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Katy Munger Books:                                                                                                  Lise McClendon Books: scroll down

Legwork (Book 1 in the Casey Jones series)

In Legwork, the first book in the Casey Jones series, P.I. Casey Jones wins an assignment as bodyguard to Senatorial candidate Mary Lee Masters, only to have it turn into a murder investigation when someone dumps a corpse in the candidate’s car, branding Masters as a killer with only weeks to go before the election. Masters’ opponent is highly skilled and indisputably handsome, causing problems for Casey while challenging her views of good and bad politicians. Casey must unravel the tangled loyalties of N.C. good old boy politics, puzzle out the contradictions of Southern feminism, confront the realities of her upbringing and dodge everything from cross-bows to irate mothers in her search to find the real killer — all while contemplating new objects of her fickle and frequently bestowed affections.

Out of Time (Book 2 in the Casey Jones series)

This time around, Casey takes on a case that batters her once-sturdy body and threatens to expose her closest held secret. When her investigation into the case of a woman on death row sets her at odds with her hometown police force, Casey quickly learns that true blue friends aren’t necessarily clad in blue. One by one, bodies begin to fall, while Casey holds her ground.  She must race to uncover the truth before more people die and before she takes the rap for their murders. With the help of an unlikely pair of bloodhounds and even more unlikely allies, Casey battles back to reclaim her clients life and her own, and to set a trap for a very clever killer before time runs out.

Money to Burn (Book 3 in the Casey Jones series)

After a favorite client gets killed on her watch, Casey vows to find the killer no matter what the cost, either personally or professionally. When the trail leads her into the rarefied ranks of North Carolina’s social elite, Casey’s dirt poor childhood comes rushing back in a wave of self-doubt that adds fire to her considerable fury. She fights to regain her self-confidence and expose an incendiary killer out to destroy more than her name.  Casey moves from farmland to the mountains, from debutante balls to drag bars, from boardrooms to bedrooms– and even down the prickly path of lust at first sight–as she battles unknown enemies anxious to see her, quite literally, to go up in flames.

Bad to the Bone (Book 4 in the Casey Jones series)

At first, Casey proves a sucker for the fragile blonde who claims her estranged husband has disappeared with their child. But Casey soons begins to suspect that the lovely Tawny Bledsoe has played her for a fool. Especially when Casey gets stiffed on the fee, then finds herself embroiled in a murder case with Tawny’s name written all over it. Bad check in hand and a bad taste in her mouth, Casey resolves to stop Tawny once and for all. The battle quickly turns personal with Tawny proves more than a match for the irrepressible Casey. Ego rattled, Casey laces up her high-tops to track her nemesis to Florida for a Saturday night cat fight, leaving her sweet-and-sour southern ways far behind in order to prove that Tawny Bledsoe is one bad to the bone babe who belongs behind bars — no matter what it takes to bring her in.

Better Off Dead (Book 5 in the Casey Jones series)

It takes a lot to faze Casey Jones, but there are still some cases that hit her like a piledriver to the gut. This is one of them. Helen McInnes, the victim of a horrible crime, barely escaped with her life. Traumatized by the experience, she can no longer set foot outside her home. Further devastated by her attacker’s acquittal and the anonymous threats she begins to receive, Helen turns to Casey for help in reclaiming her life. Leaving Helen with a motley crew of bodyguards — including Casey’s temperamental boyfriend, her corpulent partner Bobby D., his  rotund paramour Fanny and a nearly comatose dog named Killer — Casey heads back to school, prowling Duke University with a different education in mind: one that will help her unmask a fiend w ho is using the campus as his personal hunting ground.

Bad Moon on the Rise (Book 6 in the Casey Jones series)

When a young basketball star and his drug-addicted mother disappear without a trace, the boy’s ailing grandmother begs a reluctant Casey to find him before she dies. But even the normally unflappable Casey Jones is thrown for a loop when she discovers evidence of a murder in their wake and uncovers a shocking secret about the identity of the boy’s father. Casey has a difficult time separating her professional and personal judgment — with disastrous results that put her freedom at peril and endanger the boy’s well being.

