"Moonlight & Misadventure": 20 Stories of Mystery and Suspense Edited by Judy Penz Sheluk

Review by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of the book and a link to purchase it.

Multi-author Moonlight Mystery

No need to catch up on a series or commit to an epic drama, but be aware that collections of short stories are just as engaging and give readers, like me, a quick entertainment fix evoking a myriad of emotions from “Oh, no!” to “Oh, yeah!” Judy Penz Sheluk sent out an all call to authors from around the world to submit vignettes for her third collection of stories steeped in mystery and suspense, yet following a theme. After an astounding number of submission, she selected twenty authors, some new and some who had stories in the previous collections. It’s all good fun, karmic intervention, or just a plain twist of fate!

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Moonlight & Misadventure Earns 5/5 Midnight Orbs...Fascinating & Clever!

I thoroughly enjoyed my journey into the night with only the moon to attest to the moves, motives, mystery, and sometimes murder in these shorts. The authors shared their different interpretations of the theme along with varied settings, styles, eras, viewpoints, and resulting emotions “...where one thing is assured: waxing, waning, gibbous, or full, the moon is always illuminating things better left in the dark.” Some stories put readers right in the middle using a first-person narrative, yet others have us observing from the outside with third-person narratives, and along with descriptive language and dialogue illustrating tone, emotions, and personalities, readers, like me, were held captivated. Many authors have my favorite character as a silent partner in the justice served...Karma! This often left me open mouthed, in awe, or exploding with a bit of a giggle. The eBook has links to each story in the Table of Contents for easy navigating, and in the introduction for each author and The Lineup at the end, there are links to their websites, blogs, and author pages available. I highly recommend this new collection...compelling, thought-provoking, and downright fun!

Crown Jewel By Joseph Walker — I know collectors are an odd breed from what they collect, for me it’s cookbooks, to what lengths they will go to collect rare items. Keenan Beech collects vintage vinyl, especially The White Album (fascinating info on serial numbers), so beware, friend, foe, and especially family, if you get in the way!

The Ballad of the Jerrell Twins By Clark Boyd — Wow! Twins, from different mothers, rarely saw their father whose commute across the bridge connecting Kentucky and Indiana left him missing this and that. But, his last gesture of love for the twins provides them an opportunity to bond with a 1967 Mustang (oh, cool!)

Tammy Loves Derek By Bethany Maines — Tammy Lee Stanley has a plan to live rich, but Derek, although rich by way of his father, has flaws she has to decide to resign herself to, walk away from, or exact revenge. What would you do? Tammy’s choice is very clever and effective!

Moonset By Jeanne DeBois — It’s 1921, and traveling with two young children is one issue after another. But, when a dead man is found in their hotel room, it’s not just complicated...it’s dangerous! Great characters, and a “gasp-y” ending.

Reunions By John M. Floyd — Affairs of the heart are hard to manage when one already has a wife and the other a husband. But, just think what happens when karma plays a roll...Gasp!

A Currency of Wishes By Kate Fellowes — Have you thrown a coin into a fountain and made a wish? Most of us have. For Josh and Mallory the practice brought them together, but can it survive? Clever!

Cereus Thinking By Tracy Falenwolfe — As the old song says, “Freedom is just another word for nothing left to lose.” However, Gwen learns that desirous of freedom could cost too much. Lots of karma!

Just Like Peg Entwistle By Robert Weibezahl — During the infancy of Hollywood, a young actress plummets to her death off the ‘Hollywoodland’ sign...suicide. However, remember, if you know something that would shed light on the incident, the statute of limitations stops at the grave’s edge. Good enough for a full length story! 

Scavenger Hunt By Michael A. Clark — It happened in February, 1958, but has long since been lost in people’s memories...a missing atomic weapon. A trio are set on finding the device, but with different motivations: one to discuss 50s sci-fi movies, one to sell it to the highest bidder, and one to stop them. Wait for it...surprise ending!

My Date With the Duke of Edinburgh By Susan Daly — College is a time to explore and spread one’s wings, and it was no different in 1953. However, while discussing the impact of the monarchy on Canada’s development, a plan is devised to make a political statement...kidnap the Duke! The twist is just so clever!

Dead on the Beach By KM Rockwood — Her big brother stepped up when their parents died to make sure she didn’t end up in care, so, years later, how did he end up dead “in the light of the full moon”? She needs answers. Big twist!

