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top-reviewer-stkr2016 NetGalley ChallengeProfessional Reader   Iris Chacon is pleased to read and review books pre- and post-publication on behalf of the publishers, through NetGalley.com.  The reviewer is not compensated for reviews, and receives a digital galley of the book in exchange for a fair, unbiased evaluation and report.

Get to know the DAMIEN DICKENS MYSTERIES — Book Three

Today I’m featuring book three of the Damien Dickens MysteriesChocLabdoodlePbk: The Chocolate Labradoodle Caper. 

During the month of April, I’m recommending to you the Damien Dickens Mysteries series by author Phyllis Entis.

You may recall that Phyllis’ novels about the husband-and-wife private detectives Damien and Millie Dickens follow in the great sleuthing-duos tradition of Agatha Christie’s Tommy & Tuppence Beresford and Dashiell Hammett’s Nick & Nora Charles.

The Dickens Detective Agency is in 1980s Atlantic City, but cases take them from Montreal to Miami. Settings are authentic, plots are twisted, and the action moves forward at a steady pace.

Enjoy this excerpt from chapter four of book three in the series: The Chocolate Labradoodle Caper.

 

By the time I reached the office, it was approaching 7pm. There was no sign of Millie’s car in the parking lot, but I decided to go upstairs anyway, in case she had left me a message. When I got to the top of the stairs, I noticed an intermittent flicker of light shining through the frosted glass of our office door. I moved silently down the hall, keeping close to the wall. As I approached the door, I crouched down below the level of the glass pane and reached automatically for my pistol, before remembering that it was locked in the trunk of the car. Heart in my throat, I grasped the doorknob, turned it slowly, and edged the door open just enough to allow myself to slip inside.

 

The outer office was in chaos. Millie’s desk had been ransacked, the drawers hanging open and askew. Her files and notes were strewn over the desktop and spilled onto the floor, where they were joined by the contents of the filing cabinet. The intruder was in my office with the door closed; I could hear him shuffling through the papers on my desk. I tip-toed past Millie’s desk. My hand was on the knob to my office door now. I eased it open gently, but a squeak from one of the hinges cut through the silence. The intruder spun around at the sound and tried to flee past me. At the last second, I caught him ankle-high with a shoestring tackle. He fell heavily, dropping his flashlight as he hit the floor. We both scrambled for it, but he was closer and got there first. In a single, smooth sweep of his arm, he slammed the flashlight into my skull.


Labradoodle Audio

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Contact author Phyllis Entis:PhyllisEntis1

 Website & Blog

Twitter

Facebook

LinkedIn

 Amazon

Goodreads

Phyllis is also the author of a non-fiction book, Food Safety: Old Habits, New Perspectives. She is a free-lance writer and retired food safety microbiologist with degrees from McGill University and the University of Toronto and lives in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California. Phyllis and her husband enjoy sharing their house with an Australian Cobberdog, Shalom.

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Get to know the DAMIEN DICKENS MYSTERIES — Book Two

WhiteRussianCaperCvrToday I am featuring book two of the Damien Dickens Mysteries: The White Russian Caper. 

All month long I’ve been recommending to you the Damien Dickens Mysteries series by author Phyllis Entis.

You may recall that Damien & Millie Dickens, Private Investigators, are following in the great tradition of Agatha Christie’s Tommy & Tuppence Beresford and Dashiell Hammett’s Nick & Nora Charles.

 

The Dickens Detective Agency is headquartered in 1980s Atlantic City, but Damien and Millie’s cases take them from Montreal to Miami. Settings are authentic, plots are twisted, and the action moves forward at a steady pace.

 

Enjoy this excerpt from Chapter One of book two in the series: The White Russian Caper.

 

I was on my way out the door when the call came in. Millie already had left for the day; I covered the distance to her desk in two long strides and grabbed for the telephone. “Dickens Detective Agency,” I announced.

“Is this Mr. Dickens? Mr. Damien Dickens?”

The voice in my ear was vaguely familiar. “Yes,” I replied, “this is Dickens.”

“Oh, Mr. Dickens,” the soft male voice exhaled, “thank heavens! I didn’t know whom to call. Then I remembered your visit last year to my establishment. I require your assistance.”

“Who is this?” I interrupted.

“Why, it’s Stephane.” He paused, waiting for my reaction. “Stephane Major, n’est ce pas? Do you not remember me?

I recognized the voice then. It belonged to the General Manager of Boardwalk Hall, the venue of The Miss America Pageant – Atlantic City’s crown jewel. I had met the fussbudgety Mr. Major about six months before, when I was investigating the murder of Celine Sutherland. “Yes,” I acknowledged, though not without some reluctance, “I remember you, Mr. Major.”

