All life long, the same questions, the same answers,’” he said as he moved over to the window seat.

Leah took a stab. “Beckett?”

Jason smiled, pleased with her alleged depth of knowledge. “Indeed. Endgame once again.” He pulled back the curtains, looked out the window and then absently opened the window seat.

“Yes, well,” Leah said as she glanced at the nonexistent watch on her wrist. “Anyway ...”

She started to head back to the stairs that would take them off the stage and, with any luck, bring an end to this interview.

“One quick question,” Jason said.

Leah turned back. He was standing over the open window seat, holding the lid with one hand. “Who constructs your props? This is fantastic.”

Leah moved toward him, completely unsure of what he was talking about.

“We built one of these when we did Joe Orton’s Loot back in prep school,” he continued, “because of course you have to use a dummy for that show. But it didn’t have near the detail of this one. Which was, I think, Orton’s point. As I remember.”

Whatever was in the wooden box, it was by far the most impressive thing Jason had seen since coming into the building.

Leah crossed the stage and looked into the window seat. What she saw in the box was so out of context to what she had expected, it took her several long seconds to understand what she was looking at.

And when she finally did, she couldn’t help but let out a yelp.

The sound was so sudden and sharp, it startled Jason, who let go of the box’s lid, letting it slam shut. He looked at Leah, who had gone white.

With a trembling hand, Leah reached down and clasped the edge of the lid, slowly re-opening the window seat. She was hoping against hope that what she thought she had seen had been some sort of optical illusion.

But it hadn’t been. Leah looked into the box for a long moment as she felt her mouth go dry.

“It’s the critic. Ronald Hatchet,” she said, her voice coming out in a rasp. “And he’s dead.”

About the Author

John is author of the Eli Marks mystery series and the Como Lake Players mystery series. He also has four other stand-alone novels: “The Greyhound of the Baskervilles,” “A Christmas Carl,” “The Sword & Mr. Stone” and “The Ripperologists.”

He hosts two podcasts: "Behind the Page: The Eli Marks Podcast," and "The Occasional Film Podcast."

In real life, John's not a magician, but he has directed six low-budget features that cost very little and made even less - that's no small trick. He's also written multiple books on the subject of low-budget filmmaking. Ironically, those books made more than the films.

John lives in Minnesota and shares his home with his lovely wife, several greyhounds, a few cats and a handful of pet allergies.

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Raven’s Moon: The Raven Tales Book One by J.B. Dane

About the Book

Otherworld evil is loose in the real world. Bram Farrell, Private Investigator, must track it down and destroy it before it destroys him.

Bram Farrell has starred in twenty bestselling novels by writer—and witch—Calista Amberson. Her fans love the tall, dark, and handsome PI who vanquishes supernatural bad guys using his magical powers. So, when Calista uses her magic to pull Bram from his fictional world into real-world, modern-day Detroit, she rocks both worlds.

Every supernatural being on Earth felt his arrival in this dimension. They don't trust Calie’s intentions and Bram doesn't either. When the supernatural community hands him the job of discovering who killed the beings in the real world that match those he killed in each volume of The Raven Tales, he takes on the task. It’s a job he’s done in twenty books—he’s up to the familiar challenge.

Bram’s investigation turns up a lot of suspicious characters grouchy bar-owning trolls, a thirsty vampire godfather, a couple of murderous x-cage fighters, a suspicious minister—and the Devil himself. Things are getting dicey: Bram could use some help with this job—but whom can he trust?

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I was rifling through Calie’s financial papers in search of clues to who her doctor was, and whether he specialized in anything, when the doorbell pealed. A second later, P. T.’s voice blasted at me from the intercom on the desk. “I’m in the middle of kneading bread. Could you get that, Bram?”

Having no idea whether there was a button I should push to answer, I simply yelled, “Got it!” at the top of my lungs and pushed out of the comfy office chair. I’d only reached the study’s open door, though, when I heard voices in the entryway.

“Don’t you dare ask me what I’m doing here, Calista Amberson,” a woman’s voice growled. “You knew I wouldn’t be able to wait until tonight to find out how things went. If, that is, you had the strength to do it yourself. I told you a group effort was needed.”

“You could have called,” Calie said at her most arrogant.