Madeline in the Moonlight By Susan Jane Wright — Funerals are emotional and often hard to handle, but it’s the aftermath of efforts to manage the estate that can cause the most conflict. Then again, only if the two surviving daughters let it. Devious motives and karma!

Not a Cruel Man By Buzz Dixon — Hired to retrieve a few incriminating photos requires an elaborate plan to execute if one hopes for success, but cruelty, however, may lie in the eye of the beholder. Descriptive with dark karma...gasp!

12 Miles to Taylorsville By C.W. Blackwell — They say “one good turn deserves another.” Well, that may be true some of the time. Angie is closing up the bar, but an injured woman pleads for help. A cop enters with lots of threats and a Glock, “Where is she?” Things don’t fit...karma, where are you? Clever twist.

Chicken Coops and Bread Pudding By K.L. Abrahamson — The three friends heard rumors at school about Old Man Harper, so they planned to prank him enough so he’d leave town. However, when it’s Grace-Rose’s turn, the night goes all wrong. Lessons learnedThe Promotion By Bill Houston — Just like his efforts to quit smoking, Pete knew his hard work, flexibility, and stepping up when asked would make him the front runner for a well-deserved promotion. What’s that adage? Don’t count your chickens... Good karma, until you really think about it. Still clever.

The Library Clue By Sharon Hart Addy — Snow storm. Security alarm. A library? Books seem misplaced, but the dead body and a curious note sends cops to try and advert a kidnapping. A clever plan, but they say, the best laid plans...go wrong. Surprise!

Ill met by the moonlight, proud miss dolmas By Elizabeth Elwood — Ms. Hawthorn has instilled good work habits, responsibility, and success in the mind’s of her students, and in turn has received due respect. But, when a pushy, know-it-all administrator makes it her mission to interfere with said teacher’s job, it won’t end well. As a 35+ year veteran teacher, this struck a cord of realism and cozy karma!

The Moon God of Broadmoor By M.H. Callway  — Dept. of Health runs “afoul” of a “stinky” complaint at the Broadmoor Suites, and since Liz hoped for more practical experience as an inspector, she gets the case. Residents Mrs. Jack and Thoth, the Moon God, are extremely helpful, but not everything is as easy as a clean-up. Endearing story, but don’t forget a box of tissues.

Strawberry Moon By Judy Penz Sheluk —It would be forty-seven years until the next strawberry moon occurred, and she was going to miss it. She thought camping was the best way to see the phenomenon in all its glory. But the amber-rose orb witnesses her last resort. Karma may come in handy, but watch out for U.S. border guards. Gasp!

Alert! Judy Penz Sheluk has called upon authors, many of these authors before, resulting in two marvelously entertaining collections that one should not miss!

The Best Laid Plans: 21 Stories of Mystery and Suspense, was reviewed at KRL (2019) “Even the best laid plans can go awry, and with these well-thought out mysteries and ‘I didn’t see that coming!’ short stories, you get to enjoy it twenty-one times. Different styles, different settings, different murderous intentions, but all are entertaining, intriguing, and just plain fun.”

Heartbreaks & Half-truths: 22 Stories of Mystery and Suspense, was reviewed at KRL (2020). “Heartbreaks come in all shapes and sizes with truths, half truths, or no truths at all, but are they filled with good intentions or mired in felonious revenge? This collection offers twenty-two delicious tales to turn heartbreaks into a way forward or a way six-feet under. But however it is served, it is always entertaining!”

Be a Big Judy Penz Sheluk Fan!

Judy Penz Sheluk wears a couple different literary hats: author and editor. Along with some shorts included in several anthologies, she pens two engaging series, each with strong female characters and fascinating research: three-book The Glass Dolphin Mysteries (KRL Reviewed HERE #2 and HERE #3) and the three-book Marketville Mysteries (KRL Reviewed HERE #1, HERE #2, and HERE #3) She is also an editor gathering twenty-one writers from all over, including herself, and compiling their delightful shorts in themed mysteries: The Best Laid Plans, and Heartbreaks & Half-Truths.  

Facebook — Judy Penz Sheluk, Author

Website — Judy Penz Sheluk

To enter to win an ebook copy of Moonlight & Misadventure, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "moonlight,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 3, 2021. US and Canadian residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter. You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section in Kings River Life and in our mystery category here on KRL News & Reviews. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. And check out our new mystery podcast which features mystery short stories and first chapters read by local actors! A new episode goes up next week.

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Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is a 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying her retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband.
Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


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