Sunday, February 3, 2019

Death by Committee by Alexis Morgan - Book Review & Interview

I first encountered Alexis Morgan's books while strolling a Barnes & Noble bookstore in my second trip to the US. I found My Lady Mage, which swept me up in a word of fantasy and passion. I immediately picked up Her Knight's Quest after and patiently waited for Honour's Price (but was unable to get it because it's not shipped to Egypt).

It's been a dream to interview Morgan and now I get to not only get to exclusively interview her but also read and review the first instalment in her new cozy mystery in the Abbey McCree Series titled Death by Committee.

This post contains the book blurb or synopsis, book review, the exclusive interview, and tour-wide giveaway. So be sure to check'em all ;)

Book: Death by Committee
Book 1 in the Abby McCree Mysteries
Author: Alexis Morgan
Publisher: Kensington Books
Number of pages: 304
Publication date: 29 January 2019
ISBN:  978-1496719539

When Abby McCree suddenly inherits her favorite relative's property in small town Snowberry Creek, Washington, she soon realizes that the ramshackle home comes with strings attached--one of which is tied to a dead body!

After a rough divorce, Abby McCree only wants to stitch up her life and move on. But other loose ends appear after her elderly Aunt Sybil passes away, leaving Abby to tend to a rundown estate, complete with a slobbery Mastiff of questionable pedigree and a sexy tenant who growls more than the dog. As Abby gets drawn into a tight-knit quilting guild, she makes a twisted discovery--Aunt Sybil's only known rival is buried in her backyard!

Despite what local detectives say, Abby refuses to accept that her beloved aunt had anything to do with the murder. While navigating a busy social calendar and rediscovering the art of quilting, she launches an investigation of her own to clear Aunt Sybil's name and catch the true culprit. The incriminating clues roll in, yet Abby can't help but wonder--can she survive her new responsibilities in Snowberry Creek and still manage to patch together a killer's deadly pattern without becoming the next victim?

Book Review by Nadaness In Motion

"Tell me, Miss McCree, do you have any idea how your aunt's archrival, Dolly Cahill, came to be buried in your backyard, wrapped in one of Sybil's quilts?

Death by Committee by Alexis Morgan is the first book in the Abby McCree cozy mystery series. We are introduced to Abby who has inherited her favourite aunt Sybil's home and responsibilities in the small town of Snowberry Creek along with handsome, moody former war veteran and tenant, Tripp Blackston. Abby chances upon the dead body buried in her backyard and later learns that the body was a nemesis to her late aunt.

With little faith in the police and a lot of sleuthing, Abby takes it upon herself to uncover the killer, especially since it also means clearing her aunt Sybil's name.

Death by Committee has a second mystery within, that of the 12 missing quilts that the town's Quilting Guild had planned to use to bring in donations. While I enjoyed reading this, I felt that this secondary mystery took more focus than the original mystery.

"Snowberry Creek was a pretty town with lots of nice people living in it. But [Abby] shivered as she passed each neat and tidy house, because, despite the warmth of the sun overhead, she had to wonder which one sheltered a cold-blood killer."

I enjoyed Abby's reflections on who might have wanted to kill Dolly. Her interactions are realistic and humourous. She's an overall relatable character and so is her moody tenant and often saviour Tripp. I would like to see more of them in coming books.

One of my favourite characters in Death by Committee is Zeke, Abby's massive grey Mastiff, which she also inherited from her aunt Sybil. Zeke has a presence and character of his own in the novel. Though he cares for Abby and constantly ensures her safety, he is often seen wavering between who he'd like to spend time with, Abby or Tripp. Their dog walks become excellent excuses for Abby to explore possible suspects.

"Abby felt like she should be earning frequent flier miles with the Snowberry Creek Police Department."

One of the things that bothered me in Death by Committee, however, was the repetition of events. Something would happen with Abby and the town's sheriff Gage would question her about it. Instead of re-mentioning it briefly or saying something like "Abby relayed the events as they happened", she would repeat everything exactly. Personally, I felt it this was redundant and just added pages and word count.

Having said that, I still enjoyed Death by Committee by Alexis Morgan. It's a good start to a fun series with loveable characters.

