Saturday, October 7, 2017

Halloween is Murder ~ Release Tour, Excerpt, & Review!

McKinley Mysteries, book 11

by Carolyn Arnold

Genre: Romantic Mystery Comedy

Beware of all that goes bump in the night…

Sean and Sara McKinley are excited about the haunted house they’ve set up as a Halloween charity fund-raiser, but things take a ghoulish turn when the reporter covering their story is found dead. With the media keeping mum about how she died, Sara’s curiosity is piqued, and she convinces Sean to take on the investigation through their PI firm.

But this case is not without its challenges. The police are actively investigating it, as well, and it’s not even clear that the woman was murdered. It will take a little cloak-and-dagger, dress-up, and finesse for the McKinleys to get to the bottom of it, but they aren’t the kind to give up. 

As they troll for leads and work through the skeletons in the reporter’s closet, they unearth a few suspects, but they’ll need to carve out the whole truth if they’re going to find her killer. If they do so fast enough, there might even be time for a little trick-or-treating.

Chapter 3


SARA WAS CALLING YOUR SOURCE from her home office one last time. That’s what she told herself anyhow. She’d lost count of how many times she’d called them, but she had always met with a busy signal. And there it was again…

She lowered the receiver to its cradle. One could be certain that the station had plenty of rollover lines, so it had to be other people calling in about Chloe’s death, too. Other crazy people like her wanting answers. At least, she was sure that Sean thought she was crazy, but she had a niggling sensation in her gut that they needed to look into Chloe’s death.

Maybe it was because she and Sean were surrounded by murder wherever they looked and wherever they went. Even when they were supposed to be relaxing on their honeymoon, a case had found them. And the inclination to view any death as suspicious was embedded in her psyche from years working as a homicide detective with the Albany PD. Sure, Chloe could have died from natural causes, an accident, or even suicide, but it was also just as likely that someone had caused her death intentionally. To quiet her mind, Sara had to find out which scenario applied to Chloe. And if her calls weren’t making it through, there was another route she could take.

She flicked on the monitor, pleased that she had the habit of leaving her computer on most of the time. She brought up an Internet search engine and typed in Chloe’s full name and Your Source. This brought up pages of results. The first entry was a post from the television station entitled, DEATH OF LOCAL REPORTER CASTS DARK CLOUD OVER ALBANY. Sara clicked to open the link.

Scanning down the page, she found she was no closer to knowing what had happened to Chloe. There was no cause of death listed, but rather, the piece read like an obituary with a recap of Chloe’s career accomplishments and brief mentions of her personal life—she had a sister and had died single. That was it. Somehow it seemed like a sad summation of a twenty-five-year-old woman’s life that had been cut so short. There was so much that Chloe had yet to experience, and Sara hoped that Chloe had at least known romantic love at some point in her life.

Sara returned to her search results and clicked on many of the other links, but they were more or less copycats of the statement Your Source had published.

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HALL WAYS REVIEW: ✪✪✪✪ This was the first book I have read by author Carolyn Arnold, and it won’t be the last – and I have plenty of options for reading more of her books. Halloween is Murder is the eleventh in Arnold’s McKinley Mysteries series, but happily, it does stand alone. I had no problem jumping in and getting a feel for the characters and their relationships with each other. Though it’s not integral to understanding this story, I would like some back-story to the main characters’ early days together. Sean and Sara are clearly deeply in love, but there are small indicators that maybe Sara has some fragility to her. Sean can’t bear to see her be disappointed or unhappy in the slightest to the point it affects his decision making. . . True, none of us wants to see that in our loved ones, but it is a little over-the-top here, so I wonder a little about that and will have to pursue it in other books.

There is a good cast of characters, many of whom seem to be regulars. There’s Adam the tech guy and Jimmy the partner PI, and a few others who round out the group. I always enjoy when there are familiar personalities in each installment of a series, though in starting on the eleventh book, I don’t get much of a feel for any character’s personality. I enjoyed the story and characters, but it was difficult to really connect to them, which made the characterization element a little flat.

