Book Spotlight: SHADOW GIRL by Gerry Schmitt

Shadow Girl (An Afton Tangler Thriller)

by Gerry Schmitt

About the Book

Shadow Girl (An Afton Tangler Thriller)
2nd in Series
Hardcover: 320 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0425281789
Paperback: 320 pages (May 1, 2018)
ISBN-13: 978-0425281796

The brutal murder of a business tycoon leaves Afton Tangler and the Twin Cities reeling, but that’s just the beginning of a gruesome crime spree…

Leland Odin made his fortune launching a home shopping network, but his millions can’t save his life. On the list for a transplant, the ailing businessman sees all hope lost when the helicopter carrying his donor heart is shot out of the sky.

Now with two pilots dead and dozens injured, Afton Tangler, family liaison officer for the Minneapolis Police Department, is drawn into the case. As she and her partner investigate family members and business associates, whoever wants Leland dead strikes again—and succeeds—in a brazen hospital room attack.

The supposedly squeaky clean millionaire has crossed the wrong person—and she’s not finished exacting her revenge. The case explodes into an international conspiracy of unbridled greed and violence. And as Afton gets closer to unearthing the mastermind behind it, she gets closer to becoming collateral damage…

About The Author

Gerry Schmitt is the author of the Afton Tangler Thrillers, and, writing under the pseudonym Laura Childs, the New York Times bestselling author of more than thirty-five novels, the Tea Shop, Scrapbooking, and Cackleberry Club Mysteries. She is the former CEO of her own marketing firm, has won TV and radio awards, and produced two reality TV shows. She and her professor husband enjoy collecting art, travel, and their two Shar-Pei dogs.

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Praise for Shadow Girl

I enjoyed the characters a lot. Max and Afton seem to play off of each other well as far as figuring things out.

~Valerie’s Musings

This is one of those books where the bad men are really bad, and everyone in the case is hiding something to have a money profit…


Afton was a likable character for me. She seemed in tune with some of the other characters. She is good at her job.

~A. Holland Reads

Shadow Girl by Gerry Schmitt is one of the most gripping and chilling books I’ve read this year.

~Back Porchervations

The mystery and suspense aspect of this book was great. This was a definite page-turner.

~Bookworm Cafe

Can I just say Wow! It’s been awhile since I sat and read a book that terrified me with precision action that intrigued me so much it was impossible to put the book down.

~Texas Book-aholic

It starts off with a bang (literally) and the suspense never lets up. I love stories that grip you right from the start and this thriller fits the bill.

~Brooke Blogs

This is a serious thriller with a lot going on. There’s surface to air missiles, conspiracies to kill no matter who gets hurt and what has to be done, and characters with some seriously shady backstories.

~I Wish I Lived In a Library

From page 1 I was engaged in a thrilling and suspenseful ride!

~My Reading Journeys

As the chapters unfold we get a good look at things from both the good guys’ and the bad guys’ perspectives. This gives you a first-hand understanding of the killer’s motives, but in no way takes away from the suspense or the desire to see Afton and Max bring her to justice.

~The Book’s the Thing

A page turner like you never read before, Shadow Girl is a deeply rooted thriller in the art of murder, mystery, and revenge.

~Bibliophile Reviews

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Character Guest Post: CAKE AND PUNISHMENT by Maymee Bell

Good morning, my bookish peeps. As always, it’s an honor to welcome guests to the Book Diva’s Reads, but this morning instead of a guest author we’re welcoming a guest character, Sophia Cummings from the new Southern Cake Baker Mystery series by Maymee Bell. Sit back, relax with your favorite beverage (and might I suggest some cake), and read what Sophia has to say about Sophia.

A Day in the Life of Sophia Cummings

If you were to ask Bitsy, that’d be my mama, why I became a pastry chef, she’d say that it was to make her life all doom and gloom. I’m not going to lie, it was a little satisfying seeing her cringe on the inside when I strategically told her ten years ago in front of her friend at the Rumford Country Club, RCC for short, that I wasn’t going to college and heading to pastry school. 

Seriously, you would too if your mama had you call her by her nickname, Bitsy, instead of calling her mom, mama, or mother. Yes. Bitsy is as southern as you can get. 

Now, do you blame me for getting out of our small southern town of Rumford, Kentucky right out of high school? 

Becoming a pastry chef was really a dream of mine. I’d spent the better part of the past ten years going to school and moving up in my industry. Can you imagine my joy and excitement when I hired as the head pastry chef at The Manhattan, the fanciest restaurant in New York City. 

It was all mine. All my creations. Then…he walked in as the head chef. I can’t even bring myself to say his name because I swore that after dating him for years and then moving in together and then finding him doing more than cooking food in the kitchen of the Manhattan with the hostess, I’d never let his name cross my lips. 

