Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Book Review, Guest Post and Giveaway - Killer Finds by Vikki Vass

Antique hunter Anne Hillstrom’s whirlwind shopping tour to Paris comes to a dead stop, as dead as the man sitting next to her on the plane. And to make matters worse, her identity has been stolen, leaving her to face her worst nightmare. She must sell all her precious antiques with the help of her business partner and co-blogger, CC Muller. Together, they open a pop-up antique store in the quaint suburb of Glen Ellyn Illinois. Their blog fans flock to the store looking to find that perfect treasure and so does a killer. When the Sweet Shop lady next door is found caramelized, the success of the pop-up sale turns bittersweet. Anne and CC dust off the clues, unraveling a centuries-old mystery that leads them to one conclusion. They must find the killer before the killer finds them.

My Review
A cozy mystery about antiques!   What a fun combination.   I can't believe I am just discovering this series.

Killer Finds tells the story of friends Anne and CC, who get involved in a mystery on their flight home from antique shopping in Paris.  As the result of an identity theft, Anne needs to make money quickly, so she sells her beloved antique finds at a pop-up antique store.  

I sell vintage children's books and ephemera, and love browsing antique stores in my free time, so the antique details in this book were especially fascinating.  The women discuss details like dating Chippendale chairs, examining porcelain, valuing silver, and more.  I especially loved the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle kettle that is mentioned in the book.

The mystery is interesting, with several unexpected deaths, and the friends working together (along with CC's younger cousin, Ingrid) to solve the case.  I had figured out part of the mystery but not the entire story by the end.

This is a fast paced read, with short chapters and sharp dialogue that moves the plot along.  It would be a great book for a lazy weekend or a vacation read.   I recommend it for other fans of cozy mysteries, and anyone who loves antiques.

Guest Post by Vikki Vass - Inspiration from the Real World    

I am often asked where I get my inspiration from. For me, inspiration is easy. It is all around me. Murder by the Spoonful, the first book in the Antique Hunters mystery series, began as a tribute to my two girlfriends. I spent weekends traveling to estate sales, antique stores and flea markets all in search of the perfect find that I felt I needed to chronicle my adventures.

While fiction is not quite necessarily true, we have not encountered a real murder, many of the events that happen within the pages are true from Anne’s shopping obsession to CC’s knowledge of history. In Killer Finds, the third book in the series, the Spoon Sisters as they are known have developed a life that has morphed out of the reality. They have grown beyond the nonfiction world and now exist in a fictional world where the possibilities are limited by my imagination.

My second series, Alex Kustodia mysteries, grew out of my long love for rocks, but not just any rocks, gemstones. Since I was little, I have always loved the feel of rocks and I love to stare at polished, cut gemstones. There is nothing more magical than a brilliantly colored gemstone hanging from a single pendant or in a ring or perhaps adorning a bracelet.

I have not toured the world looking for stones the way that Alex has though someday I would like to but I have gone emerald mining in Hiddenite, N.C. A hot, dirty, but rewarding experience. I also have mined for rubies. I have found both and had them cut and polished and set into jewelry.

Many of my ideas come while I am walking or taking a shower or driving. Forcing myself to sit at the computer and think doesn’t help. My ideas flow when my mind is focused on other things. This can be challenging when I actually make time to write and the ideas are not flowing. However, with the addition of a 10-week-old Australian shepherd puppy into my house, there is plenty of need for long walks. If not to tire him, to tire me out.

And, since I’ve started writing, the ideas keep flowing. The only thing holding me back is time. I recently finished the first draft of the fourth book in the Antique Hunter mystery series. I have ideas for the fifth book as well. I also started the second book in the Alex Kustodia mystery series featuring more gems, adventure and of course, mystery. My third series, Neighborhood Watch, based on the near-real adventures of my 75-year-old neighbor.

All this means is that instead of spending my weekends traveling to antique shops, flea markets and estate sales, I’ve been spending them writing, revising and developing the stories. Fortunately there is still eBay and Proxibid for those must-have antique items. Though it does put a slight damper on finding the unexpected treasure in the hunt.

On my recent vacation, I did manage to take some time to scour some antique stores, including one in Franklin, Tenn., Asheville, N.C. and several in Georgetown, Ky. I only bought a few small things including a 1920s art deco necklace with an amethyst and a memory box containing civil war bullets found on the battleground of Fort Donelson near the Cumberland River.

I feel so blessed to be able to write about what I love and share it with the readers. I hope you enjoy Anne and CC, the Spoon Sisters, intrepid Antique Hunters, as much as I do.

Author Bio
With a passion for shopping and antiques, Vicki Vass turned in her reporter’s notebook to chronicle the adventures of Anne and CC, two antique hunters who use their skills to solve a murder case.

Vicki has written more than 1,400 stories for the Chicago Tribune as well as other commercial publications including Home & Away, the Lutheran and Woman’s World. Her science fiction novel, The Lexicon, draws on her experience in Sudan while writing about the ongoing civil war for World Relief.

She lives in the Chicago area with her husband, writer and musician Brian Tedeschi, son Tony, Australian shepherd Bandit, kittens Terra and Pixel, seven koi and Gary the turtle. 

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(1) Copy Killer Finds by Vicki Vass Print or E-Copy - Winner’s Choice. Print Copy U.S. ONLY 
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I received a copy of this book from Great Escapes Book Tours in exchange for an honest review.