Desperate for Death
A Kelly O’Connell Mystery
by Judy Alter
Genre: Cozy Mystery / Suspense
Publisher: Alter Ego Press
Date of Publication: January 9, 2016
# of pages: 228
Just when Kelly’s life has calmed, she faces yet another of life’s puzzles. Except the pieces in this one don’t fit. First the apartment behind her house is torched, then a string of bizarre “accidents” occur to set her off-balance. Who is stalking her? Where does the disappearance of a young girl and her disreputable boyfriend fit in? And why are two men using the same name? Is the surprise inheritance another part of the puzzle? At a time when she is most vulnerable, Kelly can’t make the pieces fit. Before Kelly can get the whole picture, she helps the family of a hostage, rescues a kidnap victim and attends a wild and wonderful wedding.
Praise for Desperate for Death
Once again, Kelly is thrust into action when her family and friends are targeted by a deranged convict and this time Kelly has more to protect. I enjoyed this fast-paced and well written drama that continues to get better and better with a strong and determined heroine and a secondary cast that plays a pivotal role in the telling of this tale. It was fun watching this mystery played out with all the key elements that lead to a fulfilling finale and I especially enjoyed Keisha presence in this book. This is by far the best book in this series and I hope there are more to come in this engaging series.—Dru Ann L Love
One satisfying aspect of Desperate for Death which sets it apart from other murder mysteries is its staccato action in which everything happens at once, little seems connected, and life becomes a series of challenges. Fast-paced action keeps readers involved in not only events, but Kelly’s response to them, and in her efforts to keep her head above stormy waters.—Diane Donovan, Senior E-book Review Editor, Midwest Book Review
Judy Alter’s books just keep getting better. Her characters have real growth and the plots get harder to figure out. This one is her best of this genre….David Hartley Burlingame
What kind of writing do you do?
Over the years I’ve written fiction and nonfiction for adults and young readers. For years, my main focus was on the experiences of women in the 19th-Century West, and I wrote everything from a small “pick-up” book called Extraordinary Women of Texas to longish fictional biographies of such women as Elizabeth Bacon Custer, Jessie Benton Frémont, Wild West Cowgirl Lucille Mulhall, and Etta Place of the Hole in the Wall gang. They are now available online.
When that market dried up or my publisher gave up on me, I began to do work-for hire for companies that published for school libraries. I’ve written state histories, presidential biographies, books on passenger ships, the Santa Fe Trail, mapping the West, vaccines, and on down a long and varied list of topics I never would have investigated on my own.
Now I write cozy mysteries—more about that below—but this spring I will have another historical novel, The Gilded Cage. Set in Chicago (my hometown) it covers the city’s history from the 1840s through the Columbian exposition and focuses on Potter Palmer (of hotel fame) and his wife, Cissie, a noted philanthropist and a fascinating women.
Why did I choose to write in a particular field or genre?
This girl from the Midwest never expected to find herself in Texas, let alone graduate school. But there I was, working on a Ph.D. in English at Texas Christian University. I was fascinated by the literature and art of the American West. My then-husband fancied himself a sculptor, and we studied the work of Remington and Russell at the nearby (and free) Amon Carter Museum. In classes I read works by Elmer Kelton, Benjamin Capps, Wallace Stegner and others. The western was my field, although I never thought I could write fiction. When I first tried my hand at it the novel, After Pa Was Shot, was set in Texas. It sold as young-adult fiction.
My turns to mysteries in the last ten years came about because I’ve been a lifelong fan of mysteries. Finally I said to myself, if so many others can write in this genre, surely I can too. Today I have ten mysteries either in print or about to be reissued.
What I read in my spare time
Mysteries, of course, and a few women’s titles. I just finished Foreign Eclairs by Julie Hyzy, a wonderful tension-filled book with characters you’d love to know. I’m sad it’s the last of the White House Chef Series. On the other hand, I was privileged to read the unpublished version of Loving Eleanor by Susan Wittig Albert, exploring the personal life of Eleanor Roosevelt and journalist Lorena Hickok. The book will launch in February. I don’t read much belles lettres or nonfiction though an occasional title will hold my attention. I figure reading mysteries is part of improving my craft.
Projects I am currently working on
Getting ready to launch The Gilded Cage, mentioned above. I also have to format Skeleton in a Dead Space for inclusion in a boxed set of first-in-the-series books. Skeleton is the first in my Kelly O’Connell Mysteries; Desperate for Death is the sixth. And then there’s a half-written sequel to The Perfect Coed—it’s untitled so far but deals with the issue of open-carry. Hope I get it finished while it’s still timely in Texas. And I want to make digital versions of my other mysteries available—they disappeared when Turquoise Morning Press closed, and I am slowly republishing under my own Alter Ego Publishing imprint.
The book I wish I’d written
Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose
Speaking with an accent
If I could speak with any accent, it would be Scottish. In spite of my devotion to things western and Texan, my heart is in the Highlands, home of my MacBain Clan ancestors.
An award-winning novelist, Judy Alter is the author of six books in the Kelly O’Connell Mysteries series: Skeleton in a Dead Space, No Neighborhood for Old Women, Trouble in a Big Box, Danger Comes Home, Deception in Strange Places, and Desperate for Death. She also writes the Blue Plate Café Mysteries—Murder at the Blue Plate Café, Murder at the Tremont House and Murder at Peacock Mansion. Finally, with the 2014 The Perfect Coed, she introduced the Oak Grove Mysteries.
Her work has been recognized with awards from the Western Writers of America, the Texas Museum and Hall of Fame. She has been honored with the Owen Wister Award for Lifetime Achievement by WWA and inducted into the Texas Literary Hall of Fame. Judy is retired as director of TCU Press and the mother of four grown children and the grandmother of seven. She and her dog, Sophie, live in Fort Worth, Texas.
Check out these other great blog stops on the tour!
1/28 The Crazy Booksellers — Promo
1/29 Because This is My Life Y’all — Review
1/30 All for the Love of the Word — Guest Post
1/31 My Book Fix Blog — Review
2/1 The Page Unbound — Promo
2/2 Hall Ways — Review
2/3 bookishjessp — Guest Post
2/4 Blogging for the Love of Authors and Their Books — Promo
2/5 Texas Book-aholic — Review
2/6 Books and Broomsticks — Author Interview
blog tour services provided by