This would be interesting. I assumed the same stance I’d had when the moonlight whammied life into my fictional self the evening before.

The unknown woman snorted inelegantly at the very suggestion of picking up the phone and brushed past Calista. “Patience might be my middle name, but it isn’t a virtue I’ve ever nurtured, dearest, as you know quite well.”

“Patience has never been your middle name, but judge for yourself, Delia,” Calie invited, and gestured dramatically to where I stood. “Bram, meet your . . .  hmm . . . distant cousin Delia Maddox.”

The distant cousin swept down on me in a wave of perfume.

“Oh, my!” she gushed.

I straightened and stepped away from my convenient prop, hand extended to do things properly. The woman ignored my mitt and circled around me, taking an inventory of everything else in sight. I feared for a moment she’d decide a fondle would clarify what her eyes told her. Rather than a grope, she settled for poking one well-manicured, bloodred, lacquered claw into the center of my chest.

“Oh, he is real!” she exclaimed, whirling to face Calie.

“You doubted me?” My creator sounded honestly surprised. “After all the things we’ve done over the years, I’d—”

“We did those things together, sister. But this . . .  this . . .” She waved distractedly in my direction.

This,” I pointed out, “is standing right here, you know. Sight, sound, touch: all came with the package deal.”

In fact, to prove it, I was rubbing the aching spot where she’d nearly impaled me with her fingernail.

Delia cocked her head to observe me further. “I don’t remember that he was this touchy in the books, Calista.”

“He was,” Calie said. “You don’t remember because it wasn’t directed at you personally.”

“Still standing here,” I reminded.

“Yes.” Delia sighed, this time in wonder, as she turned to me. “Isn’t Calista marvelous? She always planned to make you flesh. I don’t know what took her so long.”

“It would only work when I required him here,” Calie explained.

“I was forgetting that,” Delia admitted.

“Required me for what?” I demanded. Knew a pound of flesh would be due for my arrival in the physical world. Just hoped it wasn’t a literal cut of personal beef.

“You’ll find out in time, dear,” Calista soothed.

Didn’t soothe me in the least. In fact, I felt a chill run up my spine. This did not bode well for continued existence.

“You need to learn this world first,” she said. “In fact, I was about to send you out to explore.”

That didn’t sound too bad. In fact, I was anxious to venture out.

“Beelzie!” Calie called.

On the floor above, I heard a hinge creak, then a scrambling of clawed feet and a thundering on the hardwood floor. The tip of a dark snout appeared. Then the rest of the creature trundled into view.

It was the eyes that weren’t right in the face of any dog that really drew attention. They were bloodred.

“A dachshund? You want me to take a doxie for walkies?” I demanded. A man had his reputation to maintain. Well, at least the reputation he’d gained at the bookstore.

“Beelzebub is not a dachshund,” the ladies insisted in unison.

“He’s a hellhound,” Delia said.

“A modern hellhound,” Calie added.

I stared at Beelzebub, and he showed me teeth. “Has he been fed lately?”

“Beelzie has a special diet. He doesn’t eat snarling fictional heroes,” Calie said.

About the Author 

J.B. Dane is the author of the urban fantasy PI mystery comedy series, The Raven Tales, which includes novels published by Burns and Lea Books, and a series of Indie published novellas that are prequels and also "between the books" adventures of her sleuth, Bram Farrell. Quite a few 5* reviews have followed for the novels, in particular, singing praises that should make her blush though she’s too busy proudly polishing her nails against her lapel to do so. She also writes shorter fantasy fiction, many tales of which have appeared in anthologies, particularly her Nick Claus, North Pole Security stories. She writes historical and contemporary romantic mystery and speculative twisted 19th century fiction under two different names, just to confuse people. Or so they seem to think.

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Too Much to Candle (Glenmyre Whim Mysteries) by Sarah E. Burr

About the Book

Candlemaker Hazel Wickbury sets out again to bring the truth to light.

Iggy Alewell, Hazel Wickbury’s friend and candle shop assistant, is eager to purchase his own home with the advance from his first big book deal. Iggy is on the hunt for something with character, so what could be better than the old Cragmire house that’s rumored to have buried treasure somewhere on its property? Hazel is thrilled her friend has found success, but things in Crucible take a nasty turn when another potential buyer for the Cragmire house goes missing. He was last seen taking a boat out on Lake Glenmyre, and when the rental is found empty, it’s clear to police that foul play is involved.

