Heaven can be described as lying on the beach with the hot sun warming the sand, sprawled out on a beach blanket, listening to the ocean, feeling the sea breeze, hearing the seagulls, and reading a great book filled with lots of cozy short stories. Well, heaven can be described like that to many but not to me. I can do without the sand and sea and especially the sun. All I need is the book filled with short stories and I’m happy.

Heaven to me is “Killer Beach Reads.” This is a book filled with 22 summer stories by some of my favorite authors, like Anna Snow and Catherine Bruns and some authors who are now on my favorite list, like Leslie Langtry.

All 22 of the short stories here are set in the hot summer time with loads of protagonists that have lots of different jobs, none of which is being a private investigator but they all end up becoming one by investigating a murder.

The first story pulled me into the book right away. In “Scout Camp Murder” I was introduced to my new favorite cozy author, Leslie Langtry. Ms. Langtry’s main character is Merry Wrath a former spy who was thrown out of the CIA, moved back to her hometown, and became a Girl Scout Leader of 14 little girls. Is it really her fault that some of the foreign agents from her spy days are out to get her? No. But with the help of her best friend, who is also her co-leader, and the 14 little scouts and their parents, Merry always gets out of trouble even though she finds dead bodies in many places including her Girl Scout camp.

I enjoyed this story so much I immediately read two books in the Merry Wrath series to see if a full book would be as good as a short story. They were.

In “A Killing in the Market” (Danger Cove Mysteries) by Gin Jones & Elizabeth Ashby a financial planner returns to her hometown and finds herself in the middle of a murder. A pepper farmer, who is allergic to red, green, and yellow peppers, is killed when one of his home-grown peppers is forced in his mouth. The financial planner helps find the murderer and makes a love connection while she’s at it.

“A Spot of Murder” by one of my favorite authors, Catherine Bruns, follows the main characters in her Cookies & Chance Mystery Series. Here fans of the series learn a little more background information on the bakers. Once again the women also get involved in a murder and help find the killer. Great little side story to the very good Cookies & Chance Mystery Series.

“Killer Beach Reads” also has some romance stories included. Usually I’m not a real fan of romance stories. I mean how can you believe all that love at first glance stuff? Reading about a former spy who’s now a Girl Scout Leader, now I can definitely wrap my mind around. Actually, I did like the romance stories in the book. The stories were basically cozies with hunky men filling in the story line. Okay, every so often you need man to round things out.

The best part of a book of short stories is that it gives you a chance to sample some authors you’ve never read before. You might even find a new favorite series.

Summer is here, the ocean is inviting, and the sand is, er, sandy. Grab your sunglasses,  a beach blanket, a bottle of cold water, and a copy of “Killer Beach Reads” and enjoy this big book of cozies. It has over 600 pages with plenty of stories to chose from. No need to read them in order, I didn’t.

Pick up a copy of “Killer Beach Reads” you’ll definitely have a good time reading the 22 stories in this wonderful book as you laze about in the summer sun.


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