Monday, December 14, 2015

Shopping is Murder According to Carolyn Arnold in her McKinley Mystery Series!

SARA LOVED THE HOLIDAYS, BUT she was one “Silent Night” away from running out of the mall in search of a glass of cognac. She glanced over at Sean. He was weighed down with their spoils and trailed along beside her—bags over both shoulders, boxes perched precariously under his arms. The odd capture of his facial expression, including the pressed-on smile, made it clear that he was beyond ready to call it a day. He was pushing through for her. 
Maybe it wouldn’t have been such a bad idea to forego the deals of Black Friday. After all, it’s not like money was a concern. Sean had tried to reason with her about the crowds, but she refused to listen. He even suggested hiring someone to take care of the shopping. She hadn’t considered his suggestion, opting for the personal touch of buying the gifts for family and friends themselves. “That’s not something you delegate.” The statement was meant in sincerity—at the time. Now she was asking herself what she’d been thinking, and it was obvious she hadn’t been. 
“Just one more stop, darling,” she said in an effort to reassure him the retail torture was almost over.
 “Isn’t that what you said a few ago now?”
 “I know, darling, but it’s important to me.” 
She led him into a lingerie shop. “And to think, I was going to say one more store, I might kill myself.” 
He smiled at her as she dropped the packages she carried and reached for a silk number on a storefront display rack. Sara let the strap of the negligee slip from her fingers. “You would think, of all places, you’d be happy in here.” 
“That’s why I said I was going to say.” He came up close behind her, his warm breath cascading across her neck. “Why are we doing all of this today anyway? We’ve been at it for hours already.” 
“I just want to get everything in one swoop.”
She nodded. 
“Christmas gifts for your family, our friends at PD, Jimmy, Adam. You plan on buying for everyone today?” He adjusted the bags he held.
 “Don’t forget the new friends we met in Europe.” 
“Ah, yes, how could I forget Leo and Valerie?” 
“And Pierre.” She offered a smile. 
“Of course.” Leo and Valerie ran a bed and breakfast in France called La Villa Ch√Ęteau. They’d met them on a day trip into the countryside, when they’d happened into the quaint B&B. Pierre was the couple’s quirky friend who had shown up years ago and never left. They had ended up hiring him and never looked back. He was an excellent chef and had proven to be a tremendous asset to their marketing campaign. Pierre had given Sara recipes and pointers to take back home with her. She had tried a couple, but they never turned out the way they had when she worked by Pierre’s side. She wondered if Sean would dare gift her cooking lessons—she’d never seemed to arrange for any 
herself. She smiled over at him.
 “It’s just that you’re being so good about all of this.” 
He blinked and turned his head to the right, his jaw angled slightly upward. He was trying to hide his guilt, but she could see through it. “Yes, I know you’ve been whining.”
 “Me? Whining? No—” 
Horrific screams reached into the store, drowning out the holiday merriment spreading over the speakers. Sara raced out of the store, knowing from her days as a cop they could only mean one thing—someone was dead.

Shopping is Murder:
A McKinley Mystery

By Carolyn Arnold

Although I'm not totally a Bah-Humbug type of person, nothing could make shopping exciting for me...unless it happened during a great murder mystery... And author Carolyn Arnold has done just that. So grab a cup of hot chocolate, sit and read instead of hustling and bustling through the crowded mall at Christmas, and find the hidden clues that can lead us to the murderer! No luck for me this time, although I got close! I love it when the mystery is too hard for me to solve before the end of the book, don't you?!

The two main characters of the series is a husband-wife team that, due to their
work to help others, had become unexpectedly wealthy. They had just returned home and were out shopping for Christmas when screams were heard. Instantly, Sara's instincts as a former cop, came alive and she raced out of the store to discover what was happening...