This was how Bitsy got back into my life. She might be a hard pill to swallow, but she’s a southern mama and no matter what, she’s loyal to me to the end. With my tail tucked and a couple of weeks off work to get my head on straight, I found myself right back in Rumford where I’d tried to escape ten years ago and in my old bedroom. 

Oh, don’t get me wrong, Bitsy definitely dragged me all over Rumford to all her clubs for the first few days. 

“Put on some lipstick and put on some more,” she says before we walk out the door. I had to keep up the appearance even though my heart was broken, and I didn’t have an ounce of creative baking in me. 

That is until Charlotte, my high school best friend who was getting married over the weekend, cake baker had quit, and she asked me to do her wedding cake. What an honor! I was all over it. 

The kitchen at the Rumford Country Club seems perfect until Chef Emile’s body is discovered, sprawled near the stove, a cast iron skillet on the floor close by and Charlotte was the number one suspect. 

Charlotte can be a bit of a southern pill, but she’s not a murderer. I sure hope I can help her figure out who is framing her so her wedding can go off without a hitch and before I head back to my life in New York. 

Besides, I can’t wait to get out of Rumford, like I was ten years ago, because Bitsy keeps telling everyone that I’m staying…forever!

Cake and Punishment: A Southern Cake Baker Mystery

by Maymee Bell

About the Book

Cake and Punishment: A Southern Cake Baker Mystery
Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting – Kentucky
Crooked Lane Books (May 8, 2018)
Hardcover 257 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1683315711
Digital ASIN: B075QJM2W8

In the first of a delectable new Southern-set baking cozy series, Sophia Cummings, pastry chef extraordinaire, must craft the perfect cake for an old friend’s wedding while sifting through the suspects in a murder.

Bucolic Rumford, Kentucky has glowing fields of bluegrass, a fine selection of bourbons, and now a professional pastry chef. Broken-hearted Sophia Cummings has come home from New York City. She’s not there a minute before she’s charmed into making her high school friend Charlotte’s wedding cake. The kitchen at the Rumford Country Club seems perfect until Chef Emile’s body is discovered, sprawled near the stove, a cast iron skillet on the floor close by.

With one look at the shiny, new frying pan, Sophia knows it’s not Emile’s. She offers her knowledge to Sheriff Carter and her talents to Evelyn, the manager, who needs an interim chef. The mood in the country club is grim: Emile’s peppery personality had burned members and staff alike. Sophia wonders which one of them burned him?

About the Author

Maymee Bell is the pen name of USA Today Bestselling author Tonya Kappes. She lives in Kentucky with her family and her two schnauzers. She likes strong coffee, slow-country days, and fresh-baked cookies – but she like telling stores best of all. This is her first SOUTHERN BAKER MYSTERY.

Visit Tonya:
Facebook at Author Tonya Kappes,

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Guest Post: Tonya Kappes, author of SOUTHERN FRIED

The Book Diva’s Reads is pleased to host a return visit today from the USA Today best-selling author Tonya Kappes. Ms. Kappes is the author of 40+ books including the Magical Cure Mystery series, the Laurel London Mystery series, The Divorced Divas Mystery series, the Grandberry Falls series, the Olivia Davis Paranormal Mystery series, the Bluegrass Romance series, the ever-popular Ghostly Southern Mysteries series, and the Kenni Lowry series. Please welcome my fellow Appalachian (she’s in Kentucky and I’m in West Virginia) and an amazing author, Tonya Kappes.

Well, Hi-do! Welcome to Lulu’s boutique. I’m Lulu McClain and I own this fun boutique. I have so many pretty things. If you are looking to have your initials put on something, honey, you just let me know and I’ll get that ready in a jiffy. We southerners love to wear our initials proudly. 

If you want to take a gander while I get the craft room ready for tonight, I’ll holler for ya when I’m ready. The craft room is right in the back room.

Our resident food truck owner, Jolee Fischer, she’s going to be catering our little get-together. Her On The Run Food Truck has the best southern ribs you ever did put in your mouth. Everyone tonight is going to get a rib-let basket with some hushpuppies. I’ve got some recipe cards up there by the register if you want her super secret recipe. Trust me, they are smack your mama good!

Come and get it! Supper is ready!! While we eat will we will also do our craft for the night. I hear that coloring is all sorts of relaxing. If you ask me, I figured it was for youngins but I’m willing to give it a try if you are! When you get done coloring your pages, be sure to send in a photo of them with your name, email address and mailing address to tonyak11[dot]tk[at]gmail[dot]com to be entered to win a print copy of Southern Fried!

If you are having trouble downloading your color pages, click here for Southern Fried and click here for Fixin’ to Die. You have until Friday to turn in your pages to be entered.

Fixin’ To Die is the first book in the Kenni Lowry Mystery Series.

