Spotlight: Murder at the Mansion by Janet Finsilver

Fortunes, fineries, and foul play . . .

It’s whale-watching season in Redwood Cove, and B&B manager Kelly Jackson’s battening down the hatches for the tourist rush at Redwood Heights-a Victorian-style estate owned by her boss. And due to recent jewelry thefts, her duties include keeping track of the many dust-covered artifacts spread throughout the property. But when Kelly finds Sylvia Porter’s lifeless body with a blood-splattered brooch around her neck, menial tasks don’t seem so terrible. Enlisting the help of a ragtag group of brainy retirees, aka the “Silver Sentinels,” Kelly’s on the hunt for clues hidden behind the mansion’s glamorous facade . . . and for a killer who may want to make history of her next!


About The Author  

Janet Finsilver is the USA TODAY best-selling author of the Kelly Jackson mystery series. She worked in education for many years as a teacher, a program administrator, and a workshop presenter. Janet majored in English and earned a Master’s Degree in Education. She loves animals and has two dogs–Kylie and Ellie. Janet has ridden western style since she was a child and was a member of the National Ski Patrol. One of the highlights of her life was touching whales in the San Ignacio Lagoon. MURDER AT REDWOOD COVE, her debut mystery, was released on October 13, 2015. Her second book, MURDER AT THE MANSION, was released on June 7, 2016.


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Spotlight and #Giveaway: Die, Die Birdie

>>>Enter to win an e-copy of Die, Die Birdie<<<


For Amy Simms, hatching a birding shop in her hometown of Ruby Lake, North Carolina, hasn’t exactly been a breeze. But could a deadly discovery clip her wings for good?

It’s just days before Amy plans to open Birds & Bees on the first floor of her creaky Victorian house, but delayed seed shipments have prevented the fledging owner from stocking her shelves. And it doesn’t help that Amy’s best friend and business partner is out of town indefinitely. With locals skeptical about the niche shop taking flight, the last thing Amy needs now is a dead man in her storeroom—or for a crotchety tenant to catch her holding a bloody birdfeeder hook over his body . . .


Pigeonholed as a leading murder suspect by police and lacking a solid alibi, Amy’s delving into the victim’s ugly past and buzzing around Ruby Lake for clues on his killer . . . before she ends up like so many of her beloved feathery friends—trapped behind bars!

About The Author  


J.R. Ripley is the pen name of Glenn Meganck, the critically acclaimed author of the Tony Kozol mystery series. As a member of the Mystery Writers of America, he has chaired the Edgar committee for Best Original Paperback novel and served on the Best Short Story Committee. As a member of the International Association of Crime Writers, he has served on the Hammett Award committee for Best Novel. When not writing books, Glenn is writing songs, often singing them to the consternation of his audience and neighbors, or involved in one of his many passions, none of which have involved any of the dead bodies that seem to keep cropping up in his mysteries. For more information about him, visit

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Character Interview and #Giveaway: Wedding Planner Kelsey McKenna from Terror in Taffeta

>>>Enter to win a hardcover copy of Terror in Taffeta<<<

Wedding planner Kelsey McKenna is just a few hours away from wrapping up her latest job: a destination wedding in the charming, colonial Mexican town of San Miguel de Allende. The reception is all set up, the tequila donkey is waiting outside, and the bride and groom are standing on the altar, pledging their eternal love. But just as the priest is about to pronounce them husband and wife, one of the bridesmaids upstages the couple by collapsing into a floral arrangement, a definite wedding “don’t.” Kelsey soon discovers that the girl hasn’t just fainted–she’s dead.Losing a bridesmaid is bad enough, but when the bride’s sister is arrested for murder, the demanding mother of the bride insists that Kelsey fix the matter at once. And although Kelsey is pretty sure investigating a murder isn’t in her contract, crossing the well-connected Mrs. Abernathy could be a career-killer. Before she can leave Mexico and get back to planning weddings, Kelsey must deal with stubborn detectives, a rekindled romance, and late-night death threats in this smart, funny cozy mystery debut.

Terror in Taffeta Book cover

Q: Kelsey, thanks for stopping by Island Confidential. Tell our readers a little bit about yourself?

