R.I.P in Reykjavik

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author A.R. Kennedy and her cozy mystery novel, R.I.P in Reykjavik.

Author’s description:

Traveling with your family can be murder.

One wedding party + one estranged mother = another vacation that goes array for Naomi.

Naomi is off on another international vacation. She thinks traveling with her mother will be the most difficult part of her trip until she meets the rest of the tour group—a wedding party. It only gets worse when she finds the groom dead. Everyone’s a suspect on her Icelandic tour of this stunning country.

My Review

In R.I.P in Reykjavik, A.R. Kennedy has taken her idea of combining arm chair travel and cozy crime stories up a notch. This is a witty, fun and easy-to-read amateur sleuth novel that will once again have you turning the pages to cheer on its rookie crime solver. This time around, you’ll be enjoying the beauty and charm of Iceland while you do it.

Naomi acts more grown-up in this novel, and her previous amateur sleuthing in Africa has made her more competent at solving murders, too. It makes her a more likable sleuth. As a bonus, the reader gets new details about her dysfunctional family and I think this knowledge makes the whole series more appealing.

One of my favorite things about her writing is the ongoing humor. Enough sly wit was scattered throughout the story to keep me smiling, but I was laughing out loud near the end as Naomi made a video for her sister of the coming and goings in the hotel hallway. It’s worth reading the book just for that scene.

Deep twists and unexpected turns regarding the murder aren’t Kennedy’s MO, but once again we get an adequately complex cast of suspects, and a satisfying ending. I’ll take that any day.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes cozy mysteries, amateur sleuth novels or travel.

Check out my review of the author’s previous book Sleuth on Safari.

The teaser at the end of R.I.P in Reykjavik says Naomi’s next adventure will be in Australia. I’m looking forward to it!

About the Author

A R Kennedy lives in Long Beach, New York, with her two pups. She works hard to put food on the floor for them. As her favorite T-shirt says, ‘I work so my dog can have a better life’. She’s an avid traveler. But don’t worry. While she’s away, her parents dote on their grand-puppies even more than she does. Her writing is a combination of her love of travel, animals, and the journey we all take to find ourselves.

Find her on Goodreads, Facebook, Instagram, Bookbub or on Twitter. 

Buy R.I.P in Reykjavik on Amazon or find it at Books2read.

Yes, there is a giveaway.

A. R. Kennedy will be awarding a $25 Amazon/BN gift certificate to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win.

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish. Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

A Personal Note

I’ve haven’t yet had the good fortune to travel to Iceland, but I did get to research it for my novel Flickers of Fortune. My hero Ariel, also a tourist, did many of the same things Naomi did, including visiting the Blue Lagoon and eating at the Lava restaurant. It was extra fun for me to read these scenes!

 My Favorite Excerpt

We stopped for lunch at a local restaurant. As I sat down at one of the long benches, my cell phone rang. Charlotte’s face appeared on the screen. I ran outside to answer it.

“So I heard you had a late night,” Charlotte said.

“Not the time.” I looked over my shoulder to make sure no one had followed me out. “The police think it might not be an accident.”

Charlotte audibly sighed. “Is that why it was a long night? You were with the police?”

“No, one of Ösp’s friends is a police officer.”

“You mean Thor.”

“Please don’t encourage Mother. His name is Ösp. I don’t want her nickname to stick.”

“Her nickname? I called him that,” she corrected me. “He looks like Thor.”

I looked over my shoulder at the restaurant’s entrance. “Looks like? How do you know what he looks like? Did you cyberstalk him? Check the hotel’s website for the staff’s pictures?”

“No. Mom texted me pictures.”

Horrified, I asked, “And how did she get them?”

“She followed you to the lobby.”

“Nice.”

“Give her a break. She was excited. It was like seeing you on your first date.”

“I’ve been on dates before.” I glanced over my shoulder again for any of the suspects.

“But Mom didn’t see that. She didn’t see the first dates, the proms. That was all Dad.”

“Would you like it if Dad followed you out on a date?”

