Book Review: Dying on Edisto by C. Hope Clark

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Title: Dying on Edisto
Series: The Edisto Island Mysteries #5
Author: C. Hope Clark
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books
Genre: Mystery

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Dying on Edisto
The Edisto Island Mysteries #5
C. Hope Clark
Bell Bridge Books, March 2019
ISBN 978-1-61194-942-1
Trade Paperback

From the publisher—

One death. Two detectives. And unexpected backup.

When a renowned—and now dead—travel blogger washes ashore on the banks of Indigo Plantation, Police Chief Callie Morgan of Edisto Beach agrees to head the investigation as a favor to the county sheriff, whose reasons are as questionable as the death itself.

When death turns to murder and a watchdog from the county makes her investigation difficult, Callie reluctantly turns to Carolina Slade and Wayne Largo, vacationing agents with the Department of Agriculture. Because poison is growing on this plantation, and someone knows how to use it well.

When an author has two really good series, it’s nice when the main characters come together in a crossover as in Dying on Edisto which combines Callie Morgan of the Edisto Island Mysteries and Carolina Slade of the Carolina Slade Mysteries. This particular pairing works quite nicely and readers new to Ms. Clark’s work will find themselves enticed to try the two series after this one.

In any crossover, balancing the two halves can be a little dicey but I felt that Ms. Clark created a story that allowed me to get a good “read” on both Callie and Carolina aka Slade, not to mention Wayne, and their very different personalities kept me reading into a very late night. These people, strangers until now, eventually behave as though they’ve known each other for years and have become a well-oiled investigating machine after their initial mutual distrust but they still have moments of real conflict. After all, local law enforcement and the feds don’t always see eye to eye, do they?

With a plethora of leads and multiple potential motives, not to mention an obnoxious detective who actually has jurisdiction, getting to the truth behind travel writer Addison Callaway’s suspicious death proves to be a road full of potholes, if you will. Half the fun of this story lies in watching all these law enforcement folks follow the clues and try to maintain a more or less professional, if somewhat adversarial, professional détente. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and, although it’s supposed to be a standalone, I hope to see this crew together again sometime.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, April 2019.

“Page-turning…[and] edge-of-your-seat action…crisp writing and
compelling storytelling. This is one you don’t want to miss!”
—Carolyn Haines, USA Today bestselling author

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Excerpt from Dying on Edisto

Prologue

Slade

BODIES WEREN’T foreign to me, but they weren’t commonplace either.

Trying to keep my feet out of the water, I stooped over, not too much, to study the corpse floating face down about three feet away. The ears were chewed on by some kind of creature. A denim shirt clung to a pudgy back, and the torso gently rocked though no boat stirred the South Edisto River.

The last body I’d discovered in Newberry, my most recent major case, made me vomit my breakfast burrito, and if I hadn’t skipped lunch today, I’d have upchucked here, too.

We were supposed to be on vacation. Or rather, I’d been ordered by my boss to take a vacation.

“Go take basket weaving or something,” he’d said, his way of telling me to get out of his hair for a while and quit finding investigations where there were none. Sorry, but when I thought there was a case, there usually was a case. My record proved it. He sort of pissed me off.

So I’d Googled basket weaving and South Carolina Lowcountry, and made reservations for a week at Indigo Plantation. I was from this piece of the state, and revisiting would be nice. Plus, I planned to make the biggest, gaudiest basket in the world, and set the damn thing on his desk when I returned.

Patiently, Wayne had stood guard on dry land, while I searched for the right grass for a basket, along the edge of the river. But as I waded calf deep in the water, a heavy something bumped me from behind.

Imagining a gator, I screamed, teetered, and fell, making the lawman come running.

Wayne saw the body before I did. “Don’t touch it, Slade!” he’d yelled.

From sitting waist deep in brackish water, slick mud under my butt, I scrambled like a crab at surf’s edge, putting distance between me and the dead man. “It touched me first,” I yelled back.

Gently but quickly, he rolled the man over and checked for a pulse.

