Saturday, April 2, 2011

Murphy Calls in a Specialist

We read in Scripture, " “He that toucheth pitch, shall be defiled ..."
And so it proves for Murphy.
His massive powers of detection quickly penetrate to the heart of the case -- its dreadful truth --
but here, mere knowledge does not suffice.
Shaken, infected by what he most abhors... Murphy must call in a Professional.

Click to download this new Murphy Brothers story for Kindle, just 99 cents.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Steve Hockensmith

Though the town elders of Louisville, Ky., have yet to acknowledge it with so much as a single commemorative plaque, Steve Hockensmith was born in the Derby City on August 17, 1968. The first two decades of his life passed uneventfully, the only notable highlight being a short stint as an intern at People magazine, an experience that allowed Hockensmith to realize his lifelong dream -- crank calling Crispin Glover.
Despite (or perhaps because of) such lapses in his professionalism, Hockensmith became an entertainment journalist, writing about pop culture and the film industry for The Hollywood Reporter, The Chicago Tribune, Newsday and lots of magazines and newspapers you’ve never heard of. Sensing that print journalism was going the way of Raphus cucullatus, however, Hockensmith switched to an industry that he knew would offer dependable stability for decades to come: publishing.
Hockensmith is not known for his business acumen.
Nevertheless, his first novel, the Sherlockian mystery/Western Holmes on the Range, was a finalist for Edgar, Anthony, Shamus and Dilys Awards in 2007. Three sequels followed (On the Wrong Track, The Black Dove and the Nero Award finalist The Crack in the Lens), and a fifth book in the series, World's Greatest Sleuth!, will be released in January.

In 2010, Hockensmith tried his hand at romzomcoms (romantic comedies with zombies) with Dawn of the Dreadfuls. Though a prequel to the hit “mash-up” Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Hockensmith’s novel was 100% original. Well, 100% new, anyway. Most of the characters and settings came courtesy of Jane Austen, who’s been a real doll about the whole thing and hasn’t complained yet. In March 2011, Hockensmith will complete the PPZ trilogy (yes, it's a trilogy now) with the novel Dreadfully Ever After.

Though he considers himself a Midwesterner at heart, Hockensmith currently lives in California’s Bay Area. He says he’s adjusted to life on the West Coast, but confesses that he still misses thunderstorms, snow and Long John Silver’s Seafood Shoppes. He shares his home with the perfect wife, the perfect daughter, the perfect son and a slightly imperfect dog.

Here you can read his short story "Dear Mr. Holmes."

Books by Steve Hockensmith


Holmes on the Range--The Wild West gets even wilder when cowboy brothers Otto “Big Red” Amlingmeyer and Gustav “Old Red” Amlingmeyer set out to catch a killer using the methods of the late, great Sherlock Holmes. The only thing standing between them and the truth: stampedes, rustlers, Holmes-hating English aristocrats and a cannibal named “Hungry Bob.”

On the Wrong Track--Big Red and Old Red sign on as guards for the hated Southern Pacific Railroad and quickly find themselves headed full-steam toward disaster. The train they’re on is robbed, the baggage man loses his head (literally) and the passenger list includes a drunken Pinkerton, a secretive Chinese doctor, a mysterious beauty named Diana and a deadly swamp adder with a taste for cowboys.

The Black Dove--Big Red and Old Red hit the wild (not to mention dangerous) streets of San Francisco and almost immediately run afoul of Chinatown crime lords and Barbary Coast cutthroats. Good thing their new, if duplicitous, friend Diana is along for the ride. But can even her wily charms save them when they stumble into the middle of a tong war?

The Crack in the Lens--This time it’s personal. Years before, Old Red lost his one true love to a brutal killer. Now — he hopes — he has the deducifying know-how to track down the killer. Yet how can he and Big Red even start the search when everyone in town wants the secrets of the past buried forever...and the brothers buried with them?

