Monday, April 30, 2018

I'm happy to be joining #BerkleyMystery in celebrating the May 1 release of 
Book 47 in the Murder She Wrote Mysteries
by Jessica Fletcher, Donald Bain & Jon Land

Jessica Fletcher investigates a friend's murder and a dangerous dating service in the latest entry in this USA Today bestselling series...

Jessica Fletcher takes up the case of her good friend Barbara "Babs" Wirth after Babs' husband Hal suffers a fatal heart attack that Jessica has reason to believe was actually murder. At the heart of her suspicions lies a sinister dating site Hal had used while he and Babs were having marital issues, a site that may be complicit in somehow swindling him out of millions.
Jessica's investigation reveals that Hal was far from the only victim and when his former business partner is also killed, a deadly pattern emerges. Jessica teams up with a brilliant young computer hacker to follow the trail but as she gets closer to the truth, two near misses force her to realize that she may very well be the next victim. 

The stakes have never been this high as Jessica finds herself being stalked by the killer she is trying to catch. She must now set the perfect trap to avoid her very own date with murder.

by Jon Land

To celebrate the publication of A DATE WITH MURDER, my first effort writing as Jessica Fletcher in the MURDER, SHE WROTE series, I thought I’d put together my Top Ten list of the most influential crime/mystery shows in television history.

THE  UNTOUCHABLES: Fans will remember Robert Stack’s brilliant turn as Elliot Ness, the Walter Winchell narration, and that great Nelson Riddle instrumental theme song. What gets forgotten is that this was the show that defined cops and robbers tales for years to come. Often imitated, but never equaled, Ness and company’s battle with underworld Chicago in the days of Al Capone and Frank Nitty played out week after week in hardboiled and violent fashion.

HILL STREET BLUES: One of the shows that changed television forever, upping the ante across the board as far as writing, plotting and characterization. The late Steven Bochco’s ensemble cast battle bad guys, their worst tendencies, and each other while going about their daily jobs fighting crime. Many of the great crime shows that dominate the cable airwaves owe a huge debt to Blues, which more than any other show at the time brought moral ambiguity to the small screen.

COLUMBO:  What can I say about the rumpled detective famously played by Peter Falk that basically redefined the television mystery? It wasn’t a whodunit so much as how’s-he-solve-it, and Columbo never disappointed. The series invited the audience to play along, searching for the elusive prime clue to be revealed only in the final moment. Episodes ran in various forms for an astounding 30+ years. In not a single one did Columbo ever draw his gun or lose his zeal. Still one of the smartest and best-written shows in television history.

MURDER, SHE WROTE:  Okay, I’m a little prejudiced but this fabulously successful television show starring Angela Lansbury in the title role ran for a dozen years, all but one of them among the top ten rated shows, spawned four TV movies, and is still enjoying a successful run in syndication on Hallmark Mysteries. The notion of an amateur sleuth spawned a slew of imitators that never achieved this level of success or resonated as much or as long in pop culture. It’s safe to say that Jessica Fletcher is America’s premier sleuth with a near 100% name recognition value.

THE ROCKFORD FILES:  The clever answering machine staple opening alerted us from the start of every episode that we were in for a detective tale of fresh ilk. Its light tone, crack ensemble, recurring cast and James Garner’s star turn in the lead role made it must-see TV before anyone had officially coined the term. Garner’s deadpan delivery defined a show that took itself just seriously enough. I can’t remember a single plot-line; all I remember is how much I loved the show.

LAW AND ORDER:  Take your pick as to which one. SVU is still on the air and the original faded out only after a 20+ year run. The series breathed new life into a then moribund TV genre by reinventing the form and managing to survive a slew of cast changes. Such changes had doomed the likes of Route 66, but creator Dick Wolf’s genre-bending format rendered cast members basically interchangeable. Every week, Law and Order did and does deliver on its promise, touching on front-page topics in never letting us down.

CSI: Again, take your pick, but for me the early years of CSI: Las Vegas, starring the great William Petersen similarly helped redefine the television crime genre. Entire episodes would go by without a single gunfight, the action that demanded and commanded our attention limited at times to the claustrophobic confines of police labs where the contents of microscope slides spurred the biggest reveals. Each episode is basically a puzzle waiting to be assembled. We often know, at least suspect, who the killer is, the fun lying in the process used to catch him. Consider CSI the anti-Columbo. The rumbled detective wouldn’t even know how to spell electron spectrograph, while Petersen’s Gil Grissom couldn’t solve a case without one.

