Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Lesley A. Diehl - A Sporting Murder - Review & Giveaway

About the Book

It's smooth sailing for Eve Appel and her friend Madeleine, owners of Second to None Consignment Shop in rural Florida's Sabal Bay, land of swamps, cowboys, and lots and lots of 'gators. Eve and her detective boyfriend Alex have joined Madeleine and her new beau David Wilson for a pleasure cruise on his boat. But cloudy, dangerous waters lie ahead. A near fatal encounter with Blake Reed, David's supremely nasty neighbor, is soon followed by a shooting death on the dividing line between David and Blake's land. Both men run sport-hunting reserves, but Blake imports "exotics" from Africa and promotes gator killing, while David stays within the law, pointing clients toward the abundant quail and turkey as well as the wild pigs that ravage the landscape. Nevertheless, when a mutual client is killed, it is David who is arrested and charged with murder.

Blake's nastiness is only exceeded by that of his wife, Elvira, who forces Eve and Madeleine out of their shop, intending to replace it with a consignment shop of her own. It seems that bad luck looms over them all, even Eve's brawny and hard-to-resist Miccosukee Indian friend Sammy, whose nephew has disappeared. As the case against David grows stronger and his friends' misfortunes multiply, Eve and her strange and diverse group of friends, including her ex, a mobster, her grandma, and Sammy's extended family, band together to take on the bad guys. But the waters are getting muddier and more troubled, and Eve and Madeleine may end up inundated in every sense of the word.

My Review

Cutthroat business competition.

That's what drives this mystery novel.

And the competing parties meet during what's supposed to be a fun Sunday out on the water. Eve and Madeleine are on a double date with their boyfriends, Alex and David. Madeleine's swimming next to David's boat when Blake Reed suddenly motors up next to them and tosses a bucket of bloody bait over the side, attracting a whole swarm of sharks. Madeleine barely makes it onboard before they start attacking everything bobbing on the surface.

Eve doesn't wait to give Blake a piece of her mind, but she's taken aback by his "So what?" reaction to almost getting her best friend killed.

"His predatory gaze reminded me of what I'd seen in the shark's eyes when it surfaced to take the bait. Hungry. Evil. A killing machine."

Eve and Madeleine had hoped to enjoy their day off, since owning the consignment shop, Second to None, usually has them working six days a week, and resting on the seventh. They have to bust their butts to stay afloat in a risky retail climate by catering to the tastes of the rich matrons along the Florida coast.

But when they go back to work on Monday, after their nasty encounter with Blake, their rent is suddenly doubled overnight, forcing them to have to move out without much notice. And who's the person taking their space? Blake's wife, Elvira. She's out to ruin them by starting her own clothing store in their location.

"Yes, I know what you do. I intend to do the same."

It doesn't help that David is also competing against Blake when it comes to their abutting hunting ranches. However, David is actually looking to sell. A few years ago, a thirteen-year-old intruder broke into his home and threatened his daughter at gunpoint. David had no choice but to shoot the kid, killing him in the process. Ever since, he's hated guns, wanting to put as much distance between them as he can.

But David doesn't want to give the ranch away either, but he might not have a choice when a client is found dead on his property.

David admits that he got into an argument with the man, telling him not to kill the exotic oryx that wandered over from the Reed ranch. Stocking exotic game isn't a practice that David approves of.

"Hunt what Florida has to offer—not setting up the African plains in Sabal Bay." 

But the man apparently shoots the oryx because his body is found sprawled in the mud next to the animal carcass.

When Blake Reed arrives on his neighbor's property to see what all the ruckus is about, Eve watches him intently.

"I wondered at someone who could drive up to a crime scene, see a human corpse, and remark only on the dead animal lying nearby. The guy was a piece of work."

In the end, David is charged with first-degree murder, and Eve firmly believes that Blake Reed set him up—she only has to prove it.

Then Second to None burns down.

Eve and Madeleine are forced to transition their business into a mobile home, converting it into a "new shop on wheels" while hitting local outdoor flea markets and casino parking lots. Yet they can't help but wonder if Elvira was behind it when the fire is ruled an arson.

But the Reeds have something much more sinister in store for them than just taking their livelihood, and throwing their loved ones in prison. Eve and Madeleine are about to find out just how exotic the game is at the Reed ranch, and how dangerous a game this psychotic couple is ready to play.


A Sporting Murder can be purchased at:
Barnes and Noble

Formats/Prices: $4.95 ebook, $13.95 paperback
Genres: Cozy Murder Mystery
Pages: 250
Release: July 15, 2015
Publisher: Camel Press
ISBN: 9781603819398
Click to add to your Goodreads list.

About the Author

Lesley retired from her life as a professor of psychology and reclaimed her country roots by moving to a small cottage in the Butternut River Valley in upstate New York. In the winter she migrates to old Florida—cowboys, scrub palmetto, and open fields of grazing cattle, a place where spurs still jingle in the post office, and gators make golf a contact sport. Back north, the shy ghost inhabiting the cottage serves as her literary muse. When not writing, she gardens, cooks and renovates the 1874 cottage with the help of her husband, two cats and, of course, Fred the ghost, who gives artistic direction to their work.

She is the author of a number of mystery series and mysteries as well as short stories. A Sporting Murder follows the first two books in the Eve Appel mystery series, A Secondhand Murder and Dead in the Water.

Links to connect with Lesley:
Web Site
Blog Tour Site

About the Giveaway

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