Monday, May 20, 2019

"No Saving Throw" by Kristin McFarland

No Saving Throw
(A Ten Again Mystery Book 1)
by Kristin McFarland

No Saving Throw (A Ten Again Mystery Book 1) by Kristin McFarland

No Saving Throw by Kristin McFarland is currently on tour with Silver Dagger Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt and a giveaway. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops as well.

A supremely geeky murder mystery perfect for Whovians, gamers, and Muggles alike.
Autumn has everything she could possibly want: Loving friends, a successful business, and a gaggle of gamers in her store every day.
Welcome to Ten Again, a tabletop gaming store that attracts nerds of every kind and fosters a community Autumn’s pretty proud of - a community that also keeps business afloat. And now that Autumn's in the running for a grant, Ten Again’s future is looking bright.
That is, until one of Autumn’s gamers is mysteriously murdered. With everyone in the mall as a suspect and accusations flying, Autumn is going to have to do some sleuthing of her own to save her shop and her gamers from a fate more dangerous than having no saving throw.

“What do you mean, a vampire killed him?”
Outside my office door, a swarm of sugar-rushed, Friday-high kids ran by, squealing like Jawas on scrap-metal discount day at the market. High voices chittered, laughter echoed off the walls, and a hormonal funk of excitement hung in the air. Aggravated, I got up and slammed the door. On the other side, a childish voice said, “Oooooh,” igniting another eruption of giggles.
On the other end of the line, Cody yammered on, something about aliens and guns and not having any wooden stakes, and the unfairness of it all. I stalked around my cluttered desk and collapsed in my chair, but something sharp jabbed through the smooth fabric of my trousers. I jumped up with an outraged squeak.
“I know!” Cody said. “He was completely out of line!”
“No, that’s not—”
“But it’s your job to keep the GM running a fair game,” he said, acting as if I hadn’t spoken. “I put a lot of time and effort into this character, and if he can just erase all that with one lousy night of weak-ass world-building, then he needs to be replaced.”
“I’m sorry you feel that way, but I have no control over the Saturday night games.” I bent, looking for the source of my rump pain—one of them, anyway; the other one was currently whining on the phone. Something shiny poked out from the crease of the seat. “You’ll need to take it up with your troupe if you have a problem.” I thrust my hand into the chair and groped around until I pulled out my new nemesis. It was a tiny pewter figurine of a woman in ridiculous armor. She held a spear as long as her body directly butt-ward. I scowled at her and her proudly exposed boobs, then tossed her into the corner with a pitiful metallic clink. “Coming to me is not going to solve anything. I am not your mommy.”
He sputtered. “But you own the store. You set up these games—”
“I sponsor them. I don’t run them. You’re a big boy. Figure it out.” I hung up, exasperated, and collapsed into my chair. I sat for only half a moment before I shifted, irritated. I still wore the suit I’d resurrected from my closet, the one I’d bought when I graduated from business school and hadn’t replaced in the ensuing decade, and the trousers were giving me terrible wedgies, exactly what I didn’t need when I was already uncomfortable.
Wearing clothes from my twenties was definitely a mistake. Letting a spoiled gamer with a chip on his shoulder get to me was a bigger one.
Outside my office door, I heard a chorus of pubescent voices rising in a symphony of excitement—my employees, Hector and Bailey, must have started forming groups for the Spellcasters draft. The new decks had arrived that afternoon while I was off pretending to be a grown-up, and the die-hard fans had started trickling in more than an hour ago to wait their turn to build random decks and join a tournament.
Meanwhile, I was trying to remember why I’d ever thought it would be a good idea to compete for grant money to green Independence Square Mall, the building that housed my store, Ten Again. “Write a detailed proposal,” they said. “We have money to improve our downtown commercial district, and we want to give it to you!”
It had all seemed so simple back before a proposal had turned into a series of contractor quotes, which in turn became a presentation before the city’s small business committee, and then—well, it was best not to think about the rest of it. I glanced down at my straining blouse just to make sure everything was still neatly buttoned away.
All contained. I heaved a sigh of relief mixed with regret. Sure, now my wardrobe wanted to behave.
A few moments later, I heard a thump against my door and a shout. Next came frantic knocking and Hector’s voice saying, “Autumn, I need you out here.”
I closed my eyes briefly, then pulled the suit jacket off the back of my chair. The cashmere was buttery soft in my hands, the navy lining soothing to my overstimulated nerves. I folded the expensive garment, pressed it to my mouth, and screamed. The jacket successfully muffled the sound, and I sighed, relieved. I shook the jacket out and draped it over the back of my chair. It was time to feed the animals.
I opened the door an inch, peeking out cautiously.
Hector Tran, one of my employees, forced the door open more, thrusting one arm through the crack like a cat shut in a bathroom. I took a wary step back. “What?”
“Help me.” He pressed his face to the door, eyes wide and glassy. “I can’t keep up with them.” I opened the door all the way. “We can do this, Hector. They’re just teenagers.”
“Not all of them.” Hector looked like he wanted to clutch at my shoulders and shake me. “There are grown men out there. One of them is wearing a tie.”
“Well, we can handle him, too.”
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]

Praise for the Book
“A cozy shop, a tricky murder, geek humor, and gaming lore galore - what’s not to love in No Saving Throw? This book is a winner, and I can’t wait to take another turn!” ~ Leigh Perry, author of The Family Skeleton Mysteries
“Enjoyable debut ... Readers will hope to see a lot more of the plucky Autumn.” ~ Publisher's Weekly
“A nat 20! No Saving Throw is a fun, tight mystery that perfectly encapsulates the difficulties gamers face at being taken seriously. Protagonist Autumn Sinclair will stop at nothing to save not only her store, but also the geeky community it fosters.” ~ Alex Erickson, author of the Bookstore CafĂ© Mysteries
“A loving tribute to your Friendly Local Gaming Store and the communities that grow up around such places ... If you’re a gamer, you’ll recognize yourself or a friend of yours somewhere in this book.” ~ Marie Brennan, author of the Memoirs of Lady Trent
“A very good cozy! I enjoyed the unusual setting, the cast of characters and the plot. The book is well written, the character fleshed out and the mystery keep you guessing till the end. I look forward to reading other books by this author. Highly recommended!” ~ Annarella

About the Author
Kristin McFarland
Kristin McFarland has a Master of Arts in Journalism from Indiana University, which launched her on a short-lived but very exciting career as a newspaper reporter. After graduate school, she worked for five different newspapers around the country, writing about politics, crime, arts, environmental issues, crack addicts, prostitutes, and parades. She eventually wised up and decided that making up political fights and crime scenes would be a lot more fun than reporting on real ones. Today, she lives in southern Indiana, where she spends most of her time daydreaming about fictional lives and/or thinking about wool.

Enter the tour-wide giveaway for a chance to win a $20 Amazon gift card or a print copy of No Saving Throw by Kristin McFarland.


Featured in this post: