Tuesday, June 18, 2013

The Presley Thurman Mysteries by Laina Turner (Review, Give away)

About The Author:

Who am I? It kind of depends on the day. I am a human compendium of unrelated things. I used to think I was just weird, had shiny ball syndrome and couldn’t focus, scattered, you name it. Then I decided it was OK to be all over the place as long as each avenue I wanted to explore had meaning and purpose or was fun. So I embrace the fact I am a college professor, a writer of fiction and non-fiction, promoter of other authors, human resource professional, business consultant, mom, and all around interesting person (according to my closest friends).

When I’m not working toward my goals I like, ok fine, LOVE wine, coffee, shopping, and books. I enjoy my kids, they are awesome. I hate the cold but yet live in the mid-west. Vegas is one of my favorite spots as I love to people watch and if I ever get married again it will definitely be in a drive through chapel by a fake Elvis.

Genre: Mystery Romance
Publisher: Five Seas Ink
Release Date: July 2012

Book Description:

This six-book set includes...

Stilettos & Scoundrels

Presley tells her boss what he can do with her job in HR and embarks on a new career as a freelance journalist. What seems like a simple interview with a Senator turns to murder when the day after her interview the Senator turns up dead. Does the fact that Presley was one of the last people to see him alive make her a suspect? Her ex-boyfriend Cooper, who was in charge of the Senators security, might think so. Presley is determined to clear her name but can she do it and resist Cooper’s charms?

Necklaces & Nooses

When Presley’s boss is found hanging she thinks its suicide until the police discover its homicide. Who would want to kill a boutique owner? Presley’s not sure but she’s determined to find out. The cute detective assigned to the case makes it all the more exciting.

Handbags & Hooligans

Presley went to Vegas to watch her friend Anna get married and the event turned into solving the mystery of her brothers girlfriend disappearance. But Ashley wasn't exactly the schoolteacher she appeared to be. Who was she and was she kidnapped?

The holiday short…Mistletoe & Murder

In this holiday short story, Presley goes home for Christmas expecting it to be a relaxing holiday until her old boyfriend, Brian, asks for her help finding out who has been stealing from him and it turns from theft to murder. Why would anyone want to kill Tommy and what was he hiding?

Gems & Gunshots

Presley heads to San Diego to hang out with Cooper and enjoy the great west coast weather. She didn’t expect that while hanging out at the local coffee shop she would be a witness to a robbery and murder at Gemstone’s Unlimited. Much to Cooper’s dismay Presley feels compelled to investigate. She discovers that not only was the store owner a womanizer but also was filing false insurance claims for diamonds that weren’t really stolen. Was that why he was being blackmailed? Was that why someone robbed his store? Presley is determined to find out!

As a bonus get the short story prequel, A Day in the Life of Trixie Pristine.

In this short story prequel, Trixie and her friends Berklie and Sophie, considered themselves typical thirty something females until someone turned up murdered in their newly opened bookstore/wine bar. They thought they would be living out their dream in their new shop not trying to catch a killer. Who killed Sylvia and why? Or was one of them the intended target?

Excerpt One:

