Book Review: Playing Possum by Lois Schmitt—and 2 Giveaways! @schmittmystery @encirclepub @partnersincr1me

Playing Possum

by Lois Schmitt

February 1-28, 2022 Virtual Book Tour

Purchase Links:
Barnes & Noble // Indiebound // Amazon

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Playing Possum
A Kristy Farrell Animal Lovers Mystery, #3
Lois Schmitt
Encircle Publications, December 2021
ISBN‎ 978-1-64599-305-6
Hardcover

From the publisher—

Murder, Mayhem, and Missing Animals.

When animals mysteriously disappear from the Pendwell Wildlife Refuge, former English teacher turned magazine reporter Kristy Farrell is on the case. Days later, the body of the refuge’s director is found in a grassy clearing.

Kristy, assisted by her veterinarian daughter, investigates and discovers strong motives among the suspects, including greed, infidelity, betrayal, and blackmail.

As Kristy delves further, she finds herself up against the powerful Pendwell family, especially matriarch Victoria Buckley Pendwell, chair of the refuge board of trustees, and Victoria’s son, Austin Pendwell, who is slated to run for the state senate.

But ferreting out the murderer and finding the missing animals aren’t Kristy only challenges. While researching a story on puppy mills, she uncovers criminal activity that reaches far beyond the neighborhood pet store.

Meanwhile, strange things are happening back at the refuge, and soon a second murder occurs. Kristy is thwarted in her attempts to discover the murderer by her old nemesis, the blustery Detective Wolfe.

Kristy perseveres and as she unearths shady deals and dark secrets, Kristy slowly draws the killer out of the shadows.

After having enjoyed Something Fishy, the second book in this series, I was looking forward to Kristy’s next adventure and Ms. Schmitt did not disappoint me at all. Playing Possum (I really get a smile out of her titles) is just as focused on the animal world, a big plus for me, and is built on an equally intriguing puzzle.

Being an investigative reporter, Kristy easily juggles the multiple issues that come up in addition to the initial murder and the interplay between mother and daughter (Abby), what you might call a dynamic duo, is spot on, sort of a well-oiled machine, and I really enjoy Kristy’s antagonistic relationship with the crabby detective. Yes, he’s obnoxious and certainly unappreciative of her nosing around but I find him to be a pleasant change from the usual romantic entanglement. After all, not every sleuthing woman needs to fall for the investigating cop , right?

As a proponent of animal rescue, I’m so glad the author chose to address the needs of distressed wildlife and domestic animals and the efforts made by many to make the world a safer place for all creatures. If even one reader is moved to participate in some way, we all will be the better for it. Meanwhile, any mystery fan is sure to like Playing Possum.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, February 2022.

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Praise for Playing Possum:

Lois Schmitt’s Playing Possum does cozies proud. Fresh
and traditional all at once.” -Reed Farrel Coleman,
New York Times bestselling author of Sleepless City

“In her third book of the series, writer Lois Schmitt has crafted an
intricately-plotted mystery full of twists and humor, with a cast of
colorful characters, set in a wildlife refuge rehab center. Cozy fans,
and especially followers of Schmitt’s animal lovers’ mysteries, will
find great entertainment in Playing Possum.” -Phyllis Gobbell,
award-winning author of the Jordan Mayfair Mysteries

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An Excerpt from Playing Possum

