Molded 4 Murder (Sophie Kimball Mystery) by J.C. Eaton
When an acclaimed local potter is killed by suffocation, he is truly Molded 4 Murder.
In Glendale Arizona, Phee is a bookkeeper at Williams Investigations, a private detective firm. One day two acquaintances come in asking for Phee’s help. Someone is stealing small items at their luxurious retirement residence hotel. Tuna cans, yarn, olives, a $5 bill, and an old jar don’t sound like much but it means someone has access to their locked apartments. Phee agrees to look into the thefts. After all, she is a former police officer.
I enjoyed the characters most of all. Phee and her newish boyfriend/co-worker Marshall’s romance is moving forward nicely. You can feel the attraction. The retirees of Sun City West, including Phee’s mother, feel genuine—not generic—too. And who wouldn’t want to pal around with the enterprising Phee for a day or two?
The multitude of mysteries is intriguing too. The twists and turns in the plot allowing all to be unveiled at the conclusion are skillfully created by the author.
If you like your cozy mysteries with a touch of romance and humor, I highly recommend Molded 4 Murder. 4 stars!
Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
How did you decide on your pen name?
Our pen name is J. C. Eaton. The J.C. are Jim Clapp’s initials and Eaton was his mother’s maiden name. Since Ann writes YA time travel mysteries under her own name, we needed to create one that was strictly for the cozy mysteries we co-author.
Describe your new book in 5 words or less. Over-the-top comic romp!
How do you share writing duties between you?
We do a rough plot together but Jim flushes it out, adding the detail and sequence before turning it over to Ann for the descriptions. We both work on the characters and do the dialogues together. We go back and forth constantly and work in different parts of the house since Ann likes absolute quiet while Jim could write with a full-blown circus in front of him.
Of all the characters in your book, which ones would you kiss, marry, or kill? No fair picking the book’s murder victim to kill. They are already dead so it really would be overkill. Ann would definitely marry Nate Williams, the down-to-earth investigator and Phee’s boss. Hmm, he seems to be a lot like Jim… Jim would probably kiss those adorable blondes at The Madison Senior Living Resort.
Who are your favorite cozy writers and why?
For Ann, Nancy Atherton because she has a unique way of drawing the reader into the setting and not letting go – it’s magical. For Jim, it’s John Lamb because his protagonist is a seasoned detective working in the world of teddy bear artistry and learning as he goes. We both enjoy Agatha Christie, and pet themed cozies such as V.M. Burns, Libby Klein, Bethany Blake, Jody Holford, as well as wine and food themed cozies such as Sarah Fox, Tina Kashian, Vivien Chien, Debra Sennefelder, Jenny Kales, Linda Reilly, and Shari Randall. Ann has a penchant for paranormal cozies and adores Lena Gregory and Carol J. Perry.
What’s coming soon in J.C. Eaton’s world?
Wow! Have we been busy! MURDER AT THE MYSTERY CASTLE, in our Marcie Rayner detective series, just came out last week (Camel Publishing) and will be followed in December, 2019, by SAUVIGONE FOR GOOD, in our Wine Trail Mysteries (Kensington Lyrical). Fans of Sophie Kimball can look forward to DRESSED UP 4 MURDER in late February, 2020 where Streetman, the neurotic Chiweenie, takes center stage.
Also, we will be attending the Tucson Festival of Books on March 14, 15, 2020, in Tucson, Arizona. Ann will be moderating a panel and we’ll be on board for book signings.
Thank you both for taking the time to answer my questions!
Don’t forget to enter the contest for one of three paperback copies of the book below!
Sophie “Phee” Kimball enjoys working as a bookkeeper for a private investigator. If only her mother Harriet could enjoy her retirement at Sun City West in Arizona—instead of constantly getting involved with retirees being prematurely put out to pasture. This time Quentin Dussler, a prominent member of the clay sculpting club, was found dead, clutching a piece of paper scrawled with Phee’s mother’s name.
