Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Lethal Lily by Joyce and Jim Lavene Excerpt , Interview, & Giveaway

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Lethal Lily
with Joyce and Jim Lavene

I might even term this a cozy thriller. It has several of the elements of a cozy mystery, but with a decidedly darker feel – at least for me. But that made it even more intriguing – like exploring uncharted territory.
~Back Porchervations
Part-time garden shop owner/part-time forensic botanist, Peggy Lee is trying to discover if the death of Ann Fletcher 20 years ago was an accident – or foul play. In return, she hopes to receive more information about her first husband’s death. She knows John Lee was murdered, but questions have arisen as to why he was killed. She is working with a private detective who stumbles across his own feet, but her Internet friend, Nightflyer, says that Harry Fletcher has the answers. When Harry is murdered by convallatoxin, from the lily of the valley plant, Peggy begins to understand her role in everything. Now she has to stay alive long enough to prove her theories – and keep her son, Paul out of trouble too!
About The Authors
Joyce and Jim Lavene write award-winning, bestselling mystery fiction as themselves, J.J. Cook, and Ellie Grant. They have written and published more than 70 novels for Harlequin, Berkley, Amazon, and Gallery Books along with hundreds of non-fiction articles for national and regional publications. They live in rural North Carolina with their family.

Where are you from?
Joyce: I was born in Portsmouth, VA. My dad was in the Navy and my mom was from Charleston, SC.
Jim: Mobile, Alabama – home of the Biscuit Bowl Food Truck!
Tell us your latest news?
Lethal Lily is our latest novel. It is the 8th book in the Peggy Lee Garden Mysteries set in Charlotte, NC close to where we live.
When and why did you begin writing?
Joyce: I think I started when I was born. I don’t remember NOT writing.
Jim: I started writing about 20 years ago because I wanted to write with Joyce.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Joyce: When I wrote my first book – so 14.
Jim: About 1986.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Our first book together was inspired by our love of books and writing. It was a Silhouette Romance, A Family for the Sheriff published in 1999.
Do you have a specific writing style?
Short and to the point. No long sentences or paragraphs. Lots of dialogue.
How did you come up with the title?
The title for our latest work, Lethal Lily, came from the plant used as a botanical poison in the book, lily of the valley.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
If there is, it’s that not everything is the way you think it is.
How much of the book is realistic?
The gardening and botany are realistic. Charlotte, NC is realistic too.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
No, although we do work with a contract forensic botanist, just like Peggy Lee, when we write the stories.
What books have most influenced your life most?
This is impossible to answer after a lifetime of reading. Probably in general it would be books that stuck with us by authors such as Barbara Hambly, Isaac Asimov, Ray Bradbury and Carole Nelson Douglas.
What would you like my readers to know?

That anything is possible if you want it enough.

Author Links
A Book Excerpt
It was after midnight. Peggy Lee had been waiting in the dark parking lot of the Tri-State Mini Storage for more than an hour.
Since she was trying to keep a low profile, she hadn’t looked at her phone or listened to music. There was still a light in the mini storage office. She knew someone was working.
A sign flapped in the warm breeze that had blown up from a tropical storm churning at the Atlantic coast. She glanced at her watch again for the third time in as many minutes.
Where was Harry?
Peggy had only met Harry Fletcher a few days ago. They’d both received emails from her online friend, Nightflyer, suggesting they should work together.
A friend of mine is investigating an old murder in Charlotte, and might call on you for help. I sent him to you because he knows part of the puzzle surrounding John’s death. I’ll speak with you when I can. ~ Nightflyer
The note had caught her attention—and held it. It had only been a few months since she’d learned that her former husband, John Lee, may have been deliberately murdered. She still wasn’t sure it was true, but she decided it couldn’t hurt to check into it.
John had been a Charlotte, North Carolina police detective when he’d been killed more than a decade ago. He’d been called out on a domestic abuse situation that he shouldn’t even have responded to. But it was on his way home, and he’d gone willingly because he was needed.
The call went bad when the man, who’d been shooting at his wife’s boyfriend, decided to shoot at the police. He’d escaped in the gunfight that had ensued, but John had been killed. The shooter was never found. John’s partner had been at Peggy’s door a few minutes later with the news.
Peggy pushed the thoughts of that night out of her head. It was a long time ago, but it still haunted her. She couldn’t let herself get trapped in the past if she wanted to know what really happened to John.
Her phone rang—startling her. She almost dropped it. “Yes?”
“I found the storage unit,” Harry Fletcher whispered. “I forgot the bolt cutters on the floor of the car. Can you bring them? I’m at Unit 34.”
She agreed to do it, and sighed. The man was terminally careless. Just in the short time she’d known him, he was always dropping something, or forgetting something. She wondered how he’d managed to stay alive while he was working as a private detective.
Harry said he’d been working as an informant for the FBI when John was killed. They’d talked about it over tea in a sunlit atrium high above downtown Charlotte, with exotic lilies perfuming the air, and fleet-footed waiters continually checking their cups.
She hadn’t wanted to bring him to her house—it was better if she was the only one who knew about it. If her son, Paul, knew she was involved in anything like this, he’d be furious. Worse, it could ruin his life. His peace had been hard won after John’s death. He’d struggled with the knowledge that no one had been arrested in the case, eventually becoming a police officer himself.
Paul had always said there was something wrong about John’s shooting. It looked as though he might be right.
 1 Peggy Lee tote bag with print copies of A Thyme to Die (2013) and Lethal Lily
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tour Participants
May 5 – Back Porchervations - Review
May 6 – Our Wolves Den – Review
May 6 – Deal Sharing Aunt – Interview
May 7 – Brooke Blogs – Review
May 8 – Thoughts in Progress – Guest Post
May 9 – readalot – Review
May 10 – Christa Reads and Writes – Review
May 11 – Mother’s Day
May 12 – Kelly P’s Blog – Interview
May 13 – Shelley’s Book Case – Review
May 14 – Queen of All She Reads – Review, Guest Post
May 15 – Kaisy Daisy’s Corner – Review
May 16 – Traci Andrighetti’s blog – Interview,
May 17 – Michele Lynn Seigfried’s Blog – Review, Guest Post
May 19 – Mochas, Mysteries and Meows – Guest Post
May 20 – Melina’s Book Blog – Review
May 21 – Community Bookstop – Guest Post


  1. Wow this sounds like a great book. Would love to get a chance to read it!

    1. Looking forward to reading this book! Love all of the Lavene's books!