“Oh, thank heavens.” I could almost see his hand fluttering against his chest. “Oh, I don’t know what to do. I need your help, Mr. Dickens. It’s about Miss America, n’est ce pas?”

“What about Miss America?”

“She’s missing.”

 

WhiteRussianCaperCvrBUY THE BOOK   PhyllisEntis3

Contact author Phyllis Entis:

 Website & Blog

Twitter

Facebook

LinkedIn

 Amazon

Goodreads

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Phyllis Entis is a free-lance writer and retired food safety microbiologist with degrees from McGill University and the University of Toronto. She is also the author of a non-fiction book, Food Safety: Old Habits, New Perspectives.

 

Phyllis lives in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California with her husband and their Australian Cobberdog, Shalom.

Mudsills aces OBC review

OnlineBookClub.org has published its official review of Mudsills & Mooncussers, A Novel of Civil War Key West.  The Iris Chacon novel has earned four out of four stars, the highest score possible from OBC.  A digest of the OBC review follows below. The original review appears in its entirety at OnlineBookClub.org.

Mudsills and Mooncussers OTHER SITESMudsills & Mooncussers: A Novel of Civil War Key West, written by Iris Chacon, is a historical spy romance novel that immerses the reader into the lives of the citizens that reside on picturesque Key West. Although beautiful, life isn’t always easy during this time, especially [for] a spy [who] just happens to fall in love with the person [he’s] supposed to be hunting.

Even though Key West is a tiny island, it becomes [important] in the War Between the States. For many years Yankee soldiers, in hopes of finding a rebel spy who has [wreaked] havoc on their fight to win the war, occupy the island. Aaron Mathews,… one of those soldiers, ..West Martello Tower KW.has been sent undercover to live on the island [and] to eradicate the other spy. However, this turns a little messy when evidence begins to show that the spy he is hunting just may be the woman that he has fallen in love with.

Mudsills & Mooncussers wonderfully describes the breathtaking beauty of Key West; all while recounting what life was like during the Civil War. Not only is life dangerous for those fighting the war, one must watch their backs around the “conchs” of the island, … notorious wreckers [who] lure sship agroundhips to their doom in hopes of salvaging what is left of the wreckage. While this island may be beautiful, it can turn deadly in an instant. Throughout the novel the excellent dialogue gives one the feeling of the ocean air on their face while smelling the tropical hints of coconut and sunshine …. Although the novel is quite short, it is packed full of intrigue, romance, and beautiful scenery. This fast paced novel will definitely leave you wanting to explore Key West’s historical beauty for yourself.

Being a lover of all three aspects of this novel [history, romance, and Key West], I was certainly intrigued by the premise, and I definitely wasn’t … disappointed. The historicalAudubon Hs KW aspect of the novel was incredibly interesting and gave me a desire to learn more about the island during that era, while the romantic spy aspect of the novel left me guessing what would happen next. The novel itself is an easy read; however, occasionally some of the local [dialect] was slightly confusing. Although sometimes confusing, it didn’t really detract…, it added to the charm more than anything. The novel was also well edited and didn’t have any obvious mistakes, leaving a well-rounded fun novel in its wake.

Because of its unique qualities, I give Mudsills & Mooncussers: A Novel of Civil War Key West a 4 out of 4 stars. I think lovers of historical and romantic fiction alike will enjoy this book and, [since] there is a little something for everyone in it, anyone looking for a quick read will have fun with this novel.     –Acwoolet for OnlineBookClub.org, 4/11/17

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Get to know the DAMIEN DICKENS MYSTERIES — Book One

greenpearlcapercvr

Today I am featuring book one of the Damien Dickens Mysteries: The Green Pearl Caper.

Having devoured all three of the Damien Dickens Mysteries, by mystery writer Phyllis Entis, I do not hesitate to recommend them to you.

 

Damien & Millie Dickens, Private Investigators, follow in the great tradition of Agatha Christie’s Tommy & Tuppence Beresford and Dashiell Hammett’s Nick & Nora Charles.

 

The Dickens Detective Agency is headquartered in 1980s Atlantic City, but Damien and Millie’s cases take them from Montreal to Miami. Settings are authentic, plots are twisted, and the action moves forward at a steady pace.

 

Enjoy this excerpt from the Prologue of The Green Pearl Caper.

 

I killed Celine. A couple of teenagers found her body last Sunday morning, half-hidden under the Boardwalk, a single bullet hole through her chest. The bullet came from my Smith & Wesson 29, the gun found on the beach not far from where Celine lay.

 

It wasn’t my finger that pulled the trigger. I wasn’t there when she died. Even so, I killed her. She came to me for help; I had bailed her out of a tight spot in the past, and she trusted me. But, this time, I let her down. I didn’t believe she was really in danger. I screwed up, and Celine paid the price. She was murdered, and it’s my fault.