Terrified she’s been targeted by assassins, Harriet begs Phee to investigate. What Phee uncovers is a complicated scheme that only the most diabolical of murderers would ever devise. And as she chisels away at confusing clues and potential suspects, Phee unearths something far more precious and valuable than she could imagine. Eager for answers, she takes a bold step—placing herself in the crosshairs of a stonefaced killer …
About the Authors
Ann I. Goldfarb
New York native Ann I. Goldfarb spent most of her life in education, first as a classroom teacher and later as a middle school principal and professional staff developer. Writing as J. C. Eaton, along with her husband, James Clapp, she has authored the Sophie Kimball Mysteries (Kensington) was released in June 2017. In addition, Ann has nine published YA time travel mysteries under her own name. Visit the websites at www.jceatonauthor.com and www.timetravelmysteries.com
James E. Clapp
When James E. Clapp retired as the tasting room manager for a large upstate New York winery, he never imagined he’d be co-authoring cozy mysteries with his wife, Ann I. Goldfarb. His first novel, Booked 4 Murder(Kensington) was released in June 2017. Non-fiction in the form of informational brochures and workshop materials treating the winery industry were his forte along with an extensive background and experience in construction that started with his service in the U.S. Navy and included vocational school classroom teaching.
Eight Passengers are stuck in separate driverless cars when a hacker takes control. Only one will survive in this cat-and-mouse thriller.
The eight people trapped include a pregnant woman, an aging actress, a married couple, an abused Indian housewife, an illegal immigrant, a disabled war hero, and a man with a mysteriously absent history. Claire only has two more months to wait for her son, Tate, to be born. Sofia is an elderly but famous actress, who thinks she is on a television reality show. Married couple Sam and Heidi are riding in separate cars when both of them are taken under the hacker’s control. Shabana is the beaten wife of an accused human trafficker. Unfortunately, the taxi taking her to a divorce attorney is hijacked. Shabana doesn’t understand what the hacker is saying because she doesn’t speak English. Each has only two and a half hours to convince the hacker they should be the sole survivor. But all have secrets to hide. Will they be saved?
Libby is on the Vehicle Inquest Jury deciding whether man or machine is behind road collisions. When the visuals of the hack are posted on social media, the jury is asked to fix the problem. Libby is surprised to see a man she had a brief casual connection with several months ago is one of the victims. When the hacker appears on their screens, he asks the five-person jury to make life or death decisions over the riders’ fate. The sixth juror is public opinion on social media.
Passengers is a rather clever take on the old movie and party game, Lifeboat. If you had food and water for one person on a lifeboat, who is most deserving, an elderly Gandhi or an unknown ten-year-old with her whole life ahead of her. The pacing is quick as a whip making this a 100 mph ride to the conclusion. It’s great fun! 4 stars!
Thanks to Berkley Books and Edelweiss+ for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
The Missing Ones are young children missing from a touristy island in Maine. Damaged heroine Hester Thursby is unwilling dragged into the case by a cryptic text by long-missing best friend Daphne.
In the excellent Little Comfort (here is my 5-star review), the first book in this series, three-year-old Kate is left behind by Hester’s best friend, Daphne. Hester is still seriously disturbed by the events in the first book. She clearly has PTSD and won’t let Kate leave her side even to go to preschool. However, when she receives a text from Daphne asking for her help, Hester sets off to help her. Hester decides not to tell her boyfriend Morgan, who is Daphne’s twin, and takes now four-year-old Kate with her to the Maine island where four-year-old children are turning up missing. Again, Hester is having anxiety issues. She is obviously not thinking like the shrewd Harvard librarian or missing person investigator she was in the first book.
While I miss the smart Hester from Little Comfort, it is realistic that she would have PTSD from the horrific events she has gone through. It is also rare and refreshing to see an adverse reaction from a mystery character. I believe this is the first time I have seen it relate so directly to a previous plot.
The mystery itself incorporates many modern themes like homelessness, the opioid crisis, and a small town’s reaction to both. The atmosphere of gloom and fear relating to the looming hurricane and the missing children feels almost like a character within the book. My only complaint is that the pacing is more like literary fiction than a mystery or thriller. It takes a while to get to the meat of the plot. This may be in part because Little Comfort aftermath is such a big part of this book that the author has to describe it fully. I’m not sure. But as a standalone, I would rate it four stars. I think it would be much better for your reading enjoyment to read Little Comfort first. I previously rated that book as 5 out 5 stars so you are in for a treat.
