Just Read It: Literally Dead by Lois Winston


book info

Title/Author: Literally Dead (An Empty Nest Mystery) / Lois Winston
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Publisher: Self Published
Date of publish: September 2016
Pages: 218

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lit_dead_ebookcoverAfter her last disastrous episode as an amateur sleuth, Gracie Elliott is back. The budding romance writer has spent the past year crafting her first novel. Her hard work and determination pay off when her manuscript wins the Cream of the Crop award, a contest for unpublished writers, sponsored by the Society of American Romance Authors. First place entitles her to attend the organization’s annual conference, normally open only to published authors.
With husband Blake in tow, a starry-eyed Gracie experiences the ultimate fan-girl moment upon entering the hotel. Her favorite authors are everywhere. However, within minutes she learns Lovinia Darling, the Queen of Romance, is hardly the embodiment of the sweet heroines she creates. Gracie realizes she’s stepped into a romance vipers’ den of backstabbing, deceit, and plagiarism, but she finds a friend and mentor in bestselling author Paisley Prentiss.
Hours later, when Gracie discovers Lovinia’s body in the hotel stairwell, a victim of an apparent fall, Gracie is not convinced her death was an accident. Too many other authors had reason to want Lovinia dead. Ignoring Blake’s advice to “let the police handle it,” Gracie, aided by Paisley, begins her own investigation into the death. Romance has never been so deadly.

My Review

Leo Review sm   What I enjoy most about a Cozy is that it is a mystery that doesn’t take itself to seriously. Lois Winston’s Literally Dead is a perfect example.

Excited to have won a prestigious amateur writing contest, sure that it is her ticket to a successful new career, Gracie Elliot finds herself at a writers conference for the Society of American Romance Authors. Simply checking into the hotel, she is star stuck as she recognizes many her favorite authors. It doesn’t take her long to figure out that as glamorous as her new career path may have seemed when she imagined it, the reality of infighting and backbiting, makes for some serious drama. When she finds the dead body of an especially not well liked author, it seems there is no shortage of suspects. Reluctantly she begins to investigate the mystery risking the irritation of her gorgeous husband and maybe even damage to her fledgling writing career.

Gracie Elliot is a fun character. She is socially awkward at times and a bit clumsy, yet she runs headlong into the next moment with a gusto that makes her irresistible. Her husband Blake is a perfect foil for her enthusiasm. The story is written with wit and style and even though I had the murderer figured out within pages of finding the body, it was very satisfying to read the pieces of the mystery fall into place. The writing conference, with its range of characters, was the perfect backdrop for the story and it was nearly as fun to learn about the behind-the-scenes of the writing and publishing world as it was to read the book.

4 stars
I received a copy of this book in exchange for a honest review


lois-winston-med-res-fileUSA Today bestselling and award-winning author Lois Winston writes mystery, romance, romantic suspense, chick lit, women’s fiction, children’s chapter books, and nonfiction under her own name and her Emma Carlyle pen name. Kirkus Reviews dubbed her critically acclaimed Anastasia Pollack Crafting Mystery series, “North Jersey’s more mature answer to Stephanie Plum.” In addition, Lois is an award-winning craft and needlework designer who often draws much of her source material for both her characters and plots from her experiences in the crafts industry.

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