World’s Greatest Sleuth!--A detectiving contest brings Big Red and Old Red to Chicago during the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. Unfortunately, someone commits a dark deed in “the White City”: The man behind the competition is found dead. Old Red knows it’s murder, but no one seems to believe him but his brother and an old friend who could hold the key to the mystery — and their future.

Naughty: Nine Tales of Christmas Crime--"It's the most wonderful time of the year," the old song tells us. But that doesn't mean the people celebrating it are always so nice. Criminals get the Christmas spirit, too! In this collection of hilarious short stories, you'll see what the thieves, killers, psychos and scumbags are up to come the yuletide...and it's not caroling door to door. Well, not unless they're casing the neighborhood for a break-in, as a rag-tag gang does in the title story. You'll also meet a mall elf menaced by a very, very bad Santa (in "I Killed Santa Claus,") a London police inspector hunting for the man who murdered Ebenezer Scrooge (in "Humbug"), a trucker out to save his shipment of Cabbage Patch Dolls from bumbling hijackers (in "Special Delivery") and many more characters you'll never forget. Originally published in Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazines, these stories are sure to have you ho-ho-hoing from the first page to the last!


Dawn of the Dreadfuls--Jane Austen’s Bennet family has a lot more to worry about than matchmaking and avoiding scandal when the dead start clawing their way from their graves. It’s time for Elizabeth and her sisters to set aside their ladylike ways and take up “the Deadly Arts.” But can they master zombie-slaying before the brains-craving unmentionables overrun all England? And will Elizabeth lose her heart to her stern new instructor, the mysterious Geoffrey Hawksworth, or the eccentric (and perhaps even mad) Dr. Keckilpenny? And will Jane resist the amorous advances of the libidinous Lord Lumpley — perhaps with the help of the dashing Lt. Tindall? And just what is that awful howling sound coming from the attic? Dawn of the Dreadfuls, the prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, has all the answers.

Dreadfully Ever After--Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and its prequel, Dawn of the Dreadfuls, were both New York Times best sellers, with a combined 1.3 million copies in print. Now the PPZ trilogy comes to a thrilling conclusion with Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After. The story opens with our newly married protagonists, Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam Darcy, defending their village from an army of flesh-eating “unmentionables.” But the honeymoon has barely begun when poor Mr. Darcy is nipped by a rampaging dreadful. Elizabeth knows the proper course of action is to promptly behead her husband (and then burn the corpse, just to be safe). But when she learns of a miracle antidote under development in London, she realizes there may be one last chance to save her true love—and for everyone to live happily ever after.

Monday, January 24, 2011

L.J. Sellers

L.J. Sellers is an award-winning journalist and the author of the bestselling Detective Jackson mystery/suspense series and other standalone thrillers. Her novels have been highly praised by Mystery Scene and Spinetingler magazines, and the Jackson series is on Amazon Kindle’s bestselling police procedural list. When not plotting murders, she enjoys performing standup comedy, cycling, social networking, and attending mystery conferences. She’s also been known to jump out of airplanes. You can visit her website here.

Here you can read "Dirty Jobs" by L.J. Sellers. 

Books by L.J. Sellers

The Sex Club--A dead girl, a ticking bomb, a Bible study that's not what it appears to be, and a detective who won't give up.

Secrets to Die For--A brutal murder, a suspect with a strange story, a missing woman with secrets to hide—can Jackson discover the truth in time to save her?

Thrilled to Death--Two missing women with nothing in common, a dead body, and a suspect who hasn’t left his house in a year—Jackson's most puzzling cast yet.

Passions of the Dead--A murdered family, two addicted suspects, and a deadly home invasion lead Jackson on the most disturbing case of his career.

The Baby Thief--Jenna just wanted a baby, but her doctor had other ideas. Kidnapped and drugged, she has no idea where she or how to escape.

The Suicide Effect--Sula overhears a shocking discovery at the drug company she works for, and soon she is running for her life.

