Book Spotlight: GROUNDS FOR MURDER by Tara Lush

Grounds for Murder, A Coffee Lover’s Mystery, by Tara Lush
ISBN: 9781643856186 (hardcover)
ISBN: 9781643856193 (ebook)
ASIN: B0871KTTMC   (Kindle edition)
Publisher: Crooked Lane Books
Publication Date: December 8, 2020

Barista Lana Lewis’s sleuthing may land her in a latte trouble as Tara Lush launches her new Coffee Shop mysteries.

When Lana Lewis’ best — and most difficult — employee abruptly quits and goes to work for the competition just days before the Sunshine State Barista Championship, her café’s chances of winning the contest are creamed. In front of a gossipy crowd in the small Florida town of Devil’s Beach, Lana’s normally calm demeanor heats to a boil when she runs into the arrogant java slinger. Of course, Fabrizio “Fab” Bellucci has a slick explanation for jumping ship. But when he’s found dead the next morning under a palm tree in the alley behind Lana’s café, she becomes the prime suspect.

Even the island’s handsome police chief isn’t quite certain of her innocence. But Lana isn’t the only one in town who was angry with Fabrizio. Jilted lovers, a shrimp boat captain, and a surfer with ties to the mob are all suspects as trouble brews on the beach.

With her stoned, hippie dad, a Shih Tzu named Stanley, and a new, curious barista sporting a punk rock aesthetic at her side, Lana’s prepared to turn up the heat to catch the real killer. After all, she is a former award-winning reporter. As scandal hangs over her beachside café, can Lana clear her name and win the championship — or will she come to a bitter end?

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Advance Praise

“Lana’s voyage of self-discovery, along with her New Age-y father, quirky hire Erica, and feisty puppy Stanley, portend future fun for readers.”
Publishers Weekly
“A good read for a chilly weekend indoors.” 
New York Journal of Books
“Lush manages to braid the Florida-osity of things into a solid murder mystery…A compelling read.”
The Gabber
“A wonderful series debut that is a silky-smooth blend of humor, mystery and romance with a feisty heroine and a delicious island setting.”
—Peg Cochran, USA Today bestselling author
“It doesn’t matter if you like your coffee hot or cold, you’ll love Grounds for Murder. Tara Lush brings the quirky town of Devil’s Beach to life. You can almost smell the coffee and feel the heat. A sure winner!”
—Joyce Tremel, author, Brewing Trouble mysteries
“A most delightful addition to your cozy mystery library.”
—Harper Kincaid, author, To Kill a Mocking Girl 
“Tara Lush brews a fun Florida mystery, topped with a sweet frothy romance. Enjoy this blend of sunshine and quirky characters.”
—Elaine Viets, award-winning author, Dead-End Job mysteries

Meet The Author

Tara Lush is a Florida-based novelist and journalist. She’s an RWA Rita finalist, an Amtrak writing fellow, and the winner of the George C. Polk award for environmental journalism. For the past decade, she’s been a reporter with The Associated Press, covering crime, alligators, natural disasters, and politics. She also writes contemporary romance set in tropical locations. Tara is a fan of vintage pulp fiction book covers, Sinatra-era jazz, 1980s fashion, tropical chill, kombucha, gin, tonic, seashells, true crime podcasts, Art Deco, telenovelas, street art, coconut anything, strong coffee, and newspapers. She lives on the Gulf Coast with her husband and two dogs.

Connect to the author via her Website, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

This book spotlight brought to you by Meryl Moss Media


Book Showcase and Excerpt: EULOGY by Ken Murray

Eulogy by Ken Murray 
ISBN: 9781926639857 (paperback)
ISBN: 9781926639956 (ebook)
ASIN: B00YLQU9C8 (Kindle version)
Publication date: July 1, 2015
Publisher: Tightrope Books, Inc.

The controlled and calm life of William Oaks is shattered when his parents die suddenly in a car crash. A reclusive paper conservator at a renowned Toronto museum, William must face the obsessions and denials that have formed him: delusional family history, religious fundamentalism, living with unhappy parents who are constantly bickering, forced starvation, secrets and get-rich-quick schemes. Memory and facts collide, threatening to derail his life and career as William feverishly prepares for an important exhibition on the Egyptian Book of the Dead.

Read an excerpt:


Toronto, December 2000—I visited my parents a few weeks before Christmas. Mom had left many messages, “William, where are you?” “William, are you okay?” “William, do you need any more Slender Nation?” I’d been ignoring her calls for months.

Terry had become a big part of my life, and I was happy. For the first time, I didn’t want to be alone. I had my work at the Royal Ontario Museum, and she had hers in one of the bank towers downtown, and we had each other, and we had our music, and we fell into that inner space that people find when they love someone. Terry burned brightly in my world, and the rest of the world faded. Work was still good, but I fell out of touch with home, and for good reason; I didn’t want to tell my parents about her because I didn’t want to deal with their questions. I stopped calling, stopped visiting.

