Monday, March 21, 2022

Costumes and Cadavers by Katherine Brown – Book Review & Author Interview

Today, I'm featuring a book review of Costumes and Cadavers by Katherine Brown as part of a blog tour with Lori Great Escapes Virtual Book Tours.

The post also includes an exclusive and exciting interview with Katherine Brown :)

First let me tell you the book is about.


Book cover of Costumes and Cadavers by Katherine Brown
Nobody ever plans to be the death of the party.

Party guests congratulate Charity Basham, owner of Sassy Supplies Crafts & More, on the scariness of her backyard skeleton decoration. Unfortunately, Charity didn't put out any skeleton decorations.

With the discovery of a dead body, her Halloween party turns into a nightmare. With her fingerprints (and some white cat fur) are all over the murder weapon, Charity finds herself at the top of the suspect list.

Can she clear her name before the dishy Detective Sota arrests her for murder?


Book Review of Costumes and Cadavers by Katherine Brown 

"Standing in a room, wondering if you were next to a killer, really did a number on a girl's nerves."

Costumes and Cadavers by Katherine Brown is a short cozy mystery novella that's part of the Sassy Supplies Mystery Series.

Divided into six short chapters, the book opens with Sassy Supplies' owner Charity Basham at her Homemade Halloween. One of her guests nearly stumbles on Charity's scary-looking Halloween decoration.

But Charity doesn't recall putting up any Halloween Decoration.

Charity immediately recognizes the murdered victim as one of her not-favorite customers. But problems truly arise when police begin not only questioning her but also finding a ton of evidence that says she likely killed him.

Evidence except motive.

"Your hair was found on the body, your prints are the only ones on the murder weapon, the murder weapon came from a store that you happen to own, and the murder occurred at your residence. Plus, your cat's fur is on the body as well."

As is the case with multi-book series, there isn't a lot of character development. Add in that this is a mystery novella, then there's no room for much development. However, it's a good and fast read.

Short as it is, Costumes and Cadavers offers a complete cozy mystery with a set of characters, a feline, murder, a couple of suspects and all in a few pages.

Overall rating for Costumes and Cadavers by Katherine Brown: 3.5 stars.


Note: My book review of Costumes and Cadavers by Katherine Brown is part of a blog tour for the short novella, organized by Lori Great Escapes Virtual Blog Tours. This has, in no way, affected my review.


Now it's time for my exclusive interview with Author Katherine Brown 

Q: How did you get into writing cozy mysteries?

Katherine Brown: Cozy mysteries are one of my favorite genres to read. Even when I branch out and read in romance or fantasy or other things, cozies are still going to show back up in my to-be-read pile over and over.

When I began writing, I naturally veered to cozy mysteries because I felt familiar with the expectations of readers as a lover of them myself. I also thought cozy was a “safe” category for my friends, family, and children to read (i.e. clean, no extreme language or physical romance scenes…etc.).

Q: Are you a full-time author? If not, what do you besides being a writer? What did you do before you became a writer?

Katherine Brown: Technically, I’m a full-time stay-at-home-mom. Far, far more hours are spent momming than writing. Being an author is my only occupation, though because I am only able to dedicate part-time to it, I’m not an “income earning” author yet, if that makes sense.

Thanks to a supportive husband, I’m able to spend the money to invest in my career now (editors, advertising, etc) that will hopefully lead to a long and profitable future as an author later on.

Prior to leaving my office job to stay at home and pursue my passion of writing and caring for my daughters, I worked at a metal building construction company. While the industry itself hasn’t leaked into my books yet, (there is always time) dynamics and personalities in any situation shape us as writers I believe.

If nothing else, the 60+ hours a week, stress, and frustrations that I experienced in that job were the tipping point that set me free to quit and come home to write.