What’s worse is that Iggy becomes the prime suspect in the man’s disappearance, and Detective Holden Whitfield’s thorny, new partner is certain Iggy is guilty. To clear Iggy from suspicion and dispel the darkness penetrating their beloved town, Hazel and her Aunt Poppy team up again to find a killer before their friend gets burned.

Return to Crucible in Too Much to Candle, Book Two in the award-winning Glenmyre Whim Mysteries.

~~ Amazon ~~

About the Author

Sarah E. Burr lives near New York City. Hailing from the small town of Appleton, Maine, she has been dreaming of being Nancy Drew since she was a little girl. After not finding any mysteries in corporate America, Sarah began writing some of her own. She is the author of the Trending Topic Mysteries and the Court of Mystery series. Sarah is also the author of the award-winning Glenmyre Whim Mysteries. You Can’t Candle the Truth was a 2022 NGIBA Best Mystery Finalist and a 2022 Silver Falchion Best Supernatural Mystery Finalist.

Sarah is a member of Sisters in Crime, currently serving as the social media guru for the NY-TriState Chapter. She is also the creative mind behind BookstaBundles, a content creation service for authors. Sarah is the co-host of The Bookish Hour, a livestreamed YouTube series featuring author interviews and book discussions. She writes as a member of the Writers Who Kill blogging team. When she’s not spinning up stories, Sarah is singing Broadway show tunes, video gaming, and enjoying walks with her dog, Eevee.

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The Glenmyre Whim Mysteries


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Saturday Quote

This week's Saturday quote is from A History of Murder by Brook Peterson

Sanctuary: A Thornton Mystery by C.L. Tolbert

About the Book

Emma Thornton is back in Sanctuary, C. L. Tolbert’s third novel in the Thornton Mystery Series. This time, she’s agreed to represent a former client accused of killing the leader of a suspicious cult in New Orleans.

James Crosby, the charismatic leader of the Japaprajnas, is found dead one late afternoon, his body draped over an iron fence in the courtyard of the nineteenth-century house where he and several cult members work and live. Although they initially presumed the fall was an accident, police investigators quickly discover that James received a lethal dose of a drug before he was pushed from his office balcony.

The next day the police discover a syringe and a substantial amount of the drug which killed James in Stacey Robert’s bedroom. The nineteen-year-old cult member is brought in for questioning, which leads to her arrest. Emma, who had represented Stacey when she was a sixteen-year-old runaway, agrees to take the case. Convinced that she is innocent, Emma begins an investigation into the cult and its members. Emma’s questions uncover dangerous secrets, illicit activities, and the exploitation of innocent victims. Emma’s suspicions lead her to the killer’s trail and the case’s final resolution.

“The lies stack up as fast as bodies in this latest thriller from C. L. Tolbert. Law professor Emma Thornton returns as the tenacious and fearless defender of New Orleans’ downtrodden. An enthralling mystery, Sanctuary explores the seedy underbelly of the Big Easy.” - Bruce Robert Coffin, award-winning author of the Detective Byron Mysteries.

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Monday, October 14, 1996

James Crosby licked his index finger and thumb and pinched the flame of the candle until it was out. His mother had taught him how to snuff out a candle years ago, assuring him that the flame wouldn’t burn him, encouraging him to follow her example. She could be charming when she wanted, but when he burned his fingers that day, she laughed. He was only five.

James stood at the altar for a moment, watching the glowing ember of incense resting on its stand, then reached into his pocket and placed a small mirror on the smooth wooden surface. He poured a line of white powder on the mirror, plucked a razor from his wallet, and began to cut the powder into smaller lines. Bending over the altar, he sniffed loudly, then shook his head, savoring the feeling. For a moment, he saw a kaleidoscope of color. He turned around, staggering, gripping the altar, and gazed out over the room.