 

Celine walked into my office on July 16, 1979. Less than one week later, she was dead.

 

greenpearlcapercvrBUY THE BOOKPhyllisEntis1

Contact author Phyllis Entis:

 Website & Blog

Twitter

Facebook

LinkedIn

 Amazon

Goodreads

Interview with Mystery Authors International author PHYLLIS ENTIS

I was privileged recently to have an interview with Phyllis Entis, a modern-day Agatha Christie, whose mystery novels I have read and reviewed. Phyllis is known for her 1980sPhyllisEntis1 private eye, Damien Dickens, whose adventures and relationships populate her novels, in the genre of Mystery/Husband-and-wife private investigators.

 

I’ll share more about Phyllis the person, after the interview, but for now, here is the gist of our session together.

~o~ ~o~ ~o~

IC: Tell me, please, Phyllis, how you came to be writing about a 1980s private detective located in Atlantic City, New Jersey.

 

PE: Well, Damien Dickens was born during a drop-in writing workshop at the Riford Branch of the San Diego Public Library, located in La Jolla, California.

The weekly workshop had a simple format. The moderator began each session with a writing prompt, typically a sentence, a list of words, or a picture. We all wrote at top speed for twenty minutes. At the end of the timed writing period, each of us read our creations out loud to the other participants in the group.

 

IC: That sounds pretty intense. I can see how a workshop like that could really build up some writing chops for its regular participants. But, how did that workshop result in Damien Dickens?

PE: [laughs] I’m coming to that. For the first session of 2013, our moderator introduced something new. She arrived laden with a stack of 10 x 13 brown envelopes, which she proceeded to distribute to us. Each envelope contained a different object. As a warm-up exercise, she instructed us to reach into the envelope, feel the object inside and, without looking at the object, write a few words of description. Then she had us remove the object from the envelope and use it as our story prompt.

The object in my envelope was a string of green plastic beads, such as would be found at a New Orleans Mardi Gras event.

 

IC: Oh, I see where this is going! The first Damien Dickens book was The Green Pearl Caper, right? And it all started with that string of green Mardi Gras beads.

 

greenpearlcapercvrPE: In my story, the beads became an expensive rope of green pearls belonging to Sylvia Sutherland, the CEO of Sutherland Smokes. Sylvia, so the story went, was worried about her kid sister, Celine, and engaged Damien Dickens to protect her.

In my piece of flash fiction, Sylvia was the archetypical slinky dame and Damien the clichéd down-on-his-luck private eye. Fortunately for my readers, both characters evolved dramatically by the time I had completed the first draft of THE GREEN PEARL CAPER.

 WhiteRussianCaperCvr

IC:  But, also fortunately for your readers, you didn’t stop at just one book.

Labradoodle Audio

PE:      [laughs] No, I didn’t. The first novel led to a second, THE WHITE RUSSIAN CAPER, and the second led to a third, THE CHOCOLATE LABRADOODLE CAPER. The three published novels DickensBoxSetare now united in a Kindle ebook compilation, DAMIEN DICKENS MYSTERIES: BOOKS 1, 2, & 3.

 

 

IC:   And I have to tell you, I’ve read all three of the Damien Dickens mysteries, and I’m ready for more. Do you have future plans for Damien and his wife, Millie (and, of course, their Chocolate Labradoodle puppy)?

 

PE:  The first three ‘Capers’ will be joined by a fourth Damien Dickens novel later this year.

 

IC:  Yippee! I’ll be standing in the virtual line at my online bookstore to download the fourth ebook when it comes out. Thanks for joining us, Phyllis Entis. It’s been fun.

 

PE: My pleasure.

 

~o~ ~o~ ~o~

Readers, I promised you a little background on Phyllis Entis, but before that, I want you to know that the Damien Dickens Mysteries are available on ebook, in paperback, and on audiobook. Get yours now, HERE.

 

Now, here’s a little bit about Phyllis herself. You already know that Phyllis Entis is the PhyllisEntis3author of the Damien Dickens Mysteries series, which includes The Green Pearl Caper, The White Russian Caper and The Chocolate Labradoodle Caper.

 

You may not know that her debut novel, The Green Pearl Caper, was a Library Journal SELF-e Selection.

 

Phyllis is a free-lance writer and retired food safety microbiologist with degrees from McGill University and the University of Toronto. In 2007, ASM Press published her non-fiction book, Food Safety: Old Habits, New Perspectives.

 

PhyllisEntis2
Phyllis lives in Carmel-by-the-Sea, California with her husband and their Australian Cobberdog, Shalom. When she’s not writing, Phyllis usually can be found walking around town, browsing in the local library, or enjoying her garden.

 

Connect with Phyllis at any of these links:

Website and blog

Twitter

Facebook

LinkedIn

Amazon

Goodreads