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Desperate for Death by Judy Alter

Desperate for Death
A Kelly O’Connell Mystery 
by Judy Alter

Genre: Cozy Mystery / Suspense
Publisher: Alter Ego Press
Date of Publication: January 9, 2016
# of pages: 228
 

  
 Praise for Desperate for Death 
 

Once again, Kelly is thrust into action when her family and friends are targeted by a deranged convict and this time Kelly has more to protect. I enjoyed this fast-paced and well written drama that continues to get better and better with a strong and determined heroine and a secondary cast that plays a pivotal role in the telling of this tale. It was fun watching this mystery played out with all the key elements that lead to a fulfilling finale and I especially enjoyed Keisha presence in this book. This is by far the best book in this series and I hope there are more to come in this engaging series.—Dru Ann L Love

 

One satisfying aspect of Desperate for Death which sets it apart from other murder mysteries is its staccato action in which everything happens at once, little seems connected, and life becomes a series of challenges. Fast-paced action keeps readers involved in not only events, but Kelly’s response to them, and in her efforts to keep her head above stormy waters.—Diane Donovan, Senior E-book Review Editor, Midwest Book Review

 

 

Judy Alter’s books just keep getting better. Her characters have real growth and the plots get harder to figure out. This one is her best of this genre….David Hartley Burlingame

 Review
I had the privilege of reviewing another book by Alter, and I can’t say which I like better. The characters are completely fleshed out and interesting, and the mysteries are so hard to solve! Seriously, you deserve a cookie if you figured out the outcome in either.
But back to Desperate for Death. Since this is the sixth book of the series, I wonder if I would understand why her family seems to think she looks for trouble had I read the previous five books. Her husband (second marriage, her ex-husband was murdered in one of the previous books) is a police officer who is constantly chastising her for trying to play cop. This bothered me because he keeps brushing off her hunches. What was she supposed to do?! Her life is in danger and something needs to be done. Her eldest daughter was constantly blaming her, “What did mom do to bring this on us now?” At least her other daughter and colorful assistant have her back no matter what.
My favorite moments involved food (Alter must love food because of the great food descriptions in this and the Blue Plate Cafe mysteries) and her assistant Keisha. Put those two together and it was magic. That woman whipped up potato salad and fried chicken from scratch on the fly. My mouth watered with every meal Kelly had (except for the salads) and I could hear every word out of Keisha’s mouth.
Some things that didn’t ring true to me happened near the end. I can’t imagine anyone in real life carrying on with trivial plans (last minute bridal shower and wedding) in the midst of a crisis where lives are being threatened. If my friend was kidnapped on the eve of the festivities, I wouldn’t tell the guests she’s just running late and assume I’d have her back within the hour. And if a vengeful killer was on the loose, I wouldn’t take my family anywhere until their whereabouts were certain and they were apprehended.
But those few things aside, I really enjoyed this book and hope to circle back and read the others when I have a chance.
An award-winning novelist, Judy Alter is the author of six books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries series: Skeleton in a Dead Space, No Neighborhood for Old Women, Trouble in a Big Box, Danger Comes Home, Deception in Strange Places, and Desperate for Death. She also writes the Blue Plate Café Mysteries—Murder at the Blue Plate Café, Murder at the Tremont House and Murder at Peacock Mansion. Finally, with the 2014 The Perfect Coed, she introduced the Oak Grove Mysteries.

Her work has been recognized with awards from the Western Writers of America, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame. She has been honored with the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement by WWA and inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame.

Judy is retired as director of TCU Press and the mother of four grown children and the grandmother of seven. She and her dog, Sophie, live in Fort Worth, Texas.
 
Check out these other great blog stops on the tour!

