Thursday, August 15, 2013

The August 2013 Report

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Welcome to Dru's Cozy Report: August 2013. This month we have four new series.

Murder On The Rocks by Allyson K. Abbott is the first book in the new "Mack's Bar" mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, August 2013
Mack's Bar is one of those nice, friendly places where everybody knows your name. That's great when someone's buying you a round, but not so hot when you find yourself at the top of a list of murder suspects - with your fingerprints on the bloody knife! Mackenzie 'Mack' Dalton is a Milwaukee bar owner with a nose for trouble - literally.

A neurological glitch has left her with extra perceptive senses. So when she stumbles upon a dead body in the alley behind the bar - the same spot where her own father was shot eight months earlier - she can tell right away there's something fishy in the air. The lead detective thinks there's a link between the two deaths, and he'll need Mack's help to sniff out the murderer amid the crowd of eccentric regulars. But when all the evidence points to her as the most likely culprit, it could be an early last call for Mack-and celebratory cocktails for a killer.
I like it. When evidence points to Mack as a prime suspect in the murder of her father’s girlfriend, Mack teams up with a local detective to uncork a killer, before she loses more than just her business.

This is a good book that was hard to put down. The plot was quite interesting especially Mack’s unique talent which added intrigue to this finely turned drama. I enjoyed how the story played out as this quickly became a page turner as I had to know what happens next. The mystery had plenty of suspects and it was fun narrowing down the list as the author did a good job in changing directions, even when I thought I had it all figured out. Mack is a great character and a welcome addition to the mystery genre. She is also surrounded by a good set of friends who are like family to her and I can’t wait to explore them all. This is a terrific read and I look forward to the next book in this exciting debut series. Bonus drinks recipes included.

Allyson K. Abbott is the pseudonym of Beth Amos who also writes as Annelise Ryan, author of the “Mattie Winston” mystery series.

Visit Beth at

FTC Full Disclosure - I bought this book.

Death Al Dente by Leslie Budewitz is the first book in the new "Food Lovers’ Village" mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, August 2013
The town of Jewel Bay, Montana—known as a Food Lovers' Village—is obsessed with homegrown and homemade Montana fare. So when Erin Murphy takes over her family’s century-old general store, she turns it into a boutique market filled with local delicacies. But Erin’s freshly booming business might go rotten when a former employee turns up dead.

Murphy’s Mercantile, known as the Merc, has been a staple in Jewel Bay for over a hundred years. To celebrate their recent makeover as a gourmet food market, Erin has organized a town festival, Festa di Pasta, featuring the culinary goods of Jewel Bay’s finest—including her mother Fresca’s delicious Italian specialties.

But Erin’s sweet success is soured when the shop’s former manager, Claudette, is found dead behind the Merc on the Festa’s opening night. With rival chef James Angelo stirring up rumors that Fresca’s sauce recipes were stolen from Claudette, Erin’s mother is under close scrutiny. Now Erin will have to hunt down some new suspects, or both her family and her store might wind up in hot water.
When her mother becomes the prime suspect in her ex-employee’s death, Erin with her spreadsheet will do everything possible to clear her mother’s name and reputation.

This enjoyable read was hard to put down. I love the tone of the story and how it flowed giving us a glimpse into the characters’ lives. With each character introduction, I was left with "are they the killer" or "just an innocent bystander". It was fun getting to know the ins-and-outs of Jewel Bay and how they all intermingled with one another. With a good solid plot and subplot, the mysteries enticed me to read more as I narrowed down the list of suspects. I love the small town feel and the dialogue was entertaining. This delightfully charming debut series is a fresh, homegrown whodunit that satisfied my thirst for adventure and I can’t wait to see what happens next in Jewel Bay. Bonus recipes are included.

Visit Leslie at

FTC Full Disclosure - I bought this book.