Q: If you could meet or have lunch with any author (dead or alive), who would it be?
Katherine Brown:
Jane Austen is probably always a first choice. J.K. Rowling. Julie Klassen. I would be quite ecstatic to sit down with any of them and spill my admiration as well as learn lessons they were willing to share.

banner image featuring novella book cover costumes and cadavers and author image of katherine brown

Q: I noticed in your bio that you're a Harry Potter fan. Did the books inspire you in anyway in your writing?
Katherine Brown:
I do love Harry Potter! I was a lover of words and writing long before Harry Potter was published, however. As a kid, I used to staple papers together and make up stories at home.

I loved writing assignments in school. I sold newsletters to my own parents (who lived happily together and with me in the same house LOL) because I wanted to be a writer. All of those experiences were before I ever picked up my first copy of Harry Potter.

However, the perseverance and success of J.K. Rowling and the incredible, relatable characters she created definitely added to my inspiration later. What a legacy!

Q: And speaking of Harry Potter – along with a bit of snooping around your Goodreads profile – what are your favorite genres? Would you consider experimenting with one of those genres in the future?
Katherine Brown: I think it would be easier to list genres that I don’t read in than my favorites! For example, I steer clear of horror and true crime. I’m definitely not a non-fiction fan; I’m an escapist reader.

I’m an avid reader of clean fantasy, historical fiction (cozies or romance either way), young adult, and steampunk. Fairy tale retellings in most genres easily grab my attention, and my money.

I love the creativity of other authors and the worlds they build for us to experience. It is my sincere desire to continue improving my own writing and create immersive experiences for my readers as well.

As to experimenting in other genres to write, The Librarian’s Treasure was my first such adventure. A romantic fantasy, but with mystery and adventure included, I was dabbling with that story for years but a nervous wreck about actually finishing it for fear it wouldn’t live up to my hopes.

Thanks to an encouraging editor, I’m happy to say I was able to do even more than I thought with Raegan’s story.

I’m working on jumping into some steampunk this year. I haven’t quite decided if my story will lean to romance or mystery, though it is very likely to have a good combination of both. After all, what is life if not a combination of experiences?

Q: Can you tell readers a bit about your book The Librarian's Treasure?

Katherine Brown: The Librarian’s Treasure is a light fantasy (think leprechauns but with my own imaginative twist) which follows Raegan Sheridan from content librarian to becoming a woman seeking answers from her past and embracing her future.

Orphaned as a child, it takes a stranger showing up and an odd quest to send Raegan off to Ireland to see the home of the mother she never knew. She falls in love with the land but has to save it from an evil landowner seeking to take everything.

Filled with secret rooms, a stray kitten, a handsome stranger, and a mysterious league, plus a healthy love of books, I let my imagination have its way with The Librarian’s Treasure. I was so happy and proud to take a risk straying from cozies to something I’d been wanting to write so long that I actually published it on my own birthday.

About the Author

Katherine Brown author picture
Texas author Katherine Brown is a wife, a mother to two beautiful book-devouring girls, a bookaholic ice cream lover, Harry Potter fan, and an enthusiastic weaver of words.

Writing since she could scribble with crayons, Katherine has published books for adults and children alike.

Fans of her cozy mystery series range from age 12 to 72. She hopes to inspire in others a passion for reading and provide many adventures through the pages of books for years to come.

Connect with author Katherine Brown via her Website, Facebook page, Instagram, Goodreads, BookBub, and Amazon.


Keep up with the rest of the blog tour featuring character interviews, guest posts, spotlights, and book reviews.

March 21 – Brooke Blogs – Book Review, Nadaness In Motion – Book Review & Author Interview, Socrates Book Reviews – Book Review

March 22 – Literary Gold – Author interview, Maureen's Musings – Book Review, Celticlady's Reviews – Spotlight

March 23 – Lady Hawkeye – Spotlight

March 24 – FUONLYKNEW – Spotlight, Sapphyria's Book Reviews – Book Review, Escape With Dollycas Into A Good Book – Character Guest Post

March 25 – I Read What You Write – Guest Post, Baroness Book Trove – Spotlight

March 26 – Nellie's Book Nook – Book Review, Books Blog - Spotlight

March 27 – BookishKelly2020 – Spotlight & ebook addicts – Book Review & Ruff Drafts – Guest Post

Thursday, March 17, 2022

Meet author Jack Byrne and The Liverpool Mystery Series - Interview

Today, I'm excited to be featuring a new mystery – or rather historical mystery – author. Meet Jack Byrne and his new novel Under the Bridge.