Vicki Delany

Vicki Delany is one of Canada’s most prolific crime writers. She writes everything from standalone novels of psychological suspense such as Scare the Light Away and Burden of Memory, to the Constable Molly Smith books, a traditional village/police procedural series set in the British Columbia Interior, including In the Shadow of the Glacier and Negative Image, to a light-hearted historical series, Gold Digger and Gold Fever, set in the raucous heyday of the Klondike Gold Rush. 
Winter of Secrets received a starred review from Publisher’s Weekly, and about Negative Image, the Sherbrooke Record said, Delany is steadily making her way toward the top tier of Canadian crime writers, and readers can only hope for more. 

Having taken early retirement from her job as a systems analyst in the high-pressure financial world, Vicki is settling down to the rural life in bucolic, Prince Edward County, Ontario where she rarely wears a watch. The next book in the Constable Molly Smith series, Among the Departed, will be published by Poisoned Pen Press in May 2011.

You can read her short story "My Seat" here.

You read more about her, you can visit her blog or her author page.

Books by Vicki Delany

The Constable Molly Smith series:

Among the Departed (coming May 2011)--Fifteen years ago a young girl by the name of Moonlight Smith went to her best friend Nicky Nowak’s house for a sleepover. Moonlight joined the family for breakfast the following morning and was then picked up by her mother. Shortly after, Mr. Nowak went for a walk.
He was never seen again.
It is now autumn in the mountain town of Trafalgar, British Columbia. A police dog is called out to help in the search for a child lost in the wilderness. The dog uncovers something else: human remains.
When Sergeant John Winters reopens the investigation he finds a shattered family and townsfolk desperate to keep their secrets.
Among the Departed is much more than a mystery novel: it is also a story of love – new and old, long-concealed, life-affirming and fatal. 
Negative Image--What would you do if you believe the person you trust most in the world has betrayed you? What would you do if you discover that the person you trust most in the world believes you capable of betrayal?
When his wife’s former fiancĂ© is found dead of a single shot to the back of the head, Trafalgar police Sergeant John Winters is forced to make the most difficult decision of his life: loyalty to his job or to his wife. Meanwhile, tragedy strikes the heart of Constable Molly Smith’s family. 
Winter of Secrets--Christmas in Trafalgar, B.C. The skiing vacation of a group of rowdy students takes a tragic turn when their car plunges into the icy river. Constable Molly Smith and Sergeant John Winters discover that sometimes an accident isn’t as it first appears, and no amount of privilege and help you cheat death. 
Valley of the Lost--In the bucolic mountain town of Trafalgar, British Columbia, a young woman is found dead of a heroin overdose, her baby lying at her side. Marks of restraint indicate that the death might not have been completely accidental. Only two things are known about the dead woman: her first name is Ashley, and she has a three-month-old baby boy. Before the police can discover who killed her, and why, the first have to find out who she was. 
In the Shadow of the Glacier--A draft dodger commemoration is threatening to tear apart the bucolic mountain town of Trafalgar, B,C., while Rookie Constable Molly Smith and Sergeant John Winters search for a killer. The first in first in a traditional mystery series featuring Constable Smith, Sergeant Winters, and the town in the shadow of the glacier, Trafalgar, British Columbia

The Klondike Gold Rush Series:

Gold Fever--It’s the great Klondike Gold Rush, and Fiona MacGillivray and the Savoy Dance Hall are busier than ever. There’s something familiar about an arrival’s accent, and Fiona is determined to keep the woman away from her son Angus, but Angus has a better idea. When a dancer is murdered after an altercation with Fiona, the Mounties are determined to get their man – or woman. 
Gold Digger--Gold Digger is a light-hearted historical mystery, peopled with the array of intrepid characters who flooded into the Klondike to make Dawson, in its very short heyday, the most exciting town in the world. At the centre of the hullabaloo is Fiona MacGillivray: ambitious, resourceful, unscrupulous, and (as she says so herself) the most beautiful woman in Dawson.