I’m sure my eyes rolled. Skin color and missing eyelids told us what we needed. I couldn’t stop staring though I was sure I’d regret it in my dreams.

“Stay here and guard the scene,” Wayne said, in his federal agent voice, the boyfriend in him gone. “Don’t disturb anything. And don’t let anyone else disturb anything.”

Then off he waded to shore and left me. Just like that. Before I could ask what to do if the body tried to float off.

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About the Author

C. HOPE CLARK has a fascination with the mystery genre and is author of the Carolina Slade Mystery Series as well as the Edisto Island Mysteries, both set in her home state of South Carolina. In her previous federal life, she performed administrative investigations and married the agent she met on a bribery investigation. She enjoys nothing more than editing her books on the back porch with him, overlooking the lake, with bourbons in hand. She can be found either on the banks of Lake Murray or Edisto Beach with one or two dachshunds in her lap. Hope is also editor of the award-winning FundsforWriters.com.

Website // Facebook // Twitter // Amazon // Goodreads

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“Her beloved protagonist, Callie, continues to delight readers
as a strong, savvy, and a wee-bit-snarky police chief.”
—Julie Cantrell, NY Times and USA Today bestselling author

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Book Review: Hunting Season by Nikki Jefford

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Title: Hunting Season
Series: Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter #4
Author: Nikki Jefford
Publication Date: March 3, 2015
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

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Book one is currently FREE at all major online ebook retailers
and available for the reduced price of $1.99 in audiobook
with Amazon’s Whispersync for Voice.

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Hunting SeasonHunting Season
Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter #4
Nikki Jefford
Nikki Jefford, March 2015
ISBN 978-1508687818
Trade Paperback

From the author—

Better to be a hunter, not prey.

Ever since her partner was kidnapped, Aurora Sky has been on a personal mission to get him back. To do that she needs the vampire responsible for destroying her life.

In order to have a snowball’s chance at success, she’ll have to team up with her most loyal friends—including a certain vampire in black with a provoking talent for distraction.

Old cravings aren’t easily quenched, nor past passions. With knowledge comes danger and Aurora is at risk on all sides.

A new Aurora Sky book is always cause for celebration to my way of thinking and Hunting Season surely is everything I hoped for. Getting to spend more time with Aurora and the gang is like spending time with old friends you haven’t seen in a while.

The scrumptious Dante has fallen into some dastardly clutches and it’s up to Aurora and her pals, vampire or otherwise, to figure out how to rescue him. That’s not the only thing going on, though; now that Aurora knows she’s more than just your typical vampire hunter, i.e., she’s a vampire herself, she’s begun to question the motives of the federal agents who recruited her.

Nikki Jefford has a sure hand with the creation and development of plot but it’s her characters who really shine, who come to life on the page. Aurora has grown from a fairly clueless high schooler to a kickbutt vampire hunter who can kill the quarry with little remorse but who values her family and friends with a passion that doesn’t quit. Her close friend, Noel, is every bit as vibrant as Aurora and the two main dudes in their circle, Dante and Fane, appeal to me as much as any fictional fellows I can think of. Even the bad guys, be they vampire or human, stand out and claim their territory.

Aurora struggles with how her life as an undead is going to play out but the betrayal she feels with each new thing she learns about the agency is paramount. She will take them down one way or another but, for right now, she’s on the run with a heartbroken Dante and everyone they care about is in danger.

Waiting for the next book is going to be endless, I think 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, May 2015.

About the Author

Nikki Jefford 2Bookaholic, nature girl, and animal lover.

Nikki Jefford is a third generation Alaskan who found paradise in the not-so-tropical San Juan Islands (WA) where she is, once more, neighbors with Canada in a town without a single traffic light.

She married the love of her life, Sebastien, while working as a teaching assistant in France. They reside with their Westie, Cosmo, in Friday Harbor.

Loves fictional bad boys and heroines who kick butt.

