Double Barrel Mysteries by Barbara Ellen Brink ~ an intriguing series

I was intrigued by the intelligence of the DOUBLE BARREL MYSTERIES so I asked its author, Barbara Ellen Brink to share with my readers how this well-constructed series came about and evolved. This is one that has everything I love in mysteries suspense, plenty of twists and turns, laughs, and quirky characters.

Let’s turn it over to Barbara…

Blake and Shelby Gunner ARE Double Barrel Investigations

My husband and I took a road trip along Lake Superior to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula about three years back. It was a beautiful fall weekend and the changing colors were amazing. Soon after, I woke from a dream and started writing Double Barrel Mysteries. Rather than an actual storyline, my dream consisted of characters and setting.

The Double Barrel team of Blake and Shelby Gunner was in my head as clear as bold font. Blake is a cop. Shelby’s an actress who speaks Shakespeare as a second language. Together they make the perfect team. He’s got the experience of a seasoned detective and she can act like one.

Now all I needed was a murder for them to solve.

Roadkill

 

 

In ROADKILL, the Gunners consider moving from Minneapolis to the safe, small-town environment of Blake’s hometown. They take a road trip to Port Scuttlebutt in order to check out an old bed & breakfast on the market, and soon get pulled into the cold case of an unsolved hit-and-run. Surprisingly, Port Scuttlebutt isn’t as innocent as it appears on the surface. Their investigation stirs up danger as easily as a Lake Superior storm churns up waves.

I always begin one of my Double Barrel Mysteries by writing the murder scene. Once I’ve killed off someone, I start making up the story about how it came to be. Funny thing is, I don’t usually know who the killer is until at least the middle. In fact, sometimes it’s almost the end of the book before I know whodunit. If the author is surprised, I’m pretty sure the reader will be too.

Much Ado About Murder

 

In MUCH ADO ABOUT MURDER, Blake and Shelby have just begun renovating the old boathouse into offices for Double Barrel Investigations when they get sidetracked with a case of murder. Someone buried Pete’s ex-wife under his woodpile, making Pete look as guilty as a cocker spaniel surrounded by chicken feathers. Being the talk of the town after solving their last case, Blake and Shelby feel the pressure to find the killer and keep their newly hired construction foreman out of jail. After all, winter is coming on and the doors and windows have yet to be installed.

 

Midsummer Madness

The third book in the Double Barrel Mysteries was released this past weekend. In MIDSUMMER MADNESS, Blake and Shelby have a surprise announcement that everyone seems to know before they tell them. Shelby is working to get the new Port Playhouse ready for its grand opening when a local business owner asks the Gunners to look for his stolen fishing boat. A stranger’s body turns up in the Lake near the Drunken Sailor Bed & Breakfast and a missing boat quickly morphs into a case of murder. With new friends under suspicion and a killer still unidentified, the Gunners have to work quickly to solve the case before someone else is pulled into the madness.

Barbara’s Bio:

Barbara Ellen Brink

Barbara Ellen Brink is a multi-published author, wife of one long-suffering husband, mother to two adult children, walker to one very spoiled mutt, lover of funny baby-goat videos, and a black licorice connoisseur. She grew up on a small fruit farm in Washington State, but now lives in the mean “burbs” of Minnesota. In her spare time – when she’s not reading – she likes to take her motorcycle for a spin, hang out with friends, or catch up on the latest movies.

She is the author of the best-selling Fredrickson Winery Novels; young adult series, The Amish Bloodsuckers Trilogy; inspirational suspense series, Second Chances; and the Double Barrel Mysteries. Her speculative/thriller, Split Sense, won the 2012 Grace Award, and Much Ado About Murder won this year’s Grace Award in mystery/suspense/thriller.