Stilettos & Scoundrels “Hello?” “Presley! I need to talk to you right away!” It was Helen Daniels, hysterical. I could hardly understand her. “What is it, Helen? What’s wrong?” I had fallen asleep, but the sound of fear in Helen’s voice quickly woke me up. “Just meet me at Gardner’s old warehouse in thirty minutes. If you’re not there, I will not be able to wait. It’s not safe. You have to hurry!” “Helen! Calm down, safe from whom? Why all the drama? Helen…Helen?” She’d hung up. I glanced at my watch. Crap! I’d never make it there in thirty minutes. All I could hope for was Dirt and his deputies were out investigating the Senator’s murder rather than trying to keep the streets safe from speeders. I ran out of the house, running past my mother still working in her garden. “Presley, where are you going? “I’ll be back in a bit.” “For dinner?” “I don’t know.” I said exasperatedly. I didn’t need the third degree. “Where are you going?” “I’ll explain later. Just eat without me if I’m not back.” “Pres!” “Bye, Mother.” I pushed seventy in a forty-five mile an hour zone, my Kia humming, just hoping to get there on time. I was surprised my car could go that fast. In Chicago, the traffic was so bad you didn’t really have a chance to speed this much. My phone rang again, but I didn’t look at it. I needed to concentrate on my driving. Gardner’s warehouse, located about twenty miles outside of town, used to be a production plant for some automotive part. The plant closed years before, when I still lived here. It was so long ago that I couldn’t remember what the company actually produced. I pulled in the parking lot, gravel flying, hoping Helen was still here. The clock on my dash said it had been thirty-three minutes since she called me. I pocketed my keys, not wanting to weigh myself down with my purse, and jogged around to the front entrance. I had on flip-flops, not the best jogging shoes, but I was so startled when Helen called I just ran out of the house without paying attention to what I had on. This was a big place, and I huffed trying to catch my breath. I really must get in shape, I wheezed to myself. Helen hadn’t specified exactly where to meet her, so I assumed she might be at the front entrance. She wasn’t waiting outside for me, so I tried the front door or what I presumed was the front door. It was unlocked, which I thought strange for an abandoned building, but I assumed Helen had unlocked it. Though had it been locked, I could have crawled through one of the many broken windows. I carefully stepped inside the building and the darkness engulfed me. The little bit of light in the building was let in by the broken windows, and it took a few minutes for my eyes to adjust. It smelled dank and musty, and I could hear the scurrying of what were probably little furry rodents. I shuddered involuntarily and didn’t want to think about what type of creepy crawlies were in this building, especially with me in flip-flops. I wasn’t thrilled about stepping any further into the building. “Helen,” I called softly. No answer. Where the hell is she? I tiptoed a little further into the building in an effort to be quiet, though I still couldn’t see very well, so tiptoeing wouldn’t do me any good if there was anything in my way. All of a sudden, I felt a hand on my arm; I jumped about ten feet and started to scream. “Shh, Presley. It’s just me,” Helen said. “Do you think you could be a little quieter?” “Then don’t ask me to come to an abandoned building and grab me when I’m not expecting it. I can’t see! You could have been anyone or anything,” I retorted. “I am not a big fan of the creepy things I am sure are in this building.” I took one look at Helen and grew concerned. She was usually one of those women who always looked impeccable, but her dark brown hair, usually in a knot at the nape of her neck, was disheveled and loose. I could tell Helen had been crying, from her smudged make-up. She definitely wasn’t her normal well put together self. I could see that, even in this poor light. I still felt a stab of jealousy because, even a little worse for wear, Helen looked better than most women. Not fair at all. “So what is going on, Helen? Why all the cloak-and-dagger stuff? Why did we have to meet here, of all places?” I asked, looking around and waving my arms. “Should we even be here? The place looks about ready to fall down. I’m sure the owners wouldn’t be too happy if we fell through the floor or something. This building is quite a liability.” “It’s the only place I could go where I could easily see if I was being followed. Besides, we own the building. Or rather, I do now,” Helen, replied giving a little laugh—the hysterical kind, rather than the ha-ha kind. “Why would anyone be following you?” I took a step forward, concerned Helen might really be in danger. It seemed so surreal. Helen tried to keep herself from crying again. “They called my house, Presley. They called my house and demanded money. They said if I didn’t pay up, they would make sure I met the same fate as Tom. I knew they would want their money, but I didn’t think it would be like this. I thought I would have some more time. I can’t get my hands on that kind of money right now. It would look too suspicious; besides, I don’t even know yet where I am going to get it!” Helen then burst into tears. I waited for a few uncomfortable moments for the tears to subside. To help Helen, I needed her to calm down and tell me everything she knew. Plus, I had a few questions of my own. “Do you know who it was that called you, Helen? Who did the Senator owe money to?” “I don’t know specifically who the caller was, nor who Tom owed money to. I didn’t recognize any voices and they didn’t tell me their names. Tom tried to hide as much as he could from me about this aspect of his life, I told you that already, and when I forced the issue, he told me as little as possible. Usually just enough to get me to shut up. To be honest, it got to where I didn’t even ask much because I didn’t really care.” “Who else knows about the Senator’s gambling problem? Maybe that’s who called you. Could it be blackmail?” I thought blackmail seemed as good a reason as any. “The only people who know about this, besides the people he owed the money to, are me and Tobey. As the Senator’s assistant, Tobey was privy to a lot more information than I thought he should have been,” Helen explained. “Tom said he would find out anyway, and that we could trust him. I don’t think Tobey is the type to try to blackmail anyone. Other than that, there is no way Tom would have told anyone else. He might have been a gambler, but he wasn’t stupid. At least not that stupid.” “What about Garrison Palazzo.”

