I’m Very Late to the Party

The Crow Trap by Ann Cleeves

A lot of you have probably read this book, given that it was first published 24 years ago, but I’m new to the world of Detective Investigator Vera Stanhope and I had to share my excitement with you.

Three women have taken on the assignment of helping to prepare an environmental impact statement for a company that wants to build a quarry in a picturesque area not far from a small village in Northumberland, England. The people who live in the village have vehement feelings about the quarry, both for and against. The quarry will provide jobs for people in the area, but it will also blight the landscape with belching industrial buildings, roads, and lots of noisy trucks.

While the women are conducting the environmental survey, they agree to stay in a small cottage very close to the proposed site of the quarry. This will make it easier for them to get out early every morning or to go out late in the afternoon or evening to do their work. Nearby is a farm, owned by Dougie and Bella Furness, which abuts the proposed quarry land.

Rachael, the leader of the trio, is the first woman to arrive at the cottage. Bella Furness is a good friend of hers and she looks forward to an evening of catching up before the project work begins. But when she goes looking for Bella, she finds, to her horror, that Bella has killed herself. It’s inexplicable. Why would Bella have willingly left her husband to fend for himself? He is disabled and requires around-the-clock care, which she has provided lovingly and willingly. Why would she have left the farm, which was the most important thing in her life after Dougie? And why would she leave behind a cryptic note that explains little?

Bella’s death is the catalyst which ignites a series of events that leads to more death and unanswered questions.

Enter Vera Stanhope, a detective investigator with a sharp tongue and a mind of her own. This is a woman who does not suffer fools gladly. She knows all the seemingly-unrelated deaths are connected somehow—she can feel it—but she needs the evidence to prove it. Through good, old-fashioned detective work and asking the right questions, Vera gets to the bottom of the mystery and the shocking reason behind all the deaths.

I love Vera Stanhope. She’s feisty and opinionated and smart. People listen to her because she demands it and because, more often than not, she’s right. She makes things happen and isn’t afraid of stepping on toes and making people uncomfortable to get the answers she needs. But she’s also a woman with a history, and little by little, the reader learns more about Vera’s unique background as the story progresses.

Ann Cleeves’ Vera Stanhope books are so engaging that they’ve been made into a television series (beginning in 2011). Again, because I’m apparently at least a dozen years behind the times, I’ve never seen the shows. Rest assured that’s going to change. Soon.

I plan to read every book in the Vera Stanhope series. Have you read them? Have you seen the shows? What did you think?

I would recommend The Crow Trap to anyone who loves a great British police procedural and anyone who loves a spunky female main character.


St. Patrick’s Fray, book 7 in the Juniper Junction Cozy Holiday Mystery Series, will be released on Friday! Here’s a look at the cover and the blurb, and a link for you to preorder your copy. The paperback edition will be released very soon.

Lilly could use a little luck o’ the Irish…

When a business tycoon winds up dead shortly after unleashing a scathing and humiliating criticism of Lilly and her jewelry designs, Lilly finds herself under suspicion of committing murder. And though she has an alibi, the only person who can confirm it is a two-month-old baby.

To make matters worse, Lilly’s shop is the target of a shocking St. Patrick’s Day smash-and-grab robbery by an unlikely and frightful assailant. The real horror, though, comes after the robbery, when Lilly and her husband become the targets of an extortionist who’s willing to go to frightening lengths to get what he wants.

Can Lilly turn her luck around before the killer strikes again and she loses the people most dear to her?

Get your copy here!


A New Release!

I’m thrilled to announce that MayDay!, Book 5 in the Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery Series, is live! Right now it’s available as an ebook, but I expect paperbacks to be available to order today or tomorrow.

Here’s the blurb, in case you haven’t seen it:

Lilly Carlsen has planned the perfect wedding reception for her brother, but her plans unravel in spectacular fashion when a dead body turns up and someone’s dangerous prank spirals out of control.

After Bill and Noley head off to their well-deserved honeymoon in the tropics, Lilly is determined to find out who was behind the events that turned a fairy-tale evening into the worst reception in Juniper Junction history. But all is not as it seems, and Lilly may be putting herself in grave danger by attempting to uncover the culprits.

And to make matters worse, serious family issues are mounting and Lilly may have to do the one thing she swore she wouldn’t do…

Recipes included!

To get your copy, click HERE


And if you haven’t read the first four books in the series, you’re in luck! Books 1-3 are on sale now!

