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New To You Book: Cozy Mystery, Deadly Ties

May 15, 2014

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?

Deadly Ties Cozy dog mysteryAnyone 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.


Find Susan at her web site , at goodreads or on Facebook! Get your own copy of Deadly Ties at Amazon now.

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.

16 Comments leave one →
  1. elizabethbrey permalink
    May 15, 2014 11:53 am

    The book sounds great. I can’t wait to read it

  2. May 15, 2014 3:52 pm

    Thanks so much for inviting me here! If anyone has any other questions, toss them my way and I’ll do my best to answer–without spoilers!

  3. May 15, 2014 4:26 pm

    This book sounds really good. I will have to add it to my list to read!

    • May 15, 2014 8:07 pm

      Thank you, Sandy. BTW, I love the photo of the kitty in the basket that’s your FB cover photo! You might like to know there are cats in the series, too. My own rescue kitty will make an appearance in book #2…

    • June 5, 2014 9:48 pm

      Sandy, you are our winner!! I’ll send your contact info to Susan. Congrats!

  4. Dawn Frazier permalink
    May 15, 2014 4:34 pm

    This sounds like a fun book! Thanks for the chance to win.

  5. May 15, 2014 4:42 pm

    It’s only a matter of time before Susan is on the USA Today best seller list too. It’s writing like this that has been lacking in our genre for years: no graphic sex or violence, just a darn good mystery with a real plot and memorable characters.

    • May 15, 2014 8:15 pm

      Richard, I appreciate that compliment! I hope you’ll let me use your statement “a darn good mystery with a real plot and memorable characters” when talking about my book.

  6. May 16, 2014 1:03 pm

    Sounds great! Definitely adding to my TBR pile!

    • May 16, 2014 9:09 pm

      Thanks Tonya! BTW, I noticed a photo on your FB page with someone (you?) wearing a USMC shirt. You’ll meet several military veterans in the book, with more in book #2. I hope you enjoy it!

  7. May 16, 2014 4:36 pm

    I was listening to the news about the California fires and pets this morning and immediately thought of your book. I loved it! I also appreciate there were little tips about training dogs tactfully included in the story. Can’t wait for the next story.

  8. May 16, 2014 9:15 pm

    Marja, thanks so much for your comment. I hope those poor folks in California had an evacuation plan that included their pets.

    I’ve lived in regions prone to fires, tornadoes, and hurricanes, so evacuation drills are standard for us. We trained our dog to go right to the shelter door when the tornado sirens sounded. The dog and the cats were inseparable, so when she went, so did they. Saved us from chasing them!

  9. Kim W. permalink
    May 25, 2014 7:01 pm

    I’ll add this to my TBR. There are so many cat books out there it’s good to see another dog book!


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