James was alone that afternoon, although he was expecting the plumber to show up at any moment. He preferred solitude, especially since he spent all week listening to people talk about their problems. Cecelia, his wife, had gone grocery shopping, and at his request, Mira, his assistant and the mother of his second child, was visiting their French Quarter shop to check on some of the sales. The spa services, offered in the back of the temple, were closed on Monday, as were all lessons, sessions, and chanting. The temple was open for meditation only, but no one was there.

Mondays were slow in New Orleans. Galleries, hairdressers, spas, theaters, and many of the restaurants in the city were also closed. Mondays seemed like a holiday to him. A day he could do what he wanted. It was his favorite day of the week.

James pulled back the velvet drapes of the altar room and stepped into the hallway. He breathed deeply, filling his lungs. The air was clearer there, the incense not nearly as thick. He tried to clear his head with each breath, but the drug had kicked in. He turned, catching his reflection in the mirror at the foot of the stairs. He didn’t like what he saw.

He turned, stumbling, to make his way to the second-floor offices and apartments, and noticed there were still some tools the plumbers had left behind in the hallway from the work they did last week. They hadn’t been paid yet and were probably expecting something soon. He’d have to remind Mira to send them a check.

The floorboards creaked from the weight of his steps, and he nearly groaned out loud at the thought of all the work that had to be done. The repairs he was having made hadn’t been adequate even though workers were making their way around the place, replacing rotten boards and plumbing lines. He swept his hand along the mahogany banister. It was still a fine place, despite all the problems.

When he reached the second floor, he grabbed the knob to his office door to steady himself, then paused. He thought he’d heard steps. The front door of the house was always open for meditation, although most people knocked when temple wasn’t in session. Except for the plumber. He often walked in unannounced.

James peered down the hallway toward the stairs and, seeing no one, stepped into his office. To his surprise, a window was wide open. He glanced around the empty room, confused. He hadn’t opened a window in his office in more than a year. Even though it was October, it was nearly ninety degrees outside, so the air conditioner was still on. No one he knew would open a window in such heat.

Dizzy, he staggered toward the window, steadying himself, gripping the frame as he gazed out. Seeing no activity, he stepped, faltering, onto the balcony, peering out over the yard and the garconniere fifteen feet below. Then he leaned out farther still to see if the plumber’s truck was parked in the front of the house.

He heard another step from behind and turned, wobbling, to see who it was, surprised by a figure in black standing in front of him. Before he knew what was happening, he felt a jab in the side of his neck, and the person backed away. He grabbed his neck, immediately feeling drowsy. He squinted at the blurred figure in the hoodie who had just attacked him, then began swinging his fists. But his blows missed. He stumbled toward his assailant, grabbing the sleeve of the person’s jacket and pulling it toward him. The attacker pulled away from James’ grasp and spun him around, causing him to lose his balance.

James began to lose consciousness. His vision dimmed, and his legs grew numb. He felt a hand on his back pushing him toward the railing of the balcony. Even though he wasn’t fully conscious, he knew he’d lost his footing. Then he felt a hard shove and a rush of air as he plummeted headfirst toward the courtyard below.

About the Author

After winning the Georgia State Bar Journal's fiction contest in 2010, C.L. Tolbert developed the winning story into a full-scale novel. OUT FROM SILENCE was published in December of 2019, and is the first novel in the Thornton Mysteries series. Her second book, THE REDEMPTION, was published in February of 2021, and SANCTUARY, the third book in the series, was published in July of 2022.

Licensed in Mississippi, Louisiana, and Georgia, C.L. practiced law for thirty-five years before retiring to pursue writing. During her legal career she spent several years teaching at Loyola Law School in New Orleans, where she was the Director of the Homeless Clinic. She also has a Masters of Special Education, and taught in a public school prior to enrolling in law school.

C.L. has two children and three grandchildren, and lives in Atlanta, Georgia with her husband and schnauzer.

Website ~~ Facebook ~~ Instagram ~~ Twitter ~~ Goodreads


The Perfect Brother by Chris Patchell

The Perfect Brother by Chris Patchell Banner

The Perfect Brother by Chris Patchell
A scandalous liaison. A killer on the loose. Can a young woman save her sibling from going down for murder?

Vancouver, Canada. Software engineer Indira Saraf refuses to march to her traditionalist parents’ old-world drum. Resentful of her brother’s golden-boy acceptance but still a devoted sister, she encourages him to confess his secret affair before he ends up married to a woman he doesn’t want. So she’s horrified when his student and lover is slain and he’s arrested for the gruesome crime.

