Monday, December 2, 2019

Interview, Excerpt & Giveaway ~ A VIEW TO A CHILL by Larissa Reinhart


A View to a Chill
by: Larissa Reinhart
Series: Maizie Albright Star Detective and Cherry Tucker Mystery
Genre: Cozy Mystery/Holiday
Release Date: January 16, 2018
Publisher: Past Perfect Press
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A VIEW TO A CHILL, a Cherry Tucker and Maizie Albright Interconnected Holiday Mystery by Larissa Reinhart

"Chaos, Criminals, Catastrophic Weather, and a Whole Lot of Crazy.”


From Wall Street Journal bestselling mystery author, Larissa Reinhart. The seventh in the award-winning Cherry Tucker Southern Cozy Mystery series and the third in the Maizie Albright Star Detective series.

“It was fun watching Maize and Cherry do what they do best, helping each other, indirectly, along the way in this engagingly entertaining drama. I look forward to more adventures together or separately with these lovable characters.” —Dru Ann Love, Dru’s Book Musing


May Your Days Be Cherry & Albright… When Halo's most notorious artist, Cherry Tucker, thinks she sees a crime through her bedroom window, her feverish claims are ignored by her family. Trapped in bed, influenza is the least of her problems. Deputy Luke Harper can't be found. She can’t tell fevered dream from reality. And a very bad Santa knows Cherry’s spotted his Christmas killing. It's going to take a Christmas miracle for Cherry to recover.

Meanwhile, ex-celebrity and #WannabeDetective Maizie Albright’s determined to help an elderly woman find her missing granddaughter despite her private investigator boss (and not-so-secret crush) Wyatt Nash’s claims that the grandmother’s annual plea is nothing but a dangerously wild goose chase. This holiday, Maizie’s search takes her away from her family and Nash to Halo, Georgia, where a storm threatens her nerves and her quest. When a deviant Santa learns Maizie’s looking for the granddaughter, he put Maizie on his naughty list. This Santa may get his holly jollies from murder.

“If you love southern settings with plenty of sweet tea and eccentric characters, the meetup of these two heroines is epic. Not only did I race through the pages, but I immediately headed over to download the first book in the series.” — Barb Taub, humor writer and author of the Null City series

“I love the characters Cherry Tucker and Maizie Albright and this mystery brings the two of them together in the same book. Everything I love about both series is here. If you've read either of the two series, I highly recommend this one.” — Michelle, Michelle’s Romantic Tangle


Hi Larissa. Welcome to Read Your Writes Book Reviews. How are you?
Great, thanks! I’m so glad to be here!

I’m happy you’re here too! Could you please tell me about the characters of Cherry Tucker and Maizie Albright?
Cherry Tucker is a twenty-six-year-old portrait artist from Halo, Georgia, a small country town. She grew up on her grandparents’ farm and lives in Halo in an old, decrepit cottage retrofitted into a studio. She struggles to find commissions, so she’ll do just about anything art-related. This gets her in all sorts of trouble, like painting a coffin portrait of a murdered man. Her mouth also gets her in all sorts of trouble. She’s pretty sassy. She sometimes lives with her sort-of-ex-husband, Todd, and has a lot of run-ins with her ex-ex-boyfriend, Luke Harper, who has moved back to Halo after serving in the military and planning on becoming a cop.

Whereas Cherry’s all country, Maizie Albright’s all city. She was born in Black Pine, Georgia, a resort town in the North Georgia Mountains, but grew up in LA. Her mom moved her out there so Maizie could work as a child actress. She had a successful series, Julia Pinkerton, Teen Detective, but Maizie started spiraling downward after, ending up on a reality show her mother created, All is Albright. Maizie managed to get her college degree in Criminal Justice (in between rehab stints), but bad luck with a boyfriend got her arrested and a kind judge saw that her hot mess was a cry for help. He ordered her to leave California, move home to live with her father in Black Pine, and get a job that has nothing to do with show business. So, of course, she decides to try to become a private detective, like Julia Pinkerton. The only PI in Black Pine is the hunky Wyatt Nash and he has no interest in mentoring an ex-actress. But Maizie’s still going to try. Particularly when her mother moves the All is Albright cast and crew to Black Pine to try to save the show. Maizie’s got to scramble to prove to everyone she’s more than a burnt-out celebrity.