SEAN FOLLOWED SARA IN THE direction of the shrill cries. She had left all her bags behind, and he had done the same, letting them fall to the floor of the lingerie store before scampering to catch up. 
The second floor of the mall was crowded with shoppers—people of all sizes, ages, and genders—but  instead of making a beeline for the next store, they had all come to a standstill alongside the railing. A middle-aged woman turned around, covering her mouth. Her eyes were watery, but her pallor threatened more than distress. She was going to be sick. Sean brushed a few people aside to make room for her to pass through. She gave him a silent thank you, reflected in her irises. There was a desperation to her aura. She didn’t have any time to spend on pleasantries. 
Sean watched after her for a second, and in that amount of time the small opening in the crowd had been swallowed whole. There had to be at least ten to fifteen people between him and the railing. He already had a good idea as to what happened. He surveyed the crowd and located Sara. She was worming her way through the mass of people toward the banister. It was as if she were being pulled by a force greater than herself. 
She expertly maneuvered, side-stepping left or right as need be. He hurried to make his way to her, but there was no getting through—elbows halted his attempts to make headway.  
Sara’s heart hammered in her chest. She knew what she would face once she reached the railing, but something from within propelled her forward with a burst of desperation. There was no logical explanation for it, but sometimes reasoning was easy to discredit. This was one of those times.

What she hadn’t expected was to see 
her childhood friend Nicole Hill 

below,  struggling with mall security
 and screaming,

 “That’s my husband.”

Carolyn Arnold is known as the author who writes police procedurals respected by Law Enforcement. You can be sure that the rigors of her murder investigations are complete, meticulous, and representative of what happens in reality. So do plan on getting your thinking cap on as the investigation begins..

Because in this mystery, the victim's wife is a long-ago friend of Sara's and there is no way that she was not going to try to help ease the pain of loss for her...

As soon as Sean saw her, he knew that something more was wrong than an accident. A man had gone over the railing and fallen to the main Mall floor! He learned that Nicole Hill had been a childhood friend--a very close friend even though they'd had no contact for years.

All it took was Sara and Nicole to come together and their relationship was once again remembered, and warm... but by the time they had got together later, an old argument and a bad relationship with Nicole's mother raised it's ugly head...

But nothing was going to stop Sara from getting involved, once she'd been asked... and they quickly discovered a witness who had seen the man...and he had been near the railing over which he had death...

“Wow.” Geoffrey massaged his chin and then lowered his hand. “I’d love to help if I could, but I’m afraid I’ve told you everything I know. The guy said he’d had enough of shopping and was ready to jump. That’s all. Sorry.”
“About how long from the time he said that until he went over?” Sean asked.
“Maybe thirty minutes...
His mouth opened and closed as if he were debating whether or not to continue. “When he said it, he was dangling over the railing.”
“He was dangling?”
“He was leaning on the railing and holding onto a small yellow bag that he was swaying back and forth.”
“A yellow bag?” Sean leaned forward. She didn’t remember seeing a yellow bag on the ground around him. 
“Yes, and like I said, it was small, say—” he gestured with his hands creating an approximate twelve-inch rectangle, “about this big.” 
Sara rose to her feet, keeping her eyes on the man. “Was there a name or logo on it?” 
Geoffrey shook his head. “Just plain.”
“Thank you for your help. We won’t take up any more of your time.” 
Sean followed her lead and waited until they had reached the car to question her. “What is it? What are you thinking?”
 “I believe our answer lies in that yellow bag.” There was that downward tug on her gut. He opened the door for her. “But you’re not happy about it.” She shook her head and got in. She continued once he was behind the wheel. “You know my memory. Jerrod didn’t fall with a yellow bag.”
 “Are you sure? Maybe you just don’t remember seeing it—”
She held eye contact with him. 
“Yeah, sorry, it’s you we’re talking about.” 
She smiled and then laughed. “Remember that.”

Got to tell you readers that this is the perfect mystery to sink into and get away from the stress of shopping and the other holiday season activities! There are enough clues to keep you interested, along with the details of routine procedures that help the story move forward, and still keep you in suspense and turning the pages until the surprising climax occurs... I really enjoyed this book and highly recommend it! Arnold is one of my newer favorite authors and I haven't gotten to read as many of her books, but she is definitely an author that is worthy of your consideration.

The author picked this for a Black Friday special which makes the book still available for less than a dollar! I had picked it up quite some time ago and was happy to pull it for a spotlight of Christmas books this month! Do check it out!


CAROLYN ARNOLD is the international bestselling and award-winning author of the Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher, and McKinley Mystery series. She is the only author with POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town, but that never kept her from dreaming big. On par with her large dreams is her overactive imagination that conjures up killers and cases to solve. She currently lives outside Toronto with her husband and two beagles, Max and Chelsea. She is also a member of Crime Writers of Canada.

For more information and a FREE book offer, visit her website:

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