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Killer Holiday by Amy Korman

by
Killer Holiday by Amy Korman Killer Holiday by Amy Korman
Series: Killer WASPS #4
Published by Witness Impulse on October 24, 2017
Source: Partners in Crime Tours
Genres: Christmas, Contemporary Mystery
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
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Kristin Clark and her offbeat crew of Bryn Mawr socialites are ready for a fun and festive winter holiday—one that involves sipping martinis by a crackling yule log, hot guys beneath the mistletoe, and Gucci under the Christmas tree. But this year, Old Saint Nick has something more dangerous in store. A stranger dressed in a Santa suit has Kristin’s friends on his naughty list. First, Sophie’s favorite handbag is blasted by a bullet. Then, Father Christmas shatters her brother Chip’s car window with a golf club and leaves a threatening note demanding fifty grand. Both are convinced it has to be a mistake. But when Chip goes missing, the stakes become deadly. Eula Morris is also back in town for the holidays, more bossy and boastful than ever after winning a mega-jackpot in the lottery. She’s returned from a luxury cruise around the world with a handsome new boyfriend (who looks oddly familiar…) and a Samsonite suitcase filled with gold bars. When the suitcase is snatched, Eula implores Kristin and the team to track it down. Where is Chip? Why is a vengeful Santa targeting the gang? Who stole Eula’s suitcase? And how are these events linked? The WASPs and Kristen’s basset hound Waffles are on the case—before this white Christmas turns even darker…

Killer Holiday is a fun, slightly silly romp of a mystery. Kristin and her friends are a hoot and I wish I had read the series in order, so I could feel like I knew them better. They’re all introduced well here, but I felt like I was missing some insight into their relationships. It’s a large cast, too, and knowing them better would have made it easier to keep track of who was who.

As far as the mystery goes, it’s pretty straightforward. Once the crew meets Eula’s new boyfriend there’s little doubt who stole the luggage, but who kidnapped Chip is still a question. It’s actually nice to have a mystery that involves theft and kidnapping, but no murders. It’s light-hearted and has enough Christmas cocktails, decorations and parties to make it a true holiday read.

 

Read an excerpt from Killer Holiday:

Chapter One

Bootsie McElvoy burst through the front door of The Striped Awning, a bag of ice in her right hand and the biggest bottle of Maker’s Mark bourbon I’ve ever seen in her left. She dug into her L.L. Bean tote for a bottle of red wine, a shaker of nutmeg, and a bag of fun-size candy canes, all of which she deposited next to a display of 1940s barware near the front of my antiques store.

“Kristin, it’s December fifteenth, which means it’s time for you to start offering shoppers a specialty cocktail the minute they set foot inside your store,” Bootsie told me. “I’m going to mix up a batch of the Delaney family Christmas drink, the Bourbon Blitzen, which never fails to produce a White Christmas vibe. One sip and you’ll feel like you’re singing and dancing with Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye at a snowy Vermont inn. This should double your sales totals for the month.”

“Thanks!” I said gratefully, since Bootsie’s family’s boozy drinks are known throughout our village of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, for their potency and tendency to produce unwise purchases.

“The drinks sound good, but you’re also going to need about four thousand more of these pinecones, triple the greenery, and eight hundred additional strands of lights,” Joe Delafield informed me; he’d arrived twenty minutes earlier to help me decorate my store for the Christmas rush.

To lure in passing foot traffic, I’d brought in armloads of holly and spruce branches from my backyard (cost: free, thankfully), spray-painted pinecones silver (the paint was only $5.28 at the hardware store), and added some cheerful-looking blinking white lights. This would probably bring tons of holiday shoppers through my front door!

Joe paused, eyeing the room with his signature critical stare. “The effect I’m going for is that a bunch of HGTV-crazed elves with subscriptions to Veranda magazine snuck in and decorated for four straight days. Gerda, we’re going to need the blinking lights to stop blinking, pronto. Pull the plug, please.”

Joe’s assistant for the day was the eponymous owner of Gerda’s Bust Your Ass Gym, which is housed inside the beauty salon across the street. Since Gerda stands a lofty six feet tall in flats (or sneakers, which is her usual footwear, since fancy shoes aren’t her style), she’d agreed to hang ornaments, bringing her signature grim attitude to the proceedings.

“Cute idea,” Bootsie observed, casting a dubious stare at my front window, which was filled with antique silver-plated candlesticks, flatware, and wineglasses. “Is that your holiday inventory?”

