GUEST POST and GIVEAWAY
Old Bones Never Die
(Eve Appel Mystery Book 5)
by Lesley A. Diehl
Old Bones Never Die is the fifth book in the Eve Appel Mystery series. Also available: A Secondhand Murder, Dead in the Water, A Sporting Murder, and Mud Bog Murder.
Old Bones Never Die is currently on tour with Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours. The tour stops here today for a guest post by the author, an excerpt, and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.
Just before Walter Egret is killed in a hit-and-run, he phoned his half-brother Sammy to report that he’d unearthed their missing father’s pocket watch, along with a pile of human bones. The project is put on hold until it can be determined if the site is an Indian burial ground. Then the bones disappear.
Now Sammy and his brother’s three orphaned children want Eve Appel to go pro, applying her innate snoopiness to the trade of private investigator.
Eve already has her hands full with her two consignment stores. What is she going to do? Sammy and Walter are Miccosukee Indians, and Walter was employed as a backhoe operator on a construction site for a sportsmen’s resort. Was Walter’s death murder or an accident? If the bones belong to Sammy’s father, how did they get there? Delving into these mysteries, Eve is aided by her usual crew of friends and family. This adventure will not only up the stakes for Eve as an investigator, but it will also open her eyes to life possibilities she never imagined.
Smoke. Heavy, stale, like a burned-out campfire.
I moved out of the doorway and back into the hall. Someone was in the house. I knew it. I stopped and listened, but I heard nothing except my own heart racing in my chest until the compressor in the refrigerator kicked in. Wherever the intruder was, he or she had to have seen the lights of my car and Sammy’s truck. Wouldn’t the person be eager to get out of here to avoid discovery? Unless my unwanted visitor had something else in mind. I tried not to let my imagination provide unpleasant scenarios. I sniffed again. The smell seemed less pronounced. Maybe they had left. Better not to take chances.
I retreated down the hallway toward the living room. I’d turned on the ceiling light when I came in the door, but turned it back off at the switch on the wall by the hallway leading to the bedroom. I flipped the light back on and sighed with relief. No one was in the living room, and I could see across the way into the kitchen. The door to the garage was closed, but was it locked? Had my unwelcome visitor left by that exit and was now hiding in my garage? Or maybe in the bathroom or my guest room? Perhaps they’d gone out through the back door. I glanced at my purse on the couch. Get the hell out of the house, Eve, and call the cops. I moved toward the couch and reached for my purse to get my cellphone on my way out. The overhead light went out. Before I could retrieve my purse and retreat to the door, a hand encircled my throat in a steel grip. I tried to pull it away, but the hold tightened, and I thought I might pass out. I stumbled backward, reaching for the door knob. Another hand grabbed my arm.
“Quiet or you’re dead.” It was a man’s voice I thought I’d heard before, but he hadn’t spoken enough words for me to identify it. I tried to pull back, but he brought both his hands to my throat and tightened them. The pressure around my eyes mounted. I coul“What do you want?” I managed to squeak out. He said nothing, but pressed his thumbs into my throat and rammed his body against mine, moving me out of the living room and into the hallway.
If I’d left my stiletto heels on, I might have been able to stomp on his instep and do some damage. They were, miraculously, still in my hand, but I was too weak to take any kind of a swing at him. My shoes had never failed me before. They’d always proven to be an effective weapon. Now they just seemed like silly shoes worn by a woman too vain to consider sturdier footwear.
He relinquished his chokehold and shoved me toward my bedroom. “Get the door,” he said.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]
Praise for the Book
"Quite a few mysteries to be solved in this latest Eve Appel Mystery. Bones, bodies, & one extremely upsetting murder. Eve goes through a lot of changes this time out. Suspenseful with a dash of romance that will keep you entertained till the very end! Just make sure you have a box of tissues for both the happy & sad moments." ~ Chloegirl
"Why have I not heard of this author before? I can tell you that I have found a new hero in Eve Appel. She is one sassy, funny, and determined woman. The author has done a great job of keeping the story at a high caliber level with a mystery within a mystery. [...] The story has many twists in it [...]. There are some very emotional moments in the story that readers will find compelling. The ending is excellent and I believe readers may be a bit surprised. Grab your copy of this mystery and follow Eve and her crew as the mystery will take them to seedy parts of town and danger that appears out of nowhere." ~ Deana
"The reader is taken along through the questions and twists and turns of the mystery in an entertaining and comical ride." ~ My Journey Back
"I can tell you that I have found a new hero in Eve Appel. She is one sassy, funny, and determined woman." ~ Texas Book-aholic
Guest Post by the Author
Why We Need Cozies More than Ever
If we examine the cozy mystery genre or subgenre of fiction, it clear that cozies deliver what no other genres do. Writers like writing them, and readers love reading them, but why? What is unique about them and how does this translate into a story best suited to today’s readers? Here’s my take on cozy mysteries and why you want to buy that cozy mystery instead of the thriller about a serial killer.
