Berkley Prime Crime
Jordan McAllister still can’t believe she was given the food columnist position at the Ranchero Globe newspaper. She knows nothing about food. Her goal is to be a sportswriter, but she’ll take what she can get for now.
Invited by a local cattle baron, Lucas Santana, to attend the Cattleman’s Ball, in the hope that she give it a good review, Jordan attends with Santana’s sexy cowboy foreman Rusty Morales. She is more than happy to attend with the handsome hunk since her own on again/off again boyfriend is out of town and she’s not exactly sure where they stand anyway. So, why not take the opportunity for a night on the town with a good looking escort?
The ball is all glitter, glamour, champagne and good food until the night takes a tragic turn. Jordan’s date suddenly takes ill and dies in her arms. Not sure what exactly happened to Rusty, she finds herself in the middle of a high profile death which turns out to be murder. Being the last person with Rusty, Jordan becomes one of the prime suspects.
Jordan is surprised when her brother shows up on her doorstep. He’s working on an investigation of cattle rustling which just happens to center around Rusty Morales. The investigation is now a homicide and Jordan has a personal interest in this case.
When Rusty’s mother pleads with Jordan to help her, she jumps right into the investigation – much to her brother’s dismay. She’s not exactly sure what Rusty’s mother wants help with, but Jordan is sure finding out who killed her son would be top of the list.
Jordan vows to find out exactly what happened the night of the Cattleman’s Ball. However, her snooping puts her own life in danger. She finds herself entangled in a plot of greed, betrayal, and murder.
This is the second book of Liz Lipperman’s “A Clueless Cook Mystery” and I loved this one more than the first (and I adored the first one).
I felt as if I was re-visiting old friends and I always love that in series books. Readers were given a chance to get to know the characters, especially Jordan better. Throwing her brother into the mix was an excellent opportunity to see her interact with her older brother. I hope we get to see more of this relationship in the future. The camaraderie Jordan has with her friends is so sweet and touching. They'd do anything for each other and sometimes reminds me of the group from the "Friends" TV show.
The story took the readers on many twists and turns. Just when I thought I figured it all out, the story went in another direction. The book even features several recipes that we read about in the book.
Liz gave us just the right amount of mystery, humor and romance to create a captivating story. It was a well written, fast-paced, quick read that I was sad to see come to an end. I’m already looking forward to the next one in this series.
I do love my cozies – another 5 kitty read and a Socrates’ Great Book Alert.
Disclosure: A review copy was provided by Berkley Prime Crime in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.
For reading challenges:
A to Z Reading Challenge
2012 Cozy Mystery Reading Challenge
Cruisin' Thru the Cozies Reading Challenge
And now…stick around for an interview with the author and a book giveaway!
We’re happy to welcome Liz Lipperman to Socrates’ Book Review Blog and Cozy Café. Liz visited us when her debut cozy mystery, Liver Let Die, was released and she’s back with the second book in the series, Beef Stolen-Off.
Welcome to our blog, Liz – we have a few questions to ask :)
1) Since our last interview, Liver Let Die has done very well. What kind of response have you received?
First of all, thanks, Yvonne, for having me back. I love this blog. Now to the question—I am overwhelmed at how many people have read the book and took the time to tell me how much they loved it. It has made me a better reader now since I have promised myself to always leave a review when I love a book.
2) How has the fan experience been? Have you done many book signings, received fan mail, etc.?
Mostly terrific. There are those few who didn’t like the book for one reason or another, but I still appreciated their taking the time to review it. The book signings are fun since I love meeting readers. I especially love blogs like yours because I no longer have the kind of time I used to have for my own personal reading. I count on you and others like you to point me in the right directions for books to read when I do find the time.
3) Besides writing cozy books, you also do suspense and thrillers that aren’t cozies. Is it difficult writing between the two different genres? Does it take a different mindset? Do you do anything differently?
Here’s something you may not know. I thought I was a romance writer for a lot of years, so I loaded my stories with strong heroes and heroines falling in love. I got rejected a lot because I broke all the romance rules. The fact that there were always dead bodies and guns in my stories didn’t help. LOL. When it finally dawned on me that I was a mystery writer (and it wasn’t a light bulb moment. My agent had to break the news to me!!) I had 2 completed manuscripts. One of those, MORTAL DECEPTION, is available on Amazon now, and I call it a romantic thriller. The next book I wrote was a ghost story about 5 sisters and one of them dies and comes back to help the girls solve her murder. It’s a bigger mystery with multiple points of view and multiple subplots. It also has language and sex in it. When my editor at Berkley read it, she fell in love with it but said she’d have to ruin it to make it a cozy. She asked if I could write a cozy series for her. I said. “Absolutely. What’s a cozy?” So, you see, it’s the cozies that I’ve had to learn to write, not the mainstream mysteries and the thrillers, and yes it does take a different mindset.
