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Fresh Starts

By Shari Randall

The beginning of a new year is a time of fresh starts. If your book club has resolved to add mystery to its mix of reading, look no further. In each of these novels from the writers of Sisters in Crime, characters face challenges and make fresh starts, often in the face of danger, intrigue, and incredible odds. I’ve asked the authors to tell us a little bit about their books. Enjoy!

Lost and Found in Harlem

by Delia C. Pitts

When fire destroys his home, Shelba Rook loses everything. His "home" was a brothel, and in addition to all his earthly possessions, a young woman loses her life in the blaze. Was the fire a horrible accident? Or arson? As Rook searches for answers, he stumbles on one of Harlem's best kept secrets, the Ross Security Agency. Run by the quirky father-daughter duo of Norment and Sabrina Ross, this tiny firm provides protection and problem solving for the hard-pressed community. Rook joins the Ross Agency looking for answers. And finds a new home and family as well. This mystery novel -- hard-boiled with a twist -- examines how a displaced loner finds purpose and redemption through service to his new neighborhood.

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Address to Die For

by Mary Feliz

Anyone who has ever moved can identify with professional organizer Maggie McDonald and her family's uncertainty as they face a new beginning, rife with complications they never imagined. Maggie hopes every detail will fall neatly into place when her family ups stakes and moves to a hundred-year-old house in Silicon Valley. But when her husband finds a body in the basement, it's the detectives who end up moving in. While the investigation unravels and the family camps out in a barn, a killer remains at large—exactly the sort of loose end Maggie can't help but clean up. Chosen as a best book of 2017 by Kirkus Reviews, which gave it a starred review and said "Feliz is strong at characterization...Details are endearing. A skillful amateur detective with an impressive to-do list emerges in this inventive series opener."

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Show Me the Sinister Snowman

by Carolyn Mulford

After leading separate lives for thirty-five years, three childhood friends reunite to cope with personal crises, including murder. Former spy Phoenix Smith races to rescue a battered woman, protect an intended murder victim, and mollify a potential stepdaughter; newly widowed Annalynn Kerr Keyser pursues a vacant House seat after the occupant dies (accident? suicide? murder?); and cash-strapped singer Connie Diamante joins them to redirect her career and theirs. The three test their friendship and their survival skills while trapped by a blizzard at an isolated political retreat. Readers will identify with three distinct personalities as three old friends apply their conflicting experiences, strengths, and attitudes to life-altering situations and to a murder investigation.

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A Borrowing of Bones

by Paula Munier

After their last deployment when she got shot, her fiancé Martinez got killed, and his bomb-sniffing dog, Elvis, got depressed, soldier Mercy Carr and Elvis were both sent home, her late lover’s last words ringing in her ears: “Take care of my partner.” All summer long they march off their grief mile after mile in the beautiful remote Vermont wilderness. On the July 4th weekend, Elvis alerts to explosives and they find a squalling baby abandoned near a shallow grave filled with what appear to be human bones. They team up with U.S. Game Warden Troy Warner and his search and rescue Newfoundland Susie Bear to track down a missing mother, solve a cold-case murder, and keep the citizens of Northshire safe on potentially the most incendiary Independence Day since the American Revolution. Mercy and Elvis have lost their man and their mission. Together they must find a way to put their grief behind them and build new lives back home in Vermont.

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The Uninvited Corpse

by Debra Sennefelder

Leaving behind a failed career as a magazine editor and an embarrassing stint on a reality baking show, newly divorced lifestyle entrepreneur Hope Early thought things were finally on the upswing—until she comes face-to-face with a murderer. Hope’s schedule is already jam-packed with recipe testing and shameless plugs for her food blog as she rushes off to attend a spring garden tour in the charming town of Jefferson, Connecticut. Unfortunately, it isn’t the perfectly arranged potted plants that grab her attention—it’s the bloody body of reviled real estate agent Peaches McCoy. In this first book in the Food Blogger Mystery series, Hope has returned to her hometown to start over. She's made significant changes in her life and finds starting over in the place where you began isn't as easy as one would think. Despite all of the challenges and obstacles settling into a new life and then coming face-to-face with a killer, Hope finds out it's all worth it because she's building a life she wants this time around.