Repurposing her own AI technology to prove his innocence, the unorthodox rebel scours the dead college girl's life for clues. But when Indira discovers another missing co-ed and the suspects pile up, she learns the hard way that her digging has drawn deadly attention…

Can she hunt down the culprit before she takes a fatal fall?

The Perfect Brother is a chilling standalone suspense thriller. If you like dogged heroines, complex family relationships, and dangerous twists, then you’ll adore USA Today bestselling author Chris Patchell’s riveting tale.

Book Details:

Genre: Suspense
Published by: Indie Pub
Publication Date: September 27th 2022
Number of Pages: 421
ISBN: 978-1-7335452-4-2
Book Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:


Katie Lord knew her fiancé Tim couldn’t possibly mean what he’d said when he’d stormed out of her apartment last night. They weren’t over. It was just a stupid argument. But for the hundredth time that morning, she picked up her phone, hoping to see a message. Nothing. Despite the dozens of texts she’d sent him, she hadn’t received a single response. She checked her reception. It wouldn’t be the first time she missed a message because the cellular network was crap.

Four bars.


Katie slammed down the phone, no longer able to deny the ugly truth. He was ignoring her, treating her as if everything was her fault.

Hell yes, she’d been angry. Any girl in her situation with a brain in her head would be. They were engaged, and yet he was getting text messages from a girl at work—a girl he claimed was “just a friend.”

Just a friend, her ass. That damned girl was always sniffing around him. Whenever a group from work went out for beers, she was eager to join, and when the guys had planned an overnight camping trip, guess who wanted to tag along? Then when everyone else had dropped out... Well, it should have been obvious to Tim that the right thing to do would have been to cancel the trip. But no. They’d had to fight about it instead.

“Don’t you trust me?” Tim had snapped, hands on his hips, glaring at Katie as if she was in the wrong.

“This isn’t about you. It’s about her.”

“If you trusted me, we wouldn’t be arguing about this.”

Tim was dead wrong. If he wanted to act naïve and treat Katie like she was a jealous lunatic, then so be it, but Katie wasn’t fooled. She knew how girls operated and this one didn’t give a damn that Tim was engaged. She was trying to drive a wedge between Katie and Tim, and it was working.

Katie wrenched the engagement ring off her finger and stared at the ugly white tan line left behind. She tried to imagine what her life would be like without him, but she couldn’t. Just the thought of it made her ache as if half of her soul had been stripped away. Shoving the ring back into place, Katie shook off her fears.

She was being ridiculous. Dramatic. Didn’t Tim always say so? Once he’d had time to cool off, he’d call her, and they’d make up, the same way they always did.

Until then, she’d lose her mind if she spent another minute obsessing. Grabbing her phone, Katie plugged in her earbuds and headed outside. A run would be just the thing to get Tim off her mind and quiet the drumbeat of panic steadily building inside her.

The morning had started out rainy, but now the sun had pierced a hole in the angry clouds and set the maple leaves ablaze. Stunning shades of crimson and gold adorned the trees that bordered the twisty trail through the woods to the park.

Katie didn’t bother stretching. Surely the steep uphill walk from her apartment to the trail would be enough of a warm-up. Jamming her favorite playlist, she broke into a lumbering jog, losing herself in Meghan Trainor’s rendition of “Me Too.” It was just the right song to shake off her dour mood.

A quarter mile into her run, Katie was already panting. With her chest heaving and heart pounding, she slowed. Damn, this is hard. It had been months since her last run. She didn’t expect to feel winded quite so soon. Katie promised herself she would only walk long enough to catch her breath, then she’d hit it again. If she needed more motivation to get back into shape, her pathetic lack of cardio would be enough.

Besides, just last week Tim made a crack about the five pounds she’d gained since they’d gotten engaged. Five lousy pounds.

He was the one who insisted they swing by the coffee shop every morning before he dropped her off at school instead of going for a run. She would have suggested he go alone, but Katie didn’t like the way the barista at the coffee shop flirted with him. Tim didn’t seem to notice, and when she’d finally worked up the nerve to mention it, he’d accused her of being paranoid.

