I'm super excited to be featuring Trending Topic #Murder by Sarah E. Burr.
The book is the first in the Trending Topic Mystery Series.
My post includes a blurb, my book review and an exclusive but quick interview with Sarah.
Unbeknownst to the author (until now), one of the main reasons I picked this book is because I work in social media marketing and because I've been thinking of making the protagonist in my work-in-progress cozy mystery series a digital marketer.
Unlike Sarah's main character Coco, who is a celebrity blogger and entrepreneur, my character is likely not going to have this high-end lifestyle.
So let's move on to Trending Topic #Murder.
(Book 1 in the Trending Topic Mystery Series)
Author: Sarah E. Burr
Genre: Cozy mystery
Publisher: Camel Press
Publication date: 8 September 2020
Paperback: 218 pages
Digital ASIN: B08DH78VXM
Meet 28-year-old celebrity blogger Coco Cline, who has started her own social media consulting company in her hometown of Central Shores, Delaware. Her new clients, Peter and Olivia Chen, are ten days away from the grand opening of their specialty consignment shop when Coco finds their store clerk Stacy dead behind the register.
Worried that a cloud of suspicion will ruin their chances of a successful business launch, the Chens ask Coco to work alongside the inexperienced, small-town police force to speed up the investigation.
Using her celebrity status and social media savviness, Coco realizes Stacy’s seemingly ordinary life was all an act. Following a trail of cryptic online posts and muddied gossip, Coco and her friends discover Stacy’s questionable relationships just might be the reason for her untimely demise.
Book Review of Trending Topic #Murder by Sarah E. Burr
"Stacy Lockner was killed with an eighty-thousand-dollar teapot."
Trending Topic #Murder is the first book in the Trending Topic Mysteries by Sarah E. Burr.
I picked up the book for personal reasons like exploring how a digital marketer would handle a business AND be a sleuth. :D So in addition to a great mystery, I got to do some research and see a live example (sort of).
Coco Cline is an entrepreneur, who with several friends sold their app to Facebook and came out with millions of dollars. Coco cut her profit to $2 million so she can keep her blog Your Way Today.
Coco goes back to her hometown of Central Shores, Delaware, where she launches her social media and consulting firm Center of Attention Consulting Services aka COA. She also continues to write for and manager her blog Your Way Today, which has over a million followers.
"I had the good business sense to ensure that my blog, still one of the main attractions to long time users of the LiveIt app, remained my intellectual property."
In Trending Topic #Murder, Coco is working with the Chens who are going to launch their luxury shop Once Used, Twice Buy. However, one morning as Coco enters the store to meet with the Chens, she discovers the Chens' clerk Stacy murdered in the back of the store.
Coco then begins her PR mission to ensure the Chens' reputation isn't tarnished as the police investigate, while Olivia Chen seeks to keep her grand opening on schedule.
In her attempt to clear the Chens of suspicion, Coco goes above and beyond to discover who could have wanted Stacy dead. In the process, she unearths many secrets to the believed-to-be-angelic clerk.
"Up until now, I'd been mainly –and selfishly– concerned with saving Once Used, Twice Buy and the Chens' reputation. But the more I got tangled up in Stacy's life, the more determined I felt to make whoever did this to her pay."
With her besties Charlotte and Jasper, and while brushing up on her former investigative skills, Coco's investigation brings in a flood of potential suspects and uncovers a ton of secrets Stacy had been expertly covering.
In Trending Topic #Murder, Coco is a celebrity blogger so the lifestyle is quite unique, interesting, and fun in a way. It appears that Coco is perfect, but as author Sarah E. Burr mentions in her interview, below, Coco does have insecurities.
This becomes clear when
her news anchor hottie of a boyfriend becomes the new focus of the town's
ladies and as his stardom seems to exceed hers.
"Whoever said knowledge was power must never have been tangled up in a murder investigation."
I loved the characters in Trending Topic #Murder. For some reason, I imagined Charlotte as Stephanie Borden (portrayed by Kaylee Evans) in the series The Good Witch. She, too, was perfect in many ways, struggled to find a boyfriend, and ran café.
There's a ton of humor in the book, especially from the trio: Coco, Jasper, and Charlotte.
"Suspects with no apparent motive are better than no suspects at all, Coco."
One of the things I liked about Trending Topic #Murder is Coco's social media knowledge shared throughout the book. Like how Instagram metrics involve likes but they aren't 100% the case for everything.