Cherry Tucker is the protagonist in your Cherry Tucker Mystery series. Maizie Albright is the protagonist in your Maizie Albright Star Detective series. A View to a Chill brings these two series and ladies together. How did the idea for this come about?
Originally, I joined a group of authors to do a novella in an anthology that would raise money for local animal shelters that suffered in the 2017 hurricanes. What was supposed to be a short story grew to novel-length when I had the idea of doing a Rashomon-styled story. I saw it as a challenge to do the same mystery from two points of view. And it would benefit fans of both series. I like these kinds of writing challenges.

Each series already has several books to it. Is A View to a Chill a standalone read, allowing new readers to enjoy the book just as much as long-time fans?
I’ve had readers start with A View to a Chill as an introduction to one or both characters. It’s meant to work by itself that way. I always try to write my books so a new reader can read from any in the series and not feel lost. That’s happened to me and I didn’t like feeling clueless!

The story takes place in Halo, GA. Please tell me about Halo and if it’s based on a real place.
I live south of Atlanta and that’s the area where I based fictional Forks County where Halo exists. It’s a whistlestop town like a lot of little towns around here. When the railroads and cotton was king, these towns flourished. Then the boll weevil killed that dream in the early twentieth century and folks started moving to bigger cities like Atlanta for work. Now the towns are a little raggedy, but the movie industry is helping them recover, which is why I started the Maizie Albright series. You can’t throw a rock around here now and not hit a movie or tv set.

Can you tell me a little about some of the secondary characters we’ll see in the book?
For Cherry Tucker, her sister, Casey, and grandpa Ed’s lady friend, Pearl, are taking care of Cherry, who’s sick with the flu. As a local deputy, Cherry’s flame, Luke, is working Christmas Eve but not far from Cherry’s thoughts.

Maizie Albright is on her own. Wyatt Nash, the private investigator who mentors her (and her not-so-secret crush), asked her not to take the case that brings her to Halo. But Maizie can’t resist a grandmother’s call for help and when Maizie’s in trouble, her first call is to Nash.

When you sit down to write your mysteries, do you already know who the killer is and why they did it, or are you just as surprised as the readers?
Generally, I know the culprit because I need their motive (and means and opportunity) for the story to work. However, I’m not an outliner, so I jump off with the crime in mind and work with the sleuth to the end, so it’s always surprising how things work for me.

I am immensely fascinated by your personal life. (Not in a stalkerish way.) More specifically by the fact that you and your family can’t decide what country to live in. (Just kidding on the last part.) You guys bounce back and forth between Georgia and Japan. These places could not be more different. What are the holidays like in Japan?
New Year’s is the big holiday in Japan (and most of Asia), but Christmas has caught on. We’ve really seen it grow over the last twenty years. It’s a kids and couple’s holiday. Couples go out for a romantic meal on Christmas Eve and kids get Christmas presents, but nothing like in the US. There are fun decorations, particularly since it’s just before the New Year holiday. The traditional Christmas meal in Japan is Kentucky Fried Chicken and Christmas cake. You’ll see statues of Colonel Sanders wearing a Santa hat and inside KFC, they’re taking orders to pick up on Christmas day.

That’s interesting! What’s something you look forward to every Christmas?
Christmas is my favorite holiday. I love all the traditions. Decorating, especially the tree. Hanging stockings. Shopping for gifts. Making cookies. Having children — even teenage children — makes it even more special. One of my favorite things is watching movies with my family. We always watch White Christmas, The Sound of Music, It’s a Wonderful Life, and then squeeze in whatever other old movies we can, like Meet Me In St. Louis and Holiday Inn. I’m a sucker for all those old musicals and I love watching them in front of a fire with my family.

Larissa, thank you so much for answering some questions for me.
Thanks so much for having me! It’s been great to meet you!

*Maizie Albright*

WHO COULD TURN down a grandmother's request to find a missing granddaughter at Christmas? This is not a rhetorical question. The answer is Jolene Sweeney. Half-owner of Nash Security Solutions.

I'm Maizie Albright. I worked for the good half (as I call it) of Nash Security Solutions. To punish Wyatt Nash, as crazy ex-wives are wont to do, Jolene opened her own private investigation office. (She’s competing against herself. Jolene's more into revenge than logic.) When a little, old lady — aka Celia Fowler — appealed to Jolene to help her find her granddaughter, Jolene estimated Mrs. Fowler’s community and net worth and told Mrs. Fowler "Sweeney Security Solutions only deals with an exclusive clientele."

Too bad, so sad. A big no to finding her granddaughter. At Christmas, no less.

Besides acting as a pretender in the private eye world, Jolene's also a high-end real estate agent and a Who's Who in Black Pine society.