Easy for him to say. He wouldn’t much like it if some strange guy was hitting on her. And why wouldn’t someone hit on her? Despite the extra weight she was carrying, she still looked cute.

A burst of anger at Tim’s thoughtlessness spurred her into another sprint. She’d get back into shape and then she’d be the one going on hiking trips with her friends instead of wasting hours waiting for a message that might never come. The thought of Tim waiting on her for a change cheered Katie.

By the time she made it to the center of the park, her heart rate crested one hundred fifty beats per minute. Half a mile. Not bad for her first run.

Katie flattened her palm against her chest and waited for her breath to slow, and that’s when she felt it. The first pea-sized pellet of hail streaked down from an angry sky. Charcoal clouds gathered overhead and choked out the sun. The first strike was quickly followed by a second, and then…

Katie uttered an indignant squeal. Desperately scanning the trail, she searched for a place to take shelter and spied a white gazebo. She hurtled across the slippery grass as fast as her neon green Nikes would carry her and pounded up the steps. Katie slid to a sudden halt when she realized that she wasn’t the only runner seeking shelter from the storm.


Just the sight of him standing in the gazebo with his back turned sent an electric pulse of relief surging through her. Her hungry gaze devoured his broad shoulders and lean waist. She yanked out her earbuds and rushed toward him when he turned.

Tim’s name died on her lips. Katie’s hopes plummeted as she took in the man’s face. It wasn’t Tim, but there was something familiar about the handsome stranger. She studied his bronze complexion and ebony eyes, trying to place him. She’d seen him before, she was sure of it, but where? As if sensing her confusion, his mouth curved into a grin that made Katie’s heart stop.

“Hell of a storm,” he said.

Katie’s breath sped up, forming dewy clouds in the cooling air. He had a killer smile.

“Sure is.”

“You were running too?” he asked.

With a self-conscious grin, Katie glanced down at her bare legs, which she hadn’t shaved in a few days, and shrugged.

“If you could call it that. I used to run every day, but it’s been a while.”

She was lying. Even back when she did run, she’d be lucky to make it out twice a week, but that sounded pathetic. From the way his rain-streaked hoodie clung to his well-toned torso, he looked in shape. His buff frame showed no hint of the slight paunch that Tim’s belly was starting to form.

“Nice shoes,” he said.

A glimmer of admiration flashed in his dark eyes as his gaze swept over her, from her flushed cheeks, all the way down to her size nine Nikes. She warmed under his lingering appraisal, wondering how long it had been since Tim had looked at her that way.

“The trail over by the reservoir is my favorite,” he said. “What’s yours?”

“I like the one through the woods.”

God, could she sound any more lame? Hailstones struck the gazebo’s tin roof in an atonal symphony that filled the silence between them.

“You’re Katie, right?”

An unexpected thrill raced through her.

“Do I know you?”

He flashed an amused grin. “From school. Business ethics class.”

Something clicked inside Katie’s mind and her mouth dropped open.

“Oh my god, of course. You know how it is when you see someone out of context.”


He gave a quick laugh and shifted his gaze beyond her, watching the ice pellets bounce off the tin roof onto the grass. Goosebumps rippled across Katie’s arms and she shivered, wishing she’d brought a jacket. As if reading her mind, he stripped off his sweatshirt and draped it around her shoulders. The soft fabric still held the warmth from his body. Katie hugged it close.

“Thank you.”

“Seeing as how my run’s pretty much shot for the day, want to grab some coffee? I know a place close by…”

Her pulse leapt at the unexpected question. It was dangerous. She was engaged. What would Tim say?

Nestled in the armband strapped around her bicep, Katie’s phone buzzed. In that moment, a sudden realization struck her. She didn’t give a damn what Tim thought. He was the one who had walked out on her. He was the one who saw no harm in flirting with the girl from work. And the barista. And god only knew who else.

It was just coffee. Nothing more.

Besides, a little harmless flirtation never killed anyone, right?

Chapter 1

One hundred seventy-two days until graduation, and then she’d get a real job. One that didn’t start so damned early. Even god wasn’t up yet, Mallory Riggins thought as she eased out of the apartment, locking the door behind her. The wind hissed through the towering pines, sending a damp chill racing through her. Deep shadows fell across the lawn, and not for the first time, she wished the security light mounted to the edge of the house still worked.