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Book Review: Bad Blood by Nikki Jefford

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Title: Bad Blood
Series: Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter #3
Author: Nikki Jefford
Publication date: June 4th 2014
Genres: Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult

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***Don’t miss STAKEOUT, Vol. 2.5, a 54,000 word novella featuring Noel Harper
and the entire Aurora Sky gang. Now available on Kindle, Nook, Kobo, & iTunes.***

Nikki Jefford Aurora Free

FREE for the duration of the tour!

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Bad BloodBad Blood
Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter #3
Nikki JeffordNikki Jefford, June 2014
ISBN 978-1499690941
Trade Paperback

From the author—

Aurora returns from boot camp to a new assignment, an unwelcome roommate, and the increasingly amorous attentions of a certain vampire hunter.

College is starting, and so is Aurora’s undercover work at a network of swanky parties known as “Tastings” for high rolling vampires who like their blood laced with fine wine. But Aurora’s not the only one on the prowl. An underground investigation is under way to find out who killed one of Anchorage’s most prominent vampires… and Aurora is a prime suspect.

These days, there are only a handful of series that I manage to keep up with; I have so many TBRs that I just can’t stay on top of new entries coming out, much less read them. As a result, there are just a handful I make a point of not missing and the Aurora Sky series is one of them. I’m happy to say that Bad Blood has left me wanting much more.

There’s a lot to love about this series, not least of which is the ingenuity of the plot, longrange as well as in each book. Add to that the natural maturing of a high school girl who has been thrust into a world far beyond her expectations and terrific character development of all the players, major and minor, and there is very little to not like. I love the details, the little things that set this apart from other vampire stories—the whole AB blood thing is brilliant—and I really enjoy spending time with Aurora and Noel (how I love that girl!) and Dante and Valerie and Fane and even the government guys and nasty vamps.

This time, Aurora is on another threshold, moving from boot camp for vampire hunters to her first year in college. Think about it—that must be a little like going from CIA spy/assassin training to college. One minute she’s murdering a killer vampire to pass her last test and the next she’s getting the sex protection talk from her mom and meeting…er, confronting…her new roommate. Oh, and there’s the little matter of having two hunky guys, Dante and Fane, pushing all the right and wrong buttons, not to mention having to balance college classes with her vampire hunting duties.

And being a key suspect in a vampire murder investigation adds a little excitement to life, doesn’t it?

Once again, Nikki Jefford has given us a gem of a story but Bad Blood ends with everything turned topsy turvy and all I can say is thank heavens Hunting Season will be out in just a few months. Waiting to find out what happens next  just may be the end of me 😉

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, July 2014.

About the Author

 

Nikki Jefford 2Bookaholic, nature girl, and animal lover.

Nikki Jefford is a third generation Alaskan who found paradise in the not-so-tropical San Juan Islands (WA) where she is, once more, neighbors with Canada in a town without a single traffic light.

She married the love of her life, Sebastien, while working as a teaching assistant in France. They reside with their Westie, Cosmo in Friday Harbor.

Loves fictional bad boys and heroines who kick butt.

 

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Book Review: Stakeout by Nikki Jefford—and a Giveaway

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Title: Stakeout
Series: Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter #2.5
Author: Nikki Jefford
Publication date: January 14th 2014
Genres: New Adult, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy

Goodreads

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Synopsis:

Noel Harper got a second chance at life when the government recruited her as
an undercover vampire informant. Since the day they brought her back from
the good-as-dead, she has wanted to prove herself worthy.

When a member of her investigative unit is murdered, Noel is paired up with
a vampire hunter named Dante to spy on a suspect in Fairbanks. The problem?
They’re not the only ones on stakeout. Taking down murderous vampires is
one thing. Dealing with the past is another. But this time, Noel isn’t letting fear win.
She’s calling in help from the other side and learns a shocking secret along the way.

(STAKEOUT is an Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter novella told
from Noel Harper’s POV. Approximately 40,000 words.)