Under the Bridge is the first book in The Liverpool Mystery Murders.

This post is part of a blog tour, organized by TheWriteReads, and features an exclusive author interview with Jack Byrne.

First a little bit about the book and series:

Genre: Mystery
Length: 360 Pages
Publishing: 18 February 2021
Find the book on Amazon and Goodreads.

Synopsis for Under the Bridge by Jack Byrne

2004 - The discovery of a skeleton in the Liverpool docklands unearths long buried secrets. Reporter, Anne McCarthy, is keen to prove herself and dives into the case with abandon where she finds Michael, an old Irish caretaker who knows far more than he’s letting on and may have a connection to the body.

Meanwhile, Vinny Doyle, is starting a postgrad degree, researching Liverpool’s immigrant history and a burgeoning Scouse identity. But Vinny has been neglecting his own family history and stranger Michael might know about his father's disappearance in the 70s.

1955 - Escaping violence in Ireland and fresh off the boat, Michael falls in with Wicklow boys Jack Power and Paddy Doyle, who smuggle contraband through the docks putting them at odds with unions while they rally the dock workers against the rackets and the strikebreakers. A story of corruption, secret police, and sectarianism slowly unravels. But will the truth out?

As the conflict heightens, Michael questions the life sprawling out ahead of him. In the present, Anne races to solve the mystery, but is she prepared for what she’ll find?

Now for the interview where we talk about the book and series and Jack offers some writing advice for aspiring authors.


Q: Can you tell readers a bit about yourself and how you got into the mystery genre?

Jack Byrne: I was born and raised in Speke, Liverpool to an Irish immigrant father and grandparents. I am an advocate of Irish and Liverpudlian history. The Liverpool Mystery Series, including Under the Bridge and Across the Water follow our heroes, Vinny and Anne, across Liverpool and Ireland as the mysteries of the past collide with their investigations in the present.


Q: Is The Liverpool Mystery Series more like a CSI or Criminal Minds, or what kind of mystery is it?

Jack Byrne: I write social and historical novels that are structured around a mystery. In Under the Bridge a body is unearthed near the docks in Liverpool.  Anne and Vinny set out to uncover its identity, in doing so they learn a lot about themselves and the city they live in.

Q: I like the idea that there are two timelines in Under the Bridge. Was that hard to maintain while writing?

Jack Byrne: We all exist with two timelines, what is happening now and what got us to this position.  In the historic narrative we follow the lives of two Irish immigrants who were part of the wave of Irish and black immigrants who rebuilt England after the war. Forgetting our real history is part of the reason the country is doing so badly at the moment.


Q: Do you have any writing tips or advice for aspiring mystery writers? 

Jack Byrne: Don’t think you need a perfect plot worked out before you start. For me the story develops as it grows, you can add layer upon layer of complexity once you have the bare bones laid out. Start writing and see where the characters take you.


Q: If you could meet or have lunch with any author (dead or alive), who would it be?

Jack Byrne: I would go for a pint with Dickens, Zola, Steinbeck, Jack London, and hopefully end up in a pub with Connolly, Castro, Guevara, Mandela, Thomas Sankara and Toussaint L’Ouverture – if you don’t know any of them Google it will be worth your while.

About Jack Byrne

I was born and raised in Speke Liverpool, (Paul McCartney lived in the street behind us for a while) although my parents first lived ‘Under The Bridge’ in Garston, and all my family goes back to Wicklow in Ireland.

The Liverpool Mystery Series will be four novels. Under The Bridge is the first. I am writing Fire Next Time now, and The Wicklow Boys will follow next year. You can find The One Road prequel a collection of short stories on Amazon.

Want to meet more mystery authors?

Check out my interview with HS Burney and read the excerpt from The Lake Templeton Murders

Read my reviews of: 

What We Bury by Carolyn Arnold

Crime Scene Connection by Deena Alexander