A: First of all, there’s the whole marriage thing. Everyone assumes that since I’m a wedding planner, I secretly want to get married. But really, that’s like saying you secretly want to be an elephant because you work at the zoo. No, I chose wedding planning as my career because I’m organized and resourceful and I love a good party. Plus, it is pretty fun getting to be there on one of the biggest days of people’s lives.
I really do love my job, and I love traveling to different places. Take San Miguel de Allende, for example. It’s a really magical place, with cobblestone streets and a three-hundred-year-old gothic church sitting on the town plaza. A lot of artists live there, and most people who go there end up falling in love with it. If I ever do get married, I could see doing it in San Miguel. Or in a Tuscan villa. Or on a private beach on some faraway island… Actually, the expectations would be so high that I’d probably just elope.

Q: Who’s the character you get along with the best?

A: Brody Marx. He’s an amazing wedding photographer, so I always recommend him to my clients—which works out pretty well because I love it when he gets to come along with me on a wedding. There’s nothing romantic between us, because I’m not his type. In fact, I’m off by a whole Y chromosome. But he’s a good guy to have on your side when you’re trying to juggle wedding planning and fighting crime. I always have to bite my tongue in front of clients, but when it’s just the two of us, I can say whatever I’m thinking and he doesn’t judge. Well, maybe a little. But we have fun.

Q: Which other character do you have a conflict with?

A: I had a hard time with the mother of the bride, Mrs. Abernathy. I can get along with anyone, and I’m used to demanding clients, but she must have thought I had magical powers, because she fully expected me to fix everything that went wrong, even though I’m pretty sure investigating a murder wasn’t part of my contract. I did it though, because I hate saying no to my clients. After all, my whole business is built on referrals, so I do whatever it takes to make them happy. That’s something I should probably work on.

Q: Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author,  Marla Cooper?

A: We have a lot of fun together! She and I share a similar sense of humor, and she loves it when Brody and I get going. I catch her eavesdropping on us all the time and sometimes we say things that make her laugh out loud. She also doesn’t mind when I’m cranky from having to bite my tongue around my clients all day long. Sassy chicks unite!

Q: What’s next for you?

A: I’m planning a wedding in the California wine country. It’s a little awkward, because my clients were using a rival wedding planner, then they fired her and hired me. I’m sure it’ll all be fine, though. I mean, what could possibly go wrong?






About The Author  


As a freelance writer, MARLA COOPER has written all sorts of things, from advertising copy to travel guidebooks to the occasional haiku. But it was while ghostwriting a nonfiction guide to destination weddings that she found inspiration for her current series starring destination wedding planner Kelsey McKenna. Originally hailing from Texas, Marla lives inOakland, California, with her husband and her polydactyl tuxedo cat.

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Introducing a new culinary cozy series: The Crêpes of Wrath: A Pancake House Mystery by Sarah Fox

In the debut of a delightful cozy mystery series, Sarah Fox introduces a charming new heroine who finds herself in a sticky situation: stacking pancakes, pouring coffee, and investigating murder.

Bonus content: includes original recipes inspired by the Flip Side Pancake House menu!

When Marley McKinney’s aging cousin, Jimmy, is hospitalized with pneumonia, she agrees to help run his pancake house while he recovers. With its rustic interior and syrupy scent, the Flip Side Pancake House is just as she pictured it—and the surly chef is a wizard with crêpes.


Marley expects to spend a leisurely week or two in Wildwood Cove, the quaint, coastal community where she used to spend her summers, but then Cousin Jimmy is found murdered, sprawled on the rocks beneath a nearby cliff.

After she stumbles across evidence of stolen goods in Jimmy’s workshop, Marley is determined to find out what’s really going on in the not-so-quiet town of Wildwood Cove. With help from her childhood crush and her adopted cat, Flapjack, Marley sinks her teeth into the investigation. But if she’s not careful, she’s going to get burned by a killer who’s only interested in serving up trouble.

About The Author  

Sarah Fox was born and raised in Vancouver, British Columbia, where she developed a love for mysteries at a young age. When not writing novels or working as a legal writer, she is often reading her way through a stack of books or spending time outdoors with her English Springer Spaniel.