Click HERE to purchase The Worst Noel (Book 1)


Click HERE to purchase Dead, White, and Blue (Book 2)


Click HERE to purchase Be My Valencrime (Book 3)


And click HERE to purchase Ghouls’ Night Out (Book 4)


Thank you to everyone for all your support. I hope you enjoy this next story in the Juniper Junction Holiday Mystery series. And now I’m off to work on Book 6, Fowl Play!

Until next time,


Do No Harm Book Collection

A quick post today to let you know about a new boxed set of books that was released this week: Do No Harm, a collection of 17 medical thrillers by USA Today, Wall Street Journal, and Amazon bestselling authors. Here’s the blurb:

“Do you crave reading books with nail-biting suspense, twisted plots and great characters who get caught up in whirlwinds of crime, deception and lies?

Do you love sitting on the edge of your seat, wondering who will survive…and who won’t?

From the mountains of West Virginia, to acute care hospitals, the battlefields of the Middle East and the hallowed halls of our educational system, join us for these incredible stories of healthcare gone wrong.

If you like Robin Cook, David Baldacci and Patricia Cornwell, this collection is for you!

Do No Harm is a binge-readers dream – 17 medical thriller books in one! And you can only get this collection of books from this group of authors here!”

29 of the 30 reviews on Amazon–just in the past two days!–are 5 stars!

Find it here for just $1.99!

Until next time,



Guest Blog: Robert Germaux

Today on Reade and Write I have a special guest: author Robert Germaux, who is celebrating the release of his new book, More Grammar Sex, by sharing some essays from the book (I’m told the book is not about sex!). He’s also offering free review copies to anyone interested in reading and (hopefully) reviewing his book. Take it away, Bob!

Robins and Me: The Never-Ending Story by Author Robert Germaux

My wife and I moved into our new home in a suburb of Pittsburgh in June of 1994, and early on we were delighted to see that there was a robin’s nest sitting atop one of the pillars supporting our deck. I thought it was kind of cool having some avian neighbors. Every day I’d go out and kneel down to peer through the wooden slats to keep track of the three light blue eggs that eventually appeared. Cynthia grew up in Kutztown, a semi-rural community in the heart of Pennsylvania Dutch country, so she saw animals on a fairly regular basis. I, on the other hand, was a city boy through and through, so this was my first up-close-and-personal exposure to actual wildlife, unless you count all the episodes of Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom that I watched, which you probably don’t. Anyway, I was pretty excited about my new flock of little friends. And I was especially thrilled the day I saw that the babies were beginning to emerge. Soon after that, we had a nest full of miniature robins, constantly craning their necks up as mom and dad arrived with their daily meals of worms, insects and the occasional berry. It was as though I was tuning in to my own personal episode of Wild Kingdom every day. I even named the robins. Since I had no idea how to determine the gender of a bird, I just went with Harry, Tina and Elliott. Cute, huh?

And then the little suckers learned to fly.

Apparently, newly-fledged robins can’t fly very far, just about five feet, which turns out to be the exact distance from their nest to the top of the railing on our deck. For the next couple of weeks, the three little robins spent most of their time perched on that railing, doing what came naturally after a hefty meal of worms and whatnot. In short, my cute little birdies had been transformed into big-time poop-producing machines, and our beautiful new deck soon became almost unusable. You for sure weren’t going to lean on that railing and admire the sunset.

Let’s back up here a minute. Birds relieve themselves on the windshield of our car all the time, but that’s different. That’s out on the highways and byways, but our deck? I mean, I don’t have to take this crap from no robin. As the guys in the NBA say about opposing teams coming in to try to beat them in their arena, not in my house.

There wasn’t much I could do that first summer. Cynthia and I just had to live with it, spending a lot of time hosing off our deck any time we wanted to enjoy a meal out there. But the following year, I was ready. As soon as I saw the beginnings of a nest, I immediately knocked it off its perch with an old broom handle. My reasoning was that the robins would simply build the nest elsewhere, but I underestimated their affinity for our deck, or their persistence, or their stubbornness, or whatever. Who knows what goes on inside those tiny brains? Instead of building elsewhere, they kept trying to build in the same old location. As soon as I’d knock one nest down, another one would appear.

Apparently, robins can build nests, like, really fast. (When I mentioned this to a friend of mine who was a science teacher, Jack said, “They’re birds, Bob. What else do they have to do?”) The only adjustment they made was to shift to one of the other open spaces right beneath our deck. There were a total of five places suitable for nest-building, and one morning when I checked, there were the beginnings of four new nests. That’s when it got personal. It was time to bring out the big guns. Well, the big jugs of water. A colleague of mine at work had suggested I fill those spaces with containers of water. I discovered that the gallon size did a nice job of blocking access to the areas, and just like that, problem solved.