“A Southern-fried mystery with a twist that’ll leave you positively breathless.” – Susan M. Boyer, USA Today Bestselling Author of Lowcountry Book Club

Kenni Lowry likes to think the zero crime rate in Cottonwood, Kentucky is due to her being sheriff, but she quickly discovers the ghost of her grandfather, the town’s previous sheriff, has been scaring off any would-be criminals since she was elected. When the town’s most beloved doctor is found murdered on the very same day as a jewelry store robbery, and a mysterious symbol ties the crime scenes together, Kenni must satisfy her hankerin’ for justice by nabbing the culprits.

With the help of her poppa, a lone deputy, and an annoyingly cute, too-big-for-his-britches State Reserve officer, Kenni must solve both cases and prove to the whole town, and herself, that she’s worth her salt before time runs out.

“This story offers up a small touch of paranormal activity that makes for a fun read…A definite “5-star,” this is a great mystery that doesn’t give up the culprit until the last few pages.” – Suspense Magazine

“Packed with clever plot twists, entertaining characters, and plenty of red herrings! Fixin’ To Die is a rollicking, delightful, down-home mystery.” – Ann Charles, USA Today Bestselling Author of the Deadwood Mystery Series

“Kappes captures the charm and quirky characters of small-town Kentucky in her new mystery…a charming, funny story with exaggerated characters. The dialect-filled quirky sayings and comments bring those characters to life. Best of all, for a mystery reader, the culprit was an unlikely suspect, but the solution made sense.” – Lesa’s Book Critiques

“Southern and side-splitting funny! Fixin’ To Die has captivating characters, nosy neighbors, and is served up with a ghost and a side of murder.” – Duffy Brown, Author of the Consignment Shop Mysteries

“This first book in a new series promises to be fun for both cozy mystery buffs and ghost aficionados.” – For The Love of Books

“The who and why may surprise you, but you’ll probably laugh your way through the book. If you’ve never read a Tonya Kappes book, this is a perfect starting place. I highly recommend.” – Book Review Crew

Southern Fried is the second book in the Kenni Lowry Mystery Series.

“Fabulous fun and fantastic fried food! Kappes nails small town mystery with another must-read hit. (Also, I want to live in Cottonwood, KY.) Don’t miss this one!” – Darynda Jones, New York Times Bestselling Author of the Charley Davidson Series

Southern Fried by Tonya Kappes 
ISBN: 9781635111873 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781635111880 (ebook)
ASIN: B01N212SJ8 (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Henery Press
Release Date: April 4, 2017

In the South, it’s better when the food is fried and the secrets kept buried…

After the dead body of a beloved Cottonwood resident is found tangled up in an electric fence, Sheriff Kenni Lowry has a hunch that somethin’ ain’t right. Her investigation heats up with a fierce cook-off competition, a euchre game where the intel is sweeter than the brownies, and a decades old family recipe that may just be the proof in the pudding.

The icing on the cake: Kenni is fighting an attraction to her recently sworn-in deputy sheriff, and election season is hot on her tail. When the killer comes after who she holds most dear, even her poppa’s ghostly guidance might not be enough to keep her and her own out of the frying pan.

Be sure to grab your copy of Southern Fried, the second book in the Kenni Lowry Mystery Series. 

Friend Tonya on facebook here. * Join her FREE Facebook Cozy Krew page for a lot of fun here

Learn about Tonya’s books here. *Check out the NEW Kenni Lowry Mystery website where there are recipes, coloring pages, a scavenger hunt to go along with the books, book club discussion questions and more here!

Get a free PDF download of the Kenni Lowry Mystery Series book in order here.

This guest post and tour brought to you by Great Escapes Book Tours.

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Southern Fried


Guest Author Post by Marty Wingate, THE BLUEBONNET BETRAYAL

I’m always excited when an author agrees to visit The Book Diva’s Reads and today I’m beyond excited to welcome Marty Wingate, author of the Potting Shed Mystery and Birds of a Feather Mystery series, as well as a host of nonfiction books on landscaping and gardening. Ms. Wingate will be discussing not always following the rules as they relate to cozy mysteries.

There are quite a few rules for cozy mysteries, and I am quite happy to ignore them if I choose – especially the one about the series being set in one place only. In the Potting Shed books, Pru Parke, my protagonist, does not stay put. Instead, each book is set in a different place in Great Britain. Although – that being said – this latest installment, The Bluebonnet Betrayal, takes place in London where it all started for her in book number one (The Garden Plot). But since then, she’s been in Sussex, Edinburgh, and Hampshire.

I choose to make Pru’s “village” her friends and family, and I will always drag one or two of them along into the next book or bring someone back from an earlier story. In Potting Shed #6 (now underway!), Pru returns to a village she visited in The Garden Plot. Our lives weave in and out of others’ lives, so why shouldn’t our stories?