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Character Interview: Lily Gayle Lambert from Death of a Wolfman

 Lily Gayle Lambert is a professional seamstress specializing in period dresses for convention attendees and re-enactment groups along with being an amateur genealogist. And a big pain in the butt to the county sheriff…who just happens to be her cousin. 


Quicker than she can stitch together the threads of a genealogy project she’s just signed on to research, Lily Gayle finds herself embroiled in investigating the Halloween night murder of a stranger who suffers from ‘wolfman syndrome.  Before she can even get going good on the first murder a member of a prominent family turns up dead too.

Escaping from a trailer in the woods owned by two good ole boys suspected of being involved and a confrontation with the eldest son of the town’s wealthiest family have Lily Gayle hot on the trail of the killer.

With the help of her lifelong best friend, Dixie, Lily Gayle must find the link between the two and solve the mystery before her investigation makes her the next target.

Q: Lily Gayle, thanks for stopping by Island Confidential. Would you mind telling us a little bit about yourself, maybe something readers might not know?

A. I’m 48 years old. I left Mercy after high school to attend Ole Miss. I can tell you I had some really good time on that campus (wink wink) and I met my husband while I was there. We had some real good years together. No kids though. It was a sadness for both of us. He’s gone now. Killed in a car wreck coming home from a meeting in Nashville, TN. Once that happened, the only thing I wanted to do was just bury myself under a rock. My old friend, Dixie, showed up at my door one day and started packing up my stuff. Never even asked me. Next thing I knew I was back home in Mercy living in the old house my grandparents left to me a while back. Once Dixie got me to start living again, I got into the business of making gowns for ladies who do re-enactments and attend conferences. I’ve been sewing since I was a little thing. And I had been doing genealogy for years. But not professionally. So I started that up too. Next thing I knew, I was back to living.

Then I stared getting mixed up in some mysteries in town. Mostly minor stuff. Kids getting up to mischief. And found out I like that a lot. My cousin, Ben, is the county Sheriff and I help him solve cases. But he’d tell you I get in his way and stick my nose into things that aren’t my business. But I don’t pay him any mind – even when he calls me a Nancy Drew wanna be. Nope. I just have a knack for this kind of work and I’m gonna help him all I can. My best friend, Dixie, is right there by my side. Why there’s nothing we can’t figure out. And, then Miss Edna, the town busybody, decided to get in on the action. So now there’s three of us.

Something readers might not know about me. Hm. Well….I’m an only child and I always wished I had brothers and sisters. But, I guess that’s why my cousin, Ben, and I get along like we do. He’s an only child too. We fight and make up just like regular siblings. And we were born on the same day. And our Maman’s were twins. So, I reckon that makes the two of us almost twins.

Q: Who’s the character in Death of a Wolfman that you get along with the best? 

A. That would be Dixie. We’ve been best friends ever since we met back when we were in diapers. Think and thin. Best of friends. That’s always been us. She’s always been there for me. Even when I was up to something we both knew we shouldn’t be doing. She’d do it with me and suffer the consequences right by my side. Come to think on it, she still does! LOL.

Q: Which other character do you have a conflict with? 

A. I get along with most everybody. But I sometimes have little spats with my cousin, Ben. He’s really the only one who just finds my last nerve and stands on it with all his weight. Been that way since we were kids. Always thinking he can run th show. Guess that’ why he ended up being sheriff. He can run other people’s shows now. But still can’t run mine.

Q: Just between you and me: What do you really think of your author, Susan Boles?

A. She’s a smart cookie! Got a good head on her shoulders. And the ability to think things through and to spot things that don’t quite makes sense. She makes me look really good. So what else can I say? She loves a great mystery, just like me. And she’s into all the crafts. Sewing, knitting, crocheting and her newest obsession is zoom loom. Not sure what that’s all about but it looks interesting.

Q: What’s next for you?

A. More beautiful gowns for the ladies and more genealogical searches. A girl’s gotta pay the bills, you know. And I’m going to help the town council turn Mitchell Manor into a tourist attraction just in time for the Goobers and Grits festival later this year. Why I bet we’ll get all kinds of new folks coming through here to see that!



