Welcome to our website. This site is here to provide a community for all you book lovers. I've set up a discussion area for you to discuss your favorite books. We'll have reviews of old and new books in the Reviews section. Upcoming titles and information from major publishers will be listed in the news/home page section, as well as updates on when new reviews have been posted, community information, etc.

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Giveaway – Remains of Innocence – J.A. Jance

Posted on: September 16th, 2014 By Rick Rhodes

Thanks to Gina at Partners in Crime Tours I”m able to offer my readers 1 paperback copy of this book. To enter, follow these simple rules:

1) One Entry if you’re a follower [You can follow through Google Friend connect to the right, you can also sign up to follow through Twitter or Facebook].
2) An Additonal Entry if you blog about this contest.
3) An Additonal Entry if you’re a new follower.
4) One entry each for posting on facebook and/or twitter.
5) Must leave a comment letting me know how you follow me, blog link to this post, facebook/twitter link, etc.
6) Contest will continue until 9/17/2014.
7) This giveaway is open to residents of US only. No PO Box addresses (street mailing only).

See our review here.


Giveaway – Murder Strikes a Pose – Tracy Weber

Posted on: September 9th, 2014 By Rick Rhodes

Thanks to Gina at Partners in Crime Tours I’m able to offer my readers 1 printed copy of this book. To enter, follow these simple rules:

1) One Entry if you’re a follower [You can follow through Google Friend connect to the right, you can also sign up to follow through Twitter or Facebook].
2) An Additonal Entry if you blog about this contest.
3) An Additonal Entry if you’re a new follower.
4) One entry each for posting on facebook and/or twitter.
5) Must leave a comment letting me know how you follow me, blog link to this post, facebook/twitter link, etc.
6) Contest will continue until 9/10/2014.
7) This giveaway is open to residents of US only. No PO Box addresses (street mailing only).

See our review here.

2 people like this post.

Review: Murder Strikes a Pose – Tracy weber

Posted on: August 19th, 2014 By Rick Rhodes
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: MIDNIGHT INK (January 8, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0738739685
ISBN-13: 978-0738739687
Order book here:

amazon

Order E-book here:
amazon

Characters:

Kate Davidson – Yoga instructor and amateur detective.
George – Homeless man.
Bella – Georges’ Dog.

Synopsis:

A woman who owns a yoga studio is pulled into a murder investigation when a homeless man is murdered.

Review

I found this to be a very entertaining mystery. The characters were interesting, the plot was just intricate enough to keep the pace going, and for a debut mystery I thought the author did a really good job. There was the twists and turns in the main plot, as well as a secondary plot involving Kate’s friend and her friends husband.

This is an author whose next work I would be glad to look at. If this debut is any indication, I think she’ll do well in the mystery field. I would rate it about PG-13 due to language, situations, etc.

Overall though, I found the story enjoyable and for a lighthearted, cozy style mystery, and a good weekend read, pick up a copy of Murder Strikes a Pose and be sure to drop by and let us know what you thought.

Enter a giveaway here:

Giveaway: Murder Strikes a Pose by Tracy Weber

About the Author

Tracy Weber is a certified yoga teacher and the founder of Whole Life Yoga, an award-winning yoga studio in Seattle, where she currently lives with her husband, Marc, and German shepherd, Tasha.

She loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. Tracy is a member of the Pacific Northwest Writers Association, Dog Writers Association of America, and Sisters in Crime.

When she’s not writing, she spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house. Murder Strikes a Pose is her debut novel.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Gina at Partners in Crime for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

1 people like this post.

Interview: Tracy Weber – Murder Strikes a Pose

Posted on: August 19th, 2014 By Rick Rhodes

Rhodes Review: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Tracy Weber: The idea came to me on a rainy evening about three years ago, while in the middle of a brutal workout at my favorite health club. I was pedaling away, reading a Susan Conant novel to distract myself from the evil exercise bike, when a quote from Black Ribbon about crazy dog people made me burst out loud laughing. I knew I’d found my author soul mate. Someone who truly got me.

I went home, looked her up on the web, and stumbled across a site about cozy mysteries. As I read about hundreds of other wonderful cozy series, I began to wonder: What would happen if a yoga teacher with a crazy dog like mine got mixed up in murder? Kate Davidson and Bella popped into my head a few days later. The rest is history.