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Purchase Links for Earlier Volumes:

Aurora Sky Vampire HunterAurora Sky: Vampire Hunter

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Aurora Sky Vampire Hunter Northern BitesNorthern Bites

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StakeoutStakeout
Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter Vol. 2.5
Nikki Jefford
Nikki Jefford, January 2014
Ebook

From the author—

Noel Harper got a second chance at life when the government recruited her as an undercover vampire informant. Since the day they brought her back from the good-as-dead, she has wanted to prove herself worthy.

When a member of her investigative unit is murdered, Noel is paired up with a vampire hunter named Dante to spy on a suspect in Fairbanks. The problem? They’re not the only ones on stakeout. Taking down murderous vampires is one thing. Dealing with the past is another. But this time, Noel isn’t letting fear win. She’s calling in help from the other side and discovers a shocking secret along the way.

I lost much of my enthusiasm for vampires several years back and then two authors got my attention with their vampiric tales. One of those authors was, and still is, Nikki Jefford. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed everything I’ve read by her and the Aurora Sky series has never let me down.

High school student Aurora Sky is the titular star of the series, having been recruited by a government agency to be a vampire hunter but not of the usual sort. Rather than going in with stakes and other paraphernalia, Aurora just offers her neck and her “special” blood . She doesn’t operate on her own, though, and is part of a group of teens who all have particular strengths. One of those teens is an informant named Noel Harper and Stakeout is her story.

These teens are so well-developed that I feel as though I know them all (although I don’t think I went to high school with a bunch of vampires and those who hunt them).Even some of the vampires are very likeable…but there’s not a sparkle in sight. Noel is a girl who is conflicted, not sure what she’s doing or why, and she has some serious personal baggage. By the time Stakeout came to an end, I was totally connected to her and can’t wait to meet her again.

So, why do I like these books so much? Well, first of all, Ms. Jefford is such a good writer from a construction standpoint and the grammatical flaws and typos are few enough to be of no real consequence. Most of all, I love this series because it’s so much fun, with humor and action and mystery and all sorts of good things. I’m quite sure the next book, Bad Blood, will be every bit as entertaining and I’m very glad we only have to wait till May for that one.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, March 2014.

About the Author

Nikki Jefford 2Nikki Jefford is a third generation Alaskan who found paradise in the not-so-tropical San Juan Islands (Wash.) where she is once more neighbors with Canada in a town without a single traffic light. She loves fictional bad boys and heroines who kick butt.

When she’s not reading, writing, working, or out on a nature walk, she’s out riding her Suzuki DRZ400SM.

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Tour wide giveaway

–Complete eBook set of the series (INT)
–15$ Amazon Gift Card (INT)
–Signed Stakeout paperback (US/CAN)
–Aurora Sky Swag Pack with black nail polish (US/CAN)

Enter the drawing here.

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Vampire Hunting With Aurora Sky

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Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter by Nikki Jefford
Series: Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter #1 
Publication: December 9th 2012
Genre: YA Paranormal

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Aurora Sky Vampire HunterAurora Sky: Vampire Hunter
Volume 1: Transfusion
Nikki Jefford
Nikki Jefford, December 2012
ISBN 978-1481153201
Trade Paperback

From the author—

If there is one thing eighteen-year-old Aurora Sky wants, it’s to get off the iceberg she calls home. Being kissed before she graduates wouldn’t hurt either.

Then a near-fatal car wreck changes everything. Government agents step in and save Aurora’s life in exchange for her services as a vampire hunter. In Alaska. Basically she’s a glorified chew toy. All thanks to her rare blood type, which sends a vampire into temporary paralysis right before she has to finish the job… by hand.

Now Aurora’s only friends are groupies of the undead and the only boy she can think about may very well be a vampire. And if he’s a vampire, will she be forced to kill him?

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I have wanted to visit Alaska for more years than I can count but only if I can go in July or August because I really, REALLY hate cold weather. I’m even willing to put up with the legendary mosquitos if it can just be warm. As much as I don’t like being cold, though, I enjoy reading about it in fiction, maybe because it makes me feel warmer here in Virginia. Will I ever get there? I don’t really know but a lady can dream, right?