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Purchase Links:

ROADKILL

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00VN0A3QC

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/roadkill-barbara-e-brink/1121462059;jsessionid=E5F3028898CB93BC29D756AFF133EDA0.prodny_store01-atgap01?ean=2940154967577

iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/roadkill/id1311166714?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/roadkill-21

 

MUCH ADO ABOUT MURDER

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01FN1YIJ4

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/much-ado-about-murder-barbara-e-brink/1123747711;jsessionid=E5F3028898CB93BC29D756AFF133EDA0.prodny_store01-atgap01?ean=2940154996850

iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/much-ado-about-murder/id1311168692?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/much-ado-about-murder-4

 

MIDSUMMER MADNESS

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07798B882

B&N: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/midsummer-madness-barbara-ellen-brink/1127329433;jsessionid=E5F3028898CB93BC29D756AFF133EDA0.prodny_store01-atgap01?ean=2940154990186

iBookstore: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/midsummer-madness/id1311176460?mt=11

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/midsummer-madness-9

 

Announcing the Release of: BLOOD SPEAKS ~ The Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes Trilogy, Book 3

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BLOOD SPEAKS:Taut and compelling detective story, with a clandestine twist. Dry humor. Sweet, romance, warm intimacy, sophisticated themes presented tastefully.  

…and to Jesus, the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood, which speaks better than the blood of Abel. ~ Hebrews 12:24 [NASB]

 

BLOOD SPEAKS in a nut shell

Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels, Brooklyn gal PI, waited a long time for the solitaire on her finger. When her sometimes boss, a shadowy figure and director of a secret government organization, offers a one-week bridal shopping vacay in Virginia, she jumps at it.

Joined by bridesmaids, Sandra Daube and Bertha Dagney, Ronnie sets off for the village of Heritage Cove on Arrowhead Lake, Virginia. Their joyous stay at the rustic yet luxury Heritage Cove Inn is shattered by a murder with tendrils and a clandestine motive stretching back to the assassination of John Fitzgerald Kennedy.

It doesn’t take long for Ronnie and her gal-pals to become targets of the killer. It goes without saying, Taylor County Deputy Sheriff, Lieutenant Dawson Hughes leaves Texas to protect his bride-to-be. He’s joined by Sandra’s employer, conservative political activist Ben Cohen. Neither hell-nor-high-water can keep Gabby Hayes look-alike Hoot Dagney from the side of Bertha, his new bride.

 

Excerpt:

I walked over to the front bay window to gaze out at the beauty of the snow in a neighborhood filled with houses dating back seventy-five years, or more. Maybe I’d get a handle on my squirrely feelings. I scooped up a forkful of pie, but never got it to my mouth. “What the…”

At the edge of the Rosier property, Craig Munro had climbed into a leafless tree with low branches. Using a telephoto lens, he was trying to take shots through the large, bow-shaped window.

“Now he’s gone too far,” I hissed under my breath. I stepped to the side hopefully quickly enough to avoid his camera’s view finder. As I scanned the room for LeBlanc or Peterson, I spied Detective Ross on the sofa patting Cecile’s hand.

Even better.

Mrs. Blanchard took the pastor’s hand. “Your sermon was fitting to Melanie’s life. You captured her quirky innocence.”

I quickly moved away from them. I’m not good at funerals unless I’m functioning in an official capacity. By joining the family at the house, I’d slipped out of professional mode and began experiencing some of the emotions I’d felt when my murdered husband had been laid to rest. Sadness was always something I could cope with. After mom and I were abandoned by my dad, that was something I lived with for quite a few years.

It was that I couldn’t deliver justice where evil had devastated lives that tore at me. Since I’d started trusting the Lord, I’d gotten better at handing distressful situations over to Him. Still sometimes my inadequacy taunted and played terrible head-games.

The old, avenging Ronnie was back in a flash. I strode over to him. “Detective, I need to have a word with you, now.”

The urgency of my voice must’ve surprised him. He immediately stood and followed me.

I didn’t take him to the bay window, but to another, smaller window that had a direct view of the reporter’s deviousness. “There’s a newspaperman up in that tree trying to get photos of what’s going on inside the house.”

Ross took off across the room. “Knepp, come with me.”