As I write this, it’s late March, and many years have passed since that summer of ’94. The cast of characters has changed considerably. Obviously, I’m the sole remaining combatant from that initial skirmish, but each spring brings a new flock of potential poop machines, many, if not most, probably descendants of that first wave over two decades ago. There’s a part of me that admires their determination, but there’s a larger part of me that doesn’t want bird crap all over our deck. So I am ever vigilant. Right now, I’m looking out at a small gathering of robins in our back yard. To the untrained eye, they might appear to be simply hopping around out there, but I know better. Slowly but surely, the red-breasted beasts are edging closer to our house, and one of them in particular is definitely eye-balling the deck.

He looks a lot like Elliott.



Both my parents were readers. I’m talking stacks-of-books-on-their-nightstands readers. So it’s no surprise that an early age, I, too, became an avid reader. Everything from sports books (especially baseball) to Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys, to almost anything about distant and exotic places. I’ve always enjoyed putting words on paper, but the writer in me didn’t fully emerge until I retired after three decades of teaching high school English.

I quickly wrote two books aimed at middle school readers, at which point my wife urged me to try a novel for adults. As is usually the case, my wife Cynthia’s idea was a good one. Over the next few years, I wrote several books about Pittsburgh private eye Jeremy Barnes, including “Hard Court” and the recently released “In the Eye.” I also wrote “Small Talk” and “One by One,” both featuring Pittsburgh police detective Daniel Hayes.

Along the way, I took a brief hiatus from the detective genre to write “The Backup Husband,” the plotline of which came to me one day when I was playing the What-if game.

I then tried my hand at writing humorous essays, which resulted in “Grammar Sex (and other stuff)” and its sequel, “More Grammar Sex.” Coming soon is “Small Bytes,” the first Jeremy Barnes novel, to be followed by two other JB mysteries, “Leaving the LAW” and “Speak Softly.”

I love interacting with my readers and getting their input on my stories and characters. Please feel free to contact me via my website roberttgermaux.wordpress.com or his Amazon Author Page.

Thanks so much for being here today, Bob. I, for one, would love to review your new book. Let me know if you’re interested, and readers, I hope you’ll consider reading and reviewing Bob’s new book, too. Let him know in the comments.

Until next time,


A New Book! No–Two New Books!

Ahem, I have an important announcement.

Trudy’s Diary is out today!

A few people already have paperback copies in their hands, and I hope they are enjoying it. For those of you who may be sitting at my luncheon table at the Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Weekend on April 27th in Milwaukee, WI, here’s a hint: don’t go out and buy a copy! There might just be one in a certain goody bag that awaits your arrival.

But for the rest of you, by all means go out and pick up a copy! I think you’ll like it. It’s not Gothic or cozy like most of my other books, but it is a contemporary mystery and does have the one thing that runs through all my books: murder! And in Trudy’s Diary there is not one but TWO murders (and–gasp–maybe even three) to solve.

Here’s where you can get your copy:


Amazon paperback

Nook, Kobo, iTunes, Angus & Robertson

And as always, many thanks to everyone who has ordered a copy already!

* * *

But wait! I told you there were two books out today! The second one is called Deadly Southern Charm…and I didn’t write it. But it’s a book of short stories written by a group of people that includes a number of my friends, and I love it. I would say that even if I didn’t know a bunch of the authors.

The book is a collection of mysteries with a Southern theme. They take place in the South, they feature strong Southern women, and they embody the things that make the South unique–like dialects, sense of place, and family connections. You’ll like this book, I’m sure. I won’t tell you which story is my favorite, but let me say this: it was hard to choose because they’re all so good.

Here’s where you can snag a copy, y’all:

Amazon paperback

Have a great week!

Until next time,



It’s a Book Birthday!

Today’s the day! The Worst Noel is out for the whole world to read (and hopefully they will)!

If you subscribe to my (mostly) monthly newsletter, you may remember that I promised a behind-the-scenes look at the book, and I’ve chosen to share a couple things about the book that most people won’t know.

First, the book is dedicated to Nana. I don’t usually explain my dedications unless someone asks, but for this one I’ve decided to tell you a little bit about Nana.

My maternal grandmother, Nana passed away in 2008. She was married for almost 65 years to my grandfather (whom I posted about in 2016–you can read that post here). Christmas was her favorite holiday and so it seemed natural to dedicate this book to her. The angel who sits atop our Christmas tree every year was a gift from Nana, so it’s nice to have a special way to remember her each year during the holiday season.

