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Isabellas-Painting-Cover1-618x800Peeling back layers of lies can save a masterpiece…or reveal a killer.

After a long week lobbying on Capitol Hill, all Karina Cardinal wants to do is chill with Netflix and her boyfriend, Patrick Dunne. Instead, she’s slipping her aching feet into red stilettos for his parents’ annual holiday bash. When she accidentally interrupts Patrick’s father in his study, her embarrassment is tempered by suspicion that Martin Dunne and his dapper, secretive guest are hiding something. Maybe the painting she barely glimpses right before it disappears behind a secret panel.

An internet search raises her curiosity to full-blown alarm. If she’s right, Martin is in possession of a stolen masterpiece. Infamous because everyone close to it has turned up dead. As in Mafia-style-execution dead.  As she’s chewing over which instinct to follow—back off while she still can, or dig deeper for the truth—she crosses paths with FBI agent Mike Finnegan. An old friend and not-quite flame from her college days. When she looks into his warm, mocha eyes, she’s tempted to tell him everything.

Trouble is, she’s already being watched. And the next move she makes could destroy innocent lives…including her own.


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Book 2 in the Karina Cardinal Mystery series arrives December 2018

Fly Girl’s Review:

So I met Ellen at the SASS18 reader event this summer.  We talked about how Wickedcoolflight had just come into a whole bunch of cozi mysteries for giveaways.  She commented how she has started writing mysteries, kind of cozi, that are based off real life unsolved mysteries.  I said how fascinating and picked up some info.  I’ve finally gotten around to reading her latest book Isabella’s Painting and boy am I glad I scheduled this off my TBR pile.  It was very entertaining.

There is a little humor, a little romance and a whole lot of mystery.  And, Oh, I almost forgot, the mob.  What could possibly make for a better cozi mystery and fun read?? “Nothing,” I say.  It was PURE JOY to read this one.  I was engrossed from the get go and loved Karina’s personality.  She was witty, self conscious, awkward, and resourceful.  I loved her.  Ellen built the suspense in the novel well.  From the truly secret moving wall, to the anticipation of getting caught investigating.  She knows how to put your nerves on end and keep you turning the page.  You know I can’t give spoilers, so there isn’t a lot I can say about the mystery with the exception of how much I loved the stairwell scene and how under prepared Karina is to deal with the risks she’s taken.  The subway scene is another good one.  Nothing like a lady disguised in a scarf and glasses to throw you off the scent.  I said there was some humor.

The other part I loved was that this is based on a real life mystery that hasn’t been solved.  She did a lot of research on this and it’s described in the acknowledgements at the end so you can do your own investigating if you desire.  But I will say, I kind of like her take on the whole heist and can’t wait to see the next Karina Cardinal Mystery in December.  If you like cozi mysteries I think this is a definite must read.

5 of 5 Propellers

Ellen ButlerConnect with Ellen Butler

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Ellen Butler is a bestselling novelist writing sexy, sassy romance and edgy suspense novels. She is the author of the award winning Love, California Style series and bestselling historical suspense The Brass Compass. Ellen holds a Master’s Degree in Public Administration and Policy, and her history includes a long list of writing for dry, but illuminating, professional newsletters and windy papers on public policy. The leap to novel writing was simply a creative outlet for Ellen’s overactive imagination to run wild. She is a member of the Office of Strategic Services Society, Sisters in Crime, Virginia Writer’s Club, and International Thriller Writers.

She is an admitted chocoholic and confesses to a penchant for shoe shopping. Ellen lives with her family in the suburbs of Washington, DC.