I am absolutely thrilled by the clean editing of Halloween is Murder. I read an ARC, and it was nearly immaculate, and HALLELUJAH, Carolyn Arnold uses the comma correctly! Having a well-written, cleanly edited story that flows allowed me to fully enjoy the story – and the story has more to it than you would think in such a quick read. The chapter titles were catchy and fun, and careful readers will notice subtly placed clues that will help solve the who, what, and how of the mystery. As a matter of fact, I had highlighted a quote that I loved and had planned on sharing it in my review, but when I finished the story, I realized it was a big ol’ hint to the murder weapon.

There isn’t much conflict or danger, and even the murder is low-key. The result is that readers won’t feel anxious or on edge, which makes for a lovely, relaxing reading experience. Halloween is Murder was a welcome escape from reality and a nice cozy mystery to occupy my mind for a few hours.

Thank you to Magic of Books Promotions and the author for providing me a digital copy in exchange for my honest opinion – the only kind I give.

Every Day Is Halloween

Ask anyone who loves Halloween and they’ll probably tell you their favorite part about it is dressing up. When you put on a costume, you can be whomever—or whatever—you want. It’s liberating! On top of that, it’s likely that there are all kinds of goodies lying around the house.

When I was a girl, I loved playing Barbie. I loved dressing her up and assigning her whatever life story I wanted. And, man, did I enjoy it! Maybe for a little too long, in fact. I kept playing into my early teens! At the time, I felt like some sort of freak. I certainly wouldn’t have wanted this news to get out to the kids at school. They probably would have called me a baby or something like that. So I kept this part of my life a secret, and I justified my addiction by pinning the blame on my sister, who is six years younger than me—she needed someone to play with! 

Now that I’m older—much, much older—I look back and find this aspect of my past amusing. I realize that it’s absolutely nothing to be embarrassed about, but it shows me that I’ve always loved telling stories and acting them out. No wonder I became an author!

In the grand scheme of things, Halloween is very similar. The holiday allows people of all ages to participate in this fantasy, if only for one night. But as an author, I get to experience Halloween every day of the year. I become someone else every time I sit at my desk and immerse myself into the worlds of my characters. I get to delve into their minds, to know their thoughts, their feelings, their personalities, their lives. And I get to share my imagination with my readers. Now that’s a real treat! 

Speaking of, I’m going to grab a small bowl of candy corn and gummy peaches and get to writing. Happy Halloween!

Carolyn Arnold

What to expect from the McKinley Mysteries:

Romance. Humor. Murder. Are you looking for a murder mystery without all the graphic violence and foul language? Something that you can enjoy in an afternoon and walk away feeling good about afterward? How about a dash of humor and romance? If so, meet former detectives Sean and Sara McKinley. When a billionaire leaves them all his money, they no longer have to work, but they find themselves sticking to what they’re good at—solving murders. Undercover, off the books, and around the world, they’ll get to the bottom of things…and romance it up along the way.

CAROLYN ARNOLD is an international bestselling and award-winning author, as well as a speaker, teacher, and inspirational mentor. She has four continuing fiction series—Detective Madison Knight, Brandon Fisher FBI, McKinley Mysteries, and Matthew Connor Adventures—and has written nearly thirty books. Her genre diversity offers her readers everything from cozy to hard-boiled mysteries, and thrillers to action adventures.

Both her female detective and FBI profiler series have been praised by those in law enforcement as being accurate and entertaining, leading her to adopt the trademark: POLICE PROCEDURALS RESPECTED BY LAW ENFORCEMENT™.

Carolyn was born in a small town and enjoys spending time outdoors, but she also loves the lights of a big city. Grounded by her roots and lifted by her dreams, her overactive imagination insists that she tell her stories. Her intention is to touch the hearts of millions with her books, to entertain, inspire, and empower.

She currently lives just west of Toronto with her husband and beagle and is a member of Crime Writers of Canada and Sisters in Crime.

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