To kick off a winter writing retreat, Cat and her handyman boyfriend, Seth, escort the aspiring authors to a nearby ski resort, hoping some fresh cold air will wake up their creative muses. But instead of hitting the slopes, they hit the bar—and before long, a tipsy romance novelist named Christina is keeping herself warm with a local ski bum who might have neglected to tell her about his upcoming wedding.
Next thing Cat knows, her uncle, the town sheriff, informs her that the young man’s been found dead in a hot tub—and Christina shows up crying and covered in blood. Now, between a murder mystery, the theft of a rare Hemingway edition, and the arrival of a black-clad stranger in snowy Aspen Hills, Cat’s afraid everything’s going downhill . . .
Praise for Lynn Cahoon
“Murder, intrigue, and a really hot handyman.” —Laura Bradford, author of the Amish Mysteries
“Lynn Cahoon has created an absorbing, good fun mystery in Mission to Murder.” —Fresh Fiction
About the Author
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Fatality By Firelight
By LYNN CAHOON
KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP.Copyright © 2017 Lynn Cahoon
All rights reserved.
The world outside still clung to the previous night, the shadows not quite releasing their hold to the breaking light over the mountain ridge outside Aspen Hills, Colorado. With the first rays of morning, the fresh snow glistened and covered the lawn all around 700 Warm Springs.
Cat Latimer, owner of the Warm Springs Writers' Retreat, housed in the old Victorian, sat at the kitchen table drinking a mix of hot chocolate and coffee. With a dab of freshly whipped cream, Cat thought Shauna's winter concoction was just about the most perfect drink ever invented. Her friend, Shauna Mary Clodah, had taken over the role of cook, planner, and manager for the writing retreats. Shauna was a petite, pretty, Irish redhead that cooked like an angel. The small group sitting around the table was drinking the "virgin" version of her mixture. Later, the retreat guests would have the option of adding a shot of Bailey's Irish Cream or Kahlúa to their cups, an invitation to the muse.
Right now her guests were tucked in their beds, sleeping. Which was where she wanted to be instead of sitting here in the kitchen. But then she took in the smell of coffee and chocolate mixed together and she sighed in delight.
"I can't believe you're taking the group up the mountain. I thought this was supposed to be about writing. They aren't going to get many words written by spending the day skiing." Uncle Pete had become a regular at the breakfast table, both when the retreat was in session and when it was just Cat and Shauna milling around the empty house. Her uncle was Aspen Hills' police chief and Cat's closest relative.
"It's part of the Colorado experience," Cat explained, thinking about her own manuscript sitting on her computer waiting for her to make time to write. The phrase making time to write was a joke. She either wrote or didn't, and today her word-count chart would show a big fat zero, unless she had the mental energy when they returned from skiing. During the first retreat, she'd managed to get a few pages written — before one of her guests wound up dead in his room. This retreat she'd promised herself that she'd focus on her own work, even when they had guests. Shauna was in charge of the day-to-day activities when the retreat was in session. Cat's job was to be the resident writer and set a good example as a professional writer. A job that sometimes was harder than other days, especially if she got drawn into a Facebook rotating loop of cute kittens or the occasional photos of hot guys — or worse, one simple question that grew into a research project on the entire history of the Salem Witch trials.
Today was about building relationships and having experiences. Writers needed both.
"Who do you have visiting this month? Anyone I need to put some eyes on?" As the town police chief, Uncle Pete could be a little overprotective when it came to Cat. At least that was her experience. Cat had moved back to Aspen Hills when her ex-husband died and left her the huge Victorian. She and Michael had bought it when their marriage was young, before he started cheating.
Now the house was hers. Not hers and the bank's, just hers: The mortgage insurance had paid off the loan when Michael died. Karma was sweet.
"We have five guests, including the student from the college. They're writing sweet romance, historical fiction, speculative fiction, non-fiction, and poetry. They all seem pretty harmless." Cat had a list of the guests in front of her. They'd all arrived yesterday and for once, Seth had only had to do one trip to the Denver airport as the planes had arrived within an hour. Last night had been casual with the group hanging out over soup and homemade bread in the living room. It had been nice to get to know the group before the retreat got started. Cat pointed to one of the names on the list. "We have one guest who is not joining in the ski trip. Bella Neighbors told me last night she has no interest in skiing or going outside in this weather."
