*Click The Banner To Follow The Tour*
I'm so happy to be hosting Terri L. Austin's Novel: Diners, Dives & Dead Ends today. You will see a great Guest Post written by the Author. A Book Excerpt & My Review is all shown below. Thank you so much for stopping by :)
Author's Guest Post
From an early age, Scooby Doo was my favorite cartoon. I loved to watch the Scooby gang debunk the hoo doo each week and bring the very human, unsupernatural culprit to justice. Nancy Drew was my favorite character. I’d put myself in Nancy’s shoes—finding clues, tooling around in my roadster, and solving mysteries with my girls, George and Bess.
I’m still a whodunit junkie. I adore all mysteries—gritty noir, paranormal, cozies. But humorous mysteries are my favorite. And that’s what I write.
When I penned Diners, Dives and Dead Ends, I wanted a likable heroine with a pinch of snark, an independent streak, and I wanted her to be an underdog. Rose Strickland fit the bill. There’s something special about a main character who is struggling in life, but refuses to be defeated. It gives the reader someone to root for.
I was definitely influenced by Janet Evanovich. I’ve read the Stephanie Plum books from the beginning. I like the fun characters and the Trenton setting. I have quirky characters, too. But my setting is the fictional Missouri city of Huntingford—a town evenly divided between the very wealthy and the working class. As a former rich girl turned waitress, Rose straddles both worlds. After rejecting her wealthy parents and their overbearing ways, Rose struck out on her own and has been fending for herself ever since. Money’s tight and her job as a waitress doesn’t pay much, but she is determined to make it on her own.
I always viewed Diners, Dives and Dead Ends as Veronica Mars: The Adult Years crossed with One for the Money. Like Veronica Mars, Rose is a feisty main character whose past adds conflict and dimension to the story. At twenty-four, Rose is a post YA heroine who is trying to figure out her future when her friend, Axton, suddenly disappears. Rose will do anything, even if it means tangling with a sexy villain, to find him.
I hope people enjoy reading Diners as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thanks for having me on For the Love of Film and Novels! It was a pleasure.
Author Bio & Links
Terri L. Austin lives in Missouri with her funny, handsome husband and a high maintenance peekapoo. She loves to hear from readers. Find her on Twitter, FB, TerriLAustin.com, Goodreads and Henery Press. She and her writer friends have a book chat every Wednesday on Little Read Hens. Check it out and join in the conversation!
Here's The Book Description of
Diners, Dives & Dead Ends
Diners, Dives and Dead Ends
A Rose Strickland Mystery
By Terri L. Austin
As a struggling waitress and part-time college student, Rose Strickland’s life is stalled in the slow lane. But when her close friend, Axton, disappears, Rose suddenly finds herself serving up more than hot coffee and flapjacks. Now she’s hashing it out with sexy bad guys and scrambling to find clues in a race to save Axton before his time runs out.
With her anime-loving bestie, her septuagenarian boss, and pair of IT wise men along for the ride, Rose discovers political corruption, illegal gambling, and shady corporations. She’s gone from zero to sixty and quickly learns when you’re speeding down the fast lane, it’s easy to crash and burn.
Check Out This Book Excerpt
Mondays were known for two things at Ma’s Diner: we poured lots of extra coffee and the tips sucked. After my last customer left, I counted out my money. Twenty-three dollars and sixteen cents. Hmm, food or gas?
I walked behind the counter and had just started to refill ketchup bottles when my friend, Ax, walked in. The bright afternoon sunshine flashed on his wallet chain as it slapped against his thigh.
Axton Graystone—his real name, I swear to God—was usually cheerful, goofy, and extremely mellow due to his natural disposition and the boatloads of pot he ingested. But when he stopped by the empty diner that afternoon, he was twitchy and nervous.
He plopped onto a stool in front of me and swung his overstuffed backpack onto another. His knee bounced up and down like a toddler on a sugar binge and he tapped his fingernails on the counter. “Rose, I need you to do something for me.”
“I’m not giving you my pee.” Axton had a couple of possession misdemeanors. Now the administration at the college where he worked made him take a urine test once a month.
The keys in his pocket jangled with every bob of his knee. “No, not that. I need a favor.” Worry lines creased his forehead and his pale blue eyes were more bloodshot than usual.
I glanced up from my ketchup transfusion, leaned over and stared into said bloodshot eyes. I sniffed the air around him. “You’re not stoned. Are you drunk?”
Roxy Block, my fellow waitress-slash-bestie frowned. “I thought he was always stoned.” Roxy was in a pissy mood. She’d quit smoking the day before and it was not going well. For any of us.
“Where were you last night?” I asked him. “I thought we were going to watch War of the Worlds. I made those pizza rolls you like.”
“Jeez Rose, I told you a million times, it’s When Worlds Collide. It won an Academy Award. It was like, a visual masterpiece.” Tap, tap, tap. He rapidly beat out a rhythm on the counter.
“Whatever.” I reached over and laid my hand on his, forcing him to stop tapping his nails.
Axton hopped down from the stool and went to the picture window at the front of the diner. With his hands on the glass, he glanced up and down the street—left, right, then left again. His breath made a big foggy circle next to the closed sign.
After I twisted a lid on the last bottle of ketchup, I walked to the tables around the small dining room, putting a bottle on each. “So where were you?”
His shoulders jerked at the sound of my voice. “I went to a club. Look, Rose—”
“Like a dance club?” I interrupted, a bottle dangling between my fingers. I’d known Axton forever. We’d gone to school together from first grade through high school at Huntingford Prep and the only club Axton ever attended involved Starfleet uniforms and speaking Klingon.
“I’m trying to picture you dancing.” Roxy smacked a piece of nicotine gum as she pushed a broom across the black and white checkerboard floor. “And in my mind it looks more like a seizure.” Roxy wore a very short, red pleated skirt, a frilly white blouse, and white platform shoes. A lacy headband held back her electric blue hair. Her outfit was not a side effect of cigarette deprivation. She always dressed like that.
(Thank you to the Author for a Print Copy for Review)
I love mysteries, either historical fiction ones, or even cozy ones. Diners, Dives & Dead Ends was a very well written cozy mystery read, and I was just enthralled throughout. I think the characters were written pretty well, and I understand Rose, where she comes from, a wealthy family, but she wanted to go to a different college, than what her parents wanted, so she's on her own, making her own living as a waitress and taking night classes at a local college. She still has family issues, with, well especially with her Mom. As Rose is dealing with everyday life, her best friend goes missing, and Rose feels like its her mission to find him and we are then on a very interesting mysterious ride.
I felt that there were some details given, that I wanted to know more about. I found it interesting that there's no real main love interest. There are a few, and I know I had one in mind, that might, well, actually will definitely be seen as the bad guy, but I'm intrigued to see in book 2, if anything becomes of Rose and well that Guy you'll definitely read about; you'll know who I mean by the end of the story. Speaking of the ending, there's a crazy event that surprised me, and I'm still not sure what to think about it, as it just seemed so sudden, but I do think it brings Rose and that guy I mentioned, so I guess it blended well.
The mystery propsect was overall very interesting and creative. It does seem like this specific was not over, maybe it's just me, but I feel there might be a more solution in book 2, and I look forward to reading it sometime :)
My Rating: 4/5
I say a PG-13 Rating (Some Mature Content & Language) 16-17+