Thanks to Kensington Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
There is Wonton Terror when the Wonton on Wheels food truck explodes at the first Asian Night Market in Cleveland.
Lana Lee is now managing her parent’s restaurant, the Ho-Lee Noodle House. While promoting the restaurant at Market night, her parent’s old friend, Ronnie, is killed in the explosion. When the police decide it was caused by a bomb, Lana decides to investigate to ease her anxiety. But there are so many suspects…
It’s always fun to return to the world of Lana Lee. Her family life intervenes once again in her amateur detective work. In Wonton Terror, Lana’s Aunt Grace is coming to visit her sister, Lana’s mother. The two sisters get along just as badly as Lana and her own sister, Anna May, do.
This particular cozy mystery was a bit too easy to solve. But the book was still fun to read due to the engaging characters and a light comedic feel. If you want a pleasant cozy read with an underlying humorous take on sibling rivalry, this is a good choice. 3.5 stars!
Thanks to St. Martin’s Press and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
The suspenseful Swedish thriller, The Truth Behind the Lie, tells the story of shady former journalist Kouplan’s search for missing child Julia.
Kouplan, an Iranian illegal resident in Stockholm, places this ad on Swedish Craig’s List.
“Private detective. If the police can’t help, call me!”
The only response is from Permilla, who has lost her young daughter Julia at a local shopping mall four days ago. Kouplan takes the case as soon as Permilla pays his advance of 1 hour’s pay, an astonishingly high 400 Swedish crowns.
Kouplan looks at the estranged father, Patrick, but he seems blameless. The more he looks into the case, the more he is suspicious of Permilla’s story.
The Truth Behind the Lie is a great thriller. While I miss the usual dark noir feel of Nordic thrillers, the thoroughly surprising ending made up for the lack of atmosphere. I highly recommend this book to people who want a completely different type of thriller. It doesn’t feel Nordic. It doesn’t feel American. The pacing is completely different than most books that I read. Still an excellent read and worth 4 stars!
Thanks to Minotaur Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
Retired NYPD Detective Tank Rizzo is pulled back into duty to solve cold cases with a bunch of misfit (and criminal) friends in the action-filled police procedural, Tin Badges.
There are two parallel stories. The first is a (retired) police procedural of how Tank chases the scummy drug kingpin, Gonzo. The second is Tank’s personal story of his guardianship over his deceased, and disliked, brother’s son, Christopher. Christopher eventually joins Tank’s motley crew to use his computer hacking skills to investigate a home invasion of two prostitutes that were brutally assaulted.
Tin Badges is action-packed and has the feeling of a good caper movie like Ocean’s Eleven. However, many of the characters are not fully fleshed out. Hopefully, it is because this is the first book in the series. My bigger problem was that stereotypes, many not even from this century, were frequent. A gypsy fortune teller? Really? Also, sometimes the plot jumped the shark. Many of the tasks that Tank and his team did seemed beyond the scope of a civilian team. Maybe that was the point since Tank didn’t seem to rule-based even in his last day in the job where the book opens. However, it still pulled me abruptly out of the story.
Overall, this book would be good for action and caper movie fans. While I had problems suspending my disbelief, those less familiar with real police procedures may be fine with this book. 3 stars.
Thanks to Ballantine Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.
A non-religious and well-researched look at what is most likely to kill all of mankind is in the End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World.
There are eight threats to mankind’s continued existence described within this book:
Aliens (from another planet, sorry Mr. President)
Which of the above is more likely and which should be left to fiction? This book will attempt to answer that question.
End Times: A Brief Guide to the End of the World would be a good reference for thriller writers (I’m looking at you Clive Cussler) or screenwriters of disaster movies (RIP Irwin Allen). It is also an interesting read for open-minded readers. Even though the topic is inherently grim, the author manages to infuse some hopeful notes. 4 stars! More if you are a writer looking for ideas.
Thanks to Hachette Books and NetGalley for a copy in exchange for my honest review.