Thursday, July 11, 2019

Left Fur Dead - An Interview, Review, Excerpt, & Giveaway

I'm pleased to welcome J. M. Griffin to Cozy Up With Kathy today. J. M. writes the Jules and Bun Mystery series. LEFT FUR DEAD, the first book in the series, was released last month.



Kathy: Juliette “Jules” Bridge runs a rescue farm where she tends to injured or abused rabbits. Although I only have cats now I have had pet rabbits in the past. Do you have rabbits in your life other than those on the page? 
 
JMG: My family and I live in the countryside where there are deer, turkeys, foxes and raccoons, but there are also wild rabbits which are what my husband and I enjoy watching the most. I do have two indoor cats, though.


Kathy: In LEFT FUR DEAD we discover that Bun, a black and white rabbit, has the ability to communicate telepathically. Wouldn't that be wonderful if animals could communicate directly with us? How did you decide to grant Bun this ability? 
 
JMG: It would be great if animals could talk to us, but then, we might be overwhelmed with their wants. Take Juliette, for example. Bun nags and cajoles her, and often uses guilt to get his own way. He's very wily.

When I developed the characters, I soon realized Bun needed something to make him extra special, to stand out in readers minds. I wracked my brain and suddenly came up with the telepathy angle. So far the readers have enjoyed that aspect of Bun.


Kathy: What first drew you to cozy mysteries? 
 
JMG: I was a fan as youngster and as I got older, it seemed the best books I could find to read and to write were cozies. I've like the way the stories unfolded, the air of mystery, the fact that swearing isn't allowed, and that sex, (if there is any), takes place behind closed doors.


Kathy: Do you write in any other genres? 
 
JMG: I tried my hand at romance once. A disaster, at the very least. A good lesson learned though, I write what I know!


Kathy: Tell us about your series. 

JMG: The Bun and Jules series takes place in southern New Hampshire, on a small farm that Jules owns. She raises rabbits, takes in abused and/or injured rabbits, and has found she owns a rabbit who loves to investigate mysterious happenings, but can also communicate by using mental telepathy. Jules and Bun find themselves in danger more often than not, due to their overzealous curiosity.

In the Vinnie Esposito series, the story takes places in and around Rhode Island. Lavinia, aka Vinnie, just can't resist poking her nose where it doesn't belong, and usually ends up in trouble with her lawmen friends as well as mobsters. The stories are fun to read and Vinnie's antics are bound to make you laugh.


Kathy: Do you have a favorite character? If so, who and why? 
 
JMG: I would have to say Bun is my current favorite, but Vinnie Esposito held that spot for several years, and just might again. I enjoy her and Bun's attitudes. They are more bluff than tough, and they're also willing to do what it takes to solve mysteries. Vinnie was fashioned after my daughter who was involved in women's safety, and held a degree in criminal justice. In my books, Vinnie teaches that subject, but hers has a different bend to it. The books are easy to write, I use artistic license in the storytelling and best of all, I try to convey how quirky and colorful Rhode Island is.


Kathy: Did you have a specific inspiration for your series? 
 
JMG: Not really, just a love of humor and independent characters.


Kathy: What made you decide to publish your work? 
 
JMG: I knew I had stories to tell and decided to give it my best effort. I started independently publishing my books after many rejections. If nothing else, I'm quite tenacious and was determined to build a fan base, which I did. During those years, I secretly yearned to publish with Kensington Publishing. By pure chance, I met Evan Marshall, who is now my agent, and who sold the Bun & Jules series to none other than Kensington. I figure the stars were definitely in alignment that day.


Kathy: If you could have a dinner party and invite 4 authors, living or dead, in any genre, who would you invite? 
 
JMG: Agatha Christie, Jules Verne, Dan Brown, and Charlotte MacLeod.


Kathy: What are you currently reading? 
 
JMG: DEATH AT SEA written by NYT bestselling author Andrea Camilleri.


Kathy: Will you share any of your hobbies or interests with us? 
 
