Manuscript for Murder

Manuscript for Murder

Manuscript for Murder by Jessica Fletcher and Jon Land (Murder, She Wrote series)

Thriller author Jon Land was chosen by Donald Bain to take over the latter’s super-popular cozy mystery series, “Murder, She Wrote.” Manuscript for Murder is the second book penned by Land, and it is a fun romp.

Not that there aren’t plenty of bodies. They’re showing up in locales other than Cabot Cove, the bucolic Maine hometown of mystery author and amateur sleuth, Jessica Fletcher, but they all have a link to the feisty widow. Her publisher of thirty years, Lane Barfield, has given her a manuscript to read, one that has him convinced he’s found the next big blockbuster of a thriller. It doesn’t take long to learn that association with that manuscript can be bad for one’s health, including hers. Who is the unknown author of the deadly manuscript, and what makes knowledge of its contents potentially lethal?

Land has done a fine job of channeling the indomitable Mrs. Fletcher and her usual band of supporting characters. Witty repartee abounds, showcasing the mutual affection between Mrs. Fletcher and the assorted investigators who grudgingly tolerate her involvement in their crime scenes but ultimately benefit from her wisdom and sharp eye.

Land’s penchant for writing thrillers comes through, as well. Tension mounts along with the body count, and the stakes reach well beyond Mrs. Fletcher‘s literary circles and  hometown friends to the heights of power in Washington, D.C. His signature cliffhangers make this cozy mystery a page-turner you’ll have a hard time putting down.

FIVE STARS 5 stars

This reviewer received an ARC from the author via TopShelf Magazine for the purpose of an honest review.

Manuscript for Murder will be released on November 6, 2018, and is available for pre-order.

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The Antique House Murders

The Antique House Murders Cover

The Antique House Murders by Leslie Nagel (Cozy Mystery)

This is the second book in the Oakwood Mystery Series, the first being the entertaining The Book Club Murders which we reviewed in October, 2016. Amateur sleuth Charley Carpenter, the indomitable young owner of a vintage clothing shop, is back, this time intent on solving the murder of a friend during an apparent break-in and robbery gone wrong.

Tempers are flaring in Oakwood, Ohio. Plans to demolish an historic old mansion to make way for development are hotly contested, and folks in town are taking sides, sometimes with violent results. With her personal connection to the murder victim, Charley can’t stay out of the action, even though her snooping defies angry warnings from her police detective boyfriend and puts their relationship at risk.

Familiar friends from the first book are here, but we see less of them as Charley takes on more of a solo approach this time that gets her into plenty of trouble. There are enough twists and turns and potentially guilty people to keep the reader unsure of who the perpetrator might be right up to the end. The author does a good job of moving things along while providing an appropriate amount of description that puts us in close contact with the smells, sights, and sounds of the formerly elegant but now decrepit old house and all the secrets it holds. Charley, her long-suffering boyfriend, and her two best friends are likeable characters who keep things fun and interesting, and Book Two in the Oakwood Mystery Series does not disappoint.

Grandma gives The Antique House Murders five stars. 5 stars

Bella Reads and Reviews Books received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and participation in the post-release blog tour.

The Book Club Murders

The Bookclub Murders

The Book Club Murders by Leslie Nagel

This cozy mystery is an engrossing read with lots of action and an interesting premise. Someone is killing women in a small Ohio town, and each murder mimics a scene from a different murder mystery on the reading list of a local book club, the Agathas. The Agathas are mostly high society matrons, but also include Charley, the young owner of a vintage clothing store, and her best girlfriend, Frankie. When Charley realizes the pattern that the killer is using, she brings her observations to the police detective, Marc, for whom she has mixed feelings of interest and dislike. They have shared history and a mutual case of distrust, but force themselves to work together to solve the mystery and, of course, fall in love.

Sleuthing out the identity of the killer is the best part of the book. The characters themselves are pretty standard – the feisty redheaded protagonist who won’t take no for an answer, the hunky but moody detective who finds himself falling for the feisty redhead even though he doesn’t want to, the ever-faithful perky BFF who refuses to be left out of the action, and the other popular character in women’s fiction today – the gorgeous, sexy,  completely cool but alas, unavailable, gay guy best friend with the irreverent sense of humor.

This book is the first in a series called The Oakwood Mystery Series. It will be interesting to see how Charley finds herself involved in solving the next mystery, and I will look forward to reading the next installment.

Bella gives The Book Club Murders four stars. 4 stars

Bella Reads and Reviews received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review and participation in a post-release blog tour.

Check out today’s GUEST POST from AUTHOR LESLIE NAGEL.