Tuesday, January 23, 2018

"Murder of a Good Man" by Teresa Trent

Murder of a Good Man
(A Piney Woods Mystery Book 1)
by Teresa Trent

Murder of a Good Man (A Piney Woods Mystery Book 1) by Teresa Trent

Murder of a Good Man by Teresa Trent is currently on tour with Great Escapes 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.

For another book by this author, please check out my blog post on Color Me Dead.

When Nora Alexander drives into Piney Woods, Texas, to fulfill her dying mother’s last wish, she has no idea what awaits her. First she is run off the road, then the sealed letter she delivers turns out to be a scathing rebuke to the town’s most beloved citizen and favored candidate for Piney Woods Pioneer: Adam Brockwell. Next thing you know, Adam has been murdered in a nasty knife attack. Suspicion instantly falls on Nora, one of the last people to see him alive. After all, everyone in Piney Woods loved him. Or did they? Nora learns that her mother had a complicated past she never shared with her daughter. Told not to leave town by Tuck the flirty sheriff, Nora finds a job with Tuck’s Aunt Marty trying to get the rundown Tunie Hotel back in the black. The old hotel was Piney Woods’ heart and soul in its heyday as an oil boomtown. Now the secrets it harbors may be the key to getting Nora off the hook. She’s going to need to solve the mystery quickly to avoid arrest, or worse: becoming the killer’s next victim.

Blinking to keep her tears at bay, Nora reached into her pocket for a tissue. Just as she brought it up to her damp cheek, a red pickup, apparently tired of her snail’s pace, swerved around to pass her. Without considering the passing driver, Nora hit the gas pedal to get back up to speed with traffic. When the red truck re-entered the lane, he nearly ran into her, causing Nora to veer off the country road. She slammed on the brakes, taking deep breaths as her heart thumped in her chest.
With shaking hands, she moved farther over to the side of the road as her heart rate returned to normal. The jolt had opened the cut on her hand from that morning’s moving of the boxes and furniture from her mother’s place to the storage unit. The bandage had dislodged itself, and she used her cotton shirt to stop the flow of blood until she could open the first-aid kit on the seat of the car. Thank goodness she was wearing a T-shirt underneath.
Just as she got everything fixed up, a man in a white pickup with a gun rack in the back slowed and rolled down his window. “You okay there, missy?”
Nora straightened up and smiled, not wanting to accept help from a strange man. “Fine, just fine.”
“Okay then. I got a little something for you.” Nora wasn’t sure she wanted to see what that was. He extended his arm out of the cab window and slapped a bumper sticker into her hand. The bright red letters spelled out, BUBBY FOR PINEY WOODS PIONEER.
“Uh, thank you.”
“Name’s Bubby Tidwell and I can see you are about to enter the fair city of Piney Woods, Texas. While you’re there, I’d appreciate it if you cast your vote for me, as the Piney Woods Pioneer. I have personally saved fourteen of our citizens, three cats, and a hamster in my days as a firefighter. They only choose people who have contributed to improving our little community, and even though you don’t know me, I’d sure appreciate your support. You drive safe now.” He waved and headed on down the road.
Nora put the bumper sticker in the passenger seat and stared in the rearview mirror. She had hopped into the car determined to fulfill her mother’s last wish. Now that she was getting close to her destination, she realized she must look pretty rough. She rearranged her hair to create a side braid à la Disney princess while arranging silky strands of auburn hair to frame her face. Pulling a tube of concealer out of her bag, she did her best to repair her makeup. After a few minutes of fussing, she hoped she looked presentable.
She had to do this thing. She had to know. Her mother left her instructions on delivering the letter.
As Nora neared Piney Woods, Texas, two giant eyes bored into her from a lighted billboard with the words VOTE FOR BUBBY in glitter letters at the bottom. PINEY WOODS’ FINEST CITIZEN was written under the face of the roundcheeked man with the Cheshire Cat smile. A hundred feet down the road was another billboard with BROCKWELL INDUSTRIES—PINEY WOODS’ TRUE PIONEER NEEDS YOUR VOTE. Brockwell was the name she was looking for, so she knew she was getting close.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“Family secrets abound in this small town novel... Not an easy mystery to figure out.” ~ Laura’s Interests
“There is an amazing amount of secrets revealed that I never really saw coming making this a fascinating read, to say the least.” ~ Books a Plenty Book Reviews
“This story has a great vibe to it and fits the cozy mystery category perfectly. It starts off with a doozie of a murder to solve, but as Nora investigates, juicier small-town secrets come to light, making it much more than just that. I thoroughly enjoyed all of the twists in the story, some I did not even see coming. All of the characters were well-developed and each added their own touch to the story.” ~ Coffeetime Romance & More
“The first in Trent's series set in Piney Woods, and it bodes well for the series. As cozies go, this is not only a fun read, but it moves along quite well. She has a respectable number of characters - not so many as to confuse the reader but enough to have a growing number of possible perpetrators! This is a keeper.” ~ Judith Reveal for the New York Journal of Books
“Teresa Trent's recipe for an outstanding cozy mystery: A mother's dying wish. A mysterious letter. A dutiful daughter who shows up on the doorstep of the nicest man in town. A guy who suddenly turns up dead. Mixed well with small town Texas charm and a fabulous eye for detail.” ~ Joanna Campbell Slan, author of the Kiki Lowenstein Mystery Series

