Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Book Review: Murder is a Family Business by Heather Haven

A funny, crisp, unique murder mystery with tons of twists and turns is what you'll uncover in Murder is a Family Business by Heather Haven.

Lee Alvarez is sent out to keep tabs on a cheating husband. When the husband turns up dead on her watch, Lee needs to know what happened. With the help of her computer genius brother, Lee follows the clues, hoping to find the track to a killer.

In Murder is a Family Business, the first book in Haven's Alvarez Family Murder Mystery series, the author creates a superb story filled with engaging characters and one cute little kittie. This one seems to set the stage for the books that will come. The Alvarez family runs Discretionary Inquiries, a successful Silicon Valley agency that deals with the theft of computer software. Perfectly groomed mother, Lila, computer wizard, Richard, and Lee work together; while Uncle Tio has come for a visit after the death of his wife.

This is a quick, fun read with new clues turning up and leading to additional discoveries. It has the right touch of humor, all the while not losing the focus of a murder investigation. Murder is a Family Business adds the love and sometimes annoyance of family to what has started off as a great mystery series. I look forward to reading the next book, A Wedding to Die For.

Title:  Murder is a Family Business
Author:  Heather Haven
Publisher: MuseItUp Publishing
ISBN: 978-0-9865875-9-7
SRP: $5.95

I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest opinions. I received no monetary compensation to provide my review.

This review first appeared at The Book Connection. Since this review first appeared, the book has been reissued by The Wives of Bath Press.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Interview: Dave Zeltserman, Author of Dying Memories

Our guest today is Dave Zeltserman, author of Dying Memories. Dave won the 2010 Shamus Award for ‘Julius Katz’ and is the acclaimed author of the ‘man out of prison’ crime trilogy: Small Crimes, Pariah and Killer, where Small Crimes was picked by NPR as one of the five best crime and mystery novels of 2008, and Small Crimes and Pariah (2009) were both picked by the Washington Post as best books of the year. His recent The Caretaker of Lorne Field received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, calling it a ’superb mix of humor and horror’, and has been shortlisted by ALA for best horror novel of 2010. Outsourced (2011) has already been called ‘a small gem of crime fiction’ by Booklist and has been optioned by Impact Pictures and Constantin Film.

Welcome to my blog, Dave. It's an honor to have you with us. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I’m someone who when I was younger never thought I’d be a writer. I always read a lot, but my interests were in Math and Computer Science, and it seemed like my life was pretty much laid out—that I’d go to college, get a degree in Math and Computer Science and work as a software engineer. That’s what happened, but I always found myself drawn to writing.

Where did you grow up?

Newton, Massachusetts. (Interviewer's note: Always great to have a Massachusetts author visiting our blog.)

What is your fondest childhood memory?

Probably when we got our first dog. He was a Black Lab – Collie mix that we brought home in a shoe box, and in a very short time grew to about 90 pounds. A great dog, very gentle, and incredibly stubborn. 

When did you begin writing?

I always tried writing at different times – as a kid, in college, later when I was working. It was around 1992 when I started taking it more seriously and believed I could be published.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?

These days I’m writing fulltime. When I was working as a software engineer, I’d have to sneak in writing whenever I could within an 80-hour work week.

What is this book about?

Dying Memories is my first pure thriller. The book opens with a woman shooting a man to death on a crowded Boston street, and then telling the police the man had raped and murdered her eleven-year-old daughter. Except she never had a daughter. When a reporter, Bill Conway, discovers a link between this and another killing to a biotechnology firm, he soon finds himself framed for murder, as well as being hunted by shadowy forces. The danger for Bill increases with each chapter as he searches for a way to reclaim his life, understand what’s happening, and ultimately stop a sinister plot to enslave the country. There are a lot of twists and turns throughout the book, lots of surprises, all leading to an explosive ending.

What inspired you to write it?

I’m driven to write stories and novels that readers will enjoy. In some cases they’re dark noirish journeys, in this case a page-turning thriller.