The door blew open, and on the wind a few snowflakes entered around the tall man covered in skiwear. "Who ever said that is a smart cookie. It's c-c-c-cold out there."
Cat watched as Seth Howard stomped his feet, then shrugged out of his heavy coat and sat on the bench to take off his shoes. He shook his head, letting the snowflakes fall from his brown hair onto the wood floor. Seth had been her high school sweetheart, and apparently, was now her after-divorce boyfriend. She forced herself to focus on Shauna instead. "Are you going to be okay here? Bella's the historical fiction author, so I'm sure she'd be interested in the history of the town. I know I have several books in the house library about the area."
Shauna nodded. "We'll be good. I'll send her over that way when I see her. Miss Bella can write or go wandering through town, and I'll have a fine dinner of shepherd's pie waiting for you when you get back."
"Sounds great." Seth made his way over to the table, taking the cup Shauna held out for him. He kissed Cat on her neck, sinking into a chair next to her. "Hey, Pete. How are things in Aspen Hills?"
"If we didn't have the book thief over at the college, my days would be filled with counted cross-stitch. Why someone would want to steal an old book is beyond me." The big man drained his cup and stood. "I'm heading back to the station. You guys be careful on the road to the ski resort. I'm getting reports of slide-offs every day."
"I put the chains on the tires just now. We should be fine." Seth sipped his coffee. "I hear that guy stole some rare books from the library. You got any suspects?"
Uncle Pete pulled his belt upward and put on his coat. "I can't comment on an open investigation, but since I have squat for evidence, I guess I still can't comment on nothing."
"See you tomorrow?" Cat called after him as he made his way to the kitchen door.
Uncle Pete didn't turn around as he waved. "Yep."
Cat watched through the window as he made his way to his police car. The black Charger looked more like a white hill, so much snow had fallen in the hour her uncle had been in the kitchen visiting and having breakfast. She turned back to the others at the table. "Does he look tired to you?"
"You worry too much. Your uncle looks fine." Seth took the plate of fried potatoes and ham Shauna handed him. "Thanks."
"I don't know. He didn't eat as much as usual." Shauna returned to the counter where she was finishing the buffet items for the guests. "I think the college is putting pressure on him about that break-in."
"That could be it." Cat wasn't convinced, and tomorrow she'd ask him about the last time he had a physical. Uncle Pete was a widower, and with her mother in Florida, Cat was the only relative around to make sure he kept his routines. She took her plate to the sink and poured herself another cup of coffee. Glancing around the kitchen, she paused. "Do you need help with anything?"
"No. I've got it handled." Shauna waved her away from the stove. "I don't need you messing in my kitchen."
Cat put up her hands. "Fine, I was just asking." She focused on Seth. "When are we leaving?"
"No later than ten. So yeah, you have time to sneak up to your office and write. I'll come get you when we're ready to go." Seth didn't look up from his plate of food. "Just be ready to lose when we race down Mountain Top."
"Who said we were racing?" Cat smiled at the memory of winters growing up skiing at the local resort. Back then, they'd gotten their season passes as early Christmas gifts as soon as the snow arrived.
This time he did look up and the look he gave her seared her with desire. "We always race."
She ignored his comment and left the kitchen with a filled carafe of coffee Shauna handed her wordlessly. Her office was in the third floor turret, the same floor where she and Shauna had bedroom suites. The guest rooms were all on the second floor with the first floor open for guest use including scheduled and unscheduled group activities and of course, breakfast.
Except for Michael's study. After one quick look around for anything vital, she had locked that room. It held too many memories that right now Cat didn't need to be dealing with. Especially with a house full of writers to herd. She looked forward to this new group. An introvert, Cat was drained by running a retreat. What surprised her was last time, when the retreat was over, how much she needed that writer-to-writer interaction.
She entered her office, turned on her computer, and promptly got lost in the world of her teenage witch trying to navigate the horrors of high school.
True to his word, Seth knocked on her door exactly at ten. The writing was done for today. She saved her document, then turned off her computer. "Just a minute."
When she opened the door, Seth eased his body up next to hers and walked her back to the office wall. He leaned in for the first kiss. Even in high school, he had known just how to kiss her to make her toes catch fire. She relaxed into his arms, feeling the desire she'd only just brushed against a few hours ago flow through her. After a few minutes, she turned her head and whispered in his ear, "I thought we had to leave."