Rhodes Review: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Tracy Weber: I’m lucky. I own my own business, so I’m able to work any eighteen hours a day I want. Seriously, sometimes it feels that way. My writing ebbs and flows based on the other competing priorities of my life. Sometimes several weeks will go by without my having time to write a word. Other times I write nonstop. I’m most creative late at night, which drives my husband crazy. Most weeks I probably dedicate thirty hours or more to fiction writing. Blogs and other writing are on top of that.

Rhodes Review: As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

Tracy Weber: It varied over time. First, I wanted to be a horse rancher. Then a veterinarian. By the time I left for college, I was going to be a doctor. I ended up with a Chemical Engineering degree. Twenty years later, I owned a yoga studio. Now I write mysteries. No wonder my husband says I have career ADD!

Rhodes Review: Which of your characters is most/least like you, and in what way(s)?

Tracy Weber: On the surface, Kate and I are a lot alike. We both own yoga studios in Seattle, are vertically challenged, have body image issues, and are head-over-heals in love with a ginormous German shepherd. But personality-wise, I’m closer to Rene. A plotter, a trickster, a conniver, but completely loyal to my friends. At least that’s what I tell myself.

Rhodes Review: Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Tracy Weber: Write what you love. You may not become famous. You may never even get published. But you’ll spend your days immersed in your passions. What could be better than that?

Rhodes Review: What inspired you to write Murder Strikes a Pose?

Tracy Weber: Wow. So many things. I’ve talked about Susan Conant, yoga, and my certifiably crazy dog obsession in other blogs. Those three things together definitely inspired me to write this series. My tag line says it perfectly: “Yoga, dogs, and murder. What could be more fun?”

My dog, Tasha, has some of the same issues as Bella. She’s huge, not always perfectly-well behaved, and she has a variety of expensive health conditions, yet I adore her to a fault. Living with Tasha has changed my life, in every way for the better. At the same time, she gets me into some pretty funny situations sometimes. My yoga students have been putting up with my “Tasha stories” for years now, so writing them down seemed like a no-brainer.

A human inspired the plot of Murder Strikes a Pose, however. A homeless lady used to hang out near the entrance to my neighborhood grocery store, and she always had a large Rottweiler mix in a crate next to her. Over time, I got to know them both, and I asked her about the crate. She told me that the Rottweiler would sometimes lunge at other dogs that walked by on the sidewalk. The crate—which she stored behind the building at night—allowed her to keep the dog with her, in spite of its reactivity.

The lady (I’m so sorry I never learned her name!) adored that dog and went to great lengths to take care of it, in spite of her own financial issues and living conditions. She was as dedicated to her pet as most people are to their children.

I started to wonder: What if her dog had Tasha’s illnesses as well as its behavior issues? What would she do? What could she do? That’s when Bella and George formed in my head. I want to be clear: George is not that woman—not even close. He has alcoholism and many other issues that she did not have. But like her, he knows the joy and heartache that come from deep love for an imperfect creature.

Unfortunately, she disappeared from the neighborhood long before I wrote the first draft of Murder Strikes a Pose. I haven’t seen her almost two years, so I’ll probably never know what she would have thought about being my muse. I hope she would have felt complimented.

Rhodes Review: What was your favorite part of the book?

Tracy Weber: It’s not one specific part or scene, but I loved seeing Kate grow and learn to love herself by learning to love Bella. I completely believe that love transforms us, when we are willing to allow it to. And no love is more pure than that of a human and an animal. We enter into a relationship with animals in which we know the ultimate outcome. Most animals’ lives are significantly shorter than ours. And yet, if we allow ourselves, we can find a beauty and self-sacrifice in that relationship that is at the same time deeper and more meaningful than almost any other. Kate fights that depth with every cell of her commitment-wary soul. And yet ultimately, that is what saves her. We should all be so lucky.

Rhodes Review: What are your favorite authors/books?

Tracy Weber: I adore light-hearted, dog-related mysteries, above all. Susan Conant, Laurien Berenson, Sheila Boneham, and Waverly Curtis are some of my favorites. I also love a good legal thriller, though I haven’t read one in awhile.


Review: Small Plates – Katherine Hall Page

Posted on: August 14th, 2014 By Rick Rhodes
Hardcover: 240 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (May 27, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062310798
ISBN-13: 978-0062310798
Order book here:

amazon

Order E-book here:
amazon

Synopsis:

A collection of crime based short stories.