The two men hurried outside with Officer Murray and the rookie following them.

I walked over to the bay window and took a bite of spinach pie as Ross hauled the reporter out of the tree and slapped handcuffs on him.

Munro dropped his camera… and, well, Ross must’ve had a clumsy moment because he stepped directly on it, crushing it into the snow.

My emotions were feeling much better now. I took another bite of spinach pie.

 

Praise for BLOOD SPEAKS:

If you enjoyed the first two Veronica “Ronnie” Ingels/Dawson Hughes books, it’s a cinch you’re going to love this one. The scene is set–and captured my attention–with the wintry, getting-ready-for-a-wedding first chapter. Ronnie and her two bridesmaids, Sandra and Bertha, set off for the luxurious Heritage Cove at Arrowhead Lake, Virginia for a one week vacation gifted to her from her shadowy “boss.” As usual, Ronnie–and this time, her close friends–light straight-way into a murder investigation, and the clues are hinting at long ago motives clear back to Kennedy‘s assassination. Of course, Ronnie and her friends become targets of the killer. Fast paced and delightfully written with wit and suspense that keeps you burning the midnight oil, this novel is filled with colorful characters, dialogue that is spot-on, and scenes that will make you drool with envy. And with a truly satisfactory ending, what more could you want? Except your own personal copy. ~ Carole Brown, author of KNIGHT IN SHINING APRON

In this one you’ll find a handsome hero and a smart heroine. If you think romance and dead bodies can’t mix, wait until you read Dawson and Ronnie’s story. Don’t pass this one up, if you’re into a good detective/crime novel. What makes this one even more special is the fact that it’s a Christmas story. Curl up and enjoy. Keep warm and snuggle with a book that might keep you awake through the night since you’ll want to know who the killer is and see what happens to soon-to-be favorite characters. Will a wedding and honeymoon ever take place for Ronnie and Dawson? It’s been a pleasure to know another good one was on the way as the series continued. ~ B. J. Robinson, Author of CHRISTMAS IN THE SMOKIES, WHEN THE SNOW COMES, SIEGE OF AZALEA PLANTATION, AZALEA PLANTATION, amongst over twenty novels

Grab a cup of joe or hot chocolate and immerse yourself for an enjoyable read. Nike Chillemi has a knack for cozy mystery, a mixture of mystery and subtle humor that brings you into the settings and the characters of BLOOD SPEAKS. After this read, if you haven’t already, you’ll want to go back and read the rest of the series. Ronnie is a detective with heart and soul, a character you can easily fall in love with.” ~ Linda Wood Rondeau, author of MIRACLE ON MAPLE STREET

Deputy Sheriff Lt. Dawson Hughes and PI Ronnie Ingels return in BLOOD SPEAKS… a fine Christmas caper that brings murder a bit too close for comfort. As per previous books in the series, BLOOD SPEAKS features first-rate detection and secondary characters that you won’t soon forget. Chillemi’s tight plotting and well-paced action keep the story moving, but her rich descriptions of time and place, along with culinary tidbits to entice foodie and mystery fans alike, make BLOOD SPEAKS a holiday mystery confection you’ll want to savor long after the last carol has been sung. ~ Jenna Victoria, author of    WAR OF THE HEART

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Have a blessed holiday season!!!

Nike N. Chillemi ~ Crime Fictionista Blog

Purchase BLOOD SPEAKS on Amazon

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When a Crime Fiction Writer Throws ‘Bait and Switch’ at the Reader

Bait

I got an interesting email response to my last post from fellow Christian writer Mary Vee. She stated she hated it when an author broke my “rule #5 for writing detective novels.”

 

Rule #5: The criminal should be introduced early in the story, amidst a field of plausible red herrings.  There’s nothing worse than having the criminal sprung on the reader, out of the blue, at the last minute. There could be more than one culprit. So, secondary culprits can be introduced later. Still, it’s sort of cheating to wait till the very end even for those to be brought into the story line. Don’t want to give the reader a bait-and-switch feeling. Finding out who the killer is at the end ~ good. Introducing the killer at the end ~ bad idea.