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1/29    Because This is My Life Y’allReview
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2/3      Hall Ways — Guest Post
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2/6      Books and BroomsticksAuthor Interview

 

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Murder at Peacock Mansion by Judy Alter

Lone Star Literary Life Blog Tours 
presents
 
MURDER AT PEACOCK MANSION
a Blue Plate Cafe Mystery
 
by 
Judy Alter
 
 
Title: MURDER AT PEACOCK MANSION
Author: Judy Alter
Genre: Cozy Mystery
# of pages: 258
 
 
Arson, a bad beating, and a recluse who claims someone is trying to kill her all collide in this third Blue Plate Café Mystery with Kate Chambers. Torn between trying to save David Clinkscales, her old boss and new lover, and curiosity about Edith Aldridge’s story of an attempt on her life, Kate has to remind herself she has a café to run. She nurses a morose David, whose spirit has been hurt as badly as his body, and tries to placate Mrs. Aldridge, who was once accused of murdering her husband but acquitted. One by one, Mrs. Aldridge’s stepchildren enter the picture. Is it coincidence that David is Edith Aldridge’s lawyer? Or that she seems to rely heavily on the private investigator David hires? First the peacocks die…and then the people. Everyone is in danger, and no one knows who to suspect.
 
 
BUY LINKS
 
 
Praise for the author
 
“Kate Chambers continues to impress. This third book in the Blue Plate Café mysteries opens with two intriguing story lines that intermingle flawlessly and will keep you captivated until the final page.” Terrie Farley Moran, Agatha Award-Winning author of the Read ’Em and Eat cozy mysteries. 
“With Murder at Peacock Mansion, the showy feathers of a rich woman’s birds aren’t enough to save either them or relatives of the recluse who thinks someone’s out to get her. Judy Alter, in her third Blue Plate Special mystery, serves up more than chicken-fried chicken as cafe proprietor Kate Chambers fights to save the ones she loves and figure out who the killer is, while keeping herself and her business alive, too.” Edith Maxwell, Agatha-nominated and national bestselling author of the Local Foods Mysteries, the Country Store Mysteries, and the Quaker Midwife Mysteries
 
 
“How did you meet Mr. Aldridge?”
“I was a cocktail waitress at the old Baker Hotel in Dallas. You might say I was Eliza to his Henry Higgins. He taught me to dress, speak, eat properly, even dance—he made a lady out of me, and I was always grateful. But once I was “finished”—his term, not mine—he found other Pygmalion-like subjects. In other words, he cheated on me, including financially, railed that I couldn’t run the house on the reduced budget he gave me.
“I used to lie in bed and listen to him roaming about downstairs, sometimes throwing things—I always hoped it wasn’t the Limoges he’d given his first wife, Alicia—and several times I thought I heard him fall. His best friend at night was a bottle of bourbon.
“One night I woke and realized he hadn’t come upstairs. By then I kept a derringer for self-protection, and this night I grabbed it and put it in my pocket. I found him at the foot of the stairs—he fallen apparently. What I didn’t realize until after I called the police was that he’d been shot too.
This tale was getting more bizarre. I itched to check it out on the Web, but for now I was a captive audience and, I admit, mesmerized by the calm recital of this woman’s life story. “What makes you think his children are trying to kill you now?” After all she’d lived this way for thirty years.
Review
 I’m not a big mystery reader but I’ve always been that person who saw the ending a mile away. This was not the case this time. Alter’s characters are interesting and her writing is so fluid and natural that you can’t help but be sucked into the story. I hadn’t realized that this was Book 3 of the Blue Plate Cafe Mysteries, but I had an idea the way that she brushes briefly about previous events and relationships. And like any good series writer, Alter doesn’t confuse you with the past you hadn’t seen but stokes your interest in reading them when you’re done with the one you’re working on. While some of the characters were certainly eccentric, all of them felt real. And every suspect could be seen from the guilty or innocent perspective as well. I highly suggest this book and series for readers who want to bring out their inner sleuth.
 
Judy Alter retired from Texas Christian University Press after thirty years, twenty of them as director. At the same time she developed her own writing career, focusing primarily on women of the American West. Now she writes fiction and nonfiction for all ages. She lives in Fort Worth.
 
 

 

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