4) Your cozy series is called “A Clueless Cook Mystery series”, so I must ask… do you cook? Do you have any favorite foods?
I am one of 9 children, and I grew up on casseroles. Not only do I love to cook, but I am pretty good at it. (Most of the recipes in the back of my books are from my personal collection.) The catch here is that I hate fancy food and eat very little red meat (except for cheap streak and ground beef.) Sounds like my heroine, right?? I eat a lot of chicken, but I have to admit that my favorite food is Baked Steak and Gravy. My father was sick when I was young and my mother had to work three jobs to keep us off Welfare. One of those jobs was cooking at a motel that catered to truck drivers. Those truckers used to come from all over on the nights she cooked this. It’s her own made up recipe and it’s in the back of BEEF STOLEN-OFF.
5) What made you decide to use food as the setting for your series?
The Berkley editor was looking specifically for a “foodie” since she had a series like that and it had just been cancelled. I did a little research and found that most of the foodies out there were about gourmet food or gourmet wines (my knowledge of wines is limited at best—I ask for the pink stuff!!) Given what I’ve already admitted about my preference for casseroles, I knew there was no chance I could pull something like that off. I almost told my agent I couldn’t do it. In the middle of the night I woke up with this great idea about a girl who can’t cook and loves all sports and is thrown into a job that requires her to know gourmet food. I wrote three chapters and got a three book deal.
6) Do you have an idea of how many books will be in the series?
I love writing this series and will continue doing so until somebody tells me to stop. When BEEF STOLEN OFF releases, that will make two out there with MURDER FOR THE HALIBUT coming in January and CHICKEN CACCHIA-KILLER set to release in the fall of 2013.
7) What is your best or favorite experience since becoming a published author?
Without a doubt, it is meeting readers like you. I love your enthusiasm for my stories. And there is something to be said for seeing my books on a bookshelf in a library and at the bookstores after so many years of rejections.
8) Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Never, ever quit writing no matter who tells you to keep the day job (and trust me, they will.) Somewhere out there someone is waiting to read your story. Look at me—I had three completed stories and sold 3 that weren’t even written yet. It can happen if you believe.
9) Any plans for any booksignings coming up?
I am signing at several bookstores in the area and at a charity tea for literacy. I would like to offer any of your readers a really cool signed bookmark if they want to send me their snail mail address at firstname.lastname@example.org
10) Can you give us any sneak peeks of some of your future releases?
First off, I’m happy to announce that Midnight Ink just bought the first two books in that ghost story I mentioned earlier. As I said, that is a mainstream mystery and is not to be confused with a cozy (it’s not PG.) The first one will release in May, 2013, and is tentatively titled HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE. MURDER FOR THE HALIBUT (coming January 2013) puts Jordan and her wacky band of friends on a Caribbean cruise where she is judging a big cooking contest (think Chopped on Brava TV.) CHICKEN CACCHIA KILLER (coming in the fall of 2013) takes place at the Italian Festival where Jordan’s boyfriend’s sister gets charged with the murder of an Italian playboy.
Within the next few months, the very first book I ever wrote (a romantic thriller) will be available. It’s titled SHATTERED DREAMS and involves a young nurse who ends up in the middle of a botched kidnapping attempt and smuggled into Colombia where she eventually takes up arms with her captors.
I also have a romantic suspense (special ops) proposal sitting on the desk at a publishing house as we speak. Aren’t you glad you asked?????
Thanks so much, Liz, for coming back to see us!
It has been my pleasure.
Now, for a book giveaway. Would you like to win a paperback copy of this book for your own? Thanks to Kayleigh at Berkley, I have one copy to offer.To enter fill in the form below and follow these simple rules:
1) The contest runs from midnight (est), July 3rd to midnight (est) on July 14th.
2) Entrants must fill out the form below to enter the giveaway.
3) US Residents only.
4) For an extra entry - follow this blog either through GFC or subscribe through email. Yes, longtime followers count, just tell me how you follow.
5) For an extra entry - Leave a comment telling us what your favorite food is.
6) For an extra 2 entries blog about this contest on your blog.
7) For an extra 2 entries, check out the post for this book at my Socrates' Cozy Cafe blog and comment on it.
8) For an extra 2 entries, follow my other blog Socrates' Cozy Cafe and let me know how you follow it. Yes, longtime followers count, just tell me how you follow.
I will notify the winner once one is chosen by Rafflecopter. The winner will have 48 hours to claim their book or a new winner will be chosen.
Good luck everyone!
a Rafflecopter giveaway