Mystery Lovers Unite!

Sisters in Crime

It’s always fun to watch the reaction when I tell folks I’m a member of Sisters in Crime. Some chuckle, some look confused, and a few seem downright nervous until I explain the organization celebrates the mystery genre and supports women (men, too!) who write mystery, suspense, and thriller fiction.

I’ve been very fortunate to have the support and encouragement of so many in this group this past year as I launched my third book and debut novel, Deadly TiesThat support continues as I celebrate the release of the audio edition of the book, and I’m truly grateful.  Today, I want to turn the spotlight on three “Sisters” and fellow authors who write compelling mystery fiction: Cathy Perkins, Mark Troy, and Marilyn Larew. Read on for details and links!

Cathy-Perkins-author-photoCathy Perkins is an award-winning author who works in the financial industry where she’s observed  the hide-in-plain-sight skills her villains put into practice. Whether writing darker fiction or lighter works, she delivers stories with strong characters who must overcome serious obstacles in pursuit of justice. If you like psychological thrillers or edgy mysteries with a romantic twist, give this author a try!

Here’s a glimpse of her latest novel, CYPHER, as described on her website:

When a hit-man kills the wrong person, a Greenville, SC detective confronts hidden agendas and conflicting motives in a powerful local family, while trying to control his attraction to the intended victim—a woman who should be dead, but instead is hell-bent on saving the remnants of her family.

Unwilling to stand by while her family and world are destroyed, she rips apart the secrets surrounding Cypher, the company her father built—and will take any measures to defend.


Cathy’s books are available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Kobo. You can keep up with Cathy and all her news via her blog. (That’s where I discovered that Cathy, when asked what kind of animal she’d like to be, answered that she’d love to be a dog. I knew then she should be included here.)


When you hear the name Sisters in Crime, you might think it’s all about women. Not true, as Mark Troy can tell you. Originally from St. Louis, Missouri, Mark has traveled quite a bit, to include Thailand, Hawaii, and most recently Texas.

Mark Troy authorMark Troy is the author of Pilikia Is My Business, a private eye novel published in 2001 and republished in 2010. Pilikia was nominated for a Shamus Award by the Private Eye Writers of America for Best 1st P.I. Novel. Game Face, a collection of short stories featuring P.I. Val Lyon, was published in 2011. The Rules, the first story in the Ava Rome series, was published as an ebook and audiobook in 2013. Mark’s latest release, The Splintered Paddle, is a dark thriller featuring a private investigator. Here’s a snippet from his website:

Private eye Ava Rome’s calling is to protect the defenseless. She takes on the cases of Jenny Mordan, a working girl who is being harassed by a police detective, and Cassie Sands, a teenager who is mixed up with a marijuana grower.
Norman Traxler did ten years in San Quentin nurturing his hatred of Ava Rome, the young MP who took him down for assaulting a prostitute.
When Traxler, the detective and the grower join forces against her, Ava’s calling — protecting the defenseless — becomes a fight for her life.
This dark thriller takes you on a tour of paradise tourists never see.
Waikiki, Hawaii. Dark clouds of revenge. Twisted motives. A bloody finale.

the splintered paddle cover mark troy

You can read an excerpt of The Splintered Paddle on Mark’s website, and find his books for sale on Amazon. If you’re a fan of intense, dark thrillers, this author might be just right for you!


The third author in the spotlight today is another world traveler.  Ask Marilynn Larew about her work and she’ll tell you “I write thrillers right out of today’s news.” With a Ph.D. in History, this college professor turned novelist has a strong background in teaching and writing. Here’s Marilynn, in her own words:


Although I live just over the Mason-Dixon Line in southern Pennsylvania, I love to travel – Hanoi, Hong Kong, Istanbul, Cairo, and, of course, Paris and London. On a bad day, I’ll even go to Philadelphia.

In my books I want to take you to places like that and show you international crime and terrorism. My books deal with drug runners selling dreams and death, merchants of death selling weapons to all comers, and human traffickers selling women and children into modern day slavery. These businesses produce mountains of money that has to be washed so the profits can be used. Some of this money goes to terrorist groups determined to destroy us.

Lee Carruthers, black money specialist for the CIA, follows the path of this illegal money to put these people out of business.

A review posted by Chanticleer Book Reviews called The Spider Catchers “a white-knuckled spy thriller about human trafficking and dirty money funding terrorism.”  CIA analyst Lee Carruthers is ordered to Fez, Morocco, to find a missing colleague and winds up in a terrorist camp in the Algerian desert.


You can read an excerpt from the first in the Lee Carruthers series on Marilynn’s website, and keep up with all her news on her blog. Her work is currently available in paperback and Kindle editions on Amazon. You can order a signed copy direct from the author; visit her website for details.


I hope you’ve enjoyed this sampler of thrillers!

Unlimited Books!

Quick updates:

Deadly Ties coverI’m thrilled to announce I’m close to signing a contract for the audio edition of Deadly Ties. More details coming soon!

My book Deadly Ties is now in Kindle Unlimited. That makes it FREE to Kindle Unlimited subscribers, and just $3.99 for anyone else.  You can get it here!

Haven’t heard of Kindle Unlimited? It’s the latest program by Amazon. You can “enjoy unlimited access to over 600,000 titles and thousands of audio books on any device” (their description). It’s a subscription service for $9.99 a month, and you get your first month free.  Just imagine all the books you could read for that one flat rate. Learn about the Kindle Unlimited program and start shopping!

And no, I’m not employed by Amazon–I’m just a serious book geek who loves to read!

Coming soon: I’ll start posting blurbs about other mystery, suspense, and thriller novels available through this program. And these same books are, of course, available for regular purchase; you’ll find the applicable links on the book’s Kindle Unlimited page.