NYPD BLUE: Tame by comparison with today’s cable fare, this second Steve Bochco creation nonetheless raised eyebrows everywhere in terms of content ranging from language to sexually-charged subject matter. Yes, it’s known primarily for its salaciousness and being way ahead of its time, but it was also an outstanding police procedural that weathered numerous cast changes in dominating talk around the water cooler for years. Gritty, grungy and morally ambiguous, this is television, and crime drama, at its level best.

PERRY MASON:  Enjoy legal thrillers? They owe their existence to this splendid series of eighty books penned by Earl Stanley Gardner and a television show by the same name starring Raymond Burr in the title role that ran for a decade. The episodes, and the books, continue to hold up and the notion of a sleuthing lawyer and his entourage spawned the likes of John Grisham and Scott Turow, not to mention the slew of lawyer shows that have long been a television programming staple.

MIAMI VICE: One of the true game changers in the history of the airwaves that everyone rushed home to watch when it aired on Friday nights. The show brought both pop music and men’s fashion into the mainstream with musicians and designers alike battling for inclusion from the moment Phil Collins’ “Into the Air Tonight” themed the climactic shootout in the premier. Brandon Tartikoff legendarily based the series on the phrase “MTV cops” he once jotted down on a notepad. True or not, the show brought television into the forefront of pop culture, setting the stage for when the small screen would actually come to define it.

I’m already starting to think of some of the shows I left off this list. How about you? Which would you add?

Since his first book was published in 1983, Jon Land has written twenty-eight novels, seventeen of which have appeared on national bestseller lists. He began writing technothrillers before Tom Clancy put them in vogue, and his strong prose, easy characterization, and commitment to technical accuracy have made him a pillar of the genre.

Land spent his college years at Brown University, where he convinced the faculty to let him attempt writing a thriller as his senior honors thesis. Four years later, his first novel, The Doomsday Spiral, appeared in print. In the last years of the Cold War, he found a place writing chilling portrayals of threats to the United States, and of the men and women who operated undercover and outside the law to maintain U.S. security. His most successful of those novels were the nine starring Blaine McCracken, a rogue CIA agent and former Green Beret with the skills of James Bond but none of the Englishman’s tact.

Land currently lives in Providence, not far from his alma mater.

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Sunday, April 29, 2018

I'm happy to be joining #BerkleyMystery in celebrating the May 1 release of 
Book 21 in the Gaslight Mysteries
by Victoria Thompson

When a murder hits close to home, Frank finds himself in an unusual position--the prime suspect in the latest installment of the national bestselling Gaslight Mystery series...

Sarah and Frank Malloy are enjoying married life and looking to make their family official by adopting Catherine, the child whom Sarah rescued and has been raising as her daughter. The process seems fairly straightforward, but at the last minute, the newlyweds discover that Parnell Vaughn, Catherine's legal father, has a claim on the child, and his grasping fiancΓ©e is demanding a financial settlement to relinquish parental rights. Even though exchanging money for a child is illegal, Frank and Sarah's love for Catherine drives them to comply. 

When Frank returns with the money and finds Vaughn beaten to death, all evidence points to Frank as the culprit. A not-quite-famous actor with modest means, Vaughn seems an unlikely candidate for murder, particularly such a violent crime of passion. But Frank soon uncovers real-life intrigue as dramatic as any that appears on stage. 

Sarah and Frank enlist those closest to them to help hunt for Vaughn's killer as Frank's own life--and the future of their family--hang in the balance.

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemon Meringue Pie!
By Victoria Thompson

On May 1, the 21st book in the Gaslight Mystery Series, Murder on Union Square, comes out.  People often ask me where I get the ideas for my books, and this one was really easy:  a fan wrote me a letter explaining that I was about to make a terrible mistake!  In a previous book (Murder in Chelsea), my hero and heroine, Frank and Sarah, became engaged and expressed a desire to adopt the little girl Sarah had rescued. Both of the child’s parents were dead by the end of that book, so I thought the way was clear, but my fan, an attorney in New York City, explained to me that the way wasn’t clear at all!  You see, the child’s mother was married to a ne’er do well actor named Parnell Vaughn, and even though everyone agreed there was no possibility that he was the child’s father, the law considers a woman’s husband to be the father of her children, no matter how unlikely (or impossible!) that might be.

Because the child’s legal father was still alive, Frank and Sarah couldn’t adopt the child without Vaughn’s permission. How annoying for Frank and Sarah, but how delightful for a mystery writer who needed a victim for her latest mystery! If Vaughn were to suddenly turn up dead, Frank and Sarah could adopt the child with no problem! And naturally he does turn up dead. But who would have a better motive for killing him than they would? Which is exactly what the police think, so they arrest Frank.
Frank and Sarah must find the real killer and clear Frank’s name, which they do, of course. (I hope I didn’t spoil it for you!) I do like making the best of things, so when life (or in this case, a fan) handed me the lemons that could have spoiled my ideas, I managed to make everything come out right—for Frank and Sarah, at least!