Plus, Coco uses her social media skills to discover Stacy's and other characters' secrets.
I enjoyed this personally though because I work in the field as a copywriter and email marketer. Even more so because I could finally see a slight representation of me in a book.
I'm no celebrity blogger but it still feels I could relate to Coco's character, especially the maintaining a blog part – minus the 2 million followers!
Overall I enjoyed reading Trending Topic #Murder by Sarah E. Burr. I'm definitely curious to see what the other Trending Topics will be.
Overall rating for Trending Topic #Murder: 4.5 stars
Note: I got a free copy of Trending Topic #Murder by Sarah E. Burr via Lori Great Escapes Blog tours. This did not affect my review in anyway.
Interview with Sarah E. Burr
Q: Who are your favorite (cozy) mystery authors?
Sarah E. Burr: I’m always picking up the latest Denise Swanson, Cleo Coyle, and Julia Buckley mysteries.
Q: If you can give a tip or two to an aspiring cozy mystery author, what would it be?
Sarah: Start working on a tagline for the series/book as soon as possible. It makes for a great hook with agents and publishers if you’ve already got something marketable in the works.
It doesn’t have to be perfect—“Murder goes viral” is the final evolution of the tagline I used from when Coco and I first began our journey together—but having something catchy to work into a query can make your submission stand out.
Q: Coco's character seems almost perfect, so what's her character flaw?
Sarah: Ha! That’s Coco, all right. She strives to appear perfect to the outside world, which is all a part of her online brand. Yet, despite her outward confidence, Coco is insecure about the future, full of anxiety that things may not go according to plan, and she likes things to be within the realm of her control.
That’s why Coco moved back to her hometown after the national spotlight got too blazing hot for her. In Central Shores, Coco can control her image and keep the world at a distance.
She’s also one of those people who obsesses over being on time (I know, I’m one of them). It’s a burden more than anything. It can take the spontaneity out of life.
Q: What was the hardest thing you had to go through or struggled with when creating Coco's character?
Sarah: Developing Coco’s super successful lifestyle blog, Your Way Today. I barely manage to write a post a month on my own author blog, so bringing to life an authentic blogger was tricky.
I had to do a lot of research on blogging habits, influencer routines, and popular lifestyle blogs. Not only is Coco juggling her social media consulting business and a murder investigation, but I had to constantly remind myself that every situation Coco gets herself into could be approached as a piece for Your Way Today. It’s always there sitting in the back of her mind, like, “Hey, this could make a great Your Way Today topic.”
Q: Aside from cozy mystery, what other genres do you write?
Sarah: I also write a crossover genre that blends mystery with fantasy.
Q: Can you give us a brief about your other book series?
Sarah: My Court of Mystery series features Duchess Jacqueline Arienta Xavier, a young woman who ascends the throne of Sapphire after the tragic death of her parents. As Duchess Jacqueline, or Jax to her friends, seeks to bring peace throughout the realm, she finds murder and mayhem around every castle corner.
Q: When travel restrictions are removed across the globe, what is the first country you'd like to visit?
Sarah: I’ve been pining away to visit New Zealand ever since I saw the first Lord of the Rings movie when I was 12. Since that’s a pretty big haul across the globe, I imagine my first trip will either be to England or to the Caribbean, two places I love to visit.
About the Author:Sarah E. Burr grew up in the small town of Appleton, Maine and now lives outside New York City. Since she was seven, Sarah has wanted to be Nancy Drew, but she wasn’t stumbling across any mysteries in corporate America.
Deciding it was time to follow her dreams, Sarah left her career in healthcare information technology three years ago and started writing mysteries of her own. The Trending Topic Mysteries is her first traditionally published series. Sarah also writes the Court of Mystery series.
Sarah attended Elmira College and graduated with degrees in Political Science and Philosophy & Religious Studies. She loves to weave these themes into her writing. When she’s not spinning up new stories, Ms. Burr is off seeing Broadway musicals, reading up a storm, video gaming, and enjoying walks around the city.
Keep up with the rest of the blog tour featuring guest posts, Spotlights, book reviews and more interviews.
9 October– Nadaness In Motion – Book Review and Author Interview
11 October– Celticlady's Reviews – Spotlight
12 October – Socrates Book Reviews – Spotlight
15 October– I Read What You Write – Character Guest Post