“Nobody going to want that stuff,” said Gerda, who moved here from her native Austria a few years back. Gerda, who’s incredibly muscular and brings in sell-out crowds at her Pilates classes, isn’t the most tactful person in the world. “People want, like, scarves and Fitbits and iPhones.”

I sighed, knowing Gerda was right. Those were the gifts on most holiday wish lists.

“Luckily, I’ve solved all your problems,” Bootsie told me. “I ran into Eddie from the Pub this morning, and he needs a place to hold some late-night poker tournaments this month, so I brokered a deal for The Striped Awning. You’ll be hosting twice-weekly games from 10 p.m. till 1 a.m., Tuesdays and Thursdays till Valentine’s Day.”

“What!” I erupted, alarmed by this idea. “First of all, that doesn’t sound legal.”

“It’s fine,” she told me, waving away my concerns. “I mean, it’s not like it will be a professional betting operation. Eddie’s limiting each night to ten players and three hours. Some cards, a few drinks, a few small wagers. What could go wrong?”

“A lot!” I said. “They’ll blow cigar smoke and drop Dorito crumbs everywhere. Not to mention get arrested for operating a casino without a license. A lot could go wrong!”

“You worry too much,” Bootsie informed me dismissively. “Plus, he’ll pay you two hundred dollars a night.”

I opened my mouth to respond, but no words came out. Bootsie knew she had me—there’s no way I can refuse an extra four hundred dollars a week, even if it puts me on the wrong side of the state gaming commission.

Just then, though, the front door was thrown open by one Sophie Shields, a tiny blonde who at the moment was looking slightly wild-eyed.

“Ya won’t believe what just happened!” shrieked Sophie. “The Colketts were helping me put up curtains in my new dining room, since Joe here never finished decorating my place—and the curtains are orange silk, by the way, they’re totally Elle Decor meets a J. Lo red-carpet gown. So Tim and Tom Colkett were talking paint colors when I heard a horn honking, so I opened the front door, thinking it was the delivery boy from the Hoagie House. I figured I’d go out and pay the driver, when boom!

“A guy dressed as Santa leaned out of the driver’s seat of a black SUV that had pulled right up in my driveway and aimed a gun at me and the Colketts!” The Colketts are the town’s leading landscape designers, who’ve lately turned their talents to party planning and interior design.

“Then the guy yelled, ‘Hey, Sophie, this one’s from your ex, Barclay!’ and shot my favorite handbag!” Sophie finished. “I was reaching into it to pay for the hoagies, thank goodness, so it acted as a protective shield. Also, I think maybe this Santa guy doesn’t have great aim.”

We all stared at her for a moment.

“Are you sure, Sophie?” said Bootsie finally. “Because this sounds like BS.”

“Yeah, Sophie, maybe you been hitting the wine bottle today,” seconded Gerda. “I know the Colketts are day drinkers. Maybe you been guzzling alcohol, too.”

“It’s true!” Sophie bleated. “Just look at this Ferragamo satchel! If it hadn’t had gold hardware to block the trajectory of the bullet, me and the Colketts would have been toast!”

***

Excerpt from Killer Holiday by Amy Korman. Copyright © 2017 by Amy Korman. Reproduced with permission from Witness Impulse. All rights reserved.

 

Amy Korman

Author Bio:

Amy Korman is a former senior editor and staff writer for Philadelphia Magazine, and author of Frommer’s Guide to Philadelphia. She has written for Town & Country, House Beautiful, Men’s Health, and Cosmopolitan. Killer WASPS was her first novel.

Catch Up With Ms. Korman On: amykorman.com, Goodreads, Twitter, & Facebook!

Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Amy Korman and Witness Impulse. There will be 3 winners of one (1) eBook copy of KILLER PUNCH by Amy Korman. The giveaway begins on October 23 and runs through December 3, 2017.
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Double Deck the Halls by Gretchen Archer

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Double Deck the Halls by Gretchen Archer Double Deck the Halls by Gretchen Archer
Series: Bellissimo Casino Crime Caper, Davis Way Crime Caper
Published by Henery Press on November 2, 2017
Source: Purchased
Genres: Crime Fiction, Christmas, Short Story
Pages: 42
Format: eBook
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It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas at the Bellissimo Resort and Casino in Biloxi, Mississippi. The trees are trimmed, the halls are decked, and Davis Way Cole’s grandmother is there to play in the Winter Wonderland Senior Slot Tournament.