He groaned and stepped away from her. He waved her through the open door. "We do."
Everyone had already loaded into the van by the time they got downstairs and Cat slipped into her ski jacket. Shauna handed her a bag. When she peeked inside, she saw a thermos of cocoa and what looked like a Tupperware container of sandwiches. "In case we get snowed in?"
Shauna shrugged. "I know they just ate, but sometimes people need a little something to tide them over."
Shauna was right. The sandwiches were gone before they arrived at the Little Ski Hill's parking lot. As they unloaded their passengers, Cat gave everyone a card with her cell and the house numbers listed. "Call if you need something. We'll be meeting in the great room in the main lodge at three to return to the house."
As the guests made their way to the rental shack, Seth took his and Cat's equipment down from the rack on top of the SUV. "Do you have a season pass?" He jiggled his laminated pass that hung on a chain around his neck in her face. "I guess you'll have to stand in line with the newbies then. I'll see you after my first run, if you're set up by then." He started to turn away but Cat put a hand on his jacket, stopping his movement.
"You mean this?" She took out the season pass from her pocket. She'd bought it last month when the ski hill had been advertising a buy one, -get one half-off sale for Aspen Hills residents. She and Shauna had already been on the slopes a few times.
He grinned and grabbed her skis. "Bring along the poles and we'll get going. The line for the chair lift gets long on Saturday's."
* * *
They skied together for hours, taking the same runs they'd taken back in high school. The snow was powdery, and Cat felt like she was running on feathers except for the spray of cold that sometimes snuck around her goggles and scarf. Rays of sunshine on the hillside turned the white into bright. Ending a run, Cat waved Seth over as they slid into the area around the lodge. "Let's go in and warm up."
They took off their skis and left them and the poles standing in a rack near the door. Stamping the snow off her boots, she entered the warm lodge. The lodge, the ski runs, being with Seth — it all left Cat feeling like she'd stepped into a time machine. The leather couches surrounding the stone fireplace in the middle of the great room looked just like she remembered. A hum of excited chatter filled the area, echoing off the cathedral ceilings and wall-to-ceiling windows highlighting the mountains they'd just left.
Taking off her gloves, she checked her phone to make sure she hadn't missed any calls. She hadn't, but she was shocked at the time: 2 p.m. already. They only had another hour before they would be meeting up with the guests. Laughter echoed out of the bar area, and they followed it inside.
They squeezed into the last two seats on the edge of the bar. "What can I get you?" A man in his early twenties stood in front of Cat, clearing the empty glasses and wiping the bar in front of them. His blond hair was too long and messy, just the style girls loved. And he had the most arresting green eyes. His Little Ski Hill shirt had Martin embroidered over the front pocket. Cat figured the bartender did all right in the tips department.
"Hey Martin, I'll have a coffee, black." Seth looked at Cat. "Merlot for you?"
Cat pulled the knitted hat off her head. "I don't know. I guess I'll take a beer. You got a dark on draft?"
"For being so far away from civilization, this place has a quality draft list. Let me get you a sample." Martin walked toward the taps.
"You see any of the guests?" she asked Seth as she looked around the crowded bar. But before she could recognize anyone, the bartender was back.
"Tell me if you like it." He pushed a small glass filled with a dark amber liquid toward Cat, then set a coffee cup in front of Seth. "You sure you don't want me to Jack that coffee up a bit?"
"Black is fine. I'm the designated driver." He took a sip of the brew.
"Too bad, man. I make a mean mixed drink. You two are going to have to check out our condo rentals. They're cheapest during the week when we don't have out-of-town visitors. Of course, I'm only here on weekends. Getting my degree in both accounting and mixology; at least I'll be employable after four years." He turned toward Cat who had finished the mini-beer. "Do you like it?"
"Most definitely." She turned to Seth as the young man went to get her a normal pint of the draft. "I think he's got a great idea about the condos. Maybe next week when the retreat's over, we should look into staying a few days."
"Ski by day and snuggle by night?" Seth raised his eyebrows. "I could be talked into playing hooky for a few days."
"You're only working for me," Cat reminded him. The promise of two days of skiing and relaxing were almost enough for Cat to get through the retreat without a major breakdown. She knew she'd come up with the idea, but sometimes having so many people around was challenging, if not downright crazy. She'd book the mini-vacation online as soon as they returned to the house.