About the Author

Susan calls McNairy County, TN her home ground even though she has moved away. It was here, at Bethel Springs Junior High School that she began her writing career with two friends. They formed their own little writers group that was so secret they were the only ones who knew it existed. She still has some of the stories they wrote carefully preserved in a loose leaf binder and tucked away for safety.
She has worked in retail management, briefly for the Census Bureau and for many years in the investment/insurance industry in the regulatory compliance arena. All of which are left brain activities. So she exercises her right brain activity with reading and writing…just to keep both sides even.

Reading has been a passion since she was very young. As a toddler, her mother read to her from her ‘baby books’ and her Mother tells a story about her holding one of them upside-down and ‘reading’ by repeating the story verbatim from memory.

Death of a Wolfman is the first in the Lily Gayle Lambert mystery series. Her previously published romantic suspense novel, Fated Love, is a contemporary paranormal romantic suspense (with a twist of paranormal) set in Memphis, TN. Her first novel, Kate’s Pride, is a historical women’s fiction set in West Tennessee in the aftermath of the Civil War. The novel is loosely based on her own Great Grandmother and published under the pen name Renee Russell.

Life got in the way of writing for many years but now she’s come back to her early love.

Stay in touch for upcoming releases!

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Author Interview and #Giveaway: Susan Russo Anderson, Death and Disappearance

While Denny battles demons of his own and Cookie and Clancy disappear, a pregnant Fina Fitzgibbons investigates the death of her friend’s husband and in doing so lands in the middle of a group of art and drug traffickers.


Q: Susan Russo Anderson joins me today to talk about her latest Fina Fitzgibbons Brooklyn Mystery, Death and Disappearance. Susan, welcome back to Island Confidential! Can you tell us a little bit about Fina?


A: Hi, Frankie. Thanks so much for hosting me and the hero of my series, Fina Fitzgibbons, a twenty-something detective. She lives in Brooklyn, NY with her used-to-be boyfriend and now husband, NYPD patrolman, Denny McDuffy. Like all of us, Fina has her issues. Hers center around her conflicts regarding a woman’s role, and those conflicts are augmented by fears of her loved ones leaving her. And it’s not hard to understand why, given all that life has dealt her—the abandonment of the family by her father when Fina, an only child, was a young girl, and later, the murder of her mother whom Fina adored. But if her anguish sometimes bubbles to the surface, she soldiers on, despite a discernment which is sometimes flawed. Beyond that, she has a fierce need to help others, to right wrongs, and she never, ever gives up. Flawed and with a contemporary point of view, she is, at her best, a modern day saint.

Q: How much of you is in Fina? How would you feel about her if you met her in real life?

A: I’d love to have Fina’s tenacity, the boldness of her strokes, her unshakable faith in humanity, so I guess that makes me a Fina-wanna-be. When I was her age, I had the same fears of losing my identity if I allowed myself to fall in love; and I don’t think I’ll ever lose the fear of my significant others leaving me: they already have. In the end, though, I’d love to meet Fina in real life. If you look closely, there she is, just around the corner. Oops, she’s disappeared. Elusive, except in my imagination, she is never far away.

Q: Do Fina and the other characters change and evolve throughout consecutive books in the series?

A: I’d say so, yes. Fina has gone from a fear of commitment to love to finally letting love transform her into being a mother, into thinking first of her children while holding on to her own center. And her view of others is deepening. She sees complexity now, and has learned to listen. She and Denny no longer have their knock-down-drag-outs. Not that they don’t always agree with each other; not that they don’t have their moments, but in the end, Fina realizes that it’s time to talk. Denny, too, although in the latest book, the one I’m just beginning to write, he has a line in the sand, and it’s a difficult one. Like most marriages, they have a lot to talk about. Bottom line? I think Fina is growing into wisdom.

Q: Have you ever thought of killing someone that you know in real life–on the pages of a murder mystery, I mean?

A: That’s a tough one. I’m trying to be honest, here. I know I’ve never planned a killing, even of a character who shares traits with someone I know in real life. But I’m glad when my antagonists are caught. Glad for Fina’s sake; glad for the victim. The last antagonist committed suicide, though, and I was really sad about that.

Q: How realistic is your Brooklyn? Do you take liberties, or are you true to life?