I waited until a man and a woman emerged from the county medical examiner’s van. I followed them into the wildlife preserve, maintaining a discreet distance while wondering what happened. Did a jogger succumb to a heart attack? Did a child fall into a pond and drown? I inhaled deeply, hoping to steady my nerves. I passed the clearing on the right where the administration building was located. I continued trailing the two members of the medical examiner’s staff until another clearing came into view—this one bordered by yellow crime scene tape. I gasped. Not far from where I stood, spread out in full view was a female body with blood covering much of the head. The body was face down, but I recognized the small build, sandy colored hair, and jade green shirt. I tasted bile. I wanted to scream, but I slapped my hand in front of my mouth. After regaining my composure, I surveyed my surroundings. Three people wearing jackets emblazoned in the back with the words Crime Scene Investigator were near the front of the clearing. One was bent over the body and the other two appeared to be examining the nearby ground. When the medical examiner’s team approached, the investigator next to the body rose up and started talking. I couldn’t make it all out, but I did hear him say “Blow to the head.” “Oh, no,” I mumbled when I spied two homicide detectives I knew. Detective Adrian Fox, a thirty something African American, stood on the side of the clearing, near a small pond. He was talking to a woman who yesterday had been arguing with the preserve’s director. The director had called this woman Elena, so I assumed this was Elena Salazar, the education coordinator. I couldn’t hear what she was saying to the detective, but she was gesturing wildly with her arms. The other detective, Steve Wolfe, had marched over to the body and was now barking orders to the medical examiner’s staff, who didn’t seem pleased. As Wolfe turned around, the woman in the medical examiner’s jacket shook her head. I sighed. Wolfe and I had a history. He was a bully who had gone to school with my younger brother Tim, constantly picking on him. Granted Tim was the classic nerd who might as well have worn the sign “Kick Me” on his back. I had recently solved two of Wolfe’s murder cases, which only irritated him more. Wolfe spied me and headed in my direction, his face turning the color of a beet. His gray pants hung below his pot belly, his glacier blue eyes as cold as ever, and he wore the same annoying grin as when he was a kid that made me want to slap his face. “What happened?” I asked. “I’m here about a dead squirrel,” he said. “I’m a homicide detective. What do you think happened?” “I know the victim,” I said. He narrowed his eyes. “How do you know her?” “I’m doing a story on the wildlife refuge and—” “How come whenever you do a story people die?” Not really a nice way to put it. “Who found the body?” I asked. “Three hikers.” “What caused—” “This is none of your business. This is a crime scene.” He pointed a fat finger at me. “You need to leave.” “I’m behind the yellow tape,” I argued. I didn’t think his face could get any redder, but it did. “Stay out of my way.” He spun around and stomped off toward the side where Detective Fox appeared to be jotting something in a notepad. Elena Salazar was no longer there. I had no idea where she went. I had lots of questions, but I wasn’t getting answers from Wolfe. The crime scene investigators were packing up. Maybe I’d have better luck with them. “When was she killed” I asked the one investigator, who looked young enough to appear on an acne remedy commercial. “We need to wait for the autopsy.” “Do you have an approximate time of death?” “Sorry. We can’t talk to the public.” I sighed. I’d have to get the answers somewhere else. I wondered why the victim had been at the clearing. I glanced at the pond, guessing this was where the rehabilitated turtle would be released. Did she come here early to check things out before the release? But what would she be checking? My thoughts were interrupted as the medical examiner’s team passed by me carrying a stretcher with the covered body. I figured I might learn something if I listened to their conversation. Eavesdropping was one of my talents. I scratched my theory about arriving early to check on conditions for the turtle release when one of the attendants said, “I can’t imagine why anyone would be in these woods at midnight.” *** Excerpt from Playing Possum by Lois Schmitt. Copyright 2021 by Lois Schmitt. Reproduced with permission from Lois Schmitt. All rights reserved.

 

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About the Author

 

A mystery fan since she read her first Nancy Drew, Lois Schmitt combined a love of mysteries with a love of animals in her series featuring animal magazine reporter Kristy Farrell. Lois is member of several wildlife conservation and humane organizations, as well as Mystery Writers of America. She received 2nd runner-up for the Killer Nashville Claymore award for her second book in the series entitled Something Fishy, She previously served as media spokesperson for a local consumer affairs agency and currently teaches at a community college. Lois lives in Massapequa, Long Island with her family, which includes a 120 pound Bernese Mountain dog. This dog bears a striking resemblance to Archie, a dog of many breeds featured in her Kristy Farrell Mystery Series.

Catch Up With Lois Schmitt:

LoisSchmitt.com
Goodreads
Instagram: @loisschmittmysteries

Twitter: @schmittmystery

Facebook: @LoisSchmittAuthor

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Tour Participants:

Visit these other great hosts on this tour for more great reviews,
interviews, guest posts, and giveaways!

https://www.linkytools.com/basic_linky_include.aspx?id=305439


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Giveaways

#1

Visit, Share, & Enter to WIN!

This is a giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual
Book Tours for Lois Schmitt. See the widget for entry
terms and conditions. Void where prohibited.

Enter here.

#2

Leave a comment below to enter the drawing for a
print copy of Playing Possum. The winning name will
be drawn on the evening of Friday, February 25th.
Open to the US and Canada.

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