1. Cozies create a familiar atmosphere.
I would argue that not only do cozies feel familiar to the reader, evoking community life, but they also appeal to a kind of romantic realism, i.e., tragic events that occur where we live or perhaps where we have grown up, usually small communities in which people know one another and know others’ past history as well as secrets some may wish to keep buried. On the surface the setting seems idyllic. Underneath there is the ugliness that comes with our basest passions - hate, jealousy, greed, competitiveness.
2. The motives for murder are usually personal.
Readers don’t have to have a degree in accounting or be intimately familiar with the stock market or know someone in land development to understand the motives that underlie murder in cozies. There is no getting lost in the intricacies of foreign diplomacy gone wrong or shell corporations created to hide billions of dollars of money or profits moved to offshore accounts. Because the motives for the crime are familiar to us, the reader feels he or she can solve the murder along with the amateur sleuth.
3. You probably have the same credentials as the amateur sleuth.
No law degree or one in forensic pathology or criminal justice or twenty years’ experience in law enforcement is required to solve the crime. The protagonist, who is an amateur sleuth, often uses a pal in law enforcement for information that only legal authorities can know in a criminal act, but the amateur sleuth brings to the table a keen sense of observation, knowledge of the community and a sharp intellect in solving the crime. Those are the same qualities the reader uses when confronted with the puzzle of whodunit.
4. It’s easier to get to sleep at night after reading a cozy mystery.
Cozies tread softly around violence and blood as well as language and sex. The reader won’t find many descriptions of bodies torn limb from limb nor the use of foul language (sometimes, but rarely the "F" word). Expect to find romance and some passionate scenes that leave off at the bedroom door.
5. Plots are important but so are characters.
Cozy writers want you to fall in love with their protagonists because many cozy writers like to write series, and we use the readers' identification with some aspect of the protagonist to bring them back to book two and three and four in the series. The reader must root for the protagonist because the cozy is really her story, the murder hers to solve, the roadblocks along the way hers to confront. That’s not to say plots are boring or the murder easily solved, but in the process of sleuthing and the twists and turns that includes, the writer is working to make the story about more than murder. Cozies are usually about the protagonist’s journey, her (his) fears, weaknesses, problems in relationships, the internal issues the protagonist must face and move beyond to become a better person at the end.
6. Things usually turn out okay.
This is the most important reason why I write cozies. I know there will be resolution at the end. I know I’m writing for an audience that is made up of optimists, people who expect everything will be okay. In most cozy mysteries, the bad guys (or gals) are found out and carted off to their fate at the law’s hands. Some may die at the hand of the protagonist, but usually the death is less about revenge and more about circumstances that arise out of a final confrontation. These stories are all about a better tomorrow, the sense that the idyllic world that has been shattered by a crime will be set right again, and the protagonist will have a role in doing that.
A final note: We all read out of our preferred genre. I read thrillers, and let’s admit it, so do many readers. Yet cozy mysteries have prevailed for years and to be perfectly honest, while serial killers do exist, there are not as many of them as there are readers who see themselves as amateur sleuths and solve the crime along with the protagonist. Read on, all you would-be Miss Marples!
About the Author
Lesley Diehl retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida - cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport. Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her literary muse. When not writing, she gardens, cooks and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work.
She is the author of a number of mystery series (Hera Knightsbridge Microbrewing Mystery series, Big Lake Mystery series, Eve Appel Mystery series, and the Laura Murphy Mysteries), a standalone mystery (Angel Sleuth), and numerous short stories.
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