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Books By Lise McClendon writing as Rory Tate:

PLAN X

PLAN-X-ebook-finalIt should have been simple, this finding the next-of-kin. But for Officer Cody Byrne the explosion that injures the Shakespeare professor is more than suspicious. So begins the unraveling of a man’s life, a man’s secrets, his loves and birthright, as Cody follows his trail to Washington, DC, then London, trying to glean something of his shadowed past from the Renaissance documents he left behind.

It begins in Montana, but soon takes her on a global journey, as well as a psychic one, after an Iraq tour as an Army Reservist leaves her shaken. Eager that no one finds out about her PTSD, she toughs it out, even while grieving for her brother lost in Afghanistan. A challenge coin he left behind is another mystery, the blank side and the side that says: PLAN X: Always with you, Wherever you go. Cody’s journey takes her back to the family she hardly knows, and the surprising revelations of a professor’s past.

Jump Cut new-jump-cut-8-14

Seattle reporter Mimi Raynard is having a bad week. Her ex-husband is now her boss at the TV station and wants her head on a platter. When three prostitutes die of a suspicious heroin overdose Mimi gets the story but in her nervous enthusiasm manages to bungle it. The narcotics detective on the case tries to help but both are out-foxed by the buxom intern.  What’s a girl to do?

Desperate and out of ideas Mimi takes a friend’s advice and dresses up as a Russian Mafiya Madam for a resume tape she has no intention of sending out. But the lark turns serious when the intern steals the tape. At the Seattle Police Department the narcotics detective Shad Mulgrew has his own career crisis. He is framed for stealing drugs from evidence. Is someone in the department killing prostitutes?

Working together to save their reputations, Mimi and Shad look for the truth, from the fishing docks of Puget Sound to the backwoods of the tiny Republic of Moldova. They end up salvaging a lot more than their careers. In a wild finish they save the soul of Seattle, and find themselves.

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Books By Lise McClendon:

The Girl in the Empty Dress by Lise McClendon

Girl-in-Empty-Dress-ebook-2

A Thalia Press Original

sequel to Blackbird Fly. New May 2014

Available for Kindle, Nook, KOBO, and iTunes

Wine, women, and walking. That’s all the Bennett sisters planned for
their vacation in France. Merle Bennett [from Blackbird Fly] delights in showing her
sisters her corner of southwest France until the sixth member of the walking tour
finds an injured dog along the path. That simple event shouldn’t have changed
everything but this isn’t just any stray dog. She’s something special and Gillian
Sargent wants her at all costs. Besides being a law colleague of one sister, no one
knows much about Gillian. She’s moody and secretive. Answers elude Merle and her
sisters as their idyllic summer turns dark and dangerous, deep in the heart of France.
_____________________________

All Your Pretty Dreamsnew pretty dreams 2-12

The push and pull of becoming an adult on your own terms is the dilemma facing Jonny Knobel. His life so far hasn’t worked out and his family wants him back to play his accordion in the polka band for the summer. He gets sucked into the family drama, and the tempting wiles of the college field team next door. The leader of the crew studying wild bees is Isabel Yancey, a rude city girl with her own baggage, including a rich family she despises.

Combining the spirit of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with the quirky, heartfelt characters of Anne Tyler the world of Red Vine, Minnesota comes to life, a rich milieu of confrontation, betrayal, humiliation, laughter, and redemption, as Jonny plays Bruce Springsteen, James Brown, and the ‘She Likes Kielbasa’ polka on his grandfather’s accordion. What does a draftsman from Minneapolis, born into a cheesy polka band, have in common with a prickly, ambitious scientist who studies bees? How badly does she want him to breach her defenses?

Romance, humor, and the heartache of growing up make All Your Pretty Dreams a unique journey through the hearts and minds of young adults searching for the keys to happiness in a complicated world. If Elizabeth Bennett had been born into a Minnesota polka band, her story would be All Your Pretty Dreams.

