Berkley Prime Crime Mystery
Teacher Lizzie Turner loves her mystery books and is very excited for the first meeting of the Ashton Corners Mystery Readers and Cheese Straws Society. The meeting is held in her friend Molly Matthew’s mansion. Suddenly real life becomes more intriguing than the group’s fiction read when a stranger wanders into Molly’s home and winds up dead. The murder weapon turns out to be part of Molly’s antique gun collection.
When the reading group members become the prime suspects, Lizzie is determined to prove they had nothing to do with the death. She mysteriously begins to receive chapters from a manuscript and wonders if they are connected to the murder.
Added to the mystery is a bit of romance. Lizzie had a high school crush on the local police chief and the feelings surface again. If she’d only stay out of his investigation, their relationship would be perfect, but Lizzie has no intentions of letting that happen.
This is the first book in a new cozy series. Of course this book has been in my review pile for a year, so I guess it’s not all that new since there is already a second book released and a new one coming out soon. I’m just sorry it took so long for me to read.
Setting a mystery to the backdrop of a reading group is perfect for me. It gives us a small group of characters – each with their own personalities and quirkiness. I know I will enjoy re-visiting with these people in future books. My only complaint was that there are two beautiful cats on the cover but they didn’t have enough to do in the book. You know me and cats. LOL The cats have great names though – Edam and Brie.
Each chapter begins with a quote from other mystery stories. I thought that was a nice addition. The story moved at a nice pace and I tried so hard to figure out whodunit and I came to all the wrong conclusions. That’s a good thing! I like being surprised.
This series is off to a wonderful start. Looking forward to the next one.
FTC Disclosure: The publisher provided me with a copy of this book to review. This did not influence my thoughts and opinions in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.
For reading challenges:
A-Z Reading Challenge 2013
2013 ARC Reading Challenge
Where are you reading? challenge (Alabama)
Cruisin’ thru the Cozies
What An Animal Reading Challenge
Interview With Author Erika Chase
Socrates’ Book Review Blog and Socrates’ Cozy Café would like to welcome author Erika Chase to our little corner of the world. Erika is the author of An Ashton Corners Book Club Mystery series. Her first book is “A Killer Read” which I recently had the pleasure of reading and reviewing.
Let the questions begin…
- Who is the greatest influence in your writing career?
My good friend Mary Jane Maffini, who is role model of good writing and promotional skills, plus being very supportive. Also, my critiquing group, The Ladies Killing Circle – we’ve been through a lot in the 20+ years we’ve been together and we’ve all grown in our writing skills. But, way back at the start of it, my eighth grade English teacher, Mr. Ross, who thought I could write and gave me good marks for my short stories.
- As a child, did you read mysteries?
I read widely but really enjoyed the Nancy Drew books as well as Trixie Belden. In fact, Trixie was my favorite for a long time and I’ve lately begun buying old copies when I come across them.
- Do you have any favorite authors or books to recommend?
My favorites often change according to what I’m reading or what mood I’m in. I always buy the latest books by Andrea Camilleri and Martin Walker, probably because I’m such an armchair traveler. And, I’m always ready for a book by Mary Jane Maffini. Love her cozies – all of them, especially her new series written as Victoria Abbott.
- Do you outline a book before you begin? In other words, do you know who did it from the beginning or are you as surprised as the readers are?
I used to wing it when writing, trusting the plot to unfold as the characters did their thing. However, my editor at Berkley Prime Crime likes seeing a synopsis and I’m now in the habit of writing them. I find it works as a road map if I lose my way or make a wrong turn. However, sometimes I continue on that wrong road and it turns out right.
- Do you have any idea how long this series will go? Do you have ideas for future storylines?
Book #3, Cover Story comes out in August and I’m working on the fourth book, Book Fair and Foul for next year. I have a couple of ideas beyond that and hopefully, will be able to use them. Sales are such an important factor is the longevity of a series, so we’ll see.
- What do you think of the current ereader explosion? Do you like ebooks?
I’m amazed at how quickly all new technology bursts onto the scene and takes over. I’m all in favor of whatever helps the reader to do just that. However, I personally am not a big fan. I do take ebooks along when traveling but prefer the traditional paper variety when at home. Besides, they make a great decorative statement.
- How long does it take for you to write a book?
I have a 9-month deadline for each book however, the first draft takes about six months and the remaining time, I’m re-writing and polishing until it’s due.
- How did you feel when your first book was published? What was your first published work?
I have no words to describe the feeling of that first book being published, not a good thing for a writer to admit. I will attempt to though by saying I felt joy, gratitude and pride. A Killer Read is my first novel to be published (but not the first I’ve written -- no more will be said about that :). I’ve also had several short stories published, and was short-listed for an Arthur Ellis Award for Best Short Story from Crime Writers of Canada.
- What kind of environment do you do your actual writing in? Describe the setting for us.
Music plays a large role in my life and I always have it on in the background when writing. It’s usually classical music that can be unobtrusive but sometimes, depending on the scene, I’ll choose a CD with more vigor, like the soundtrack from The Big Easy.
- Have you done book signings? What kind of experience have you had with fans?
I’ve done several book signings and thoroughly enjoy them. It’s such a pleasure to meet readers and talk about mysteries. It’s all been good although there’s always someone who says she or he never reads fiction. Hmmm.
- Can you give us a sneak peek into your future releases?
The third book, Cover Story, immerses the book club sleuths in murder, mayhem and counterfeiting when an old childhood friend of Molly Mathews’s returns to town as a newly-published author. She’s a colorful lady and comes with a few skeletons in the closet. And as we all know, that door never stays shut.
Book Fair and Foul, the following book, takes a peak at the lives of authors attending book fairs and festivals. Of course, there’s a murder and of course, the book club gets involved, especially after one of their own becomes the prime suspect.
Thank you so much, Erika, for taking the time to visit with us.
BOOK GIVEAWAY !!!!
Now you can win a copy of this book for your very own. Thanks to Berkley Publishing, I can a paperback copy of A Killer Read to one lucky winner.
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