A loud cheer sounded from a table across the room. A very drunk woman stood on the table and downed what looked to Cat from this distance to be a boilermaker. As she raised her hands in victory, a man swept her off the table and into his arms on the couch. The couple started kissing. The kiss continued so long, Cat felt uncomfortable watching them and turned back to Seth.
"Kids." She shrugged and sipped her beer.
"That's one of your writers." He pointed to the girl. "Don't know her name, but there's another one, Nelson something."
Cat choked on her beer. "What did they do, just ignore the slopes and come right to the bar? That girl is hammered."
"Furthermore, she's kissing the wrong guy. Tommy Neil is engaged." Seth pointed to a third person sitting farther down at the bar watching the scene unfold on the couch. "There's another one, the poet?"
"Jeffrey Blank," Cat answered absently. "How do you know the guy kissing Christina is engaged?"
"I've met him before. He's kind of a jerk, but he's Brittany's fiancé. You remember Brit, the bartender down at Bernie's?" He saw the confusion in her eyes as she tried to place the names. "Don't you read the local papers? I'm pretty sure I've brought in the Aspen Hills Post from your doorstep."
"Shauna reads the local. I'm too busy." She sipped her beer and glanced at the clock. "So we're only missing one. Maybe we should start moving everyone to the van. I can call Jennifer and have her meet us there."
"No need. She's at the same table with our party girl." Seth pointed to the last retreat guest sipping a glass of wine. He focused back on Cat and shook his head. "Brit's not going to like this one bit. And Bernie has connections."
"That's just a rumor." Cat finished her beer and dug in her purse for cash. Seth stilled her hand and took out his wallet, throwing some bills on the bar.
"Not a rumor I would want to test out." He looked at her. "I don't think Tommy's going to like it if his future father-in-law finds out about his extra-curricular activities. The guy might end up skiing down a mountain side with some specialty concrete boots."
Excerpted from Fatality By Firelight by LYNN CAHOON. Copyright © 2017 Lynn Cahoon. Excerpted by permission of KENSINGTON PUBLISHING CORP..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Good characterization. Author keeps you guessing. Look forward to another in series.
This was another good book by Ms. Cahoon. I really enjoy reading her books. The storyline keeps improving and am looking forward to the next book in the series.
I love this new story line. Interesting characters and great story lines. No gore....she keeps it light which i love. Can't wait for #3!
Dollycas’s Thoughts Cat Latimer is excited for her 2nd writer’s retreat since she has returned to Colorado and turned the home she and her now deceased ex-husband used to share into a B&B. Her best friend Shauna is by her side as the chef for the retreats and as the person who keeps everything organized so Cat still has time to work on her own writing. Cat has also reunited with her high school boyfriend, Seth, handyman, and chauffeur extraordinaire for the B&B and the retreats. Her Uncle Pete just happens to be the sheriff which comes in handy because trouble seems to follow Cat on a regular basis. This round of authors is an eclectic group. The romance author, Christina, seems to have forgotten what the retreat is about and hooks up with a local guy she met at the nearby ski resort. The problem, he is engaged to another woman and he is now dead. The evidence points right at Christina but she swears she didn’t do it. There’s also a new guy in town who would like to get to now Cat better but she thinks he knew her ex-husband and may know why he died. Her uncle is also hot on the case of a very valuable book stolen from the library. Things seem to be snowballing out of control in Aspen Hills, can Cat rein them in and solve all the mysteries with just a little help from her friends? I am really kicking myself for getting behind on this series because I love these characters, I love the theme, and who wouldn’t love the Colorado setting. Ms. Cahoon’s characters are so well developed, their dialogues flow so easily. They are realistic, engaging and funny at all right times. Cat, Shauna, and Seth make a fantastic team. Uncle Pete is positively priceless. I like that Cat and Seth appear to be a perfect match but that Cat realizes she needs to work out a few things about her ex before she can truly move on. The subplot dealing with Micheal’s demise and what he was involved in prior to his death continues from one book to the next. More clues are revealed in this installment that makes it clear his death what not how it appeared. I enjoy that this string connecting each story. The author does a terrific job of drawing the reader in. The mysteries are intricately woven together in an exciting way. I found the story to be complex and very hard to put down. Learning that “the mob” has a connection to the town that Cat didn’t realize gave the story a very different insight. The excitement ramped up at several places in the book and the ending was really intense. I loved it. The only good thing about being behind on this series is that the next book, Of Murder and Men is already on my To-Be-Read shelf and I can’t wait to start reading it!