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Blackbird Fly 

Merle Bennett, a legal aid lawyer in New York, is shocked by the sudden death of her husband. She takes her teenage son to France when she escapes her grief. Her husband’s ancestral home, crumbling and infested with secrets, should be a project full of solace and sunshine. But soon any calm she feels is overshadowed by the past. A crumbling house, a deranged squatter somehow connected to her husband, unfriendly villagers, a ghastly surprise in the garden house — it makes a girl almost wish for the sleepy suburbs. But Merle can’t go home until all is resolved, one way or another.

In her first suspense novel, Lise McClendon reveals her love of both the French countryside and the intimacies and drama of family. Her style has been described as “lyrical and often humorous” and her mysteries as “richly detailed,… quite simply gets to your heart.” As an Amazon reader wrote: “There are dead bodies, lots of suspense and mystery, great characters, a bit of romance, but mostly it’s just a great story! This is one of the best books I’ve read this year. You won’t be  disappointed.”

“A few writers are gifted with a feel for place that transforms locale from mere background into a vital element. To their number add Lise McClendon.” — San Diego Union Tribune


The ALIX THORSSEN Mysteries

The Bluejay Shaman 


Traveling the back roads of Montana, not-quite-fearless art gallery owner Alix Thorssen is far from her home in Jackson Hole. Trying to clear her sister’s husband of murder, she finds herself up to her Ray-bans in shaman’s secrets, muysterious deaths, zealots, and madmen, not to mention — ah yes — passion among the pine needles.
Whoever killed Shiloh Merkin hated her. But did Wade Fraser, University of Montana professor, do the deed? Alix follows a trail of moonlit rituals and legendary artifacts as another murder leads her to a chilling confrontation with a killer.
“In this first novel in the series, Lise McClendon weaves a gripping tale of suspense, blending Indian lore, the timeless clash of western values, and the magnificent landscape of the Rockies.
“Delightful; compellingly twisted. Reminiscent of Tony Hillerman at his best.” — James Crumley, author of The Last Good Kiss

“A sleuth with intelligence, courage, and real heart.” — Earlene Fowler

“The magic in a Lise McClendon mystery lies in the character of the heroine, an outwardly stoic and reserved Norwegian-American, who has a big heart.” — Midwest Review

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Painted Truth

Alix Thorssen’s partnership with sexy Paolo Segundo is at a crossroads. When another gallery on the town square burns, revealing the body of a famous artist, she is drawn into the investigation as an appraiser of the lost paintings. Ray Tantro was a has-been at 30 but was on the verge of a comeback. Why would he commit suicide? Why are the police so quick to dismiss foul play? The investigation makes her confront her own contradictions as an art lover, turning everything she knows upside down. She must examine her ethics and even her way of life to find the truth, and justice. But not without a very high price.

“An extremely satisfying mystery whose intricate plot kept me guessing. It’s a rare book that can keep me riveted to its pages and have me reaching for tissues at the end. This one did. I give it my highest recommendation.” — Mystery News

“Writing in a lyrical, often humorous style, McClendon brings the surrounding Wyoming territories to life.”– Armchair Detective

“An unusually complex art swindle that will leave you gasping with admiration for the killer’s imagination and industry. McClendon knits detective work together with domestic betrayals in a satisfyingly intricate tangle.” — Kirkus Reviews


Nordic Nights

Set in wintry Jackson Hole, Wyo., this crisp, straightforward mystery plunges gallery owner Alix Thorssen into the local Nordic Nights festival, which features ice carving, a parade, ski races and a startling murder. Famous Norwegian painter Glasius Dokken, who had come to town for his show at Alix’s gallery, is found stabbed with an ice pick in the hotel room of an itinerant and provocative fortune-teller.

Arrested for the killing is Alix’s glumly stoic stepfather (his fingerprints were all over the crime scene), who reveres his Scandinavian heritage and has painstakingly crafted a replica of a Viking ship to be displayed in the parade. Alix, persistent and unflappable, begins to investigate, but accidents plague her and her family: the Viking ship nearly crushes her; her mother barely escapes a hit-and-run; and Bjarne, a seductive ski-racer who has beguiled Alix, is also implicated in the murder.