Victoria Thompson is the bestselling author of the Edgar ® and Agatha Award nominated Gaslight Mystery Series and the Counterfeit Lady Series. Her latest books are Murder on Union Square and City of Lies, both from Berkley. She currently teaches in the Master’s Degree program for writing popular fiction at Seton Hill University. She lives in Illinois with her husband and a very spoiled little dog.

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Saturday, April 28, 2018


I'm thrilled to be a stop on the blog tour for author
Cleo Coyle
Book 17 in the Coffeehouse Mysteries

A new smartphone dating game turns the Village Blend into a hookup hot spot, until one dark night, when a gunshot leaves a dead body behind and the landmark coffeehouse becomes the center of a whole new scene--a crime scene.  

As Village Blend manager Clare Cosi attempts to finalize a date for her wedding, her ex-husband becomes addicted to making dates through smartphone swipes. Clare has mixed feelings about these quickie matchups happening in her coffeehouse. Even her octogenarian employer is selecting suitors by screenshot! But business is booming, and Clare works hard to keep the espresso shots flowing. Then one dark night, another kind of shot leaves a dead body for her to find. 

The corpse is a successful entrepreneur who became notorious for his "hit it and quit it" behavior: prowling for women on dating apps, then devastating his conquests with morning-after insults. Though the NYPD quickly arrests one of his recent victims, Clare finds reason to believe she's been framed. 

Now, with the help of her ex and crew of quirky baristas, Clare starts "swiping" through suspects in her own shop, determined to find the real killer before another shot rings out. 

Includes a bang-up menu of tempting recipes.


Winner will be chosen after May 2
at the end of the tour

1 lucky reader will win this amazing prize package!

USA only

Enter using the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post.

This giveaway is through Great Escape Book Tours, not Lisa Ks Book Reviews.


Author Cleo Coyle has created another fresh blend of mystery and mayhem that will have readers asking for a refill.

My sister started reading cozy mysteries before they were even called cozies. So, when she recommends a series, I know I have to read it. The Coffeehouse Mysteries is such series. I’ve enjoyed the few I’ve read before, and I liked SHOT IN THE DARK.

Playing on the theme of phone app dating made for an intriguing story using a very current trend. For a mystery it can make for an endless number of suspects. Through twists, turns, and gourmet brews, readers will be flying through the pages until the very end.   
Cleo Coyle is known for showing readers a caffeinated good time, and SHOT IN THE DARK is the perfect cup.

Make sure to try out the recipes included. Your taste buds will thank you!


About the Author

CLEO COYLE is the pseudonym for Alice Alfonsi, writing in collaboration with her husband, Marc Cerasini. CLEO COYLE grew up in a small town near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After earning scholarships to study writing at Carnegie Mellon and American Universities, she began her career as a cub reporter for The New York Times. Now an author of popular fiction and New York Times bestselling media tie-in writer, Cleo lives and works in New York City, where she collaborates with her husband (also a bestselling author) to pen the Coffeehouse Mysteries for Penguin. Together Cleo and her husband also write the Haunted Bookshop Mysteries under the name Alice Kimberly. When not haunting coffeehouses, hunting ghosts, or rescuing stray cats, Cleo and Marc are bestselling media tie-in writers who have penned properties for NBC, Lucasfilm, Disney, Fox, Imagine, and MGM. In their spare time, they cook like crazy and drink a lot of java.
You can learn more about Cleo, her husband, and the books they write by visiting
Author Links Visit Cleo online:
Friend Cleo on Facebook:
Follow Cleo on Twitter:
Purchase Links
Amazon    B&N    Kobo    GooglePlay    BookBub

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Tour Participants

April 23 – Babs Book Bistro – REVIEW
April 24 – The Power of Words – REVIEW
April 25 – Back Porchervations – REVIEW
April 26 – The Book's the Thing – REVIEW
April 27 – Varietats – REVIEW
April 28 – Lisa Ks Book Reviews – REVIEW
April 29 – Laura's Interests – REVIEW
April 30 – Ms. Cat's Honest World – REVIEW
May 1 – Books a Plenty Book Reviews – REVIEW
May 2 – A Holland Reads – REVIEW

As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

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clicking on the link in the 
upper right hand corner of this page.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Cozy Food Friday