A: For the most part, I’m true to life, especially with Brooklyn’s landmarks—like the Promenade and the Brooklyn Bridge, some of the streets in Brooklyn, and some of the restaurants my husband and I used to visit. As I answer this question and write scenes in Fina’s Brooklyn mystery series, I feel myself transported to the neighborhoods I love. But I also bend reality. For instance, Brooklyn General Hospital and Elaine’s exist only in my imagination. So when my need is there, I create places. And of course all my real places are used in a fictional sense.

Q: When the movie or TV series is made, who plays the major parts?

A: Great question, Frankie! Definitely Kate McKinnon is Fina. Meryl Streep is Lorraine. Leonardo Di Caprio is Denny. And Melissa McCarthy is Cookie, no matter her current dress size.

Russo Celebs

Q: What’s the worst and best advice you’ve heard or received as an author?

A: The worst?—Never use adverbs. The best?—Create your own process. Bend the rules. Remember that the Sentence Cop is dead.


About The Author

Susan Russo Anderson is a writer, a mother, a member of Sisters in Crime, a graduate of Marquette University. She’s taught language arts and creative writing, worked for a publisher, an airline, an opera company. Like Faulkner’s Dilsey, she’s seen the best and the worst, the first and the last. Through it all, and to understand it somewhat, she writes.

TOO QUIET IN BROOKLYN, the first in the Fina Fitzgibbons Brooklyn mystery series published December 2013. The second book in the series, MISSING BRANDY, published September 2014, and WHISKEY’S GONE completes a trilogy. Fina’s fourth book, THE BROOKLYN DROP, published August 2015, and her fifth book, DEATH AND DISAPPEARANCE, published in May 2016.

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Spotlight and #Giveaway: Cracked to Death, a Webb’s Glass Shop Mystery

>>>Enter to win a print copy of Cracked to Death<<<

When a treasure hunt leads to deadly plunder, it’s up to glass shop owner Savannah Webb and her trusty investigative posse to map out the true motives of a killer . . .


It’s the dog days of summer in St. Petersburg, Florida, and Webb’s Glass Shop proprietor Savannah Webb has an eco-friendly plan to help locals escape the heat–a recyclable bottle-crafting workshop taught by reticent store manager Amanda Blake. Turns out, the class is a bigger smash than expected, thanks in part to a pair of staggeringly old bottles brought in by snorkeler Martin Lane . . .

Linked to a storied pirate shipwreck, the relics definitely pique Savannah’s interest. But intrigue turns to shock when Martin’s lifeless body washes ashore the next morning, another glass artifact tucked in his dive bag. With cell phone records connecting Amanda to the drowning, Savannah must voyage through unchartered territory to exonerate her colleague and capture the twisted criminal behind Martin’s death . . .

“Cheryl Hollon clearly knows her glass craft, but better still, she also knows how to craft a good mystery.” –Sheila Connolly, New York Times bestselling author

“A fresh and original new series!” –Krista Davis, New York Times bestselling author

About The Author  

Cheryl Hollon writes full time after she left an engineering career of designing and building military flight simulators in amazing countries such as England, Wales, Australia, Singapore, Taiwan and India.

Fulfilling the dream of a lifetime, she combines her love of writing with a passion for creating glass art. In the small glass studio behind their St. Petersburg, FL, 1920’s craftsman bungalow, Cheryl and her husband design, create, and produce fused glass, stained glass and painted glass artworks and jewelry.

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New mystery and Kindle Fire #Giveaway: Silk Stalkings

>> Enter to win a Kindle Fire preloaded with Diane Vallere’s four first-in-series books <<<

Fabric shop owner Polyester Monroe can get tangled up in textiles, but it’s murder that really throws her for a loop in the latest mystery from the national bestselling author of Crushed Velvet.

The time has come for San Ladrón, California’s annual Miss Tangorli beauty pageant, and Poly has agreed to use Material Girl’s inventory of shimmery silks to create embellished gowns fit for a crown. But when millionaire Harvey Halliwell—the man who revived the city’s citrus trade with his imported tangorli tree—is found dead days before the pageant contestants are announced, something sour takes over the town.