Er, hold the phone. It seems that the state has been overrun, inundated, taken over by vampires, of all things, drawn there by…get this…the cold. See, I knew there was a reason I prefer heat.

When I started Transfusion, my first thought was that this is kind of a cool idea but, after a while, I began to think that some of what was going on was just plain silly and goofy. By the time Aurora goes on her first mission with Dante, I had decided that it was all good fun and I’d just enjoy the ride. Agents Melcher and Crist are the perfect parody of government agents, especially Melcher who always seems to have a smile plastered on his face even as he’s dooming Aurora to a life of hinky blood and chasing down the undead. These two are actually indicative of how engaging almost all the primary and secondary characters are. Aurora herself, with all her snarkiness and resistance to authority and to her future, is really appealing as is her new friend Noel. Fane and Dante, while they play very different roles in Aurora’s life, are among the best young male characters I’ve come across.

Worldbuilding is not nearly as important here as in some novels since a crucial aspect of vampires is their existence in a world like our own but Ms. Jefford has used her personal experience of Alaska to create an atmosphere of danger and, yes, cold. So, all in all, have your humor hat on and sit back for an enjoyable journey—and stop trying to be logical 😉 when you read this first in the Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter series. I’m already looking ahead for the next book, Northern Bites.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, March 2013.

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AUTHOR BIO

Nikki JeffordNikki Jefford is a third generation Alaskan who loves fictional bad boys and heroines who kick butt. She is the author of the Spellbound Trilogy and upcoming Aurora Sky: Vampire Hunter series. Nikki married Sebastien, the love of her life, while working as a teaching assistant in France. They now reside in the not-so-tropical San Juan Islands, 70 miles northeast of Forks, Washington.

Author Links:
Website: http://www.nikkijefford.com/
Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5424286.Nikki_Jefford
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/authornikkijefford?ref=ts&fref=ts

Twitter: https://twitter.com/NikkiJefford

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Book Review: Blast from the Past by Lauren Carr

Blast from the PastBlast from the Past
A Mac Faraday Mystery
Lauren Carr
Acorn Book Services, January 2013
ISBN 9780985726775
Trade Paperback

From the author—

In this fourth mystery on Deep Creek Lake; Mac Faraday finds himself up to his eyeballs with mobsters and federal agents. After an attempted hit ends badly with two of his men dead, mobster Tommy Cruze arrives in Spencer, Maryland, to personally supervise the execution of the witness responsible for putting him behind bars—Archie Monday! Mac Faraday believes he has his work cut out for him in protecting his lady love from one of the most dangerous leaders in organized crime; but when bodies start dropping in his lakeshore resort town, things may be hotter than even he can handle.

Mac Faraday may be a multi-millionaire but that doesn’t mean he’s forgotten his background in law enforcement. The big city ex-cop in him can’t help but come out when things go wrong in his adopted town—and they’re going wrong in spades this time. Not only is a mobster in town to “take care” of Archie; bodies are dropping like flies and they may not all be because of Tommy Cruze. Fact is, there seems to be a plethora of unpleasant folks in town and it’s a good thing the local police chief, David, has no problem accepting help from his half-brother. It’s also a good thing that Mac’s money can buy extra protection for Archie but she may not need it so much considering how deft she is with her pink handgun.

The wonderful Gnarly has his own duties this time, not only taking down bad guys in his very effective canine fashion. He also takes on the task of making a little girl feel safe and loved, not such an easy thing to do when Sari has been more traumatized than most of us will ever experience.

Reading a mystery by Lauren Carr is always a treat and Blast from the Past is certainly no exception. Are there some flaws? Of course there are but these are easily overshadowed by a breakneck pace, one death after another, a superabundance of government agents, a little romance here and there and a good deal of Gnarly time. I can never get too much of his pooch and his human buddies.

Reviewed by Lelia Taylor, March 2013.