"A Halloween Homicide" By Tonya Kappes: Review/Giveaway

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. 

Home, Holidays, & Homicides

Violet Rhinehammer was set to have her professional dreams realized when offered a job interview for a reporter gig in California, but karma had other plans: murder on her flight and rerouting her to Holiday Junction. Yet, despite using her nose for news to find a killer, she got a ‘no thanks we hired someone else’ response. She was, however, noticed by the owners of the Junction Journal, sisters-in-law Marge and Louise Strickland, and now, she is the editor and reporter, the only editor and reporter, and showing herself capable of making the local rag more popular and lucrative.

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Although she’d hoped to leave small towns behind, she’s enjoying this small town, most holidays, and the local “jiggle joint” owner, but her mama, Millie Kay, recently moved into town with rumors of divorce and adding some unwanted complications. Another complication came Violet’s way when she was wrangled in as Merry Maker, a secret, very secret, centuries old, jolly cheer spreader, responsible for a late night trip to plant a painted icon to denote the final gathering for every holiday festival. No one is suppose to known her identity, but she has an unwilling partner in Darren, and “can’t be relied on to keep a secret” Mama knows. How long will her identity be confidential?

A Halloween Homicide Earns 5/5 Coffin Conundrums…Entertaining Cozy Gem!

Holiday Junction is a mecca for those who love their holidays, and Halloween is set to be no exception. The town is dressing up with festoons of orange and black, ghostly costumes, and pumpkin everything for the month-long festivities culminating with Halloweenie. Violet is not a fan of Halloween…shhh, don’t tell that to Hershal Hudson and his wife Hazelynn! As owners of the Brewing Beans and sponsors of the Ghost Walk, they and the Holiday Junction Planning Committee expect Violet to provide a big write up in the paper to announce the return of the Ghost Walk after a ten year absence. A private preview is set, but Violet is not into ghosts or the dark, so she manages to manipulate the situation and a daytime tour is arranged.

Despite the daytime hour, the Ghost Walk just might be the hit of the festivities: spooky stories, creepy frights, and a headless horseman are just some of the fun. Violet isn’t really paying close attention since her nose for news was piqued by talk of the upcoming election and the fracas when Peter Hill, president of the town’s planning committee, revoked Nettie Banks‘s Bubbly Boutique’s vendor license. But, back to the ghosts and ghouls experience with its spooky graveyard, styrofoam tombstones, and a vampire-style coffin. One! Two! Three! The trick isn’t working. One! Two! Three! The coffin finally pops open, but instead of the jack-in-the-box clown springing up from the coffin for screams and laughter, a body, bloodied from the knife in its back, topples out. It looks like a new president will need to be elected!

BOO-rrific! Tonya Kappes is the best for holiday fun, and this third book in her Holiday Cozy Mystery series puts Halloween ghosts and goblins and a murder on display. Small town politics, back room deals, and long-ago secrets as well as good ol’ greed, jealousy, and revenge are key motives in the investigation. From the town’s archives to asking questions of everyone from the trolley driver to the canine mayor’s master, from facts to gossip, from eavesdropping to evading a few dark shadows, Violet’s investigative skill discovered more than she bargained. The victim was discovered earlier in the story than is usual for a Kappes’ book which, to my liking, put center stage the investigation and run-ins with the police, suspects, and killer. Violet is still getting used to the town’s uber fascination with all things holidays along with her uber busybody Mama. Darren Strickland, the hunky bar owner and son of the by-the-book sheriff, is a good sidekick giving good what he gets as they trade friendly barbs and kisses. Engaging Fun!

Tonya Kappes’ writing style is always entertaining with descriptive images and dialog that does well to illustrate multi-generational personalities. Violet was always a go-getter in the Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery series, and in her own spin-off, she makes for an engaging lead: clever, resilient, insightful with some realistic shortcomings. Dealing with her mama is tricky with plenty of conflicting emotions from love and admiration for her mama’s openness and fearlessness to frustration and thoughts of how to ship her back to Normal, Kentucky, hogtied and gagged. Violet’s romantic side is challenged by young Darren who is just as determined, but, as the town seems already aware, they are an item. With lots of holiday haunts, some romantic surprises, and a complex murder mystery, this book is just what the change of seasons requires. Always a fan!

Be a Big Fan of Tonya Kappes!

“Southern Hospitality with a Smidgen of Homicide!” USA Today bestselling author Tonya Kappes pens a variety of series. With this Holiday Cozy Mystery series, she also has A Camper & Criminals Cozy Mystery and Mail Carrier Cozy Mystery along with exciting ghostly-, magical-, and caffeinated-themed series. For ghosts, she has Ghostly Southern Mystery and Kenni Lowry series. Add some magic with a Magical Cures Mystery and Spies and Spells series. And finally, get a little caffeinated with her Killer Coffee Mystery. She also has an enjoyable online presence and various events enticing fans to gather to talk, share, and partake in the fun!

Facebook – Author Tonya Kappes

Join the “Cozy Krew”

Become a Member at the Website – Tonya Kappes

YouTube — Tonya Kappes

To enter to win an ebook copy of A Halloween Homicide, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line "homicide,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 22, 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.

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.

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:

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.


  1. Love Tonya's books. Thanks for the chance.

  2. Sounds good! I'm in!

  3. thanks for the chance to win! amandasmother(at)aol(dot)com

  4. would love to win & read Tonya's book. ☕💕

  5. love Tonya's books. thanks for a chance.

  6. My husband and I love Tonya's books. Thank you for the chance to win.

  7. We have a winner!
    Lorie Ham


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