ABOUT THE BOOK
Someone is trying to kill Liz Johnson and it’s up to quirky private investigator, Erica Coleman, to find out who. Erica is no stranger to murder and mystery, which is why her best friend’s daughter, Megan, turns to her when unaccountable and potentially fatal “accidents” threaten her roommate’s life.
Once Erica arrives at the ramshackle old mansion known as Crooked House, matters go from disturbing to deadly as it becomes clear someone is trying to kill Liz. As Erica begins to unearth secrets, she discovers a twisted web of love, money, greed, and deception. Although the police and friends sometimes find Erica’s OCD annoying, its those very traits that help her sift through evidence and see clues that others miss. Erica must draw upon her all her investigative prowess to keep Liz safe and unmask the killer before he can accomplish his deadly objective.
With a dash of romance and surprising twists, this thrilling mystery will keep you on the edge of your seat until the very last page. As with all Erica Coleman mysteries, ten delicious recipes are included.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marlene Bateman was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and graduated from the University of Utah with a BA in English. She is married to Kelly R. Sullivan. Her hobbies include gardening, camping, reading, and enjoying her four cats and three dogs.
Marlene’s first novel was the best-selling Light on Fire Island. Her next novel was Motive for Murder—the first in a mystery series that features Erica Coleman, a quirky private eye with OCD. The next book in that line, (they do not have to be read in order) is A Death in the Family.
Marlene has also written a number of LDS non-fiction books under the name Marlene Bateman Sullivan. Those books include: Gaze Into Heaven; Near-death Experiences in Early Church History, which is a fascinating collection of over 50 documented near-death experiences from the lives of early latter-day Saints, Heroes of Faith, and Latter-day Saint Heroes and Heroines. Marlene also wrote three books about documented accounts in early LDS church history when a person either saw or heard an angel; Visit’s From Beyond the Veil, And There Were Angels Among Them, and By the Ministering of Angels.
EXCERPT from Crooked House
Erica’s heart turned over when she heard the quaver in her young friend’s voice on the phone.
Then Megan asked, “Can you come?”
“Of course.” Erica’s reply was automatic. She would do anything she could to help. Although she often received emotionally-laden phone calls in her job as a private investigator, there was a difference when the call came from the teen-aged daughter of her best friend. The very fact that Megan—who was usually so calm and composed—sounded frightened out of her wits, put Erica on high alert.
“I think someone’s trying to kill my roommate, Liz,” Megan said.
“What makes you think that?” Erica asked. “Has someone threatened her?”
“No, but Liz has had a couple of serious accidents lately—at least she says they’re accidents, but either one of them could have killed her.”
Erica made an effort to reel in her skepticism. “Tell me about them.”
“First, someone tampered with her car. The brakes went out and Liz ended up driving across someone’s yard and hitting a tree. Fortunately, she was okay. The second one happened downtown. Liz was on the sidewalk waiting for the bus when someone shoved her. She fell into the road. A truck was coming and if a guy hadn’t pulled her back, Liz could have been killed.”
Still, they could have been accidents, Erica thought, at least until the third one occurred—this time at Crooked House.
Marlene Bateman has written another fun mystery with lots of suspense. I like these kinds of mysteries because as you read you can try to gather clues and try to figure out who's guilty. It's even better when there are shocks and surprises along the way and the guilty one turns out to be someone other than who you thought. That turns out to be the case here. Early on something rather shocking and unexpected happens that really made me want to know what was going on. Erica is a fun character who reminds me of Monk (the TV OCD Detective) except with fewer emotional issues. She loves to cook as well as detect and her OCD ironically helps with the detailed nature of both of those kinds of tasks. I found it easy to empathize with some of the other characters, such as Megan, Erica's best friend's daughter who brought her in on the case as well as her roommate Beth. Liz, the seeming target of a killer, owns a cool old house that is falling down and may in fact be at the heart of the mystery. Only by reading the book can you find out. A great culinary mystery for those like me who love the genre, quite appropriate for young adults as well as adults.
OTHER ERICA COLEMAN BOOKS
Meet Erica Coleman: a gifted and quirky private investigator with a penchant for sleuthing and a passion for chocolate.
Erica imagined that her trip to Florida would be a slice of heaven—a chance to get away from it all and catch up with her best friend, Wendy. But a mere day into her idyllic vacation, all hope of fun in the sun is dashed with a shocking discovery: the body of an unknown man on the driveway. A failed second homicide attempt hits even closer to home when Wendy’s fiancé barely survives poisoning. There’s no way to sugarcoat it—a murderer is on the prowl, and no one is above suspicion.
Unsettled by the proximity of foul play, Wendy asks Erica to investigate. Erica is convinced that the near double-murder was no coincidence, so she accepts her friend’s request—with her skill, solving the mystery should be a piece of cake. But as she sifts through mounting evidence, one thing becomes clear: everyone had a reason for wanting both men dead. And as the plot thickens, it appears that Erica may have bitten off more than she can chew . . .
Erica and her family happily anticipate Grandma Blanche's eighty-first birthday celebration in the picturesque town of Florence, Oregon. But when the feisty matriarch, a savvy businesswoman, enlists Erica's help in an investigation of her company, things quickly get sticky. Before the investigation can begin, Blanche's unexpected death leaves Erica with more questions than answers—and it soon becomes clear that Grandma's passing was anything but natural: she was murdered. When Aunt Martha, Blanche's reclusive sister, becomes the next victim of someone with a taste for homicide, Erica uses her flair for cooking to butter up local law enforcement and gather clues. As she narrowly escapes becoming the third victim, Erica is more determined than ever to solve the case—before she bites off more than she can chew.
1 print copy of Crooked House
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