My Review of Stilettos and Scoundrels 

I really enjoyed the first book in the series, 'Stilettos and Scoundrels' and I am anticipating enjoying the rest of the stories. It was funny and had a whole host of characters that left you scratching your head and pondering the real who-dun-it. 

Everyone is following and spying on everyone else; and everyone seems to have their own agenda and no one's agenda is the same. It is really a great mystery book and one that will keep you guessing until the plot and murderer are revealed. I will tell you this much - looking at the title tells who got murdered and what the weapon was! He was definitely a scoundrel and what better weapon than the heel of a stiletto!

"The spikey end of the stiletto heel punctured his neck instantly, sending a spray of blood over the papers on his desk. He tried to cry out, but all that..."

Presley tells her boss, after one too many advances, to shove his job. Then, just as she embarks on a new writing career, her first interviewee, the senator, winds up dead after her interview - you guessed it - with a stiletto heel in his neck. Is she the guilty party?

The book has its share of friends, ex-friends, boyfriends, and ex-boyfriends. And somewhere in there is a very Southern Junior League mama who thinks her daughter should be married and settled down, not out chasing the next clue in a murder mystery.

The author wrote a great book with mystery and loads of humor. It was a very enjoyable read and I highly recommend it. I also have a quest for you - after you read the book, come back and comment how Presley got her name.

"Being a writer or working at Kentucky Fried Chicken (as that was my favorite restaurant as a little kid) were my goals as a young girl. In light of recent events, maybe Kentucky Fried Chicken wouldn't have been that bad. At least there, you probably got free food and I wouldn't see the manager wanting sexual favors - who would want to work there so bad that they'd do sexual favors?"

"You may think you are broken up, but I am not sure he's clear on that. He thinks he's irresistable," Tonya said with a sound of disgust in her voice. She never liked Rick. She liked him even less when he cheated on me, but she wasn't surprised. She had wanted to do some unspeakable things to his manhood in retaliation. I persuaded her it would be a bad idea, because jail time would be bad for her skin, she would miss all the good sales at Macy's, and because I was sure the Cook County jail didn't have a spa. As a further incentive, I reminded her that she liked men and there weren't too many of them in a woman's prison and you could only do the work yourself for so long. At that, she finally saw reason."

"It was the pressure applied by the women in the Junior League that made my mom feel constantly inadequate. They were worse than a bunch of truckers fighting over the last country-fried steak at the all-you-can-eat buffet. They spent all their time trying to one-up each other, though I could never see why. Did it really matter who had better flowers?"

"My attempt at yoga was short lived because it had to be about the most boring form of exercise I had ever tried. When the yoga instructor said to be at peace with yourself, I had been thinking about work, food, or wine - all the things I would rather be doing, which was not exactly the most relaxing."

"'And what are you wearing?' My mother gasped like she had just seen that I was naked. I looked down at myself, almost afraid by my mother's expression that I was naked and didn't realize it. What could possibly be wrong with this? I had on my favorite, albeit only, genuine Juicy sweat suit...She was dressed what I always called the 'Junior League uniform' - very conservative tan slacks with a mauve sweater set. Complete with the pearl buttons and a strand of pearls around her neck, she was the Junior League stereotype."

"Brian had been cute in high school, but he had not grown into a handsome man. He was already losing his hair at thirty-three or thirty-four. To think, I could have married him. What was my mother thinking?...I looked over and my mother was beaming as if she just discovered the Holy Grail."

"As the FBI darted through the place, Helen was still screaming. I looked over to see what the problem was, since the major drama was over. Helen was yelling at one of the FBI agents, and I couldn't understand. Had she been hit? Then I saw Helen pointing at something, and all of a sudden, Helen's screams made much more sense. That stray bullet had gone right through her wonderful Prada bag. I sighed...What a waste." 

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