It was spooky out here alone. Normally, she parked her car in the garage, one of the few luxuries the small apartment carved out of the sprawling duplex offered, but the landlord’s son had arrived home last night for an unexpected visit and had parked in her spot, which meant that she had to park her rust bucket on the side of the road.

The sound of the closing door triggered the landlord’s dog. From somewhere up above, JoJo erupted into a barking fit. Mallory cringed.

“Hush, JoJo,” she muttered, hoping the dog wouldn’t rouse her roommate. Shelby was already annoyed that after two years, the dog still greeted them as if they were armed intruders.

The barking dog had jarred her awake last night too. Mallory hadn’t bothered to see what was causing all the racket. Between her heavy class load, late-night study sessions, and her new boyfriend, she needed all the sleep she could get. As much as she would have preferred calling in sick and getting some extra rest, the meager funds in her bank account were already dangerously low, and somehow, she still had to make it through the end of the school year.

Then all she had to do was find a job that paid more than minimum wage to cover the rent, the utilities, and still have enough money left over to buy food. In a city as expensive as Vancouver, how hard could that be?

Mallory scrambled up the steep hill toward the roadside, her feet sliding in the wet earth. It had stormed overnight. Pine cones and downed branches lay scattered across the narrow road, shaken free from the fierce wind.

By the time she reached her car, Mallory was shivering, and her day, which already wasn’t winning any awards, got a whole lot worse.

Pebbles of glass crunched beneath her feet. She stared at her car in dismay. The driver’s side window was shattered.

The universe was definitely sending her a message, and if she had an ounce of common sense, she’d crawl back beneath the covers and start over. But that wasn’t an option. With a broken window to fix, she needed the money from her job even more. Sheathing her hand with the sleeve of her coat, she swept the chunks of glass from the seat and climbed inside the car.

Rain had blown in through the broken window. The wet seat soaked through her jeans and Mallory groaned. She cranked the key and the sputtering engine coughed to life. Lights from the neighboring houses flickered on. The sleepy residential neighborhood was just beginning to stir to life as Mallory drove off.

The Daily Grind, with its brick walls, metal stools, and wooden tables, had a homey feel. The earthy scent of freshly roasted beans welcomed her as she pushed through the doors. For the next three hours, this place would be the first stop for every caffeine junkie in a five-mile radius starting out on their morning commute.

No sooner had she entered the shop when she locked gazes with her boss. There was no denying the fact that she was late. Rather than belabor the point, Mallory muttered an apology, strapped on her apron, and went to work.

Nothing about the morning had gone smoothly so far, so it should have come as no surprise when Mallory fumbled a hot cup of tea. It struck the edge of the countertop, spun around in a cartwheel, and sent a plume of hot water flying. Mallory jumped back, avoiding the worst of the spill, but a few stray drops scalded her forearm. She breathed in a painful hiss and grabbed a rag.

Meanwhile, the line tripled in size.

Ignoring the painful burn, she pinned on a frozen smile and greeted the next customer. Mr. Quad Grande Breve. He was cute with dark hair and kind eyes.

“The usual?” she asked.

“You always remember,” he said with a grin. “Toss in an extra shot this morning, please. God knows, I could use it.”

Puffy bags shadowed his dark eyes, and Mallory noticed that the poor guy looked as tired as she felt.

“A quad grande breve with an extra shot of love for Tim,” she called to her boss, Jenn, who was working the machines. “That will be four dollars and ten cents.”

Uncapping a black Sharpie, Mallory jotted down the drink order, and winced at the sting of the red welt forming on her arm.

“Are you okay?” Tim asked, gesturing toward the angry burn. “You really should get that under some cold water.”

If it wasn’t so damned busy, she would do just that, but with the lineup curving out the door, she didn’t have time.

“‘Tis but a flesh wound,” Mallory quipped, making light of the pain.

“Kind of early for Monty Python, don’t you think?”

Mallory grinned in surprise at his quick pick-up on the line. “Well, what can I say? So far, it’s been a shitty day. My car was broken into last night.”

“The Toyota?”

Mallory nodded. “They smashed the window.”

