We went hunting for The Famous Author last weekend in Plainfield, an author signing event at the library. No luck locating TFA, but we did run into one of our favorite New Jersey characters, Cassie O'Malley, a tabloid journalist who solves New Jersey murders with flair and humor. Cassie has a new Christmas mystery, IT'S BEGINNING TO LOOK A LOT LIKE MURDER, just out from Gale/Five Star. Ask your library to order a copy for you, or pick it up here with the other Cassie O'Malley tales.
Cassie and her author Jeff Markowitz got a solid review from Kirkus, who isn't always nice: "Nothing concentrates the mind of a reporter with a severe case of writer's block like an opportune murder or two. Cassie O'Malley's job with a New Jersey tabloid may be on its last legs. Her new boss, impatient with the non-producing Cassie, sends her to cover the Christmas shopping rush at the mall.
"Bored, Cassie spends most of her time in the food court watching children visit Santa Claus until loan shark Big Mack is found dead in the men's room. His vengeful son Little Mack doesn't take kindly to security guard Oliver Berryhill's claim that he knifed him in a fight over stolen jewelry. Nor does Detective Eddie "Eggs" Bebedict, with whom Cassie has quickly clicked. Even though his boss has closed the case, Eggs suspects that the absence of fingerprints on the knife proves that Oliver's lying.
"The list of possible killers includes Cassie's former boss, who was deep in debt to Big Mack. Oliver's covering up thefts at the mall. Even Santa has secrets. Though it's bad for business, a second body, identified as that of a pawnbroker, provides the clue that points Cassie and Eggs toward a killer. On the evidence here, Markowitz's humorous murder series (A Minor Case of Murder, 2006, etc.) isn't exactly laugh-out-loud funny, but you'll meet a number of amusing characters en route to the surprise ending."
Cassie told us this guy Eggs Bebedict may stick around awhile.