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Killer Holiday by Amy Korman

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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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Tour Participants:

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Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

In the Bag by Emery Harper

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In the Bag by Emery Harper In the Bag by Emery Harper
Series: Celeste Eagan Mysteries #2
Published by Carina Press on January 30, 2017
Source: NetGalley
Genres: Contemporary Mystery
Pages: 242
Format: eARC
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Life as the principal actress at the Peytonville Playhouse is all I ever thought it'd be—and more. I'm practically living the bohemian dream, until my BFF Levi finds a dead body on his property. And is swiftly arrested for murder.


Detective Shaw Muldoon is my almost-but-not-quite-there-yet beau. He knows me. He knows Levi. He knows neither of us is capable of something so heinous. And he knows that despite his strict orders to leave the case with the professionals, I'll launch my own investigation to clear Levi's name.


One more gruesome murder: check.

A dubious bakery owner who's taken a fancy to me: check.

This season's "it" handbag practically falling into my lap: check.

Levi's up the creek if I don't uncover the truth…but my investigation has put me firmly in the murderer's sights.

Life in danger: check.

I didn’t read the first in the series, but I picked up In the Bag based on the blurb. I like mysteries and this one sounded fun. I chose well.

The cast of characters is great. Celeste is the lead and is a blast. she’s funny, caring, has a tendency to get herself into potential danger, but who can blame her? Her best friend’s the main suspect in a murder investigation. Speaking of Levi, I like him. He’s got his own troubles, but still has time to give out advice, for better or worse. Celeste’s dad’s in town and adds to the confusion. There’s also a bookie whose interest in Celeste is obvious, and a little creepy.

The plotline was good. There are enough suspects, but not too many. The clues tie together pretty well. For me though, the enjoyment was in the characters and the situations they get themselves into, no necessarily the whodunnit.

I was not a big fan of Celeste’s “relationship” with Muldoon. Yeah, he’s a busy detective and he’s got some issues, but I don’t know. He gives her just enough to keep her holding on, but not enough for it to actually go anywhere. Hopefully, that situation will get a little resolution next time around, but otherwise she should just dump him. Of course, seeing how much often she seem to “visit” the police station, maybe she doesn’t want to end up on his bad side. Especially with how little credit being on his good side seems to get her.

Overall, a fun, light read – a good mystery with quirky characters and a touch of romance.

About Emery Harper

Born in Alaska, relocated, reared and still residing in North Texas, Emery started writing at a very young age—pretty much before she knew what writing was. She’s always had stories running around in her brain—doesn’t everyone?!? She penned several short stories, poems and one attempt at a novel when she was still a teen, but it wasn’t until she was pregnant with #4 boy-child that she seriously developed her manuscript chops.

A little murder, mayhem and maybe a twist and turn keep her plenty occupied in her make-believe worlds, though she is often grounded quickly from any one of the four boy-childs who live in her casa along with the man-child who’s been her personal hero for over twenty years.

Reading this book contributed to these challenges:

Day Shift by Charlaine Harris

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Day Shift by Charlaine Harris Day Shift by Charlaine Harris
Narrator: Susan Bennett
Series: Midnight Texas #2
Published by Orion Publishing Group on May 17, 2015
Source: Purchased
Genres: Contemporary Mystery, Paranormal
Length: 9 hrs 52 mins
Format: Audiobook
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There is no such thing as bad publicity, except in Midnight, Texas, where the residents like to keep to themselves. Even in a town full of secretive people, Olivia Charity is an enigma. She lives with the vampire Lemuel, but no one knows what she does; they only know that she’s beautiful and dangerous.

Psychic Manfred Bernardo finds out just how dangerous when he goes on a working weekend to Dallas and sees Olivia there with a couple who are both found dead the next day. To make matters worse, one of Manfred’s regular—and very wealthy—clients dies during a reading.

Manfred returns from Dallas embroiled in scandal and hounded by the press. He turns to Olivia for help; somehow he knows that the mysterious Olivia can get things back to normal. As normal as things get in Midnight…

I want to live in Midnight. It’s a really, really small town full of really, really odd people, but they are all so friendly toward each other and protective of each other. I’d love to visit Fiji’s shop or have dinner with them all at the (only) local restaurant.

I guess this is a mystery – who killed Manfred’s client, but there is a lot going on in the background. The new hotel in town is questionable. And the new kid in town could be more dangerous than they suspect. As far as the mystery goes though, I was surprised by the whodunit and equally by the “justice” they received.

We learn a lot about the characters and who/what they are in this one, it’s more about them than the actual plot in some ways. But I thoroughly enjoyed it.

I listened to the audio and the narrator did a good job. She gives everyone their own personalities, even the visitors to town.

The action keeps moving and the story never has a dull moment. Lots of twists and turns, but still some questions left at the end. It’s just a fun read/listen.

About Charlaine Harris

Charlaine Harris is a New York Times bestselling author who has been writing mysteries for thirty years. She was born and raised in the Mississippi River Delta area of the United States. She now lives in southern Arkansas with her husband and three children. Though her early work consisted largely of poems about ghosts and, later, teenage angst, she began writing plays when she attended Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. She began to write books a few years later. Her later books have been in the urban fantasy genre.

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