JMG: I am a decorative artist, a sometimes gardener (only when the weeds threaten to take over), and I love to cook & bake.


Kathy: Name 4 items you always have in your fridge or pantry. 
 
JMG: Pasta, chocolate, Italian and French cheeses, and crusty bread to go with the wine.


Kathy: Do you have plans for future books either in your current series or a new series? 
 
JMG: The second book, WHO'S DEAD DOC?, in the Bun and Jules series will be released in February 2020, and the third book called HOP TILL YOU DROP is scheduled for 2021. Another book in the Esposito series is also in the works.


Kathy: What's your favorite thing about being an author? 
 
JMG: I can work at home, in my pajamas!

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Review


LEFT FUR DEAD by J. M. Griffin
The First Jules and Bun Mystery

Juliette Bridge, better known as Jules, is the owner of Fur Bridge Farm. From providing rehabilitation to rabbits that have been abused to bringing bunnies as entertainment to children's parties, Jules deals in all things rabbit. Her sidekick is Bun, a black-and-white rabbit who has the ability to communicate telepathically with her. After stumbling across a dead body the pair find themselves victims. Someone has been entering the barn and attempting to release the rabbits. The break-ins must be connected to the murder. But how? Not content to leave matters to the police Jules and Bun begin their own investigation. But will they stir up even more trouble?

Never give up and don't make yourself a victim. These are the two resounding messages found in the first Jules and Bun Mystery. After being left for dead after being run off the road years prior, Jules recovered with the help of rabbits and has vowed to stand up for herself and her friends no matter what. This attitude, while generally commendable, leads her to sometimes be abrupt and act rashly. Jules is refreshing in that she is so independent with a take charge attitude.  By far my favorite character is Bun. This is a rabbit with an attitude. He's funny and forthright, smart and protective.

LEFT FUR DEAD has a quaint premise. A rabbit with telepathic powers is certainly unique in the mystery scene and I appreciate how proper care for rabbits is emphasized. While it fit that Bun's speech patterns were slightly off kilter, the whole book had an odd use of phrasing and word choice that stopped the flow and made the pacing someone erratic.

Unfortunately, the author hit on a major pet peeve of mine. At the end of the story the villain, who had a very good motive, and had been behaving rationally, suddenly became a "maniac" with an "evil" laugh. The author could have gotten the story exactly where she needed with the same villain, motive, and even final exciting scene, without creating yet another crazed killer.

Bolstered by a charming rabbit LEFT FUR DEAD provides a unique mystery. With room to grow the first Jules and Bun Mystery is a promising start to a new series.

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EXCERPT FROM LEFT FUR DEAD 


Later in the afternoon, a car rolled into the driveway.I looked out the window and thought Jack Carver must have had more questions. I scooted across to Bun’s room and murmured, “Stay in here, the sheriff has arrived. The dead guy is Arty the Mime.”

One ear flipped forward, which I took as a sign of agreement. Bun remained on his bed as I closed the door to his room. With his superb hearing he’d know what Jack had to say. I didn’t want Bun underfoot and blabbing while I spoke with the sheriff. I flipped the coffeepot on and opened the front door as Carver reached for the doorbell.

“Come on in, it’s cold out there. Can I get you a cup of coffee?”

His nod was answer enough, and I filled two cups with steaming brew. Setting them on a tray along with a sugar bowl and creamer, I carried it to the end table next to an overstuffed armchair in the living room, where Jack was seated. I handed him a mug of coffee and added cream to my cup.

Seated across from him, I rested my elbows on my knees cupping the mug with my hands. Not giving Jack the opportunity to accuse me of misleading him, I said, “Jess mentioned the dead man was Arthur Freeman. It was announced on the news.”

“You knew Mr. Freeman, didn’t you?”

I nodded. “Only in a professional manner, and only as Arty the Mime. We attended many functions as the entertainment du jour. He’d do magic tricks and I had the educational rabbit petting pen. I never saw him without his mime makeup on. Honest to God.” I crossed my heart.