My author friend said she’d read several novels that had done that (dropped the killer into the story at the  end and then wrapped it all up neatly) and she disliked them terribly. She felt as if she’d been robbed…cheated. Then she got even stronger saying perhaps “embezzled” was the word she was looking for because the author has set her up and then let her fall.

Tipped Hat

She went on to say that if the clues were there and she got caught banking on the wrong killer, if she got caught in a “red herring snare,” well that was just pure fun. Hats off to the author.

Writing A Detective Novel ~ The Rules

Investigation

 

 

As in life…some rules can safely be broken, others can’t. Determining which is which often demonstrates who is the proficient writer and who is not.

Quite a few of the rules for writing detective stories are similar to those for writing murder mysteries, suspense novels, and thrillers. Others are very different.

BASIC RULES:

1. The story must have a detective, or detective partners as its main character(s). These can be duly sworn police detectives, fire department arson investigators, licensed private investigators, FBI special agents, homeland security investigators and the like, or military police officers of high enough rank to be investigating crimes. They are law enforcement professionals on the case to solve a particular crime or series of crimes.

2. The story must have a victim or victims. Usually there is a dead body, preferably more than one. But the crime could be kidnap, or arson that did not result in murder, or perhaps eco-terrorism resulting in corpses or not. The crime could involve the brutalization or killing of animals (especially if the detective is a park ranger). Most often there is a human murder or murders.

3. The detective story is an intellectual game, much like solving a puzzle or playing chess. There are opponents in this game. The detective is pitted against the criminal. They must be equally matched for it to be a good game. Although the reader knows the detective is going to win, for it to be a compelling story,  it has to feel at times, as if the criminal might triumph over the detective. The criminal must be clever enough to inflict some mental, emotional, and/or physical damage on the detective(s).

4. The old axiom was that the criminal’s identity must be unknown to both the detective(s) and the reader until the very end. This is still largely true. If the criminal’s identity is know the story becomes suspense. Lately, there’s been some line blurring in this area. In the modern market place, many genres have blurry lines.

5. The criminal should be introduced early in the story, amidst a field of plausible red herrings.  There’s nothing worse than having the criminal sprung on the reader, out of the blue, at the last minute. There could be more than one culprit. So, secondary culprits can be introduced later. Still, it’s sort of cheating to wait till the very end even for those to be brought into the story line. Don’t want to give the reader a bait-and-switch feeling. Finding out who the killer is at the end ~ good. Introducing the killer at the end ~ bad idea.

6. The crime should also be introduced at the beginning. It’s been said within the first three chapters. The first chapter is best. Opening up in the very midst of it, helps grab the reader’s attention. The specific crime must fit the criminal’s psyche and personality, and he/she must have had the know-how and ability to commit said crime.

7. Supply plausible and understandable clues that both give hints as to the identity of the criminal, and also clues that point to others who are merely red herrings. Also leave clues as to the motive for the crime(s).

8. In days gone by, it was almost written in stone that the detective story is simply one of detecting, that no social issues must be brought into it and certainly no romance. This is no longer the case. Readers enjoy a detective protagonist with a social conscience, or definite lack thereof. It makes him/her more interesting. In the same way a love interest for the detective often gives her/him an Achilles’ heel which the crafty criminal can take advantage of. The Christian detective story must have inspirational or redemptive elements to it. However, in the detective sub-genre, the overwhelming majority of the plot must be about the protagonist detective(s) detecting and solving the crime(s), or else it’s not a detective story.

9. The crime must not be solved by super-natural or extraordinary means. The criminal can’t be caught via psychic powers, magic, assistance from ghosts, aliens from another planet, or the like. Those scenarios make the story speculative fiction, not a detective story. Although in today’s world, it’s entirely possible to have a spec fic detective story, but that book would not be shelved with detective stories in a book store. Then again, you might hit a bookstore where it would be. Go figure.

Murder