“I don’t think Dad cares about those things.”

She was probably right.

“Anyway, this police officer I met last night said the autopsy must have shown something because they hadn’t closed the case yet.”

“So you turned your date into a fact-finding mission?”

“It was a happy coincidence.” I thought I heard the door open behind me. I turned to see no one. It must have been the wind.

“Why do you keep looking behind you?” Charlotte asked.

“Just making sure none of the suspects can hear me.”

“Suspects? You’ve turned your traveling companions into suspects?” She paused before adding, “Again?”

I ignored her. “Hurry up, Charlotte. Someone is going to come out looking for me soon.”

“Fine. If he drowned, I bet they’d say it was an accident. They’d find water in his lungs if he drowned. Maybe the autopsy didn’t find water in his lungs. That doesn’t rule out a cardiac event. That may be hard to prove. Most likely they are waiting for the toxicology results. That’s going to take a few days.”

I looked at the restaurant door and wished I could run in for my backpack, so I could take notes. “And what would that show?”

“Whatever was in his system. Maybe drugs, poisons.”

“I forgot to ask. If it was poison, how long before he died would he have to be poisoned?”

“Depends on the poison. Probably an hour or two, I guess.”

“Could you get a poison through TSA?”

“In something in a bottle with less than three ounces, sure. Could have been a powder. They could have bought it locally too. Rat poison and antifreeze has been used in a lot human deaths.”

“Can you think of anything specific I should look for?”

“You should look who’s coming up behind you,” she said before hanging up.

Lacey Goes to Tokyo

Today it is my pleasure to welcome author C.H. Lyn and her Suspense/Thriller novel Lacey Goes to Tokyo.Author’s description of the book:

International travel means international danger.

Lacey Devaine is a four-year veteran of a spy ring which fronts as an exclusive escort service, Miss Belle’s Travel Guides. Maintaining her cover is Lacey’s number one priority to protect the integrity of the operation she works for.

While on assignment in Tokyo, a nosy newspaper reporter threatens to blow the lid off a scandal that will put dozens of innocent lives at risk. To protect her cover, Miss Belle is called in to act on intelligence Lacey has uncovered.

Can these beautiful, intelligent, and deadly women complete this assignment

C.H. Lyn shares her thoughts with us on creating likeable deadly female protagonists:

The obvious answer for how to create a likeable deadly female protagonist, is to make sure a character is three-dimensional. Too often we are handed female characters who are clearly male characters with a “girl” name. Or, we are given people who are only focused on the mission, the revenge, or the murder. Lacey and Miss Belle have lives. They have friends, passions, and a family; that’s what drives their characters, sometimes to kill.

Creating these two women was incredibly entertaining for a couple reasons. They are such different women, it made writing back and forth between the two of them challenging, but it gave me the relief of never having a dull moment. It also made those pesky writers-block moments a little easier to handle. When one character stopped talking to me, I could often figure out a way to work on the other character’s scenes.

With Lacey we see right away that she is a calm sort of person. She’s the friend who listens when you vent about life, but never seems to have anything worth venting about to you. In fact, until we see her truly angry, it’s hard to imagine she could be anything but the polite young lady she pretends to be. I think this helps the reader relate to her, probably more than Miss Belle. She’s the girl next door, the friendly ear, the relaxing person we all enjoy spending time with. She’s also cunning, athletic, multi-lingual, and more than capable of handling herself in rough situations.

Miss Belle is another story. She curses, throws things, and from the start we know she is a killer. I think her likeability comes from her interactions with the other characters. As a stand-alone, she would be too similar to the plethora of standoffish, angry protagonists who take justice into their own hands. Instead, she tries to do the right thing and finds herself painted into a corner. Miss Belle is harsh throughout the story, and will continue to be harsh as the series progresses. She isn’t necessarily supposed to be liked by every reader, not entirely anyway. But if the reader can see how much she struggles with the deaths around her, namely the ones she is directly responsible for, they will be able to understand her choices, even if they don’t agree with them.