And nominated for Grinch of the year. By me.

Not just for turning down poor Mrs. Fowler. Jolene's one of the most spiteful women I'd met, and I recently moved to Black Pine from Hollywood, so that tells you something. Hollywood did spite for curtain calls. Jolene's spite would be lauded with an Oscar. Except it's not a performance. She had permanent RBF (resting bitch face) of the soul.

Enough of the dastardly Jolene Sweeney.

Who else would turn down a grandmother's request on Christmas? Wyatt Nash. My boss at Nash Security Solutions and the man of my dreams.

Wait, what? I meant it's the job of my dreams. After playing the lead in Julie Pinkerton: Teen Detective, I longed to be a real private investigator when I grew up. It just took me until age twenty-five to get there.

I digressed. Why would Nash turn down Mrs. Fowler? Nash did a good Southern gentleman. Normally he's concerned with the plight of the less fortunate. Not so big on helping the more fortunate, but we'd been burned by the more fortunate in recent investigations. My old therapist, Renata, would say he had a white knight complex. He also had a hard body, a wickedly sexy smile, and cool blue eyes, à la Paul Newman. Total PI McDishy. If you're into muscle-y men who rarely smiled (despite the sexiness) and created dictums against dating their subordinates. Which evidently, I was.

Anyhoo, it seemed Mrs. Fowler was an oldy but a goody in the private investigation world of Black Pine—a world comprised of Nash Security Solutions and now Sweeney Security Solutions. Every Christmas for the last five years, Mrs. Fowler asked Nash to find her missing granddaughter. He obliged her the last four, but not this year.

"It's a wild goose chase," Nash had said. He took a turn from the front office, into his inner sanctum.

Maybe inner cubby would be a better definition. A smaller office comprised of a wooden desk, an ancient computer, and file cabinets holding Nash's wardrobe and surveillance gadgets. It smelled of old paper, dust, and a spicy, manly, pheromone-filled fragrance, I like to call Eau de Nash. When working reception and billing, I took yoga breaks to pull that scent into my lungs. It's like a scent hug from Nash.

Don't tell him. It sounds weird when I say it out loud.

Also, don't judge. Nash had a rule about hugging. He has way too many rules. Taking direction was in my wheelhouse, but the man needs to allow improv every once in a while.

On the other hand, the outer office, although dusty and run down, smelled like donuts. Nash Security Solutions is housed above Dixie Kreme Donuts in an old brick building on Black Pine's original main drag. Working for a private investigator housed in a donut shop was like an unrealized dream come true. Until my hips started to show the reality.

Nash strode back through the inner office door and stopped before the sagging couch where I sat. He's a pacer. Like a caged animal. But I'm not going there because it makes me want to pick up a stool and whip.

"Krystal Fowler doesn't want to be found," Nash continued. "At sixteen, she ran out on her no-account mother and has been running ever since. All I can ever tell her grandmother is Krystal's not reported dead or in prison. I can't do that again."

"Prison?" I gasped. "How can you be so cold-hearted?"

"Miss Albright, you need to toughen up if you want to be a private investigator. Krystal Fowler dropped out of school at sixteen. Her dad's been in prison most of her life. Meth addict mom. Krystal's been caught shoplifting numerous times and suspected of various other petty but was never charged. I talked to the local shop owners, and they said she was able to talk her way out of the arrests. Around here, she was considered something of a con artist. The most positive thing her neighbors and teachers had to say about Krystal Fowler is that they're surprised she's not in jail. Classic making of a felon. That's why I checked the prison records."

"But she's so young."

"It's tragic. But the bigger tragedy is what Krystal does to her grandmother. Poor Mrs. Fowler gets a call every year this time from Krystal with a sob story, asking for a handout. Mrs. Fowler wires her money and never hears from her until the next year. The girl is bleeding Mrs. Fowler dry, and I refuse to be a part of it any longer. I can not and will not take Mrs. Fowler's money. That girl is breaking her grandmother's heart."

I saw his logic. Mrs. Fowler was throwing away her money on finding Krystal.

Which is why I took on Mrs. Fowler’s case for free. On personal time. Without telling Nash.

*Cherry Tucker*

I WOKE to find a hand covering my eyes. My body jerked, but I didn't have the strength to buck. I opened my mouth to scream, but could only muster a low howl. The hand jerked off my eyes.

"What in the hell was that?" I recognized the voice of my sister, Casey. "Is she dying?"