Guest Post by the Author
If Walls Could Talk
One of the ways I chronicled the town of Piney Woods, Texas, in Murder of a Good Man was through the pictures on the wall at the hotel. If you have ever walked into a place with a rich history, you can feel it. You don't always know exactly what happened there, but you sense it. If walls could talk. That's what I set out to achieve in the first book of the Piney Woods Series when I filled a wall with hotel guests from decades gone by. The historic hotel had been around since the 1940's with bellboys, then hula hoopers, then flower children, then disco and more. They held dances and weddings there and nearly everyone in town had been there at least one time in their lives. Now Nora Alexander will find out that even though she's a stranger, she's connected to the Tunie Hotel.
One of the most enjoyable things about creating a series is getting to create a new town and new characters. I was inspired to write about a hotel because of my older brother. He's worked in hotels for twenty years and always had a story for me. He talked about con artists, hold-ups, stabbings, guests with secrets, guests who get drunk and tell everyone information they would normally keep to themselves. It was like finding a gold mine at my kitchen table and I loved hearing his tales of the hotel front desk. Still, though, I had to make an entire town, so I also included a bed and breakfast, a mansion, a Cajun restaurant, and Big Dudley's Coffee shop. When writing the scene in the coffee shop, I could hear a surfer dude in the back of my brain, and that was how Little Dudley was born. The invention of Mr. Birdsong was the same thing. I immediately saw a terribly sweet, dapper older gentleman with a bow tie and cultured way of speaking.
Nora, my heroine came to me slowly and developed from the inside out. I needed her to be brave, beautiful, and just a little impulsive. That impulsivity carried all the way to the end. I hope you enjoy this cozy Texas mystery and don't forget to enter my giveaway for a chance at a $20 Amazon Gift Card and an ebook copy of Murder of a Good Man.

About the Author
Teresa Trent
Teresa Trent lives in Houston, Texas, and is an award-winning mystery writer. She writes the Pecan Bayou Mystery Series, is a regular contributor to the Happy Homicides Anthologies. Teresa is happy to add her Henry Park Mystery Series to her publishing credits with Color Me Dead, the first book in the series. Teresa has also won awards for her work in short stories where she loves to dabble in tales that are closer to the Twilight Zone than small town cozies. When Teresa isn’t writing, she is a full-time caregiver for her son and teaches preschoolers music part-time. Her favorite things include spending time with family and friends, waiting for brownies to come out of the oven, and of course, a good mystery.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win an ebook copy of Murder of a Good Man by Teresa Trent plus a $20 Amazon gift card.