These women each have their own motives, their own histories, and their own voices. Their realness is what makes them likeable. They aren’t always cool under pressure, because no one is. They don’t always make the right decisions, because no one does. And they suffer the consequences of their decisions, because everyone does.

About the Author:

I was born and raised in a small town in Northern California. Growing up in a college town meant I experienced a wide variety of people and opinions. I like to think my stories reflect the vast differences in the people I’ve met.  I love to travel. I want to explore the world around me while writing about the worlds in my mind.

I grew up with a steady diet of wonderful stories set in amazing worlds. I’ve read almost every series Tamora Pierce has written, and I am a crazy fan of the Hunger Games series. My nerdiness also encompasses the Harry Potter series, LOTR, and (to an extent) the worlds of superheros. Though, my husband is really head of DC knowledge in the household. He is also the most amazing source of support I could hope for.

I’m 26 now. My daughter just turned one. She is already so smart, curious, and beautiful. I want the female characters in my writing to be inspiring, not just for her, but for all the little girls who grow up reading.

Find C.H.Lyn at her website, or on Facebook, on Tirgearr Publishing, or on Twitter.

Purchase her book here at the Amazon link for Lacey Goes to Tokyo.

Yes there is a giveaway:

C.H. Lyn will be awarding a $10 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

Enter here to win

My favorite excerpt:

The blade I planted in his shoulder now dangles from his left hand. Fresh blood—my blood—coats the metal. His right arm hangs, useless, at his side.

He snarls at me with yellow teeth. He lunges forward again. The blade swings toward me, and I parry with my machete. The effort sends a burst of pain down my arm and into the left side of my back.

He swings again, and I step to the side, leaning my upper body to the right. We dance now. Circling each other. My left arm will not land a functional blow. Not with blood still dripping down from my shoulder. His right arm continues to swing. More blood pours from him than me.

I reach up my right hand and tug down my handkerchief. I breathe deep, easing the pain in my shoulder and preparing myself for the next attack. I switch my machete back to the right hand.

He shouts something. My grasp of the language is bad—at best—but I know what a cry for help sounds like.

“No one can hear you.” I spit blood at him, laughing.

Laughing during a fight knocks people off their guard, especially if blood is leaking from between your teeth at the same time.

His eyes widen. He says a few words and his gaze darts around in frantic movements. It lands on me. I catch his eyes with mine and don’t blink.

“The rest of your friends? They’re dead.”

This post is part of a tour sponsored by Goddess Fish.

Check out all the other tour stops. If you drop by each of these and comment, you will greatly increase your chances of winning.

Having Lunch in Dubai for World Peace

I have no doubt that the more time people spend together, and the more they understand each other, the less likely they are to hate or kill each other. I feel so strongly about this that I wrote a book about how truly understanding another person would make it far more difficult to kill them.

Every so often I discover a group acting on similar ideas to make the world a better place, and it fills me with joy. Yesterday I had the privilege of having lunch with members of such a group.

I’m in Dubai, the largest city of the United Arab Emirates. This modern, cosmopolitan city of over two million is a whopping 82% expats. They come from every continent, culture and religion and, in spite of their current location, they bring plenty of biases and misunderstandings with them regarding Muslims in general and the Emirates in particular.

Enter a group called “Open Door, Open Minds.” Their idea is pretty much what you would guess. Come have a meal with us. Let us show you some of how we live while you ask questions. Any questions.

This organization not only performs outreach to Dubai’s many residents born elsewhere, but they also invite tourists coming through Dubai to participate. I was lucky enough to be in a tour group that did so.

The food is plentiful, and the hosts are warm and sincere. They invite you to try on the traditional clothing worn by your gender, and they take you on a tour of an old home.

They also answer whatever awkward questions the group wants to throw at them. Ours was pretty polite, but I got the impression that not all others were.

A map in the hallway shows the many places these tourists have come from. Have there been enough of them to achieve world peace? Of course not. But  ….. it’s a start.