Some of the recipes I share on my blog and in my newsletter each month have come from Nana, too: I’m thinking specifically of the Lemon Jell-O Cake, but I know there have been more.

Here’s the other thing you need to know about Nana: she’s the one I keep in the front of my mind when I write. I’ve always said that my goal when I write is to publish something that my grandmother and my kids would be proud to read, and I think I’ve done just that. So The Worst Noel is for her.

Another interesting tidbit about The Worst Noel is the character, Noley. I didn’t make up that name–it belongs to someone special.

Often people ask me to donate books for fundraisers and charity events, and I’m always pleased to do so. Every summer my church hosts a big musical event coupled with a silent auction. I’ve donated several books to the silent auction, and for the past few summers I’ve also donated the opportunity to name a character in an upcoming book.

The winner of the book-naming two summers ago was a young lady named Noley, whose last name I will not post here because I forgot to ask her parents for permission (!). Anyway, can you guess the name she chose for the book?

I hope you’ll find an opportunity to read the book, review it, tell your friends about it, tell random strangers about it, take out ads in your local papers singing its praises, etc… You get the idea. 🙂

Here’s the Amazon blurb about The Worst Noel:

Christmas is supposed to be a time of peace, love, and joy, but for Lilly Carlsen, this Christmas is murder.

As a single mom, small business owner, and president of the local Chamber of Commerce, the last thing she needs is to find a dead body on the floor of her jewelry shop on the busiest shopping day of the year. And as if that isn’t enough, Lilly has to deal with a deadbeat ex-husband, a mother with declining mental health, and two teenagers.

But when a second body turns up, Lilly finds herself squarely in the crosshairs of suspicion. Can she figure out who killed the victims before she becomes one herself? And will her family’s Christmas be merry…or scary?

If you haven’t had a chance to pick up a copy, here are the links you’ll need:


Nook, Kobo, iBooks: https://www.books2read.com/u/m2vBEO

Thanks in advance to anyone who has bought the book, reviewed it, or passed along the info about it! You don’t know how much I appreciate it.

Until next time,


The Last Tuesday Book Roundup–and a Special Deal

It’s the last Tuesday of August (how did that happen??), so today’s post is about sharing what we’re reading. If you want to tell others about the book(s) you’re reading, feel free to share in the comments. You don’t have to write a lot–you can just tell us the title and author if you’d like. Or you can go further and tell us a little about the plot, review it, tell us about your favorite character, anything. The choice is yours.

I’m reading Cape May County, New Jersey: The Making of an American Resort Community by Jeffery M. Dorwart. I started reading it purely for research for one of the books I’m working on right now, Cape Island Menace, but I’m finding it fascinating. There’s so much about the history of the community where I live that I didn’t know. The book begins with the first Europeans who came to the area now known as Cape May County and tells about the Native Americans they encountered, what brought them here, and how they survived. That’s the part I’m most interested in right now, so I haven’t moved past that.

What are you reading?

And now for the deal I told you about:

Love Under Fire is a boxed set of romantic suspense books by 21 bestselling authors. The set hit #1 on the Amazon bestseller list already, and it doesn’t even come out until November 13th! Profits from the sale of the set go to Pets for Vets, an organization that pairs veterans with animal companions and service pets.

Here’s the blurb for the set:

“When love sparks danger, get ready for an explosion!

Twenty-one Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and bestselling authors bring you a heart-pounding collection of stories all in one amazing romantic suspense boxed set.

From around the edges of every day existence lurks betrayal, greed, and death.

With every turn of the page, feel the heat of adrenaline as fear lights up the night. Fight alongside the tenacious heroes and heroines as they battle for survival. They’ll put everything on the line to thwart the evil coming after them.

They want to trust in the power of love. But is it enough?

Click to buy and let the adventures begin.  Available Everywhere!”

Here’s the link to the set, which is only 99 cents!: https://amzn.to/2nJ3EQZ

And here’s a bit about the stories:

Judith Lucci – RUN for your life

Besieged by threats and haunted by memories, can Alex and Jacob survive another fiery attack?

Stephany Tullis – Blue Lady’s MISSION UNDER FIRE

The mission changed. Her cover is blown. With nowhere to run and nowhere to hide, what can she do to survive?

Fiona Quinn – Cold Red

Targeted by rogue agents and under arrest, military operative Anastasia Senko fights for her survival and that of Special Agent Finley. Can she trust Finley with her life and maybe even her heart?