“That sucks. What did they steal?”

She shrugged. “Not sure. I might need to sacrifice a chicken, or an eggplant, or whatever the universe deems necessary to get back into karma’s good graces.”

Tim chuckled, handing her a stack of one-dollar coins. Loonies. Mallory made change, which Tim dropped into the tip jar. The coins rang against the glass and she thanked him with a smile. The next customer in line uttered an impatient sigh. Mallory took the hint.

“Have a good one,” she said to Tim.

“Hope your day gets better. If you need someone to fix your glass, or find a live chicken, I know a guy. He does good work.”

“With the window or the chicken?” Mallory smirked.


With a friendly wave, Tim was gone, and Mallory took the next order. Dozens of customers later, when the line finally began to subside, something he’d said stuck inside Mallory’s mind.

“Wait. How does he know I drive a Toyota?”

She’d muttered the question under her breath. Both Tim and his drink were long gone.

“Who? Mr. Quad Grande Breve?” Jenn asked. “Any fool with eyes could see he’s got a thing for you.”

“Nah, he’s got a girlfriend.”

Jenn snorted. “That bitter pill? She wasn’t with him this morning. Besides, you know how men are. My ex was onto his third girlfriend before I found out.”

A single mother with two exes, Jenn never had a nice word to say about anyone.

“Maybe he’s a stalker,” Joe the dishwasher said.

Joe was an acting student. He was always mimicking someone, and this morning, it was Arnold Schwarzenegger, adapting a line from the movie Kindergarten Cop.

“Not you too,” she groaned.

Joe chuckled and slid behind the counter, carrying a tray of freshly washed mugs. Mallory shook her head and took the next order. They were both paranoid. Mr. Quad Grande Breve…Tim…was a nice guy. He always asked how her day was going, and unlike most people she met, he seemed to care about the answer. And he always bought his girlfriend’s drinks. Few guys she met at the shop were that considerate.

By ten o’clock the rush had slowed to a trickle. Mallory tallied her tips and grabbed her purse.


“Gotta run. Class awaits.”

“Do it. Do it now,” Joe called after her, still using the ridiculous Schwarzenegger voice.

Mallory rolled her eyes. “Hate to break it to you, Joe, but you’re a foot and a half too short to make a convincing Arnie.”

Even with his chest puffed out and stretched to his full height, Joe was still an inch or two shorter than she was.

“If Tom Cruise can play Jack Reacher, why can’t I be the Terminator?”

“Point taken,” she said with a laugh.

By the time Mallory left the shop, she’d forgotten all about the burn on her arm and Tim, and pretty much everything but school. Sheets of rain blew across the busy street. Mallory pulled her hood up and waited for a break in traffic. Why couldn’t her car have been broken into on a day when it wasn’t so blustery? By now, with the rain blowing through the busted window, the driver’s seat would feel like a wet sponge.

The stream of traffic slowed, and Mallory dashed across the street. She didn’t see the car that streaked around the corner until its headlights hit her square in the eyes. A burst of panic exploded inside her chest as she dodged out of the way. Tripping over a storm drain, she crashed to the ground beside her car, landing on all fours.

And that was when Mallory’s phone broke.


Excerpt from The Perfect Brother by Chris Patchell. Copyright 2022 by Chris Patchell. Reproduced with permission from Chris Patchell. All rights reserved.


Author Bio:

Chris Patchell

Chris Patchell is an award-winning USA Today Bestselling Author who started writing to curb the homicidal tendencies she experienced during her daily Seattle commute. She writes gripping suspense thrillers with romantic elements set in the Pacific Northwest and believes good fiction combines a magical mix of complex characters, compelling plots, and well-crafted stories.

Over the years, she has written numerous popular books and series, including bestsellers Deadly Lies, In the Dark, and her most recent collection of small-town crime novellas, the Lacey James Series. Along the way, her writing has won several awards, including a 2022 Next Generation Indie Book Award, an IndieReader Discovery Award, and a Pacific Northwest Literary Award.

When she’s not writing, you can find Chris reading books, hanging out with her family, watching football, and struggling to keep up with her workout regime, all while shushing her incessantly yapping Yorkies. She lives in Oregon with her husband and two kids.


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