Who is your biggest supporter?

Well, my wife, by far.

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

No. I have a group of early readers made up of people I’ve known for a long time, as well as other authors I know. All of them are very vocal and have no problem giving me their opinions.

Who is your favorite author?

I have a lot of favorite authors, but for crime, it would have to be Dashiell Hammett. I marvel at the five crime novels he wrote, as well as his 24 Continental Op short stories. You can look at him as inventing the hardboiled PI genre.

Do you have an agent or are you looking for one?

Yep, I have an agent. A film agent also.

Was the road to publication smooth sailing or a bumpy ride?

The very first short story I wrote for publication I sold to the first magazine I submitted to. After that, a very bumpy 12 years or so before I sold Small Crimes in 2006. Every US publisher rejected Small Crimes for being too dark or not formulaic enough or other such reasons, and I was days from throwing in the towel when Serpent’s Tail called me to tell me they wanted to publish it. The book ended up being published in 2008 and NPR picked it as one of the 5 best crime and mystery novels of that year, and the Washington Post also picked it as one of the best books of the year. Every US publisher rejected Outsourced also, and not only is the book optioned for film, but it’s now looking very likely that they’ll be going into production very soon.

If you knew then, what you know now, is there anything you would have done differently?

I don’t know. I understand the publishing industry much better now. I understand that the idea of the large publishers being any sort of gatekeeper is only a myth—that it’s all business with them and what they care about is how low risk they think a project is and how commercial they believe it is. But knowing that, I don’t think if I would’ve tried dumbing down my writing to satisfy them—I think I still would’ve been trying to write the best books I can.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

Dying Memories is an e-book only, so from or

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

My website is www.davezeltserman and my blog is:

What is the best investment you have made in promoting your book?

Probably spending time doing book events and getting to know bookstore employees and owners who now do a lot of handselling of my books.

What is up next for you?

My novel, A Killer’s Essence, is out from Overlook Press in the Fall, and I’ve already had one movie producer with a great track record make an offer to option the book, but I’ve been working with a film agency in developing the book as a TV series, so not sure yet whether I’ll be changing gears and accepting the offer.

Is there anything you would like to add?

I’d like to thank you for interviewing me.

Thanks for spending time with us today, Dave. We wish you continued success.

This post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Book Review: Murder on the Interstate by Jean Henry Mead

Buckle up for a multi-state mystery that will have you turning pages faster than you can say "retirement."

In this third book of Jean Henry Mead's Logan & Cafferty mystery/suspense series, baby boomers Dana Logan and Sarah Cafferty grab the attention of homegrown terrorists when they stop to assist a car accident victim.

It doesn't take them long to discover the woman is dead, and it wasn't the accident that killed her. When Dana is kidnapped, she makes it her mission to figure out why this woman died and to bring her killer to justice. She has no idea what she has just stepped into.

Jean is a new client of mine through Pump Up Your Book. I haven't read the first two books in this series, but it isn't necessary because Murder on the Interstate is a perfect stand alone novel: just enough backstory to bring readers up to speed with the characters and lots of action and adventure to propel the current story forward.

Blended with humor and light romance, this mystery/suspense novel offers a well-written story, a unique plot, and superbly drawn characters. In addition to Dana and Sarah, Dana's daughter Kerrie, an investigative reporter, gets pulled in to help the ladies uncover clues. Toss in Walter, a love-smitten sheriff who is trying to make his relationship with Dana a more permanent one, and you have tension in many more ways than one.

What I love about Murder on the Interstate is that it portrays older woman as being resourceful, intelligent, and nowhere close to kicking up their feet and letting the world pass them by. Dana and Sarah are both sixty years old. While they might need a nap here or there, they still manage to get involved in car chases, escape kidnappers,and be thorns in the sides of the bad guys. Dana and Sarah's friendship is wonderfully portrayed, and it's nice to see their similiarities and differences blended so well.

