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KRL is a California Magazine with Local Focus and Global Appeal.
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Friday, June 10, 2016

Murder on a Designer Diet: A Red Carpet Catering Mystery By Shawn Reilly Simmons

by Cynthia Chow

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

As the owner of Red Carpet Catering, Penelope Sutherland was accustomed to dealing with fluctuating schedules, unusual meal requirements, and demanding clients. She’s dealing with all three on their first day catering for an independent movie company filming in Manhattan’s historic hotel, The Crawford. Although she feels more than capable handling whatever culinary crises are thrown at her, Penny is far less comfortable dealing with the celebrity side of her lifestyle. That’s not too surprising, considering that after a night of post-fashion show clubbing Penny once again finds herself in the midst of murder.

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It is in the bathroom at the converted church nightclub Xapa that Penny witnesses a couple getting a little more friendly than appropriate. She’s not sure what to think when she later realizes that the indiscreet parties were model/club promoter Christian and Hannah Devore, the reality show girlfriend of Max Madison. Although it’s always questionable just how real reality television may be, what is certain is that Penny has just discovered Christian’s body in his hotel room and Max nowhere to be found.

Penny’s boyfriend, New Jersey Homicide Detective Joseph Baglioni, has never been particularly thrilled with her attachment to the Madison family, so his administrative suspension due to her investigations proves to be an alarming roadblock in their relationship. It’s fortunate that she has the reluctant assistance of NYPD officer Denise Gomez, who advises Penny through her investigations of the models, Hannah’s accusations, and Max’s own personal life.

Image source: Henery Press

Due to injuries resulting from an attack and her concern for Max, Penny has little time to focus on her catering duties. Instead, the novel highlights her investigations into the questionable modeling agency and her relationship with the Madisons. Film icon and patriarch Randall Madison returns, while Penny’s best friend and client Arlena Madison is power-eating for her own possible film role.

What stands out are the characters who come alive and become more than the usual plot devices. A nosy neighbor proves to be instrumental in providing evidence, but what makes her fascinating is both her attachment to mystery novels and her own detective father’s unsolved murder. While darker in tone than the previous installments, this third in the Red Carpet Catering Mystery series continues to realistically blend together mystery, culinary practices, and compelling insight into the entertainment industry.

This book was published by Henery Press. To learn more about their books check out their website: henerypress.com.

To enter to win a copy of Murder on a Designer Diet, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “designer,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 18, 2016. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

Use this link to purchase the book:

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Monday, June 6, 2016

X-Men Apocalypse: Movie Review

by Jessica Ham

Special coupon for Dinuba Platinum Theatre at the end of this review.

Check out our video review of X-Men Apocalypse:

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Image source: Twentieth Century Fox

X-Men Apocalypse is currently playing at Dinuba Platinum Theatres 6. Showtimes can be found on their website. Platinum Theaters Dinuba 6 now proudly presents digital quality films in 2-D and 3-D with 5.1 Dolby digital surround sound to maximize your movie experience.

Print this coupon and enjoy a special discount for Kings River Life readers only!

Jessica Ham is 23 years old and an ongoing contributor; with dreams of being on Broadway, she's right at home covering Entertainment.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Secret Exposure: A Paula Mitchell, P.I. Mystery By Jan Christensen

by Kathleen Costa

Details on how to win a copy of this book at the end of the review.

Secrets…everyone has them. They might be little indiscretions like kissing your BFFs boyfriend behind the bleachers or major felonies involving misuse of company funds. You often share your secrets with a sister or a best friend or you keep them tightly to yourself hoping no one ever exposes them. Secrets can prove you’re just not ‘so together’ as you claim, or prove you have a darker side best locked away twenty-five to life in the state penitentiary.

Secrets…yes, everyone has them.

Paula Mitchell, a former cop and private investigator for lawyer Geri Smithfield, starts off by wrestling a hand gun away from a distraught husband in a divorce struggle. The husband has been accused of abusing his son. In the aftermath, she discovers he is also their client. As she begins her investigation, Paula finds more questions than answers, a curiously cold background check on their new client and a wife adamant that the accusations of abuse are true. The divorce investigation soon turns into a murder investigation uncovering many suspects and enough secrets to fill a jail cell.

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Simon Langford, a very successful accountant, is embarrassed about his gun-wielding episode, but reluctant to answer anyone’s questions about his wife’s accusations and his ‘hard to uncover’ background. The police, his lawyer and Paula, all come up with very little. With information provided by the police and an interview with his wife, Simon is portrayed as a quiet, controlled man, but his secrets could be problematic. When his wife is found murdered, Simon’s secrets could put him behind bars.

Paula won’t let a few ‘less than forthcoming’ friends and family members or an overprotective love interest stall her investigation of a man she believes innocent. She hounds Simon’s college friends, a brother-in-law, maids, housekeepers, various assistants, and Simon’s parents slowly pealing away at their secrets: a college prank gone awry, questionable philanthropic dealings, sealed ‘juvie’ records, paternity issues, and then, there’s a big, black car she observes following her…but, the questions still remain. Who is capable of child abuse? Who is capable of murder?

Image source: Jan Christensen

I sure won’t keep my delight with Jan Christensen’s third installment in the Paula Mitchell, P.I. Mystery series a secret. I enjoyed it tremendously from the strength and cleverness portrayed by the main character to the different personalities…all with curious secrets I couldn't wait to have uncovered. I also enjoyed the format style written with several 3-5 page chapters making the journey an easy read. The story has a realistic approach as you follow Paula’s investigation: she hits the pavement interviewing suspects gaining a little more information, then back to ask more questions, and if they won’t talk to her, she’ll camp out on their doorstep. I will be reading the previous books to join in on more investigations.

Jan Christensen has earned from me 5/5 Secrets…exposed!

Become a Fan!
Paula Mitchell, P.I. Mystery
Book 1 “Perfect Victim”
Book 2 “A Broken Life”
Book 3 “Secret Exposure”

Check out Jan's website to learn more: www.janchristensen.com

To enter to win a copy of Secret Exposure, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “deception,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen June 11, 2016. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address.

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying year 2 of retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband of 26+ years.