Saturday, January 30, 2016

LSLL Blog Tour: DESPERATE FOR DEATH by Judy Alter - Guest Post

Desperate for Death
A Kelly O'Connell Mystery 
by Judy Alter
Genre: Cozy Mystery / Suspense
Publisher: Alter Ego Press
Date of Publication: January 9, 2016
# of pages: 228

Just when Kelly's life has calmed, she faces yet another of life's puzzles. Except the pieces in this one don't fit. First the apartment behind her house is torched, then a string of bizarre "accidents" occur to set her off-balance. Who is stalking her? Where does the disappearance of a young girl and her disreputable boyfriend fit in? And why are two men using the same name? Is the surprise inheritance another part of the puzzle? At a time when she is most vulnerable, Kelly can't make the pieces fit. Before Kelly can get the whole picture, she helps the family of a hostage, rescues a kidnap victim and attends a wild and wonderful wedding. 

    Praise for Desperate for Death   

Once again, Kelly is thrust into action when her family and friends are targeted by a deranged convict and this time Kelly has more to protect. I enjoyed this fast-paced and well written drama that continues to get better and better with a strong and determined heroine and a secondary cast that plays a pivotal role in the telling of this tale. It was fun watching this mystery played out with all the key elements that lead to a fulfilling finale and I especially enjoyed Keisha presence in this book. This is by far the best book in this series and I hope there are more to come in this engaging series.—Dru Ann L Love

One satisfying aspect of Desperate for Death which sets it apart from other murder mysteries is its staccato action in which everything happens at once, little seems connected, and life becomes a series of challenges. Fast-paced action keeps readers involved in not only events, but Kelly's response to them, and in her efforts to keep her head above stormy waters.—Diane Donovan, Senior E-book Review Editor, Midwest Book Review

Judy Alter's books just keep getting better. Her characters have real growth and the plots get harder to figure out. This one is her best of this genre….David Hartley Burlingame

Mothers and Daughters
I don’t know about you but I found raising teenage boys easier than their sisters. Teen-age girls go through stages that mothers especially often find difficult. They’re trying to find themselves as individuals and to separate themselves from their mothers, even while hormones are raging and showering them with unfamiliar and puzzling feelings. When my older daughter was at her most sullen and rude behavior, I turned to her sister, five years younger, and asked, “You won’t ever do this, will you?” “Oh, no, Mom,” she promised. She did it in spades. I was lucky in that my girls both eventually “found themselves,” turned out to be awfully nice people, and are today my best friends. In some families, I fear those years leave scars that never completely heal.
Kelly O’Connell experiences some of that teen-age rebellion in Desperate for Death. Kelly has always been set apart from most cozy heroines who are single, often involved in tumultuous affairs, and indecisive about their love life. Kelly is the single mom of two girls. One reviewer felt this helped make Kelly more fully developed. Diane Donovan, senior e-book editor for Midwest Reviews, wrote, “[Kelly’s] interactions with her family are just as compelling as are the mysteries life hands her. In one scene, Kelly asks her teen daughter,
"Why didn't you just google it?"
‘Because you're sitting right here, and I knew you'd know the answer.’
Mixed feelings. I was flattered she thought I'd know the answer, but then again I couldn't be doing her homework for her.
“Is it in your American history book?"
‘We don't have a book. We have a syllabus, and we're supposed to use the internet.’
I bit my tongue to keep from saying, ‘So why didn't you?’ Education was changing too much for me."
Maggie’s resentment of her mother, shown by her sudden lack of affection and enthusiasm, stems mostly from the dangerous situations Kelly gets the family into. “You promised no more danger,” she wails at her mother, and Kelly’s semi-patient explanation that she didn’t deliberately bring danger home falls on deaf ears. Em, the little sister, idolizes Maggie and tends to follow her lead, even when Maggie is too quick and impatient with her. Kelly, who has always been close to her daughters, feels alienated and left out.
When Maggie herself becomes the target of threats, she is forbidden to go to the mall which she resents highly and is commanded to wait in the school office to be picked up. Only the threat of having Keisha or her uniformed policeman stepfather pick her up quiets her objections to her mom. She says the other kids would laugh if a cop picked her up and would think Keisha was her nanny. She’s at that age where her peers’ opinions of her are so important.
So Kelly has two problems in this novel. She must find out who is stalking and threatening her and why, and she must do the best she can to remain close to her daughters. Oh, and then there’s a young girl about Maggie’s age who’s been kidnapped, an unexpected inheritance, and Keisha’s wedding to plan. Yes, Kelly has her hands full. See for yourself if you think the family woes add to the story or detract from it.

An award-winning novelist, Judy Alter is the author of six books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries series: Skeleton in a Dead Space, No Neighborhood for Old Women, Trouble in a Big Box, Danger Comes Home, Deception in Strange Places, and Desperate for Death. 

She also writes the Blue Plate Café Mysteries—Murder at the Blue Plate Café, Murder at the Tremont House and Murder at Peacock Mansion. Finally, with the 2014 The Perfect Coed, she introduced the Oak Grove Mysteries.

Her work has been recognized with awards from the Western Writers of America, the Texas Institute of Letters, and the National Cowboy Museum and Hall of Fame. She has been honored with the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement by WWA and inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame.

Judy is retired as director of TCU Press and the mother of four grown children and the grandmother of seven. She and her dog, Sophie, live in Fort Worth, Texas. 

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