Review

The Ghost of Winthrop – Prudence Winthrop has not had a moment’s peace since her Aunt Eliza died. It is said that whoever finds where her will is hidden will inherit everything. Amateur investigator Faith Fairchild is asked to help her find the will as well as discovering whether the house is haunted, or if someone else is trying to find the will before Prudence can.

Death in the Dunes – Faith and her husband Tom are at a retreat when a frantic knock at the door from a woman named Carolann pulls Faith from the peaceful solitude she was enjoying. Things continue to get weird as Faith tries to determine what exactly has gone on between Carolann and her husband.

The Would be Widower – A man grows tired of his wife, and continues to launch various plans to eliminate her from his life.

Across the Pond – Faith and her sister Hope are involved in the wedding of a mutual friend. This mutual friend, however, is engaged to a man who was once engaged to one of her stepsisters. Faith must find out if someone is trying to kill Polly before they are successful.

A Perfect Maine Day – A woman goes out on an afternoon boating trip with her husband. Later her body washes up on shore. The person who finds her body is then drawn into finding out what happened to her.

Hiding Places – A woman comes across her husband’s secret hiding place, where he stores mimentos. This leads her on a search through the house for other hiding spots of his. But will she like what she finds?

The Proof is Always in the Pudding – Faith is told of an old family secret that involves a pudding and a forbidden romance.

Sliced – Faith is pulled into competing on a cooking contest show. Strange things begin happening though, then one of the chef’s is killed? Faith must figure out who killed him and why.

The Two Marys – A woman named Mary find a baby wrapped in a blanket in her barn on Christmas Eve. Faith Fairchild is called on to help this woman cover up the identity of the child, but also to help find his mother.

A few tastes from Small Plates – Recipes from some of the stories presented.

I found all of these stories to be interesting. As short stories, the name small plate was fitting. Some of the more interesting I thought were The Would be Widower and Sliced, but I found all of them to be enjoyable. They are great for when you want to read a complete story, but don’t want to take the time to get involved in a long novel. They are just long enough to keep your attention, but not long enough to get too drawn out.

The characters are interesting, the plots are unique, and the writing was really good. I recommend this for any mystery fans out there. I’d rate it PG due to subject matter, and some language that some might find a bit objectionable.

Be sure and check it out, drop by and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to at for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.


Review: Remains of Innocence – J. A. Jance

Posted on: August 12th, 2014 By Rick Rhodes
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (July 22, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0062134701
ISBN-13: 978-0062134707
Order book here:

amazon

Order E-book here:
amazon

Synopsis:

Sheriff Joanna Brady must solve two perplexing cases that may be tied together in New York Times bestselling author J. A. Jance’s thrilling tale of suspense that brings to life Arizona’s Cochise County and the desert Southwest in all its beauty and mystery.

An old woman, a hoarder, is dying of emphysema in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. In cleaning out her house, her daughter, Liza Machett, discovers a fortune in hundred dollar bills hidden in the tall stacks of books and magazines that crowd every corner.

Tracing the money’s origins will take Liza on a journey that will end in Cochise County, where Sheriff Joanna Brady is embroiled in a personal mystery of her own. A man she considers a family friend is found dead at the bottom of a hole in a limestone cavern near Bisbee. And now there is the mystery of Liza and the money. Are the two disparate cases connected? It’s up to Joanna to find out.

Characters:

Joanna Brady – Cochise County Sheriff
Liza Machett – A Young Woman on the Run

Review

This novel had the unexpected experience of feeling like I was reading two stories at once. There was Joanna’s story, in which she’s trying to track down the killer of a young, mentally challenged man. The second story is that of Liza, a woman who found a fortune hidden in her deceased mother’s house, and is now on the run from people trying to kill her. Why are they after the money? Who killed Junior Dowdle? What is Liza’s connection to Bisbee, Arizona.

The author did an incredible job of keeping me involved in both these stories. Each was fast paced, and complete on its own, then she managed to pull them both together and have Joanna juggling both cases. Typically with thrillers it takes me about 3 days to finish, this I was able to complete in one 24 hour period.

The Junior Dowdle mystery kept you guessing until the very end and was complete with all the twists and turns you’d expect in a good mystery. The Liza story was thrilling in and of itself, and kept the pace moving, wondering who was wanting her dead, and why were they so interested in the money.

