"Straight Up" By Cathi Stoler: Review/Giveaway

 Review by Terrance McArthur

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

Straight Up, the third Murder on the Rocks Mystery by Cathi Stoler, is a…

Well, the main character is bar owner Jude Dillane, who is not a professional law enforcement officer, but it isn’t a cozy mystery. It has a gritty feel, but Jude isn’t a private investigator, so it isn’t a noir detective mystery. The FBI are involved, but Jude keeps doing end runs around them. It is not a procedural mystery. A serial killer is targeting Jude, so…is it a thriller?

It touches a lot of bases, while skirting them. So…it’s a not-too-cozy, semi-noirish thrillerette, I guess, but it’s really cool.

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Jude has a lot on her mind. Art Bevins (a novelist, screenwriter, and the New Year’s Eve Serial Killer who lived in the apartment above hers) is still on the loose and taunting her. She has to plan menus for New York City’s Restaurant Week, and Pete, her chef/business partner, is tired of dead bodies and danger; he wants Jude to buy him out so he can open a restaurant in a safer place. She’s also worried about the new tenant above her, Dolores Castel, a widow who seems to be predatorily interested in the building owner, Sully. Jude’s romantic life had derailed when she hid facts and lied to her love, Eric, but he is back in the picture.

Stoler has a strong-woman voice to use for Jude, even though the bar owner insists on investigating and following trails on her own, instead of following the requests of FBI Special Agent Elaine Garlinger or Tony, an undercover police detective. When the FBI is trying to protect you, you are not supposed to sneak out on your own, but Jude will do what she will do to protect herself from Bevins. Stoler’s descriptions of Dolores’s thoughts and plans are unsettling and help to ratchet up the tension.

 This is a powerful book that even makes the running of a New York City bar/restaurant seem exciting and colorful. It’s a great place to visit, but be aware that the nice person at the next table may not be who they seem to be.  

To enter to win an ebook copy of Straight Up, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "straight,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen March 5, 2022. US residents only and you must be 18 or older to enter.  If entering via comment please include your email address so we can contact you.  You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Another one of Cathi's books, Out of Time, was featured on a past podcast episode. You can listen by clicking here or on the player below.

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 went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the book or click here. If you have adblocker on you may not be able to see the Amazon link:

Terrance V. Mc Arthur is newly retired as a Librarian in Fresno County, California. He is also a storyteller, puppeteer, magician, and maker of pine needle baskets. On top of that he writes stories that range from rhymed children's tales to splatterpunk horror. He's an odd bird, but he's nice to have around.
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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