If you're looking for adventure, if you're looking for a well-plotted mystery, if you're looking for a story with memorable characters, you don't need to look any further than Murder on the Interstate by Jean Henry Mead.

Title:  Murder on the Interstate
Author: Jean Henry Mead
Publisher: Oak Tree Press
ISBN-10: 1610090144
ISBN-13: 978-1610090148

The author paid a fee to have her book promoted by a virtual book tour through Pump Up Your Book. The fee did not include a review. I received no monetary compensation to provide my honest opinion.

This post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Interview: Aaron Paul Lazar, author of FireSong

Joining us today is Aaron Paul Lazar, author of FireSong. The author of LeGarde Mysteries, Moore Mysteries, and Tall Pines Mysteries, he enjoys the Genesee Valley countryside in upstate New York, where his characters embrace life, play with their dogs and grandkids, grow sumptuous gardens, and chase bad guys.

Welcome to my blog, Aaron. It is an honor to have you with us. Let's start by having you share your fondest childhood memory.

Hi, Cheryl, and thanks for asking. I grew up in rural New England, surrounded by music, art, literature, gardens, bountiful family feasts, and a host of animals. My father was a classical music professor with a passion for French Impressionist composers. He adored Chopin and I inherited the fascination. I woke up summer mornings to the sound of Dad playing the piano, which was directly beneath my bedroom. The strains of mazurkas, nocturnes, and especially the waltzes were balm for my soul. That is one of my fondest memories of all time.

When did you begin writing?

I always loved to write, and knew I wanted to write a mystery series some day–but I pictured it happening when my daughters were grown and I was retired. But when my father died in 1997, I became overwhelmed with grief. Writing was the only therapy that worked to restore my soul, and I started the LeGarde Mystery series as a tribute to my father. He was a wonderful, passionate man who spent his life imparting musical knowledge to young minds. So, although I always loved to write, it didn’t become an obsessive need until that point in my life. I was 44.

Do you write during the day, at night or whenever you can sneak a few moments?
 I write in the very early morning, or in the evenings. I sit in my comfortable leather chair with my MacBook Pro and enjoy having control over my parallel universe! It’s nice, because we sure don’t have control over real life, do we?

What is this book about?

Here’s a synopsis that will tell you about some of the storylines:

What would you do if your country church was hit by a rogue tornado during services? What if the shrieking winds unearthed the bones of a missing parishioner in a nearby wheat field? Now add the discovery of heroin in your elderly minister’s bloodstream. When Gus LeGarde is thrown into the middle of the mess, he knows life’s finally gone berserk in East Goodland, New York.

The Genesee Valley is in chaos. Strangers drive panel vans through the countryside at weird hours of the night. A new batch of drugs is on the street, endangering students. The local salt mine collapses due to illegal mining practices. Gas fires burn in wells. Watering holes turn to brine. Crops are dying. Tempers are short. Forest fires threaten. To top it off, the new mine lies directly over ancient Indian burial grounds, bringing anguish to local tribes and inciting riots at the mine site.

Join Gus as he’s lured into a bizarre network of underground tunnels to expose the most shocking discovery ever to rock the Genesee Valley.

What inspired you to write it?

It’s hard to explain, but everything that comes in through my senses ends up coming out in a book. Sights, sounds, aromas, textures, and emotions… they all bubble around in my mind and bump into each other with increasing ferocity until they’re released again. It’s kind of like an artist, I suppose. I need to get these images out on my “word canvas,” so to speak, and then I can breathe again. Is it compulsive? Yeah. Obsessive? Indeed. But I can’t control it and am never sated until the job is done.

One of the influences for FireSong came from Reverend Thomas A. LeBeau, who was a model for the country reverend I feature in the book. Tom let me use some of his most motivational sermons, and I just changed them a little to fit the story. I also listen to the news and am appalled at how frightening Mother Nature can be at times. In upstate New York, we rarely have tornadoes, hurricanes, earthquakes, mudslides, forest fires, tsunamis, floods, etc. We are so fortunate. But I always wonder, what if we did experience these things? What would it be like? How would be survive? I was also influenced by a number of real events that happened in the Genesee Valley in 1994. Our salt mine collapsed, wells went dry, the new one was to be built over sacred Indian burial grounds, etc. All these events played into the storyline.