To whet your appetite, here’s a look at what you’ll find if you search “dog mysteries” in the Kindle Unlimited program!

On Dogs…A Tribute

I rarely reblog a post. Read on, and I think you’ll appreciate why I chose to reblog this one. My thanks to JW Manus for sharing this story.

QA Productions

thedogbookToday the subject isn’t ebooks. It’s not one of my rants about the publishing industry either. So if you came for one of those, you might be disappointed. It’s not even a boast post. This is about dogs.

It’s different, too, since I’m touting a specific book. I don’t normally do that here. My readers are looking for ways to produce better ebooks or to solve problems about ebooks or to find some tips about self-publishing. So if I shout, “Buy this book!” it’s usually for a book that will help self-publishers. Not this time. To know why I’m making such a big shift from my regular posts, you need a little background.

I lost my dogs.

It happened a few months ago. It wasn’t unexpected. They were elderly and both developed nerve damage, sort of a canine form of ALS. One progressed to crisis mode and the other was…

View original post 1,233 more words

Let’s Get to Know Jerold Last

We’ve recently seen a growth in cross-genre and blended-genre fiction, and that includes the world of mystery fiction. Today’s featured author offers a different kind of mystery that draws upon seemingly diverse styles to create a solid series that’s sure to attract a wide range of readers.

Jerold Last, Author

Jerold Last, Author

Jerold (“Jerry”) Last is a college professor and a writer of mystery fiction that’s sure to attract dog lovers. At the University of California’s Medical School, he puts his Ph.D. in Biochemistry to work studying asthma and the effects of air pollution on the lungs. Off campus, he applies his research skills to writing the popular Roger and Suzanne mystery series.

The writing process seems to be a family affair. Jerry’s wife Elaine provides editing and technical advice for the novels. Elaine breeds prize-winning (conformation and hunt tests) German Shorthaired Pointer dogs, a breed that’s featured in the series. Both love to travel, and that’s evident in the locales featured in the series. Experience living in Argentina and Uruguay helped Jerry choose the South American locales for his fictional sleuths. His fifth novel in the series sends them to the Galapagos Islands, and I hear Alaska is the next location for this dynamic sleuthing duo.

Here’s Jerry, talking about his work:

I’ve been a big fan of mystery novels all my life.  I started reading The Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew in grade school.  Erle Stanley Gardner and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle came next, before I hit my teens.   As I moved towards college and nominal adulthood, my favorites became the masters of the private eye genre, Dashiell Hammett, Raymond Chandler, and Ross MacDonald.   I like the hard-boiled style, the role of the private detective as the hero, and the fast pace of the action as a complex plot unfolds.  It just seemed, one day, that I should try constructing the puzzles as well as trying to solve them.  And here I am.

I start with things I know—South America, California, German Shorthaired Pointer dogs, science, fictional California private investigators like  Roger, and scientists like Suzanne on the faculty of the University of California.   I start writing after the plot has had time to develop in my subconscious mind for a while.  Part of the way through, it takes on a life of its own and leads me wherever the characters want it to go.

My books are not traditional cozies, even though they routinely pop up on Amazon in the cozy category.  They’re better described as “tweeners” with a style that falls somewhere between cozy and hard-boiled.  You won’t find “bad words” (at least in English), and there are no gratuitous sex scenes in my books because I think they take away from the flow of plot and suspense.   However, there are pretty high body counts and scenes of violence in most of the novels and the novellas.

My target audience likes fast-paced action in “who done it” kind of mysteries. They like dogs, visiting interesting and unusual locations where exotic food is the norm, and a series format where they can revisit old friends in subsequent books.

 The Deadly Dog Show

Ever wondered what it’s like to own—or maybe it’s more like to be owned by—a  German Shorthaired Pointer?  Get your own tutorial in The Deadly Dog Show!  The seventh book in the series finds Roger and Bruce hired to go undercover impersonating the owner and handler of a Champion German Shorthaired Pointer named Juliet to investigate certain irregularities that might be occurring at dog shows in California.

Dog show cover copyTo complicate this case the bodies of dead judges start popping up and Suzanne picks up a mysterious stalker sending her most unwelcome gifts.  Throw in drug cartels and corrupt cops and it sounds like a typical job for our detective couple.

This suspenseful “whodunit” novel should appeal to mystery fans, dog lovers, and anyone who wants to learn more about the world of dog show competition. Read a Deadly Dog Show Excerpt.

Well done and captivating. I loved the character development and was truly drawn into the story with all of its twists and turns.

The Roger and Suzanne Mystery Series

The series includes five novels, two novellas, and an anthology of short stories to date, with more on the way! Here’s a list of what’s currently available exclusively on Amazon in Kindle editions. Locales are noted after each title.


The Ambivalent Corpse [Uruguay, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay]

The Surreal Killer [Peru, Chile]

The Matador Murders [Uruguay, Chile]

The Deadly Dog Show [California, Texas, New York City] 

The Origin of Murder [Ecuador, The Galapagos Islands]


The Body in the Parking Structure [Los Angeles, California]

The Body in the Bed [Montevideo, Uruguay]

Five Quickies for Roger and Suzanne [Salta, Argentina; Fortaleza, Brazil; and Los Angeles, California ]. this is a novel-length anthology of shorter (“quickie”) stories featuring all of the characters from the popular South American mystery series!

Follow this author!

To see details of all Jerry’s work, visit his Amazon sales page. For a more personal look at the author and his family (and dogs!), check out his blog entitled “South American Mystery Novels and Stuff” at Drop by and leave a comment!