Anna Celeste Burke – Lily’s Homecoming Under Fire

When Lily returns home to California’s wine country, sparks fly amid a hail of bullets as she and US Marshal Austin Jennings take cover. Who wants Lily dead?

Margaret A. Daly- Monsters in my Closet

No one knows her secrets, not even her best friend. Can she keep her secrets and her monsters at bay long enough to give love a chance again?

Linda Watkins – The Witches of Storm Island, Book I: The Turning

In 1685, a forbidden love catapults young Maude Prichard into a life fraught with danger….

Tamara Ferguson – Two Hearts Under Fire

Will Two Wounded Hearts Under Fire Survive LOVE?

Suzanne Jenkins – Running with Horses

Moving horses to the high country comes just in time when Mindy and her coffee date witness murder at a Mojave Desert cafe.

Inge-Lise Goss – Diamonds and Lies

When murder upends a diamond heist, can the jewel thief trust the mark who vows to protect her?

S.R. Mallery – Tender Enemies

When Lily sets up a spy trap, she faces great danger––of falling in love.

Jinx Schwartz – Baja Get Away

Sometimes love is… Murder.

Uvi Poznansky – Virtually Lace

Michael creates a virtual reality simulation of the murder. Can he solve it in time, before the killer turns on the woman he loves?

Kathryn Knight – The Haunting of Hillwood Farm

A dangerous ghost brings them together…but will they survive long enough to find happiness?


Stephanie Queen – Ace Under Fire

Can this bad boy make a comeback to save an old flame?

Casi McLean – Reign Of Fire

To expose a faction threatening America’s democracy, Emily joins forces with a detective investigating her sister’s murder, but she never expected to fall in love––or to encounter her twin’s ghost.

Valerie J. Clarizio – The Code Enforcer

Can they overcome their painful pasts—and a murder investigation—to find happiness together?

Chris Patchell – Deception Bay

She’s armed. He’s dangerous. Together, can they stop a killer from tearing a small island community apart?

Aaron Paul Lazar – The Asylum: a Carmen Garcia romantic suspense novel

Carmen has a secret, and his name is Dr. Micah Worthy.

Alyssa Richards – Chasing Secrets

Her husband’s secret is priceless; her attempts to retrieve it could be deadly.

K.M. Hodge – Summer of ‘78

Susan Evenbright pledges to make her last summer in Texas a killer one.


Pamela Fagan Hutchins – Buckle Bunny

The last guy to call Maggie a buckle bunny didn’t make his eight seconds.

Until next time,




I have been waiting for this day since September 8, 2017,  the day after Highland Peril was released.

Murder in Thistlecross is the third book in my Malice series and follows Eilidh Cameron, who left the Highlands of Scotland for a new life in Wales after the events that took place in Highland Peril. 

You’ll find family intrigue, murder (of course), upstairs-downstairs tensions, and secrets from the past that erupt in a present-day Norman castle in the peaceful Welsh village of Thistlecross.

Here’s the teaser you’ll find on Amazon:

“The emerald hills and violet valleys of Wales seem the ideal place to start over after murder—and divorce—shattered Eilidh’s life in the Scottish Highlands. But within the stone walls of an ancient castle, a family’s dark, violent past threatens much more than her newfound tranquility . . . 
For the past two years, Eilidh has called the quaint Welsh village of Thistlecross home, embracing her new life as estate manager of a restored fifteenth-century castle. But the long-anticipated arrival of her employer’s three estranged sons and their wives transforms Thistlecross Castle from a welcoming haven to a place seething with dangerous secrets. When the escalating tensions culminate in murder, Eilidh must sift through a castle full of suspects both upstairs and downstairs. She can trust no one as she follows a twisting maze of greed and malice to ferret out a killer who’s breaching every defense, preparing to make Eilidh the next to die.”

The book is available in paperback and as an ebook. The links are below:


Barnes & Noble



Google Play

Your favorite independent bookstore

As always, thank you for your support and a special thanks to everyone who has preordered the book! If you’ve read the book or plan to, I ask that you consider leaving a review, since the Amazon algorithms take into account the number of reviews of a particular book when promoting books in that genre.

Looking for a 99-cent deal? House of the Hanging Jade is available for just 99¢ for a few more days! Find it here:


Barnes & Noble



Google Play

And thank you!

Until next week,


P.S. Shares would be greatly appreciated…and don’t forget to send your recipes for next week’s post to amymreadeauthor@gmail.com!