Wednesday, January 15, 2014

The January 2014 Report

* * * * * * * * * *
Welcome to Dru's Cozy Report: January 2014. This month I have two new series for your reading pleasure, and highlights from recent releases. Enjoy!

Paws For Murder by Annie Knox is the first book in the new "Pet Boutique" mystery series. Publisher: Obsidian, January 2014
Izzy McHale wants her new Trendy Tails Pet Boutique in Merryville, Minnesota, to be the height of canine couture and feline fashions. But at the store’s opening, it turns out it’s a human who’s dressed to kill.

Izzy’s own beloved pets are dressed to the nines for the grand opening of Trendy Tails. Feisty feline Jinx is large and in charge, and happy mutt Packer is lapping up the attention. Izzy and her best friend Rena have their hands full meeting Merryville’s menagerie and serving tasty pupcakes and kitty canapes from their “barkery.” The last thing they need is Sherry Harper, the town's local activist, scaring off customers and getting tongues wagging by picketing the event.

The two manage to stop Sherry’s protest in its tracks, but the trouble for Trendy Tails is just beginning. Sherry is found murdered in back of the shop, and Rena is immediately named as the lead suspect. Now Izzy and her furry friends have a new pet project—collaring a killer.
As many cozy mysteries that I read, I liked this one as it was quite different in that you never really saw the police investigating this murder, but instead you had a Izzy, our heroine and Sean, the lawyer, looking for others with a stronger motive to have murdered the local activist than Izzy’s best friend.

This was a fast-paced, action-filled drama that once I started I could not put down. I love the comfortable tone and the ease at which each chapter flowed from one to the other. The author did a great job in keeping the suspense going and it was fun narrowing down the list of suspects as each clue gathered kept the pages turning in this wonderful tailor-made mystery.

It was fun getting to know each of the main characters including their four-legged friends, from Izzy, to her sisters, and family and friends. The author description of the animals outfit had me looking for a picture of Packer in his cute little Hells Angel’s outfit.

With a lovable, yet quirky cast of characters, witty and engaging dialogue and a feel good atmosphere, this book is full of tailor-made charm and I can’t wait to see what adventures awaits Izzy and her friends in this wonderful addition to the cozy genre field.

Visit Annie at

FTC Disclosure - The publisher sent me a copy of this book, in hopes I would review it.

Forget Me Knot by Mary Marks is the first book in the new "Quilting" mystery series. Publisher: Kensington, January 2014
Welcome to San Fernando Valley, California, where Martha Rose and her coterie of quilters are enjoying life on the good side of retirement—until murder pulls a stitch out of their plans.

Martha and her besties Lucy and Birdie are set to expand their Quilty Tuesdays by inviting newcomer Claire Terry into their group. Though at forty Claire's a tad younger than their average age, her crafty reputation could perk up their patchwork proceedings, especially as they prepare for the fancy quilt show coming to town. But when they arrive at Claire's home and find her dead inside the front door, and her exquisite, prize-winning quilts soon missing, Martha is not one to leave a mystery unravelled. Especially if she wants to stop a killer from establishing a deadly pattern.
The author did a good job in delivering a fast-paced, fun and lighthearted whodunit centered around three quilters who happened to find the dead body of another quilter and what followed was their eagerness to find a murderer who’s hiding in plain sight. With plenty of suspects to choose from, I loved the twists and turns the mystery took as it rapidly pulled me into an intriguing storyline where secrets are uncovered and threats are made. Everyone had a role to play and it was done in a way that each clue gathered took us closer to the killer’s identity.

This was an enjoyable read featuring a lovable cast of characters and good conversations in this engaging debut novel. You don’t necessarily have to be a quilter to enjoy this book, but the tidbits and tips will add to a quilter’s repertoire. I look forward to more exploits with Martha and her friends in this lovely new series.

Visit Mary at

FTC Disclosure - The author sent me a copy of this book, in hopes I would review it.

Other books released this month:

Pecan Pies and Homicide by Ellery Adams

Owning the Charmed Pie Shoppe and serving enchanted treats in the magical town of Havenwood, Georgia, seemed like a little slice of heaven for Ella Mae LeFaye. But now her hopes for both a lasting romance with Hugh Dylan and business success are starting to seem like pie in the sky, and Ella’s left wondering: Where has the magic gone?

When an enchanted grove is set ablaze, Ella realizes she has more grave problems. With her magic waning, she’s going to have to sleuth from scratch to stop an arsonist who has no respect for sacred ground—or human life.

Release: January 2014
Series: Charmed Pie Shoppe #3
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
A Dark and Stormy Knit by Anne Canadeo

Knitting graffiti, in Plum Harbor? Maggie Messina doubts it could ever happen in her quiet village. Until the new parking meters on Main Street are found covered with cat-faced cozies. In the dark of night, the mysterious Knit Kats have struck again! The infamous gang of stitching graffiti artists are totally harmless, and their pranks all in good fun. Or so Maggie and her friends think. Until a yarn-covered corpse is discovered a few days later—the tangles identical to Knit Kat handiwork.

These threads of evidence should be easy to follow. But the clever Knit Kats hide behind a website and secret identities. The murderer could be anyone. A familiar face in town, even a copy Kat. But when Maggie’s assistant, Phoebe, becomes the prime suspect, the knitting friends know the police have dropped a few stitches. With no time to rest on their needles, the Black Sheep set out to unmask the crafty killer. No simple task, when all Knit Kats look the same in the dark.