This year’s theme: The Nice List. All is merry and bright until Granny Dee meets an elf who belongs on the naughty list.

Maybe even the downright nasty list.

With nothing more than a lifetime of memories, the sounds of the season, and what she can find in the pockets of her Rudolph jogging suit, can Granny Dee save Bianca Sanders from the rotten elf, and in the process, save Christmas?

Granny Dee may try to save Christmas, but trust me, of all the characters in this non-stop page-turner, Granny Dee steals the show.

I love reading holiday short stories and novellas, sometimes stand-alones and sometimes ones that fit into series that I may or may not have read. I haven’t read any of Archer’s Davis Way Crime Caper series, but if “Double Deck the Halls” is a good example of her style, I definitely want to give it a try.

Granny Dee is the main character in this one, at the casino for the Winter Wonderland Senior Slot Tournament. I loved her. She is tough and funny and has a lot of life stories. The baddie is dressed up like an elf and is holding Bianca, the casino owner’s wife, hostage, complete with a bomb strapped around her middle. Granny stumbles into the situation, but takes control. Bianca seems like she might be an interesting character, a bit snobby, but adores her kid and the interactions between her and Granny made me smile.

It was laugh-out-loud funny, and I just liked the attitude of the story, if that makes sense. It was a great addition to my Christmas reading.

About Gretchen Archer

Gretchen Archer is a Tennessee housewife who began writing when her daughters, seeking higher educations, left her. She lives on Lookout Mountain with her husband, son, and a Yorkie named Bently.

The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells

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The Invisible Man by H. G. Wells The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells
Narrator: Scott Brick
Published by Tantor Media on 2006 (first published 1897)
Source: Library
Genres: Classic, Science Fiction
Length: 6 hrs 14 mins
Format: Audiobook
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With his face swaddled in bandages, his eyes hidden behind dark glasses and his hands covered even indoors, Griffin the new guest at The Coach and Horses is at first assumed to be a shy accident-victim. But the true reason for his disguise is far more chilling: he has developed a process that has made him invisible, and is locked in a struggle to discover the antidote. Forced from the village, and driven to murder, he seeks the aid of an old friend, Kemp. The horror of his fate has affected his mind, however and when Kemp refuse to help, he resolves to wreak his revenge.

I expected The Invisible Man to be a horror novel, turns out it’s more science fiction. He’s not a monster, he’s just a man. Griffin is a genius scientist who used chemicals and electricity to turn himself invisible. However, after the years of research, when he finally figures out how to do it, it’s winter. Does he wait? No, he goes ahead and does it to himself, after testing the solution on a cat, and becomes invisible. Mind you, to not be seen, he has to be naked – in the cold – in England. While he may be brilliant, he is not the best planner.

I think I enjoyed The Invisible Man in part because I had no expectations. I knew it was about an invisible man, but I didn’t know anything about the plot. Needless to say, life as the invisible man is not easy. He’s isolated, often hungry and tired, he can’t trust anyone. When he finally finds someone he thinks can help him, he’s betrayed. But you can’t really feel sorry for him, because he is not a nice guy, even before he becomes the invisible man. After he turns invisible, he’s worse. He has a violent temper and is disdainful of other people. He seems to view the world as him versus the rest of society and is sure that he is better.

I do wonder if an invisible man who wasn’t psychotic would fair better these days than in the 1890s. The world is louder and more anonymous. You can have nearly anything delivered to your house without even needing to sign it and can make money on-line. You could still wreak terror if you so desired, but could be safer than he was and maybe even part of a mad scientist group chat.

About H.G. Wells

Herbert George Wells (21 September 1866 – 13 August 1946) was an English writer. He was prolific in many genres, writing dozens of novels, short stories, and works of social commentary, satire, biography, and autobiography. He is now best remembered for his science fiction novels and is often called a “father of science fiction”, along with Jules Verne and Hugo Gernsback. During his own lifetime, however, he was most prominent as a forward-looking, even prophetic social critic who devoted his literary talents to the development of a progressive vision on a global scale. A futurist, he wrote a number of utopian works and foresaw the advent of airplanes, tanks, space travel, nuclear weapons, satellite television and something resembling the world wide web. His science fiction imagined time travel, alien invasion, invisibility, and biological engineering. His most notable science fiction works include The Time Machine (1895), The Island of Doctor Moreau (1896), The Invisible Man (1897), and The War of the Worlds (1898). He was nominated for the Nobel Prize in Literature four times.

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