I would rate it as PG-13 due to the violence, some language, and strong situations. For older teens and adults though, I don’t see that there would be an issue. Overall, a great novel, and for Jance fans, or for those wanting a good thriller, you cannot go wrong with Remains of Innocence. Grab it, read it, and drop back by and let us know what you thought.

J. A. Jance is the New York Times bestselling author of the J. P. Beaumont series, the Joanna Brady series, the Ali Reynolds series, and four interrelated thrillers about the Walker family.

Born in South Dakota and brought up in Bisbee, Arizona, Jance lives with her husband in Seattle and Tucson.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Megan at Harper Collins for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.


Review: Maxwell Street Blues – Marc Krulewitch

Posted on: August 7th, 2014 By Rick Rhodes
Ebook
Publisher: Alibi (August 5, 2014)
Language: English
Order book here:
amazon

Characters:

Jules Landau – Chicago Private Eye.
Bernie Landau – Jules’ Father and an ex con.
Jimmy Kalijero – Chicago Detective.
Voss – Internal Affairs Officer.

Synopsis:

Jules Landau’s old friend Charles “Snooky” Snook has been murdered, his body left on a construction site. Bernie Landau, Jules’ father hires him to find out who murdered Snooky. Jules will find himself facing off against the local cop Jimmy Kalijero and being followed by an internal affairs officer named Voss. He’ll also find people trying to kill him to keep Snooky’s murder from being solved.

Review

I really found myself enjoying this book. It reminded me of the old private eyes like Mike Hammer and Philip Marlowe. There are plenty of twists, fist fights, and just all around fun private eye action. The plotline is well drawn out. The characters I found very likeable and 3 dimensional. Mr. Krulewitch helped fill in with some interesting background characters such as an old retired Gangster named Frownie.

The story kept my attention, to the point where I actually finished the book in a little over a day. I really look forward to more entries from Mr. Krulewitch in the Jules Landau series. For a modern take on the classic private eye, he’s done a very good job, and things can only get better.

About the Author

Marc Krulewitch grew up in the Chicago suburbs, although his crime novels take place in the Windy City, where he was born and where his family has lived for generations. Maxwell Street Blues is the first in what he hopes to be a long and enduring detective series. His great-grandfather once shared a headline with Al Capone.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Lisa at TLC Book Tours for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.

3 people like this post.

Classic Corner Review: The Dutch Shoe Mystery – Ellery Queen

Posted on: August 5th, 2014 By Rick Rhodes
Mass Market Paperback: 214 pages
Publisher: Signet; Special 50th Anniversary Edition edition (February 6, 1979)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0451085787
ISBN-13: 978-0451085788
Order book here:

amazon

Order E-book here:
amazon

Characters:

Ellery Queen – Author and Amateur Detective
Richard Queen – Police Inspector
Abigail Doorn – Heiress

Synopsis:

An elderly woman is in the Dutch Memorial Hospital comatose, and about to undergo surgery. After she’s wheeled into the operating room, it’s discovered that she is dead. However, she was alive when in pre-surgery. When and how did someone manage to kill her between the pre-surgery room and the operating room. Ellery Queen and his Father are called upon to find out in The Dutch Shoe Mystery.

Review

Another interesting mental puzzle from one of the greats of this genre. With Ellery Queen, the characters as usual are a little stock and one dimensional, but the puzzles themselves are what makes the books. I tend to like fair play mysteries such as this. You are given all the clues, and if you pay attention, by the time the story is over, you’ll be able to solve the mystery yourself. So far in about 3 or 4 of his books, I’ve yet to be able to solve the mystery before Mr. Queen himself reveals the murder.

For a fun weekend read, at just 239 pages, you can’t go wrong with this. A great book for those rainy afternoons. While it may not appeal to the more modern Thriller type mystery readers, for those who enjoy the pursuit of the puzzle, then you may definitely want to check out this or one of the other offerings in the Ellery Queen series.

Language is at a minimum, but due to the context of the book, I’d say it’s rated PG-13. Being a product of the earlier 20th century, readers may also have some difficulty with the English used, as well as some of the more non politically correct terminology often used. But if you can ignore that, I’m certain you’d find this book enjoyable.