Release: January 2014
Series: Black Sheep Knitting #6
Publisher: Gallery Books
Playing With Fire by J. J. Cook

Fire Chief Stella Griffin is working to solve the mysterious death of her predecessor, Eric Gamlyn—who also haunts her cabin. Yet the more she learns, the more burning questions she must answer. Just as Stella thinks she has a lead from Deputy Chum, someone snuffs her hopes—and the lawman.

Adding fuel to the fire, Stella’s parents soon arrive—with her ex-boyfriend—hoping to persuade her to return to Chicago. Now Stella is torn between the life she left behind and uncovering what happened to her ghostly friend. But she’d better think fast or more than her investigation could go up in flames.

Release: January 2014
Series: Sweet Pepper Fire Brigade #2
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Murder Sends a Postcard by Christy Fifield

Residents of Keyhole Bay, Florida, are dismayed when Bridget McKenna, an auditor in chic attire, arrives to assess the local bank’s shady dealings. Curious about the new arrival, Glory brings dinner to Bridget at her temporary residence—the notorious Bayvue Estates, a halted development complex with no view and no estates – just a couple of hastily-completed model homes .

Bridget’s assignment is to figure out where all the money went. But someone wants to keep her in the dark permanently. When Glory finds out her new friend won’t be leaving town alive, she knows she and Bluebeard will have to catch a killer and unravel a financial scandal before it leads to more murderous mayhem…

Release: January 2014
Series: Haunted Souvenir Shop #3
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Death of a Chocoholic by Lee Hollis

Food and cocktails columnist Hayley Powell is not looking for love this Valentine's Day. Of course she also isn't planning on looking for a murderer.

Fed up with dating after a disastrous setup, the only thing Hayley wants to snuggle up to is a box of made-to-order chocolates from plus-sized, plus-mouthed chocolatier Bessie Winthrop. But when Bessie is found dead in her kitchen, only Hayley suspects that Bessie's "heart attack" might actually be a candy-coated murder.

Turns out Bessie had more enemies than a boxful of chocolates, each one a suspicious flavour. It's sticky business juggling a job, two teenagers and finding a killer, but it's better than letting a killer find Hayley first.

Release: January 2014
Series: Hayley Powell #4
Publisher: Kensington
Home of the Braised by Julie Hyzy

Tensions are running high as the White House staff adjusts to a new chief usher and prepares for a high-stakes state dinner, where everything must be perfect. But as the date for the event approaches, things go disastrously wrong when the secretary of defense is found dead in his home, seemingly killed during a break-in.

At the same time Olivia’s fiancĂ©, Gav, is looking into the mysterious murder of an old friend. Is there a connection? Despite an increase in security following the secretary’s death, Ollie learns the president is in imminent danger at the dinner and must do everything in her power to get to him—before it’s too late.

Release: January 2014
Series: White House Chef #7
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Zero-Degree Murder by M.L. Rowland

As a volunteer for Timber Creek Search and Rescue, missing out on holiday festivities is nothing new to Gracie. After all, disasters don’t stop happening because of a cooked turkey. So when Gracie is called out on Thanksgiving for four hikers missing in the wilderness of Southern California, she packs up her gear and heads out to find them.

The mission quickly goes from routine to deadly. An early season blizzard sets in. The one missing person the team does find, famous actor Rob Christian, remembers being attacked by someone else on the trail, someone trying to kill him. And Gracie’s partner leaves to get backup, taking the radio—their only link to the outside world—with him.

Alone in the mountains, Gracie will have to use all her expertise to keep Rob alive. But with an unknown killer lurking somewhere in the dark, even that might not be enough to save them.

Release: January 2014
Series: Search and Rescue #1
Publisher: Berkley Prime Crime
Murder Strikes A Pose by Tracy Weber

When George and Bella—a homeless alcoholic and his intimidating German shepherd—disturb the peace outside her studio, yoga instructor Kate Davidson’s Zen-like calm is stretched to the breaking point. Kate tries to get rid of them before Bella scares the yoga pants off her students. Instead, the three form an unlikely friendship.

One night Kate finds George’s body behind her studio. The police dismiss his murder as a drug-related street crime, but she knows George wasn’t a dealer. So Kate starts digging into George’s past while also looking for someone to adopt Bella before she’s sent to the big dog park in the sky. With the murderer nipping at her heels, Kate has to work fast or her next Corpse Pose may be for real.

Release: January 2014
Series: Downward Dog #1
Publisher: Midnight Ink


NoraA said...

Hey Dru, nice list. There were a couple of books listed that I'm surprised I hadn't heard about months ago.

Ashley Montgomery said...

Some great new reads! I've read a couple of them and a few are on my TBR.

Mary Jane Maffini said...

Thanks, DruAnn! Another good list. We value you work for mystery readers and authors.



Nancy said...

Thanks for the reviews, Dru. I always enjoy them and get ideas for new series I otherwise wouldn't hear of.

Tracy Weber said...

Hey, Dru! Thanks for putting Murder Strikes a Pose on the list!

Anonymous said...

I just finished Forget Me Knot. It would have been a good story, if the author didn't need to push her political views continually throughout the book. I read cozy's for enjoyment, I don't need a political lesson with it. It is a shame, because I would have been waiting for the next book in the series if not for this issue