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Necessary Ends

by Tina Whittle

It was the crime that rocked Atlanta—actress Jessica Talbot shot dead in her Buckhead mansion and her husband accused and then acquitted of the murder. Now, four years later, someone wants him dead, and the evidence points to the man most convinced of Talbot's guilt—amateur sleuth Tai Randolph’s boyfriend Trey Seaver. With Trey by her side—and in a killer's crosshairs—Tai vows to use every trick in her slightly sketchy playbook to stop a vigilante murderer from claiming a fresh victim. Tai has made two significant fresh starts already--first by moving to Atlanta and secondly by falling in love with Trey, a former SWAT cop struggling with the effects of a brain injury; in the course of the novel’s riveting events, she has to make a third, one that completely rewrites her life.

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The Hanged Man's Noose: A Glass Dolphin Mystery #1

by Judy Penz Sheluk

Freelance writer Emily Garland is cash-strapped, newly single, and tired of reporting on the same old condo stats. When she’s offered a lucrative assignment in the village of Lount’s Landing, she decides to take a chance. All she has to do is relocate and uncover the real story behind a proposed redevelopment plan. Not everyone is happy with real estate mogul Garrett Stonehaven’s plans to convert an old schoolhouse into a mega-box store. At the top of the list is Arabella Carpenter, the outspoken owner of The Glass Dolphin antiques shop. But Arabella is not alone in her opposition. Before long, a vocal dissenter dies. A few days later, another body is discovered. Though both deaths are ruled accidental, Emily’s suspicions are aroused. She teams up with Arabella to discover the truth behind Stonehaven’s latest scheme—before the murderer strikes again.

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Death in Nostalgia City

by Mark S. Bacon

Life is not simple for ex-cop Lyle Deming, who is making a fresh start in what he hopes will be a stress-free job driving a cab in a theme park. Following a divorce and dismissal from the police department, he hopes his job in Nostalgia City, a meticulous recreation of an entire small town from the early 1970s complete with period cars, music, clothes, shops, restaurants, and hotels, will cure his chronic anxieties. But when rides are sabotaged and tourists killed, he’s drafted to investigate. As violence escalates and employees get rattled, Lyle gets help from Kate Sorensen, the park’s PR director, a former college basketball star. Together, Lyle and Kate must unravel a conspiracy of corporate greed and murder.

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A Killing at Cotton Hill

by Terry Shames

Former Chief of Police Samuel Craddock is mourning the death of his wife and life as he knew it, when one of his close friends is murdered. Feeling guilty because he thinks he could have prevented the woman’s death, Craddock begins a quiet investigation behind the back of the current chief, who doubles as the town drunk. In the course of the investigation, Craddock recovers his sense of purpose. In keeping with the theme of Fresh Starts, the book is about the reawakening of the protagonist, Samuel Craddock, who the Toronto Star dubbed in 2014, "... the most engaging new American sleuth in crime fiction."

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Bones To Pick

by Linda Lovely

Brie Hooker, who aspires to operate a B&B that caters to fellow vegans and vegetarians, moves in with her cantankerous, carnivore Aunt Eva and 400 goats at Eva's Udderly Kidding Dairy. Eva needs Brie's help, and Brie is eager to escape a humdrum job and a cheating ex-fiancé. When Udderly's pot-bellied pig digs up a skeleton, Brie's new mission is to prove her aunt isn't a murderer. The book touches on a variety of themes including domestic abuse, real estate scams, family relationships, distrust between people who've lived in an area for generations and newcomers, and biased local media.

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Link to Author's Discussion Questions

Shari Randall is the Library Liaison for Sisters in Crime. She is the author of the charming Lobster Shack Mystery series from St. Martin’s Press.

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