About the Author

Ellery Queen was a pen name created and shared by two cousins, Frederic Dannay (1905–1982) and Manfred B. Lee (1905–1971), as well as the name of their most famous detective. Born in Brooklyn, they spent forty-two years writing, editing, and anthologizing under the name, gaining a reputation as the foremost American authors of the Golden Age “fair play” mystery. Although eventually famous on television and radio, Queen’s first appearance came in 1928, when the cousins won a mystery-writing contest with the book that would eventually be published as The Roman Hat Mystery.

Their character was an amateur detective who uses his spare time to assist his police inspector uncle in solving baffling crimes. Besides writing the Queen novels, Dannay and Lee cofounded Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine, one of the most influential crime publications of all time. Although Dannay outlived his cousin by nine years, he retired Queen upon Lee’s death.

 

You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.


Review: Tracker – James Rollins

Posted on: July 31st, 2014 By Rick Rhodes
Print Length: 83 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (June 5, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10:
ISBN-13: 978-
Order e-book here:
amazon

Characters:

Tucker Wayne – Former U.S. Army Ranger
Kane – Military trained canine.

Synopsis:

Tucker Wayne and his faithful companion Kane are introduced in this kickoff to their own series. The story begins when they rescue a woman. This woman however has a secret tied to Nazi Germany. What secrets does she hold, and what dangers will Tucker and Kane face, to find out read Tracker.

Review

I really loved these characters. I’ve not read a lot of Mr. Rollins works, though I have friends who are devoted followers of his writing. However, the few books I’ve read I’ve found enjoyable. This one is no exception. The characters are well developed, and realistic. Unlike other stories, where the animal is merely there, Kane has an active part in the story and at times is a POV character. That is often some of the more interesting aspects of the story, seeing Kane and his training and thoughts.

Language is a minimum, so all ages will probably find this appropriate. At 83 pages, it can be read in an afternoon, and is a great kickoff to the Tucker and Wayne series, and a good companion series to the Sigma Force of which this is loosely tied. So for a great, quick adventure, pick up a copy of tracker and be sure to drop back by and let us know what you thought.

About the Author

James Rollins is the New York Times bestselling author of thrillers translated into forty languages. His Sigma series has been lauded as one of the “top crowd pleasers” (New York Times) and one of the “hottest summer reads” (People magazine).

Acclaimed for his originality, Rollins unveils unseen worlds, scientific breakthroughs, and historical secrets—and he does it all at breakneck speed. Find James Rollins on Facebook, MySpace, and Twitter, and at www.jamesrollins.com.

*Disclaimer* A special thanks goes out to Danielle at Harper Collins for a review copy of this book. It in no way influenced my review. You can discuss it here or join my facebook page and discuss it there.


Interview: Wendy Corsi Staub – The Perfect Stranger

Posted on: July 30th, 2014 By Rick Rhodes

Today We are pleased to have with us Wendy Staub, author of The Perfect Stranger.

Rhodes Review: What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?

Wendy Staub: I’d say roughly half my time now is devoted to the business end of my career, and I’m on the road frequently promoting my books at reader conventions, author conferences, and of course on book tours. I’m also a married mom of two kids who keep me busy. I’m writing three books a year right now, and unfortunately, I’m not one of those fortunate authors who can pop open a laptop on the fly and write a chapter or two in an airport. So when I’m home, I’m invariably in my office from 12-14 hours a day, seven days a week, living and breathing my fictional world until the book is finished. The total immersion process works best for me.

Rhodes Review: What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

Wendy Staub: Several times a year, I have to produce a 100,000 word novel in 8-10 weeks. Math was never my strongest subject, but that’s what it comes down to: I divide my target number of pages by the number of weeks I have until deadline. Every Friday on my desktop calendar is marked with a page number I need to reach by that day. I never allow myself to miss these personal mini-deadlines, because my publishing contract deadline depends on it!

Rhodes Review: How did you start writing?

Wendy Staub: My mom was an avid reader and my father and paternal grandfather were fantastic verbal storytellers, so it was in my blood. As a little girl in grade school, I would write “novels” longhand on notebook paper. Later, I wrote for school newspapers and literary magazines and was submitting my work for publication even back then. I finally made my first sale in college – I published a poem in Seventeen magazine – and placed in Writer’s Digest’s annual short story contest a year or two later. I sold my first novel at 27, after I’d moved to New York City and gotten a job as an editor. Over eighty books and two decades later, I’m blessed to wake up every day and make a living doing what I love best.

