Monday, October 9, 2017

Halloween is Murder by Carolyn Arnold - #review #giveaway


Beware of all that goes bump in the night…

Sean and Sara McKinley are excited about the haunted house they’ve set up as a Halloween charity fund-raiser, but things take a ghoulish turn when the reporter covering their story is found dead. With the media keeping mum about how she died, Sara’s curiosity is piqued, and she convinces Sean to take on the investigation through their PI firm.


But this case is not without its challenges. The police are actively investigating it, as well, and it’s not even clear that the woman was murdered. It will take a little cloak-and-dagger, dress-up, and finesse for the McKinleys to get to the bottom of it, but they aren’t the kind to give up.

As they troll for leads and work through the skeletons in the reporter’s closet, they unearth a few suspects, but they’ll need to carve out the whole truth if they’re going to find her killer. If they do so fast enough, there might even be time for a little trick-or-treating.


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MY REVIEW

My first experience with Carolyn Arnold as an author was through her Madison Knight series, which I thoroughly enjoyed and with which I was very impressed.  I've also dipped into the McKinley series with Skiing is Murder, and the Matthew Connor Adventures with City of Gold (this link also features an interview with the author).

So anytime a book by Ms. Arnold crosses my path, a little voice inside me says, "WAHOO!  Let the reading commence!"

It was with this attitude I approached Halloween is Murder and I am pleased to say that I was not disappointed!  The McKinleys (Sean and Sara) are quite wealthy - which is unusual for cozy heroes and heroines, in my experience.  But they're also darned nice people and quite down to earth.

This time, the McKinleys have set up/sponsored a haunted house for charity.  Then a reporter covering the story is found dead, and the game, as they say, is afoot.  The questions of Who? What? Where? When? Why? must be answered to solve the case.  Actually, three of those questions kind of answer themselves.

What?  A suspicious death.  When?  TOD (time of death) can be determined forensically.  Where?  Where the body was found.

It's the Who (as in whodunit) and Why (motive) that provide the mysteries to be solved.

Sara and Sean operate slightly differently but that is precisely what makes them so good and such an effective team.  Sara is quickly becoming a favorite cozy heroine for me.  She's kind and very competent at her job, whether it is a charity do or investigating grizzly murders.  She is practical, but open to the thought that 'there is more in heaven and earth' than our senses can explain.

So, if you are a fan of Halloween, you can put a little more sizzle in your season by adding Halloween is Murder to your reading list.  It is part of a series, yes, but you can enjoy it on its own as well.  I, myself, may have to curl up on Halloween with spiced cider, my favorite seasonal candy (Mary Janes), and a good book, and I know JUST the one...*wink*

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EXCERPT

Chapter 8

STUCK BETWEEN A GRAVE AND A TOMBSTONE

SARA’S HEART RATE TICKED UP a few notches at Marie’s assured conclusion that someone had killed Chloe. She could feel Sean staring at her, but she refused to look at him. She knew that his eyes would be telling her not to get attached to investigating this case. Besides, he had said they could look into Chloe’s death more, which hadn’t been a commitment, she knew, but she’d taken it as his word. Even a little investigating was a step in the direction she wanted to go. And just because she had a gut feeling about Chloe’s death didn’t mean she’d lost all objectivity.

“Why do you think someone killed her?” Sara asked.

“It’s just… None of this feels right.” Marie picked at her purse strap, its fabric frayed and
threads poking out. Probably a nervous habit of hers.

Sara gave Marie the once-over. For someone who lived in a nice neighborhood, Marie’s
clothing and accessories didn’t speak of wealth. It also didn’t seem Chloe’s sense of style was a trait her sister shared.

“And why doesn’t it feel right?” Sean, a skeptic if ever there was one, pressed.

Sara looked over at him. It didn’t seem to matter how long they worked together; he would never fully cave to the weight she put on intuition.

So much for rubbing off on the people you spend the most time with…

“The police talked to me at length,” Marie said, “but they didn’t ask the types of questions I would have expected if they were treating it as a murder.”

“Like what?” Sara asked.

“I thought they would have asked who would have had reason to kill her, for one.”

“We spoke with Jackson—” Sean started.

“Yes, I know,” Marie cut in. “That’s how I got your information.”

“Then you know that he was held for questioning.”

Marie nodded. “I do, but he didn’t think they grilled him very hard, either.”

There was only so much law enforcement could do without cause. Still, they could have held Jackson for longer than the time it had taken them to question him. By law, they had up to twenty-four hours to hold him without filing a formal charge.

“And Chloe’s health was excellent. We have no history of disease or people just—” Marie averted her eyes “—dropping dead in our family. Our grandparents lived into their eighties on both sides. Now, our parents are both dead, but they were in a car accident.” She added the latter part quickly.

“Do you have any other siblings?” Sara asked, though she only remembered reading that Chloe had a sister.

Marie shook her head. “It was just…” She cupped the sides of her face and pinched her eyes shut. Tears squeezed out from the corners, falling down her cheeks without apology.

A knot balled in Sara’s chest, and she took a shallow breath. She was getting too caught up emotionally—again. And taking on the grief of others wasn’t healthy. At least so far with this case, she’d managed to stuff the feelings deep down inside. But she’d be lying if she said she didn’t fear  that one day they’d bubble to the surface all at once.

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MEET THE AUTHOR



CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

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GIVEAWAY!!!


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Click on the banner above to go to the tour page, where you will find links to more reviews of Halloween is Murder by Carolyn Arnold.  You can also find out how to become a blog host for future book tours while you are there!

(Disclosure:  I received a copy of this book from the author and publishers via Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours in exchange for my honest review.)

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