Standalone Novels of Suspense

Burden of Memory--September 1939: A beautiful Irish maid realizes that her scheming has led to a fatal mistake. A plain, but determined, nursing sister prepares to head for Europe, and war.
September 2006: Elaine Benson arrives at Muskoka’s Millionaires’ Row to assist an elderly woman with the writing of her memoirs, and unwittingly combines the separate threads of three tragedies into a dangerous knot. 
Scare the Light Away--Interweaves two generations of strong women – an English war bride and her Canadian daughter – into a quilt of old betrayals, modern mystery, and contemporary redemption.
This time Rebecca can’t run away from her family’s troubles: a Hope River girl has gone missing and her brother stands accused.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Discretion Assured Rises in the Ratings!

We're at the bottom of the first page of returns in Google on the selectors "discretion assured." Strangely, we're number two when you just enter discretion assured without quote marks. And we're competing against a movie titled "Discretion Assured", which is the same name as the name of our blog, namely (no pun intended), "Discretion Assured".

So what will it take for Discretion Assured to reach the top of a search on the phrase Discretion Assured or "Discretion Assured"? Certainly not using the name more in blogs, I mean that doesn't really work. Or does it?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Debbi Mack

Debbi Mack started life in New York City, but grew up in various places around the country, ending up in Maryland where she sets her mysteries. Her hardboiled mysteries, IDENTITY CRISIS and LEAST WANTED, feature intrepid crime-solving lawyer Stephanie Ann “Sam” McRae. A 2010 Derringer Award nominee, Debbi’s short stories have also been published in an anthology of her work called FIVE UNEASY PIECES, as well as in CHESAPEAKE CRIMES, CHESAPEAKE CRIMES: THEY HAD IT COMIN’, and The Back Alley Webzine. Debbi is a former attorney, who quit practicing law to become a full-time writer. She’s previously worked as a newswire reporter,reference librarian and freelance writer/researcher (as well as a school bus driver and photography model—but that was a long time ago). With degrees in journalism, law and library science, she’s basically too educated to take any job at this point. Debbi, her husband and their cats live in Columbia MD.

Read Debbi Mack's short story A Woman Who Thinks from her anthology Five Uneasy Pieces.

Books by Debbie Mack

Identity Crisis--A domestic abuse case turns deadly, when the alleged abuser is killed and Sam McRae's client disappears. When a friend asks Sam to find Melanie Hayes, the Maryland attorney is drawn into a complex case of murder and identity theft, that has her running from the mob, breaking into a strip club and forming a shaky alliance with an offbeat private investigator to get to the truth about Melanie and her boyfriend. With her career and life on the line, Sam's search takes her from the blue-collar Baltimore suburbs to the mansions of Gibson Island. Along the way, she learns that false identities can hide dark secrets, and those secrets can destroy lives.

Least Wanted--Maryland lawyer Stephanie Ann "Sam" McRae has two tough cases that quickly turn worse, when both clients -- a poor black girl and a white, middle-class man -- are accused of murder. Sam's inquiries into the cases lead her to Washington, DC's suburban ghettos where she discovers an odd link between them: the seamy world of girl gangs and computer pornography.
The stakes rise considerably as more people die at the hands of a maniacal killer who'll do anything to keep Sam from learning the truth. Sam races to clear her clients before she becomes the next victim.

Five Uneasy Pieces--The short stories in this novella-length collection share the theme of having an odd twist or edginess that makes them gritty, slightly off-balance or unusual. They represent a range of genres from hardboiled mystery to noir to parody. Altogether, this collection has something for everyone who enjoys dark or edgy crime fiction. Includes the first three chapters of Least Wanted, the sequel to Identity Crisis.

The Honor of Israel Gow

Here in the Northeast we're snowed in again, so here's a classic story from a master of mystery for your reading pleasure.

The Honor of Israel Gow, by Gilbert Keith Chesterton