Rhodes Review: Do you have any suggestions to help my readers become a better writer? If so, what are they?

Wendy Staub: Decide whether you’re writing for yourself, or writing for an audience. There’s unlimited creative freedom if you’re not trying to sell your work. But if you’re focused on a writing career, keep in mind that you aren’t just creating art–you’re creating a product. That means being open to constructive criticism and perhaps realizing that your vision isn’t necessarily always going to mesh with the publisher’s vision. Learning to let go and adapt your work for the market is the first crucial step on the road to publication.

Rhodes Review: Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?

Wendy Staub: I absolutely read my reviews in trade magazines like PW, RT, Suspense Magazine,  Kirkus, etc., and I read blogger reviews. When it comes to online reader reviews, I used to be obsessive about checking them. I’m always grateful when someone takes the time to post an honest review, whether it’s positive or negative. But open forum reviews online can be frustrating. They might contain a so-called “review” from a reader who will give my book, say, one star on Amazon, stating in the opening line that she didn’t read it but is protesting the price or the publishing company, that sort of thing. Or people post a spoilers, ruining the book for potential buyers—and it’s time-consuming for my publisher to get them removed. These days, I scan online bookstore reader reviews from time to time and I absolutely absorb feedback—what do they like about my books? What could be stronger? But I’m a very active presence on social media, and that’s where I interact with my readers in an ongoing dialogue that is invaluable not just because I incorporate their feedback but because I want them to know how much I appreciate their input. They’re tremendously loyal and without them, I would not be able to do what I do.

Rhodes Review: If you were to do your career as an author again, what would you do differently, and why?

Wendy Staub: Truly, I wouldn’t change a single thing. I was blessed to make my childhood dream come true, and I want my kids—and kids everywhere—to know that no dream is impossible. I did it, and so can you, if you’re willing to give it your all.

Rhodes Review: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

Wendy Staub: My third grade teacher praised the first thing I ever wrote—an Abraham Lincoln essay–and I went home from school that day and told my parents that I wanted to become an author when I grew up. I never looked back!

Rhodes Review: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

Wendy Staub: I’m passionate about travel—my husband and I set out to visit all 50 states with our sons when they were in elementary school. I’ve been to all but one (Wyoming), and the boys are missing only two. When I’m not traveling, I love nothing more than to cook for a crowd and sit around our dining room table laughing and talking for hours. That’s how I grew up! I come from an enormous extended and close-knit family and I married into one, and I’m fortunate to have maintained friendships from all phases of my life.

Rhodes Review: What do you think makes a good story?

Wendy Staub: When I’m writing a suspense novel, I never lose sight of my goal, which is to keep my reader turning pages, trying to figure out whodunit. My trademark is to mask a villain behind a familiar face so that the reader is blindsided by the final twist. If they say, “Wow! I never saw THAT coming!”—then I’ve done my job.

Rhodes Review: What are your favorite authors/books?

Wendy Staub: There are far too many to list here, and I count many household name authors among my personal friends, so I don’t want to leave anyone out! When I’m writing a novel—which is pretty much always—I try not to muddy the waters by reading one. I want the only fictional voice in my head to be my own.

Rhodes Review: What was the inspiration for The Perfect Stranger?

Wendy Staub: This is the second book in my social networking suspense trilogy for HarperCollins. The three novels are connected not by characters or setting, but by theme: do you ever really know who might be lurking behind a familiar screen name on the Internet? THE GOOD SISTER (Harper, October 2013), was about cyber-bullying and a fictionalized version of Facebook; THE BLACK WIDOW (Harper, March 2015), is about online dating. THE PERFECT STRANGER revolves around a group of breast cancer bloggers who are scattered all over the country and find kindred support and friendship in each other that they haven’t found in their real lives. They meet in person for the first time at a funeral when one of them falls victim to a random murder—or so they believed. Now they wonder if she shared too much online and if her killer is a fellow blogger who might go after one of them next.

The decision to write about breast cancer survivors was a personal and poignant one. I’ve lost my mom, mother-in-law, and her sister to breast cancer. In our family, we didn’t know anyone who had beaten the disease; only three beloved women who had lost their battles. So when my sister-in-law, who’s just my age, was diagnosed, she found herself turning to online resources –including blogs–for support and information. She’s a fiercely private, even shy, person but she eventually wound up writing her own cancer blog and meeting a network of women who became friends. I was so struck by these strong, courageous women and the bond they developed that I knew I had to write about it.