Overall rating: 4 stars

Interview with Alexis Morgan

Q: Was entering the cozy mystery genre a major change from the romances and paranormal romances you write? Can you tell us about the ups and downs you faced when changing genres (or when writing a new genre)?
Alexis Morgan: Writing my first cozy mystery did present some challenges for me. In any genre, storytelling involves weaving a lot of different threads together to create a cohesive whole. Some of the threads I used this time were familiar, but others were definitely new to me. In the romances I’ve written, I routinely used multiple points of view to tell the story—the hero, the heroine, and at times even the villain. However, in Death by Committee, I limited myself to seeing the world solely through the eyes of my amateur sleuth, Abby McCree. I definitely stretched a few new writing muscles learning how to do that.

Q: How many parts are your planning for the Abby McCree series? And how many have you already signed up for?
Alexis Morgan: At this point, I’ve completed the first three Abby McCree stories. I also have ideas for at least three more books in the series that I would really love to write. I’m currently working on fleshing out the details for those stories.

Q: You've written prequels and mid-way novellas for your previous series. Do you think they have helped with your book sales?
Alexis Morgan: I think that prequels and especially mid-way novellas can help keep readers connected with a series in between releases of full-length books. They can also be used to tell stories about favourite secondary characters, which romance readers especially seem to love.   

Q: What books and series are you currently working on? Which can readers expect to be published in 2019?
Alexis Morgan: I’m currently focusing on my Abby McCree books. Death by Committee, is out now. The second one, DEATH BY JACK-0’-LANTERN will be released later this fall, and the third book is in the beginning steps of production and scheduled for release next year.

Q: Where do you go for inspiration?
Alexis Morgan: I’m lucky enough to have a great brainstorming partner, romance writer Janice Kay Johnson. She was the first published author I ever met, and she’s the one who encouraged me to write my first book. We’ve been meeting for lunch to brainstorm new ideas for each of us for far more years now than either of us likes to admit. Tossing ideas back and forth over burgers and fries is so much fun. I always come home both energised and inspired.

Q: With over 20 books written, what do you think is the most difficult thing about writing a book?
Alexis Morgan: For me, the hardest part is figuring out not just what the characters do but why they do it—the motivation behind their actions—and how to convey that information to the readers. That’s especially harder when the story is told through the eyes of just one character.  

Q: If you can pick only one series from those that you've written to become a movie or a series of episodes, which would it be?
Alexis Morgan: Boy, that’s a hard question to answer. Like most writers, my characters are all very real to me, so that’s like asking me to pick a favourite child. Having said that, I think the stories I’ve set in Snowberry Creek would make a great series, which includes both romances and now cozy mysteries.

Q: What countries are on your bucket list to travel to and perhaps find inspiration at?
Alexis Morgan: I would love to spend time in Great Britain, especially in England and Ireland.

Q: Is there anything you'd like to add?
Alexis Morgan: Just that I consider myself to be very lucky to have the opportunity to pursue my dream of being a writer. No one works in a vacuum, and I’ve had the good fortune to have the support of so many people along the way: my family, my friends, industry professionals, and my agent. But in the end, it’s the connection with my readers that has made the whole experience extra special.


As part of the blog tour, there is a Giveaway for 3 print copies of Death by Committee by Alexis Morgan. However, this is open to people in the US only (Sorry rest of the world!) 
Enter using the widget or link below.

About the Author:

Alexis Morgan has always loved reading and now spends her days imagining worlds filled with strong alpha heroes and gutsy heroines. She is the author of over 45 novels, novellas, and short stories that span a variety of genres: American West historicals (as Pat Pritchard); paranormal and fantasy romances; and contemporary romances. Alexis has been nominated for several industry awards, including the RITA, the top award in the romance genre.

Find Alexis Morgan on social media via Facebook, Twitter, her website, and blog.
Keep up with the rest of the tour including more book reviews, interviews, and guest posts here

Purchase Links:
Buy Death by Committee by Alexis Morgan via Barnes & Noble, Amazon, Kobo, GooglePlay, or IndieBound.

Don't forget to check out Nadaness In Motion's book reviews for My Lady Mage and Her Knight's Quest.
Note: These reviews may be longer and different from what I tackle now in each review as I was still at the beginning of my book reviewing and bookblogging days.

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