“McClendon works a good deal of Nordic folklore into her story. The fortune-teller is a specialist in runes, and her silver-and-wood tools quickly become a central point in the case: Are the runes museum quality? Have they been stolen? The third entry in the McClendon’s series (after The Bluejay Shaman) conjures up the icy beauty of Jackson Hole. Her agreeably feisty heroine and a hair-raising finale will keep readers entertained throughout the night, Nordic or otherwise.” — Publisher’s Weekly

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Blue Wolf

This is the fourth novel in an engaging series featuring artist, gallery owner, and sometime sleuth Alix Thorssen, a resident of touristy Jackson Hole, Wyoming. October is a slow month for tourism in Jackson Hole, but there is enough drama among the locals to keep them busy. In the midst of an uproar over the shooting of an endangered wolf, a friend asks Alix to look into an older crime–the murder of a local boy. The case has been swept under the rug for 25 years, but it turns out to be far from closed, as Alix discovers ties to prominent citizens and current scandals in her search through long-forgotten documents and memories.

Wyoming flora and fauna are lovingly described alongside sharp dialogue and good pacing in this readable, down-to-earth mystery, which is refreshingly free of a histrionic heroine-in-danger finale.

“Recommend to fans of the outdoorsy and witty Nevada Barr and Dana Stabenow novels.” — Booklist.

“This is a tension-filled novel which shows McClendon’s keen sense of people and their emotions and their conflicts. And always, watching from the mountains, as Alix and the others caught up in this surprising and twisting tale, is the avatar and the catalyst, the blue wolf. This is a powerful, moving novel.” — Amazon review.

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Dear Alix: Jackson Hole Short Stories

Alix Thorssen, art dealer, insurance sleuth, and “snapping turtle with a brain and a bra,” stars in these two short stories set in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

“Wild Irish Dreams” is set between Painted Truth and Nordic Nights, featuring an old friend who comes to town unexpectedly. “A Brand of Murder” finds Alix involved in a controversial housing development, breaking up an old family ranch. The stories give a glimpse of Alix’s life outside the novels, and a view of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.


 The DORIE LENNOX Mysteries

One O’Clock Jump

Halfway around the world, war has begun, but for Dorie Lennox, a newly-minted private eye on her first tail, danger is more immediate. The dark streets of Kansas City of 1939 offer swing music, fast cars, gangsters, and the chance to forget about the Depression and her own murky past. But first she must conquer her fears and save a woman on a bridge high above the muddy Missouri. Dorie is thrown into a quickly unraveling scam that offers salvation to few — and misery to plenty — in the high stakes world of machine politics and desperation deals.

With vivid prose and sharp dialogue, the world of Dorie Lennox comes alive, behind the wheel of her Packard, into the packinghouses, race tracks, and mansions of jazz-age Kansas City. The landscape of America and the homefront of World War II are evoked in this thoughtful mystery that lingers for the force of characters and keen sharpness of a slice of history, seen through the perceptive, compassionate eyes of Dorie Lennox.

“A time capsule, transporting a tale of murder, greed, and intrigue from vintage Kansas City.” — Sue Grafton

“Wonderful: a richly detailed story that quite simply gets to your heart.” — Michael Connelly


Sweet and Lowdown

“In this worthy sequel to One O’Clock Jump, set in the fall of 1940, Britain stands alone against Hitler, FDR is making a bid for a third term as president and Nazi spies have infiltrated American political groups to promote isolationism. In Kansas City, PI Dorie Lennox and her partner, Amos Haddam, are tailing Thalia Hines, the wayward 21-year-old daughter of a prominent local family. (Not the least of this mystery’s myriad pleasures is the author’s tip of the hat to Raymond Chandler’s The Big Sleep.)

McClendon handles all the threads, using a taut, staccato style that perfectly complements her edgy, skittish heroine. The author masterfully evokes the period. This is a book to be savored; read it too fast and you might miss something.” — Publisher’s Weekly

Lise McClendon expertly probes the mystery of human desires and behavior with a character so real you will swear you are riding in the Packard right next to her. –Michael Connelly

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