What readers are saying about STUCK

Stuck_postit Six months after its publication, here’s a sample of reviews for STUCK, book two of The Penningtons Investigate!

A Life Through Books: “Humor along with mystery and intrigue really make for a wonderfully written and fun to read novel!”

Texas Book Nook: “Fun, addictive, and full of surprises.”

Cyn: “STUCK, the second mystery in The Penningtons Investigate series, is just as wonderful as the first! The professor-sleuths Lyssa and Kyle are well-developed and engaging. The setting is sharply drawn, and the mystery unfolds at a steady pace, with myriad twists and turns to keep you guessing.”

Novel News Network: “A very suspenseful novel.  Definitely fast paced.”

Valerie’s Musings: “I would definitely highly recommend this series to other cozy mystery enthusiasts!”

Erika K: “Lyssa and Kyle are a sweet couple, each with their own strengths, which makes them a good investigative team, and STUCK an enjoyable story.”

The Indie Express: “A Smooth moving plot with a mystery that kept me flipping pages to the very end. Great Suspense and Mystery. Definitely kept me guessing.”

My Reading Addiction: “I loved the balance between the lives and personalities of the characters and the mystery they were dealing with.”

Books Are Love: “A fun mystery that captures you from the beginning and puts you in the story wanting to solve it alongside Lyssa, her husband and friends.”

On a Reading Bender: “Light and Fun, C.T. Collier’s novel STUCK will have readers captivated by her characters.”

Momma and Her Stories: “C.T. Collier does a great job of creating a Mystery that keeps the reader invested and guessing.”

Many thanks to all my readers! I love hearing your feedback and your experience of the Penningtons’ adventures!

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Peter Lovesey’s Academic Mysteries

Peter Lovesey has written two academic mysteries, one featuring Peter Diamond, The Last Detective, the other featuring Sergeant Cribb, Swing, Swing Together. In both cases, I marveled at the plot twists, and I enjoyed the ongoing tension generated by the personality of each detective.

What a master Lovesey is of leading the reader to absolute certainty that each suspect in turn must be the killer. I failed to guess the correct identity both times. And that little added mystery concerning each title’s meaning? He reveals it only the end, both times, and it feels like the cherry on top of the hot-fudge sundae.

Full revision underway

Writing mysteries feels like driving a coach with four feisty horses under my reins: my two sleuths, Kyle and Lyssa; the killer; and the victim. Letting each of them have their heads would mean disaster, but they’re the force that propels the story. My job is to keep them working together. No wonder my hands hurt all the time!

notes-for-revisionThis photo shows book two of The Penningtons Investigate, obviously a work in progress. The 20 chapters are drafted, and I’ve just done a critical read-through and chapter-by-chapter analysis, noting flaws, missed opportunities, development of the character arcs (his, hers, and theirs), progress of the investigation, and so on. I didn’t do that for book one, but my wonderful editor did.

I humbly learn with each book.

The plan is to have the full revision in the hands of my wonderful editor and my beta readers by year’s end. I’ll bet your process is different, isn’t it? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

When a review really “gets” your book

Authors have their share of good reviews and bad, but for this author it’s heart-warming when a reviewer really gets what I’ve tried to do with a book. That’s why I feel compelled to share a line from a review of Planted, posted to Amazon on July 17. The reader, Mr. Herman, begins by calling the book “charming,” and asserts, “At the end, I felt as sorry for one of the villains as I did for the man who was murdered….that takes a good writer!”

When I read the review, I was speechless, and a smile spread across my face. I try to bring compassion to my writing, not just for the victim but for many of the characters. Certainly for the victim’s loved ones, and  sometimes for a villain whose life has gone haywire. Thank you, Mr. Herman, for responding to to that facet of the story and for taking the time to say so!

And now, back to writing book two of The Penningtons Investigate . . .

Diehl and D’Avanzo Mix In Student Research (academic mysteries)

Colleges have come a long was from the old Lecture/Recitation model of education. Today’s undergraduate students learn valuable life lessons in the field through civil engagement, and they get hands-on real-life experience by participating in their professors’ research projects. As an author and avid reader, I’m enjoying the new crop of academic mysteries that show students gathering and analyzing data and engaging in other aspects of timely scholarly research.

Two authors are stand outs: Lesley A. Diehl and Charlene D’Avanzo.

Diehl’s character Laura Murphy is a psychology professor in upstate New York. In the 2016 mystery from Creekside Publishing, Failure is Fatal, Laura’s ongoing study in sexual harassment on campus is at the heart of the story. A student is murdered, and the description of the murder is one of the anonymous responses to the study’s current round of data gathering. This is not a grisly or grim tale, however, as Diehl’s humor and Laura’s ability to tick people off keep the reader laughing and eyerolling all the way to the end.

An environmental educator and researcher, D’Avanzo specializes in marine ecology. Her 2016 (Torrey House Publishing) academic mystery, Cold Blood Hot Sea, throws the reader into the contentious field of environmental research, including scientific fraud and sabotage. At the book’s heart is a smart resourceful warm-hearted woman scholar, Dr. Mara Tusconi, who teaches and does research at the Maine Oceanographic Institution, surrounded by eager students and ambitious colleagues. Every twist of this page turner reveals more about the cutting edge field of study, its methods, and the scholars in training who will carry the work forward.

Looking for a compelling read that educates you while it challenges and satisfies your inner sleuth? Pick up Failure is Fatal or Cold Blood Hot Sea and hang on tight.

 

Author’s Note

20161021-ct-collier-authorI focus on academic mysteries in my blog entries. These are not formal book reviews, simply my thoughts as an author and avid reader of traditional mysteries. Often, something about the way characters are drawn or the way settings are introduced motivates me to freshen my style, broaden my skills, or simply admire a master of the craft. If you have a favorite academic mystery, whether it’s recent or long ago, please share.