My vision cleared. Grandpa Ed's woman, Pearl, loomed over me. She wore a concerned look and a Christmas sweatshirt. The sweatshirt had a pyramid of goats, each with an ornament hanging from its mouth. The kid on top held a star between its hooves.

"She's burning up with fever. Bet it's the flu." Pearl held her hand away from her sweatshirt. "I need to wash up. Don't want to get my goats sick with this. Looks ugly."

I moaned and rolled over, eyeing Casey's lean against the doorway. On a cold and wet December twenty-third, Casey wore a tank top, yoga pants, and flip-flops. In keeping with the season, the tank top read, "One of Santa's ho's." It was stretched over a rounded belly that didn't quite meet the top of the yoga pants.

"I'm sorry you're feeling so bad," said Casey. "But I don't want the baby sick, so I'm not coming in your room."

"You should go," I whimpered. "Let me die in peace."

"Who dies from the flu?" She rolled her eyes. Casey wasn't much of a history or science buff, but I could tell she was concerned. Enough that she'd brought Pearl to check on me. The sort-of step-grandparent we never wanted. "I made you chicken soup."

My parched mouth oozed drool, causing my stomach to roll. "No food talk. And stand still. You keep rockin', and it's making me nauseous."

"I'm not moving. I'll leave the soup in the—”

She backed into the kitchen until I returned from the bathroom. During that time, Pearl had stripped the bed, remade it, and placed an assortment of Gatorades on my nightstand.

Red, blue, and green. Christmasy. My stomach took another roll.

"Now then." Pearl placed a cool cloth on my head, tucked me into the hospital-cornered quilt, and squirted her hands with sanitizer. "What's all this about reporting a crime?"

I stared at my Snug the Coonhound painting above my bed. The last few hours were hazy. Snug was no help. He continued to undulate. "Ma'am?"

"Honey, you called the police. Beth Ann Simmons is filling in for Tamara and couldn't understand a word you said. Everyone knows you're sick, so they sent an ambulance over. Not an ambulance, really. That was needed with…well, never mind that. You don't need the details. The town is just a mess. And Line Creek has all their emergency people up on the interstate because of a pileup. Anyways, Sheriff Thompson sent June Peterson in her minivan in case you needed transport. But you didn't answer the door, so June went home. That's when she called Casey. Casey called your Grandpa Ed, and he sent me. Here we are."

"Good thing I'm not dying," I croaked. "I'd have to haunt June Peterson.”

Purchase A View to a Chill from:

The Maizie Albright Star Detective Series:

17.5 Cartridges in a Pear Tree releases December 17, 2019

The Cherry Tucker Mystery Series:


A Christmas Quick Sketch is a Cherry Trucker prequel, which released November 21, 2019


A Wall Street Journal bestselling author, Larissa writes the Cherry Tucker Mystery, Maizie Albright Star Detective, and Finley Goodhart Crime Caper series as well as romantic comedies and women’s fiction. She loves to tell funny stories about Southern women looking for love (and sometimes dead bodies) in all the wrong places. 

Her books have been chosen as book club picks by Woman's World Magazine and Hot Mystery Reviews. They've also been finalists for Georgia Author of the Year, the Silver Falchion, the Daphne du Maurier Award, The Emily Award, and Dixie Kane Memorial. Her work also appeared in the 2017 Silver Falchion Reader’s Choice winner, Eight Mystery Writers You Should Be Reading Now

You might have seen Larissa and family with their little dog, Biscuit, on HGTV's House Hunters International "Living for the Weekend in Nagoya" episode, but they’re back in Georgia now. Visit LarissaReinhart.com to learn more.

Places to find Larissa Reinhart:


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12 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for having me on Read Your Writes! Good luck to everyone participating in the giveaway!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for doing the interview, offering up a giveaway and for stopping by!

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  2. I think that enemies to lovers storylines can work because it happens in real life sometimes! Thanks for the chance! Lisa Mitchell. Blessedfllady62(at)yahoo(dot)com

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  3. I love them. Also love this cover
    jwhaley4(at)aol(dot)com

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  4. My favorite Christmas movie is Love, Actually (the cleaner, edited for tv version.)

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    1. Hey Kara! I've actually never seen that one, can you believe it? I think it came out when we were in Japan and I missed it. Or the girls were babies and I missed it. LOL I'll have to look for the TV edition. :)

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  5. Christmas story is my favorite movie your book sound interesting and fun to read.

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  6. Thank you all for commenting. The winner has been selected as contacted.

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