Rhodes Review: What was your favorite  part of the book?

Wendy Staub: Because it features a group of characters who are scattered around the country, I visited all the locations in person to make the settings (Alabama, Indiana, Cincinnati, Kentucky, Boston, and L.A. in addition to my own home city New York) as authentic as possible. As I said, travel is my passion and I enjoy every minute of my on-location research.

Rhodes Review: What was the hardest part to write in the book?

Wendy Staub: Cancer is inherently seen as a dark subject. But this isn’t a medical thriller; it’s a domestic psychological suspense novel just like my others. My heroine has waged two fierce battles for for her life: one against cancer, the other against an unseen internet predator masked behind a familiar face. I worked hard to strike the right balance between them.

Rhodes Review: What if anything do you wish was different about the book?

Wendy Staub: I dedicated it to my sister-in-law and two of my closest friends who are survivors. Recently, I learned that another close friend has been diagnosed and it was too late to include her name. Other than that…no regrets whatsoever. Early feedback has been very positive and it seems that my readers are pleased to find this one filled with my trademark twists and turns and a final blindside.

We’d like to Thank Wendy for taking the time to talk to us, and be sure you go over and check out her review here

About the Author

New York Times bestseller Wendy Corsi Staub is the award-winning author of more than seventy-five published novels and has sold more than four million books worldwide. Under her own name, Wendy achieved New York Times bestselling status with her single title psychological suspense novels. Those novels and the women’s fiction she writes under the pseudonym Wendy Markham also frequently appeared on the USA Today, Barnes and Noble Top Ten, and Bookscan bestseller lists.

Wendy’s latest suspense novels for Harpercollins are linked by a social networking theme and include THE GOOD SISTER (Harper, October 2013), which has been optioned for television by Fox, as well as the upcoming THE PERFECT STRANGER (July 2014) and THE BLACK WIDOW (2014). Earlier in 2013, she concluded a bestselling, award-winning trilogy that was launched by Harpercollins in September 2012 with NIGHTWATCHER, which won the 2013 Westchester Library Association Washington Irving Prize for Fiction. It was followed in October by the New York Times bestselling SLEEPWALKER, which went on to become a finalist for the prestigious Simon and Schuster Mary Higgins Clark Award presented at the Mystery Writers of America Edgars Symposium in April 2013. The trilogy’s final title, SHADOWKILLER, was released in February 2013.

Wendy’s thriller LIVE TO TELL (Avon Books, March 2010) received a starred review in Publishers Weekly and was also a finalist at the 2011 Mystery Writers of America Edgar Awards for the Mary Higgins Clark Award. The sequel, SCARED TO DEATH, (Avon Books, January 2011) was honored with the WLA Washington Irving Prize for Fiction and the trilogy concluded with the bestseller HELL TO PAY (Avon Books, October 2011).

She contributed a short story, “My Father’s Eyes,” to the FIRST THRILLS anthology edited by Lee Child (Forge, June 2010).
As “Wendy Markham,” her most recent title, THE BEST GIFT, is a sequel to the acclaimed 2006 Christmas Time Travel romance, IF ONLY IN MY DREAMS (both from Signet).

Wendy won the 2008 RT Award for Career Achievement in Suspense and the 2007 RWA-NYC Golden Apple Award for Lifetime Achievement. A proud recipient of the RWA Rita award, she has also been honored five times with the Westchester Library Association’s Washington Irving Prize for Fiction and was recognized as one of WLA’s Millennial Authors in 2000. Her Wendy Markham novel SLIGHTLY SINGLE was named one of Waldenbooks’ 100 Best Fiction titles of 2002. Her novels SLIGHTLY SUBURBAN, THE LAST TO KNOW, and ASK ME AGAIN were nominated for RT Reviewers Choice awards, and five of her novels, DON’T SCREAM; THE LAST TO KNOW; MIKE, MIKE AND ME; HELLO, IT’S ME; and BRIDE NEEDS GROOM, were awarded a month’s top pick review by the RT BOOK club magazine.

Her work has been translated into more than a dozen languages worldwide and her titles are regularly selected as features for Mystery Guild, Literary Guild, Doubleday Book Club, Large Print Book Club, and Rhapsody Book Club.

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