But dealing with it became inevitable: I had to tell my parents that I had a girlfriend, and even though I was a grown man with an established career, it was terrifying. I shouldn’t have done it, but December has that magical power to make us that much more crazy. I drove home to Otterton, the Southern Ontario industrial town where I grew up, for a Saturday lunch visit, blasting trance music along the way loud enough to make the steering wheel shudder.

Mom gave me a Slender Nation shake, as usual, and after I drank it she offered me a sandwich, while Dad sat grimly across from me. His short black hair, still neatly combed, was starting to grey, and I detected a hunch beginning to form in his shoulders.

“The government,” he said, “is trying to destroy us.” 

“I know Dad, you’ve told me that before.”

“You’ve got to be careful. Any day now, son, any day.” 

“Any day what?” I said, not sure if he was still talking of the government or had moved on to the Antichrist. The two were synonymous for him.

“They’ll be coming for us. We don’t have any good sense left in this country. We’ve got godless leaders. The States are doing much better—the new President Bush they’ve elected is a God-fearing man, he’ll set things right. We need someone like him up here.”

“Keith,” barked Mom. “We must focus on the spirit.” Mom adjusted her pink button, straightened her blouse, and instinctively touched her hair which, despite the years, remained as red as it was in my earliest memories of her.

“I am—this is all about the spirit. Everything is about the spirit,” he said through clenched teeth. He pointed at her and said, “You have no idea.”

“I have every idea,” she said. “Or at least the good ones. Stop your negativity, now, I command it in the blood of Jesus.” He wrung his hands at her and looked away. She turned to me, “Are you still drinking Slender Nation?” she said, her hands forming mirror C’s in front of her.

“Yes,” I said. “Actually, no. No I don’t. I only drink it when I’m here, when you’re in front of me, because that’s what you want me to do.”

“What are you saying?”

“I’m saying that I don’t drink Slender Nation anymore.” 

“But you had some just now.”

“I was being polite.”

“So dishonesty is politeness? That’s a lie, that’s sin. You need to pray for forgiveness, right now.”

“What would happen, William,” said Dad, “if The Rapture came right now? You’d be left behind. We need to pray, together, as a family.”

“No thanks,” I said, feeling a surge of total honesty, the kind of honesty that has nothing to do with what’s righteous or good. Righteousness may exist. And if it does, it moves quietly, anonymously, never calls itself by name.

“Please, let’s pray. This is dangerous,” said Mom, reaching for my hands.

“No.” I got up, backed away from her.

“What’s wrong with you?”

“Yes, what’s wrong with you?”

“Nothing. Nothing at all. For the first time in my life everything seems good, and you’re jumping all over me.” I wanted—oh so much—to show them my life, perhaps also to understand what had become of theirs, and desire drowned the logic that said I should keep silent and let them be.

“It’s a woman, isn’t it?” said Mom.

“The scarlet woman, God warns about her,” said Dad. Mom hit him. He sulked.

“It’s not a woman,” I said.

“So you don’t have a girlfriend, still, at your age?” “Which is it, Mom? Is it scary that I might have a girlfriend or is it weird that I don’t?”

“Don’t play games.”

“I’m not. I’m just trying to know where you stand.”

“So, there’s a girl, then?”

“Actually, yes, there is a girl.”

“So it’s a woman, I knew it. Is she saved? Is she the one who led you away from Slender Nation?”

“Who is she? Where’s she from? Does she go to church?” Dad was back in the conversation.

“When do we meet her?” said Mom, raising her voice.

I waited two full breaths before speaking.  “Her name is Terry.” They were both leaning forward, looking at me, and in their eyes I saw the fear and hunger, that maniac desire from which I’d been on the run for most of my life.

Meet the author:

Ken Murray is a writer and teacher of creative writing. His work has also appeared in Prairie Fire, Globe and Mail, Mendacity Review, Brooklyn Rail, Ottawa Citizen, Canadian Business Magazine, Maclean’s, and has also been published by the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies (through the Random House of Canada Student Award in Writing). While earning his MFA at The New School, he also trained as a teaching artist with the Community Word Project and taught with Poets House. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the inaugural Marina Nemat Award and the Random House Award, and received an Emerging Artist’s Grant from the Toronto Arts Council. Originally from Vancouver, Murray grew up in Ottawa and has lived across Canada and in New York City. He now divides his time between Prince Edward County and Haliburton Ontario, and teaches at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies and Haliburton School of the Arts.

Connect with the author:     Website      |     Facebook      |     Twitter 

This showcase and excerpt brought to you by Meryl Moss Media.

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