To make matters worse, her friend, mechanic Charlie Brooks, is soon caught up in the crime, having been seen in the company of the case’s prime suspect. Now Poly’s on a mission to squeeze out the truth. But as she searches for a pattern, the killer seems intent on cutting up the evidence…

About the Author

I’m a former fashion buyer turned mystery writer, trading fashion accessories for accessories to murder. I was bit by the mystery bug as a kid reading Trixie Belden, Connie Blair, and The Three Investigators. Now I’m writing three series: the Style & Error Mysteries, the Mad for Mod Mysteries, and the Material Witness Mysteries. Coming in Feb 2016: The new Costume Shop Cozy Mysteries!

The Material Witness mysteries feature Polyester Monroe, who inherits the fabric shop where she was born. Books include SUEDE TO REST and CRUSHED VELVET. The third, SILK STALKINGS, will be out in August 2016.

The Style & Error Series features former fashion buyer turned amateur sleuth Samantha Kidd. Books in that series include DESIGNER DIRTY LAUNDRYBUYER, BEWARETHE BRIM REAPER; and SOME LIKE IT HAUTE. (A short story, “Just Kidding,” tells the story of how Samantha first met shoe designer Nick Taylor). Book 5, GRAND THEFT RETRO, will be out in 2016.

The Madison Night Mysteries feature a modern day interior decorator who specializes in midcentury design (studying Doris Day movies to get the look right). Books are PILLOW STALK,THAT TOUCH OF INK, and WITH VICS YOU GET EGGROLL. A prequel novella, “Midnight Ice,” can be found in OTHER PEOPLE’S BAGGAGE.




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#Mystery Spotlight: Beauty of the End

“I was fourteen when I fell in love with a goddess…”


So begins the testimony of Noah Calaway, an ex-lawyer with a sideline in armchair criminal psychology. Now living an aimless life in an inherited cottage in the English countryside, Noah is haunted by the memory of the beguiling young woman who left him at the altar sixteen years earlier. Then one day he receives a troubling phone call. April, the woman he once loved, lies in a coma, the victim of an apparent overdose—and the lead suspect in the brutal murder of her stepfather. Deep in his bones, Noah believes that April is innocent. Then again, he also believed they would spend the rest of their lives together.

While Noah searches for evidence that will clear April’s name, a teenager named Ella begins to sift through the secrets of her own painful family history. The same age as April was when Noah first met her, Ella harbors a revelation that could be the key to solving the murder. As the two stories converge, there are shocking consequences when at last, the truth emerges.

Or so everyone believes…

Set in a borderland where the past casts its shadow on the present, with a time-shifting narrative that will mesmerize and surprise, The Beauty of the End is both a masterpiece of suspense and a powerful rumination on lost love.

About The Author

Debbie Howells -  credit Henry Wells Photography Ltd

Debbie Howells is the author of THE BONES OF YOU, her debut thriller which sold internationally for six-figures in several countries. While in the past she has been a flying instructor, the owner of a flower shop, and a student of psychology, she currently writes full-time. Debbie lives in West Sussex with her family. Visit her online at


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The Cat, the Collector, and the Killer

Coming August 2, 2016

the cat, the collector and the killer

The Cat, The Collector and the Killer (Cats in Trouble Mystery)
Cozy Mystery
8th in Series
Setting – South Carolina
An Obsidian Mystery
An Imprint of New American Library
Penguin Random House LLC
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0451477408
E-Book ASIN: B01839Q396
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In the latest mystery from the New York Times bestselling author of The Cat, the Sneak and the Secret, a cat collector is suspected of murder.

Jillian Hart and police chief Tom Stewart are enjoying peaceful, newly wedded bliss in Mercy, South Carolina, until a woman is found wandering the streets one night. She’s in her night clothes, disoriented, and carrying a kitten in a tote bag. A search of the woman’s house reveals many more cats, a maze of cardboard boxes—and a dead man.

Although the evidence suggests the frail woman is the killer, Jillian doesn’t believe she’s capable of such a crime. The dead man had many enemies in town, which means finding the real murderer may prove to be its own cat and mouse game…

leann sweeney

Find out more about Leann and her books on her webpage here. She is also on Facebook and Twitter.

Also by Leann Sweeney


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