Who is your favorite character from the book?

Aside from the animals, whom I adore, my favorite character has always been and will always be Siegfried Marggrander. Sig is my gentle giant, a stalwart behemoth man with fierce family loyalty and the innocent spirit of a child. He’s like my angel on earth, and also happens to be Gus LeGarde’s brother-in-law and best friend.

Are you a member of a critique group? If no, who provides feedback on your work?

I have several close writer friends with whom I share critiques. Sonya Bateman has been assisting me from day one, and I’ll always be grateful to her. ;o)

Who is your favorite author?

It’s so tough to decide. Can I cop out and give you my list of favorites and why I love them? John D. McDonald, for his superb characterization of Travis Magee and the imagery of the Florida coast in the fifties; James Patterson for the likable, human traits of Doctor Alex Cross and the taut suspense; Dean Koontz for his tight, often lyrical prose and super storylines; Dick Francis for bringing racetracks alive with living, breathing characters; Clive Cussler for his undersea adventures; Laurie King for her superior Sherlock Holmes stories; Stephen King for his natural dialogue; Rex Stout for the Nero Wolf series, (love the gourmand details); Peter Mayle for his sun-drenched imagery; and last but certainly not least, Tony Hillerman for his innate sense of place.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?

All of my books are available on Amazon, Barnes&Noble, etc. etc. and are orderable in all bookstores. Readers can get eBooks and print books through all of these sources, or get autographed print books through me. All details and links are here on my website:  A number of the eBooks are on sale right now – some are half price or less. I have links to these sales on my website, as well.

Do you have a website and/or blog where readers can find out more?

Yes. The first site is my primary author website, where everything comes together. Moore Mysteries features just my second series, and has excerpts from those books. Murderby4 is a Writer’s Digest Best 101 website I share with three other mystery writers. We offer writing advice, articles about the industry, and feature guest speakers twice a week. The last is my blog.

What is up next for you?

My newest and third mystery series is debuting this fall. Tall Pines Mysteries are set in the Adirondacks and Finger Lake regions of New York, and feature a brand new unique and fun set of characters I hope my readers will love just as much as those in LeGarde and Moore Mysteries. You can see the cover art and read some excerpts of the new books that are coming out on my website at For the Birds is due in October, 2011, and Essentially Yours is slated for March, 2012.

Is there anything you would like to add?

Thank you for taking the time to do this interview, Cheryl. And if readers have any questions, feel free to pass on my email address, aaron dot lazar at yahoo dot com. In addition, my series can be read in any order, so don’t think you have to start with book one. I wrote them to stand on their own. ;o) Thanks again!

Thanks for spending time with us today, Aaron. When I was contacted about featuring you, I knew the name from Murder By 4. I'm glad we got a chance to learn more about your work. Wishing you the best.

This post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Monday, May 13, 2013

Book Review: Murder in The Vatican by Ann Margaret Lewis

Three as yet untold Sherlock Holmes tales await you in Murder in The Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes by Ann Margaret Lewis.

This superb collection of Holmes mysteries based upon adventures hinted at in the original tome,  have been brought to life by Lewis' talented pen in a masterful way. Two of the stories are told entirely from the good Dr. Watson's point of view. In one, Watson shares this honor with Pope Leo XIII.

In "The Case of Cardinal Tosca," Pope Leo requests the help of Sherlock Holmes to investigate the sudden death of his curia. "The Vatican Cameos" is the second story and is told mostly from Pope Leo's point of view. This was my favorite out of the collection, as the reader gets an even greater glimpse into this leader of the Catholic Church. In "The Second Coptic Patriarch," a professional thief approaches Holmes when his friend Father Brown is imprisoned for the murder of a Coptic clerk.