That means it's time to share a recipe from 
another great cozy mystery!
Book 10 in the Hayley Powell Food and Cocktail Mysteries
by Lee Hollis

Food and cocktails columnist Hayley Powell will be cooking alongside top chefs at a cookbook author's party. But a killer plans to ruin her appetite . . . 
When Hayley's idol, cookbook author and TV personality Penelope Janice, invites her to participate in a Fourth of July celebrity cook-off at her seaside estate in Seal Harbor, Maine, Hayley couldn't be more flattered. She just hopes she can measure up. With a who's who of famous chefs whipping up their signature dishes, this holiday weekend has all the ingredients for a once-in-a-lifetime culinary experience.
Instead, Hayley gets food poisoning her first night and thinks she overhears two people cooking up a murder plot. The next morning, a body is found at the bottom of a cliff. Tragic accident or foul play? To solve a real cliffhanger, Hayley will need to uncover some simmering secrets—before a killer boils over again . . .

Includes seven delectable recipes from Hayley’s kitchen!



3 lucky readers will win a print copies of


This giveaway is open WORLDWIDE!

Enter using the Rafflecopter form at the end of this post.



When I hear there is a new Hayley Powell Mystery available, my hands start to itch from wanting to hold it, and my toes start to wiggle at the thought of reading it. DEATH OF A COOKBOOK AUTHOR was totally worth the wait!

 Having been invited to participate in a celebrity cook-off, protagonist Halley Powell spend most of her time in this book out of her normal environment. The only down part of this was a 99% lack of Hayley’s best friends Libby and Mona. If you’re reading this Lee Hollis, please don’t do that to me again!

An absolutely excellent mystery, DEATH OF A COOKBOOK AUTHOR was a fast moving, I-don’t-want-to-put-this-book-down story. Twists, turns, and surprises were on just about every other page of this book. There were times when I found myself holding my breath for what felt like chapters. The only reason I didn’t pass out from a lack of air was because I was laughing out loud during the other parts! So very well done!

As always, you’ll find seven wonderful recipes from Hayley. Fourteen if you count the cocktails that go with each dish!

Hayley Powell diehards, you don’t want to miss DEATH IF A COOKBOOK AUTHOR. If you haven’t read this series, it really is time you started. You’re totally missing out on so many good reads!


On To The Recipe!


Photo property of

Photos  found via Google Images, and its contributors, with many thanks. 
Your finished dish will vary in appearance.

2 zucchini, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1 32-ounce container of ricotta cheese
2 16-ounce tubs of fresh baby spinach
1 egg
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
16 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese
2 25- ounce jars of your favorite marinara sauce, or homemade
1 12-ounce box of no-boil lasagna noodles

Preheat your oven to 400°F.


   Add one tablespoon of olive oil into a large skillet and heat on medium heat. Add your spinach, and cook until it is soft and wilted. Remove spinach to a separate bowl to cool. 

   In the skillet, add the rest of the olive oil and cook the zucchini and onion 7 minutes on medium heat, or until soft. Then add your garlic and stir another 30 seconds, or until you can small the garlic. Remove from the heat and set aside. 

   Combine your egg, ricotta, cooked spinach, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir to combine and set aside. 

   Spray a 9-by-13-inch baking dish and layer tomato sauce, noodles, ricotta mixture, zucchini mixture, and mozzarella cheese. Continue layering in that order, ending with mozzarella cheese. 

   Place the baking dish on a cookie sheet to catch anything that may drip and cover with aluminum foil. Bake 45 minutes, remove foil, and bake 15 minutes more, or until the cheese is melted and starting to brown. 

   Remove from oven and let it sit at least 15 minutes before serving. 

I'll admit, I'm not a fan of zucchini or spinach. But my mouth was watering the entire time I was working on this post!


Please keep reading to check out my 
installments of 
Book Beginnings on Fridays
The Friday 56

Both the BB and 56 are from


Book Beginnings on Fridays is a meme hosted by Rose City Reader
Share the first sentence (or so) of the book you are reading.

The Friday 56 is a meme hosted by Freda's Voice
Rules: *Grab a book, any book. *Turn to page 56 or 56% in your eReader (If you have to improvise, that's okay.) *Find any sentence, (or few, just don't spoil it) that grab you. *Post it.

My Book Beginnings

Hayley stared numbly at the inscription that had been scribbled inside her book cover only moments before.
She couldn't believe what she was reading. 

Friday 56

"No. She's not dead. Yet."


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As always, please leave a comment and 
let me know what you think!

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clicking on the link in the 
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