New To You Book: Cozy Mystery, Deadly Ties
Welcome to Susan Holmes, author of Deadly Ties, A Waterside Kennels Mystery, today’s New to You Book pick!
What is your book about?
Set in a boarding kennel, Deadly Ties is an amateur sleuth’s tale of family, friendship, and betrayal in an Ozark mountain community where ties run deep and grudges can linger for a lifetime.
What type of reader would your book appeal to most?
Anyone who enjoys mystery or suspense fiction without graphic violence or explicit sex. The book will appeal to readers who like to solve puzzles, enjoy regional mysteries, and like to see dogs as part of the story.
Who is the main character? What does he or she want or what is his or her biggest struggle to over come?
Maggie Porter returns to her Eagle Cove and her childhood home in the Ozark Mountains determined to reopen the family dog business. She’s gambled everything she owns to make her boarding kennel and dog training business successful. She’s prepared for long hours, hard labor, and even record high temperatures as the region bakes in a summer-long drought. What she doesn’t expect, though, is the trouble that follows when a gossip-loving employee turns up dead, holding an heirloom locket belonging to Maggie’s mother.
What movies or other books would you compare your book to and why?
What an intriguing question! I think that’s one best answered by readers. You can read the first five chapters free on my website.
What plot line drives the story?
Deadly Ties has multiple plot lines woven through the story, and all of them come back to the land and its people. When Maggie starts investigating her employee’s death—ruled accidental by the authorities—she finds herself the target of anonymous threats and mysterious break-ins. And when a security crisis puts everything she loves at risk, she’s convinced the death was no accident.
The locket, the threats, and the break-ins all appear connected to Maggie’s mother, who left Eagle Cove twenty years ago. Determined to discover the truth, Maggie must track her reclusive mother through the world of fine art to unravel the mystery.
As the region sizzles in record heat and drought, a “Treasures of the Ozarks” advertising campaign disrupts her quest for answers even as it breathes new life old treasure legends and brings out tourists and treasure hunters alike. With her loyal dogs at her side—a champion Labrador Retriever, an aging Cocker Spaniel, and a Beagle retired from federal service—Maggie must dig for the truth. Along the way she learns that everyone has something to hide, and some secrets are worth killing for.
How is your book different than other books in the same genre?
I do push the traditional definition of a cozy, though, by introducing more suspense, more villainy than you might see in a typical light-hearted, whimsical romp. My characters—including the dogs!—are good, bad, and sometimes both. That might be why my work has been called “a cozy with an edge.” Whatever you call it, the book is the sort you finish with a sense of satisfaction. Mystery solved, justice served, and the villains get their comeuppance
Does your book have romance in it? If so how important is it to the story?
Maggie finds herself attracted to a neighbor, Zak, a military veteran and single dad with an adorable young daughter, Claire, who desperately wants a dog of her own. There’s definite interest on both sides, although Maggie has too much on her mind to let herself get involved. Fortunately, Zak is persistent and I think we’ll see romance bloom in the series—assuming miscellaneous villains leave everyone in peace for a little while!Is your book part of a series? If so what are the other books (in order) in the series and will there be more?
Is your book part of a series? If so what are the other books (in order) in the series and will there be more?
Deadly Ties is the first in the Waterside Kennel series. The second is due out later this year, with several more already in the works.
Here’s a peek at book #2: After the trouble she had over the summer, all Maggie wants is a quiet life. Alas, that’s not to be. First, an abrasive community member launches a campaign to enact a “dangerous dog” ordinance which could force Maggie out of business—or into jail.
When he’s found dead near the kennel, some have their own reasons for wanting to pin the murder on Maggie herself. Under a cloud of suspicion and with her home and business at risk, she sets out to clear her name and finds herself caught in a murderous land feud that could tear the mountain community apart.
If your book is part of a series, what makes it a series?
Stories of families, feuds, and Ozark legends run through the series. Readers come to know the region as Maggie creates a life for herself in a place where her family lived for generations. An eclectic cast of characters are on hand from one book to the next, lending a hand when Maggie gets into trouble—which happens far more often than she’d like!
This is a regional mystery series. While Hogan County, Eagle Cove, and Waterside Kennels exist only in my imagination and within the pages of each book, they’re set among the very real backdrop of the Ozarks and northwest Arkansas. Each book will feature the village of Eureka Springs and will include current events and issues impacting the region.
If your book is part of a series, should readers read the books in order?
While later books in the series don’t contain any obvious spoilers (I won’t, for example, identify book #1 villains by name in later books), readers might enjoy being part of Maggie’s adventures from the start. You could, however, pick up the series at any point.
Where can readers get your book and when?
Deadly Ties is available now from retailers everywhere. You can get a paperback copy from Independent Booksellers and Amazon & B&N. Ebook versions are available for your favorite device: Kindle, Nook, Kobo, & Sony.
Is there anything else you would like readers to know about your book?
The book was inspired by the joyful adventures of 18 years with my beloved spaniel Alix. While writing the series I’ve joined Search and Rescue exercises, ventured through caves, forests and fields, and into dog parks, vet clinics, and kennels. I work closely with dog trainers, kennel owners, and veterinarians to create an environment dog lovers are sure to recognize and appreciate. In fact, dog lovers have praised the accuracy of all dog-related details in the series.
To be entered to win a trade paperback copy of Deadly Ties just leave a comment below by May 31, 2014 U.S. central time.