I had not read Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's book of Holmes tales prior to reading Murder in The Vatican; though I do have it on my Kindle. As a lover of the mystery genre, that almost seems like a crime. I'm also a former Catholic, so I felt I was in familiar territory while reading the book.

Lewis' attention to historic details, combined with masterfully told stories, engaged me from the first page. I couldn't put the book down. Having some recurring characters appear in the stories helped to show their development; in addition, it was a nice to witness how the relationship between Holmes and Pope Leo evolved over time. As one would expect, the stories are eloquently told, spoken in a style that speaks to a by-gone era.

Any Sherlock Holmes fan or lover of the mystery genre will want to pick up a copy of Murder in The Vatican by Ann Margaret Lewis. It's the perfect bedtime read.

Title: Murder in The Vatican: The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes
Author: Ann Margaret Lewis
Publisher: Gasogene Books
ISBN-10: 0938501526
ISBN-13: 978-0938501527

Amazon purchase link:

Purchase from the publisher:


Born and raised in Waterford, Michigan, Ann Margaret Lewis attended Michigan State University, where she received her Bachelor's degree in English Literature. She began her writing career writing tie-in children’s books and short stories for DC Comics. Most recently she published a second edition of her book, Star Wars: The New Essential Guide to Alien Species, for Random House.

After attacking the Star Wars universe, Ann plunged into writing science fiction/fantasy, historical fiction, and, of course, mysteries. Her latest book is Murder in the Vatican:The Church Mysteries of Sherlock Holmes published by Wessex Press. She is also co-writing a historical novel entitled Roman which tells the true story of a priest in 1840s southern Indiana who was accused of assaulting a woman in a confessional.

Ann is a classically trained soprano, and has performed around the New York City area. She has many interests from music to art history, to theology and all forms of literature. She is the President of the Catholic Writers Guild, an international organization for Catholic Writers and the coordinator of the Catholic Writers Conference LIVE. After living in New York City for fifteen years, Ann moved to Indianapolis, Indiana with her husband Joseph Lewis and their son, Raymond. Together they enjoy their life in the heartland.

This post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Guest Blogger: Nell Walton, Author of The Bone Trail

Today's special guest is Nell Walton, author of the mystery thriller, The Bone Trail.

Inspired by actual events, The Bone Trail is the story of investigative journalist and horsewoman, Kate Wyndham, who is sent to northern Nevada to do a story on the disappearance of two wild horse advocates. When Wyndham attempts to gain information from the FBI and local authorities she is stonewalled.

She turns to Jim Ludlow, a local rancher who lives on an Indian Reservation near where the advocates disappeared. Ludlow, a Shoshone Indian horse “whisperer” agrees to try to help Wyndham and they begin a search for answers that may cost them everything the hold dear – it may even cost them their lives.

Is Social Protest Literature Dead?
by Nell Walton

One of the many things that made the fiction of Charles Dickens remarkable was his fearlessness in addressing the multiple social issues that were endemic in England in the early 19th Century. Dickens was extremely familiar with the problems at a personal level. His father was imprisoned for debt when Dickens was 12 years old and during this time he had to leave school and work in a shoe-dying factory that utilized child labor. Working in these horrible conditions was the worst time of Dickens’ life, but it was also here that the seed of Dickens’ ideas for social reform were sown. Many experts attribute the improvements in debtor’s prisons, child workhouses that were enacted during Dickens’ life directly to Dickens’ writings as well as his stage performances.

Over the years many writers have written social protest literature that has had a fundamental change on society as a whole. Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe being one example, among others are The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, and Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain.

Currently, it seems that social issues are rarely addressed in modern fiction, and, more and more rarely in non-fiction. I’ve often wondered if it is just a cycle that publishing companies go through, or if people just don’t care anymore.