“I’m glad you admitted that, Jules. After all, everyone is aware that you two were frequent entertainers at kids’ events and public affairs the town hosts. Especially the festival last fall. Didn’t you have a falling-out of sorts?”

“I didn’t make the connection, sorry. Arty was great at kids’ functions, and we shared a few jokes now and then. He took miming seriously and was in tune with his audiences, no matter their ages. As to the falling-out, it was actually a difference of opinion.”

“Different in what way?”

Quick to explain what had caused us to disagree, I mentioned Arty had been disgruntled. I left out the fury he had shown and how he’d walked away ranting about unfairness to animals. Jack sipped his coffee. “Are you aware of anyone who might have had a grudge against him?”

“Not that I can think of offhand. If something comes to mind, I’ll gladly let you know. Have you contacted his family?”

“He doesn’t have any family that I can find.”

“That’s a shame. He was a nice sort, we enjoyed our stints together, and parents appeared to like him.”

He placed the half-empty cup on the table and rose. “If you remember anything, anything at all, call me. I don’t want time to get away from us. The longer the investigation goes on, the colder the trail becomes.” At the door he reached for the knob and then said over his shoulder, “I know you might want to help out because you knew this fellow, but please don’t interfere.”

“I have no plans to,” I blustered.

“I’m glad we’re clear on that. Don’t poke your nose where you shouldn’t, I won’t stand for it.”

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Left Fur Dead (A Jules & Bun Mystery) by J.M. Griffin

About the Book

 
Cozy Mystery 1st in Series  
Kensington (June 25, 2019)  
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages 
On Fur Bridge Farm, Jules cares for rescued rabbits. But when a killer strikes, she'll need a rabbit to rescue her . . .
Juliette “Jules” Bridge prides herself on the tender rehabilitation she provides for injured or abused rabbits on her New Hampshire rescue farm, but she has a very special relationship with one bunny in particular. Bun is a black-and-white rabbit who happens to have the ability to communicate through mental telepathy. Once she got over the shock, Jules found her furry friend had a lot to say.
One frigid March morning on their walk together, Bun spots a body. The police identify the frozen stiff as Arthur Freeman, aka Arty the Mime. Jules and Arty knew each other on the children's party circuit, where he’d perform magic tricks and she had an educational rabbit petting pen. With Bun egging her on, Jules decides it’s time they hop to it and put their heads together to discover who silenced the mime. But their investigation leads them down a rabbit hole of more suspects and lies, while a killer sets a trap for them . . .

About the Author

J. M. Griffin is the bestselling cozy mystery author of sixteen novels, including the Vinnie Esposito series. She lives in rural Rhode Island with her husband and two very mysterious cats. Visit her at jm-griffin.com.  

Author Links: Website - Facebook - Blog

Purchase Links : Amazon - B&N - Kobo - Google Play - IndieBound


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9 comments:

  1. Thank you for your review on "Left Fur Dead" and for being part of the book tour.

    Really enjoyed the interview with J.M. Griffin learning more about both author and book.

    I'd love the opportunity to read this great sounding book which is on my TBR list.
    2clowns at arkansas dot net

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  2. This cover intrigued me at B and Noble. Thanks for the opportunity.
    browninggloria(at) hotmail (dot) com

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  3. I love the cover and the book sounds so good. I hope that the tour goes well and that a lot of readers like your work. peggy clayton ptclayton2@aol.com

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  4. This sounds like a fun summer read that I would enjoy. I love the cover!
    marypopmom (at) yahoo (dot) com
    Merry

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  5. I really enjoy cozies. Thanks for this opportunity. jluebke@frontier.com

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  6. Lots of fun possibly for puns with this series. The premise is quite unique with the rabbit farm and the talking rabbit. I like it. It sounds fun on so many levels.

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  7. This sounds like a fun book! Thanks for the chance to win a copy.

    ReplyDelete