Pall in the Family by Dawn Eastman is the first book in the new "Family Fortune" mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, August 2013
The aptly named Crystal Haven is the destination for tourists seeking psychics, séances, and the promise of contacting the spirit world. In this small western Michigan town, everyone knows the Fortune family. Rose is gifted with tarot card readings. Her sister, Vi, is a self-proclaimed pet psychic. And Rose’s daughter Clyde is. . .

A cop. A cop on leave from Ann Arbor, more specifically, who’s come home to kooky Crystal Haven to reevaluate her life. Mom and Aunt Vi can’t wait for Clyde to finally embrace her own psychic gifts and join the family business. Clyde would prefer the low-stress lifestyle of a dog walker and the low-key company of her nephew, Seth.

But when a local psychic is killed, leaving behind a traumatized Shih Tzu, it seems to be in the cards for Clyde to get involved. With her old flame Mac leading the investigation, that may prove awkward. Whether she uses her skills as a cop or her long-denied psychic abilities, it’s up to Clyde to divine a killer’s identity before someone else suffers more misfortune.
This is a great read that I devoured from the moment I turned the first page. I love the writing style the author takes to tell us about the happenings in Crystal Haven that includes the return of Clyde and a gift with indecisions and her lovable but quirky family from her parents, especially her mother Rose, to her aunt Vi and to her nephew Seth. Also leading out the cast is her two best friends and the police detective who doesn’t want her involved in his investigation, but when it hits thisclose to home, her mission becomes bringing a killer to justice.

Boasting a good plot with a mystery that quickly became a page-turner and entertaining dialogue that had me giggling at times this was an excellent read and I can’t wait to see what happens next in this exciting debut series. I love discovering new-to-me authors and new series and this one has the makings of being around for a long, long time.

Visit Dawn at

FTC Full Disclosure - I bought this book.

Cloche and Dagger by Jenn McKinlay is the first book in the new “Hat Shop” mystery series. Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime, August 2013
Not only is Scarlett Parker’s love life in the loo—as her British cousin Vivian Tremont would say—it’s also gone viral with an embarrassing video. So when Viv suggests Scarlett leave Florida to lay low in London, she hops on the next plane across the pond. Viv is the proprietor of Mims’s Whims, a ladies’ hat shop on Portobello Road bequeathed to both cousins by their beloved grandmother, and she wants Scarlett to finally join her in the millinery business.

But a few surprises await Scarlett in London. First, she is met at the airport not by Viv, but by her handsome business manager, Harrison Wentworth. Second, Viv—who has some whims of her own—seems to be missing. No one is too concerned about the unpredictable Viv until one of her posh clients is found dead wearing the cloche hat Viv made for her—and nothing else. Is Scarlett’s cousin in trouble? Or is she in hiding?
I don’t know how she does it, but Jenn McKinlay creates stories that will have you enamored with the plot and the characters. We are introduced to Scarlett whose arrival in London is met with the disappearance of her cousin Viv. When a customer is later found dead wearing nothing but her cousin’s creation, Scarlett looks into her murder, if only to clear her cousin’s name and what follows is a fun ride that I could not put down.

I had a great time reading this light-hearted tale where the mystery kept me glued to the pages and the dialogue and comedic antics kept me entertained from beginning to end. Boasting a lovable cast of quirkily unconventional characters, this was an enjoyable read and a welcome addition to the cozy genre and I look forward to the next book in this exciting new series.

Visit Jenn at

FTC Full Disclosure - I bought this book.

And check out these other August releases


Chèli said...

So many new series and I want to read them all!

Where will I find the time?!?


Joanie said...

I'm adding to my shopping list. I think I only have half of these so far, and the others sound terrific, too. Thanks, Dru!

Aurian said...

Great report Dru, you make me want to have them all. The one I am most interested in, is Pall in the Family. I do love psychic/witchy cozy mysteries.

Melissa Bo said...

So many great new books! I'm currently reading one from your list -
"Do or Diner" - really enjoying it!

Leslie Budewitz said...

Belatedly saying "Thanks, Dru Ann! So glad you enjoyed the trip to Montana!"