I have a hard time believing the latter, because people and society have not really changed that much in the last two centuries. Certainly, we are bombarded with more information via the Internet and 24x7 news media. There is more competition for our time, attention and certainly our money. The constant influx of negative information probably contributes to a certain amount of hopelessness as well as compassion fatigue in many people. But, I think that at a basic level, people DO care about social issues and are willing to take steps to help make positive changes as long as they are clear on what it is they can do to help. The outpouring of caring support by people all around the world during Hurricane Katrina is an excellent example, the current massive support that people are providing for relief for Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief is another.

In my book, The Bone Trail, I DO tackle social issues. Environmental destruction, alcoholism and rehabilitation in Native populations in the US, the mismanagement of the wild horses in the American West, and child abuse are all central to the plot of the book. From a writer’s perspective I will say that when you do include these types of plot elements it can limit your flexibility as far as pacing vs. character development. For example, in order to fully address the Native alcoholism and rehabilitation issue, I had to stop the plot and flip to a couple of chapters of backstory about one-third into the book. I worried about it, because generally I prefer to fold backstory in with the plot, but there was really no way to do that effectively with such a sensitive subject.

Surprisingly enough, it actually has worked out well, and gave a great depth to a character that I feel is the heart of the book. My editor loved the transition, and I have gotten excellent feedback from readers also.

So, while I did make the decision to break a rule as far as plot pacing, it has paid off as far as giving one of the central characters air and life.

So, I don’t believe that social protest literature is dead, or there is a lack of interest by any means. And, if you have to break a pacing rule to thoroughly address an issue effectively, it can pay off with your readership.

I hope one day we will see more authors making the effort to address social issues in modern fiction, and readers taking such an avid interest as they did in the 19th Century.

Nell Walton is an avid horsewoman and also owns two wild horses, both of which came from a herd near Elko, NV. She is also the founder and managing editor of the online equestrian news magazine, The AllHorses Post ( She has degrees in journalism and biology from the University of Arkansas, spent many years as a professional journalist and worked as an intern for former President Bill Clinton when he was governor of Arkansas. She lives in East Tennessee on a small horse farm with her husband, four horses, one donkey, two cats and two dogs. The Bone Trail is her first novel.
Twitter: @nellwal
Facebook: AllHorses Post

This post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Monday, May 6, 2013

Book Review: Love You More by Lisa Gardner

Love You More by Lisa Gardner is a gripping psychological thriller that is a must read for fans of this genre.

Detective D.D. Warren is in the midst of coping with her own life crisis when she gets a call that turns into one of those "Oh, shit" moments.

Arriving at the home of Massachusetts State Trooper Tessa Leoni, D.D. discovers Brian Leoni in a pool of blood on the kitchen floor, and a bruised Tessa talking with law enforcement officials. It all looks like an open and shut case of spousal abuse that turned deadly. Problem is that six-year-old Sophie Leoni is missing and Tessa isn't talking.

Racing against time, D.D. must figure out exactly what happened that night in the Leoni house, in the hopes of finding Sophie alive. Paired up with her ex-partner and former lover, Bobby Dodge, the two uncover clues that leave them with more questions than answers. And still the same question remains: How far would one woman go to save someone she loves?

Lisa Gardner toured with Pump Up Your Book last summer with Live to Tell, the fourth book in this series. I didn't have the time to read it, but after all the great reviews the book received, I was kicking myself. When I heard Lisa was coming back to promote her latest D.D. Warren novel, I knew I had to read it. I am so glad I did.

While part of me almost wishes the book was told entirely from D.D. Warren's point of view, the other part of me realizes that having the book flow back and forth between D.D.'s and Tessa's points of view is what made this reading experience so thrilling. I kept turning the pages, thinking I had finally figured it out and was just waiting for D.D. to catch up, but by the next chapter I realized I didn't know anything at all--except that the more I learned, the less I knew.

Gardner has blended a riveting plot with a host of complex characters, tossed in a complicated mystery to solve, and come up with a winner. It didn't take me long to plow through this one, because I simply couldn't put it down. An added plus for me is that the book is set in Boston, so some of the setting was familiar.