But here’s the cozy mystery rule I do follow: the main character/protagonist/solver-of-mysteries is an amateur sleuth, not a police officer or a private investigator. We do not write police procedurals, thrillers, or hard crime. We write the story of an event into which our main character – be she a gardener, librarian, scientist, baker or resident of an old folks home – is thrown and must fight her way out of. And solve the mystery along
the way.

That’s not to say there are not police involved – of course there are, and in a cozy, that’s part of the fun. The relationship between the amateur sleuth and the police can play out in all manner of ways – combative, cooperative, exasperating (and not just for the police), comic, suspicious, coercive. (Gosh, I’ve just given myself a few more ideas there.) Because Pru hops around, she’s had to deal with more than one police officer, so I thought it would be fun to look at how those encounters have gone. Let’s begin with the new book, The Bluebonnet Betrayal, and work our way backward.

Detective Chief Inspector French is fairly new to his promotion, having worked his way up in the Metropolitan Police (as the London force is known). In fact, Christopher Pearse, former DCI with the Met and Pru’s husband, knows French. French has a cool, calm exterior, and he knows the rules. The rules are that no civilian is going to take this investigation out of his hands – so just back away from the body, Ms. Parke.

In The Skeleton Garden, affable Martin Chatters is a sergeant out of the police station in Romsey. DCIs are officers in larger cities, but in smaller cities and towns the highest rank may be only a detective inspector. This is the case here – and the DI is overworked. He asks Christopher to take the case, but Christopher wants Martin to get some experience under his belt. Pru, sticking more than a toe in the water of this investigation, wishes Christopher would take over, and Christopher wishes (to no avail, of course), that she
would stay away and stay safe.

Taking another step back in time, Between a Rock and a Hard Place finds Pru in Edinburgh and Christopher too far away to help when she finds herself in the middle of a murder investigation. This time, the DCI (Edinburgh is a big city) is only days away from retirement and cares more for his prize-winning parsnips than anything else. This is lucky for Pru because during this case she must deal with Tamsin Duncan, the chain-smoking young sergeant.

Before Edinburgh, there was the village of Bells Yew Green in Sussex (The Red Book of Primrose House) and a most disagreeable policeman, Inspector Tatt. Tatt has a chip on his shoulder as big as Big Ben – he resents Pru sticking her nose into the investigation and he’s outraged that Christopher even breathes the same air as he does. Does this stop Pru from following up on her own leads? Not a chance.

In the beginning (The Garden Plot), there was Pru in London, discovering a Roman mosaic in someone’s back garden and soon after discovering a body, too. It’s a stressful time for her – she’s about to give up on her dream of living in England, her few friends are looking a bit suspicious, and the detective chief inspector is a bit of a stickler for procedure. They knock heads, but she won’t give up. And neither will DCI Christopher Pearse.

Meet the author:

Marty Wingate is a Seattle-based writer and speaker who shares her love of Britain in her two mystery series. The Potting Shed books feature Pru Parke, a middle-aged American gardener transplanted from Texas to England, and Birds of a Feather follows Julia Lanchester, bird lover, who runs a tourist office in a Suffolk village. Marty writes garden articles for magazines including Country Gardens and The American Gardener. She is a member of the Royal Horticultural Society, Mystery Writers of America, Sisters in Crime, and the Crime Writers Association. She leads garden tours to England, Scotland, and Ireland, spending free moments deep in research for her books. Or in pubs.

Connect with the author:

Website      |     Facebook      |     Twitter      |     Goodreads 

The Bluebonnet Betrayal by Marty Wingate
ISBN: 9781101968062 (eBook)
ASIN: B017QLSIU4 (Kindle version)
Publication Date: August 2, 2016
Publisher:  Alibi

Bestselling author Marty Wingate “plants clever clues with a dash of romantic spice,” raves Mary Daheim. Now Wingate’s inimitable gardening heroine, Pru Parke, is importing a precious bloom from Texas—and she won’t let a vicious murder stop her. Pru’s life in England is coming full circle. A Texas transplant, she’s married to the love of her life, thriving in the plum gardening position she shares with her long-lost brother, and prepping a Chelsea Flower Show exhibit featuring the beloved bluebonnets of the Texas hill country. Technically, Twyla Woodford, the president of a gardening club in the Lone Star State, is in charge of the London event, but Pru seems to be the one getting her hands dirty. When they finally do meet, Pru senses a kindred spirit—until Twyla turns up dead. Although Twyla’s body was half buried under a wall in their display, Pru remains determined to mount a spectacular show. Twyla would have insisted. So Pru recruits her husband, former Detective Chief Inspector Christopher Pearse, to go undercover and do a bit of unofficial digging into Twyla’s final hours. If Pru has anything to say about it, this killer is going to learn the hard way not to mess with Texas.

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