I'm eager to go back and read the other four books in this series:

Live to Tell (Book 4)
The Neighbor (Book 3)
Hide (Book 2)
Alone (Book 1)

If you are looking for a masterfully written psychological thriller, look no further than Love You More by Lisa Gardner!

Title:  Love You More
Author:  Lisa Gardner
Publisher: Bantam
ISBN-10: 0553807250
ISBN-13: 978-0553807257
SRP:  $26.00

Also available in a Kindle edition and as an audiobook.

I was paid by Random House to promote Love You More with a virtual book tour. That fee did not include a review. I received a copy of this book free of charge from the publisher in exchange for my honest review. I received no monetary compensation for providing my opinion.

This post first appeared at The Book Connection.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Book Review: Angel Lost by F.M. Meredith

The Rocky Bluff P.D. is back with the latest book in this mystery/crime series, Angel Lost, by F.M. Meredith.

Vice Officer Stacey Wilbur is having trouble keeping the thoughts of her upcoming wedding at bay while at work. Between her job and all the wedding plans, she hasn't had much time to spend with her fiancé, Detective Doug Milligan. Then comes a new case, a flasher showing himself off to women jogging along the beach. Stacey decides to set herself up as bait and Doug is less than happy about it.

Vaughn Aragon has recently transferred to the Rocky Bluff P.D. from L.A. He says he is looking for a slower lifestyle, but his strange behavior makes some of his fellow officers suspicious.

Abel Navarro has trouble concentrating on his work when his mother begins to show signs of Alzheimer's. One forgotten memo could put an officer's life on the line.

When a mysterious angel appears in the window of a local furniture store, not everyone is sure what to make of it. Is it real? Is it a hoax? One thing's for sure, it means members of the Rocky Bluff P.D. will be working crowd control until the excitement dies down.

The lives of the Rocky Bluff P.D. are never boring.

I began reading the Rocky Bluff P.D. series when Smell of Death came out. That was prior to my working with Marilyn Meredith (also writing under the name F.M. Meredith), to promote her Deputy Tempe Crabtree and Rocky Bluff P.D. books. What I picked up right away on with this series, is that Meredith focused on showing how the personal lives of the members of the Rocky Bluff P.D. are impacted by their jobs. From divorces, to deaths, to marriages, and everything in between, a career in law enforcement means you don't leave your job at the door when you come home.

With Angel Lost, it appears the author decided to concentrate more on the personal lives of her characters than their jobs. Not that there isn't a lot going on at the Rocky Bluff P.D.--there is--it's just that we have Stacey and Doug's upcoming wedding, Gordon Butler (my favorite) planning to move out of Doug's house so that Stacey and her son Davey can move in after the wedding, and Abel's mother developing signs of Alzheimer's. The appearance of the angel in the furniture store window is also something I consider more personal, as Barbara and Ryan Strickland are a bit divided over if it's real or not.

I was glad to see the addition of Vaughn Aragon to the force. He quickly became a favorite. I hope we see more of him in future books. I'm also hoping my other favorite, Gordon, gets a book that focuses mostly on him. A lot of what he gets into brings comic relief, but you have to like a guy who attracts nothing but bad luck and odd cases.

With Angel Lost, Meredith continues to do what she does best:  provide an entertaining story that draws you in and takes hold of you until the very last word. In addition, all these books, while part of a series, are excellent stand-alone novels. This book, like the others, left me eager for more of the members of the Rocky Bluff P.D.

Title:  Angel Lost
Author:  F.M. Meredith
Publisher:  Dark Oak Mysteries
ISBN-10: 1610090055
ISBN-13: 978-1610090056

The author paid a fee to promote her book with a virtual book tour through Pump Up Your Book! This fee did not include a favorable review. I received no monetary compensation for this review, which contains my honest opinions of the book. An e-Copy of the book was provided free of charge by the author.

This post first appeared at The Book Connection.