In this second book in the Cat Latimer series, Cat and her friends Shauna and Seth are gearing up for another successful writer's retreat. After her last session, all Cat wants is a good week with no murder or crazy excitement. Unfortunately that doesn't work out. After spending a day at the local ski resort, one of the retreat guests is caught up in an illicit relationship with the local playboy. When he turns up dead after having a quiet night with Christina, she is the first suspect. Uncle Pete, Cat's uncle who is the police chief, questions her, but believes that she is not the guilty party. There are also story lines regarding a stolen Hemmingway book from the university and a couple of mysterious men wandering around the small town. One is connected to the mafia and seems to have a rather unusual interest in Cat. Could he have something to do with Michael's death? I love the idea of Cat trying to move past Michael's death by using his study and reading his papers. She and Seth seem to be in a good spot with their relationship as well. Shauna was her usual fun self but seems to be getting more involved with Kevin, the owner of the ski resort who also wants her to come and work as a chef for him. And then there is Uncle Pete, a bit of a curmudgeon who wants to take care of Cat. The guests were definitely a group of diverse and interesting characters. They will have you wondering whether one of them is actually a killer. Or could it be someone from the outside? There are a lot of suspects and I did not figure it out until the reveal at the end. There are still some things unanswered from the first book and I hope we continue to get glimpses into the situation until everything is revealed. Another great book in the Cat Latimer series.
Lynn Cahoon did a great job writing the second book in this series. I was so bonded and well known with the characters. I got some questions answered from the first book but Lynn still keeps you hanging on wanting the next book for even more!
This cozy mystery had some things I enjoyed and some I did not. I like the small town Colorado Setting. The Writer's Retreat is a fun background with new characters always arriving. The mystery was very easy to figure out. There was really only one suspect and there were no twists turns. The on going mystery of Cat's husband is still not resolved. A lot of the book is just the characters sitting around and eating. The visiting authors are not full characters. This series should be read in order and spoiler alert. if you read this book without reading the first one she tells you who did it. I am also not happy when the cover and/or title do not reflect the book. There is no murder in a library in front of a fireplace.
A very well written story.
Fatality by Firelight is the second book in the Cat Latimer Mystery book series by Lynn Cahoon and it is the second writer's retreat for Cat, Shauna and Seth. Catherine Latimer was willed the big house in Colorado by her ex-husband Michael and with the help of her friend Shauna and her high school, current boyfriend, Seth she has turned it into a writer's retreat bed and breakfast. For one week a month the house is opened up to authors who spend the week writing, visiting the college library, participating in seminars and receiving insights from Cat who is a published author. On the first day of this retreat Cat and Seth take the guests on a skiing trip to the nearby resort. While Cat and Seth are enjoying the day racing each other down the mountain, the guests have taken to the bar instead. Christina, a romance author, has caught the eye of local boy Tommy and the two have no problem showing some PDA at the resort. Unfortunately Tommy is engaged to Brit, a bartender in town. When Tommy is found stabbed to death in a hot tub at the resort and Christina was the last to see him alive and has Tommy's blood on her clothes, things at the retreat heat up !! Luckily for Christina Cat's uncle Pete is the police chief and on top of everything and if he isn't Cat is.... Valuable Hemingway books are stolen from the library, mobster children are students at the college, Cat is trying to go through Michael's study for clues to his death and closure, they are trying to run a successful writer's retreat, and Cat wants to find out who killed Tommy and keep Christina safe.....All in a day's work for Cat and company. You will instantly love Cat, Shauna and Seth !! You will want to spend lots of time in the kitchen with the girls and sit on the couch in Cat's office on the third floor. The relationships in the story between Cat and Shauna, Cat and Seth, the writing guests for the week are uniquely written and you will long for relationships like these. And I must mention the special hot chocolate and the food that Shauna prepares throughout the story....yummy !! You will be so engrossed in reading this book, that you might find yourself smelling the chocolate..... I am a HUGE fan of Lynn Cahoon and the Cat Latimer Mystery series and cannot wait to get lost in another of the writer's retreats........I know it's going to be a treat !!!!
Title: Fatality By Firelight - Cat Latimer Mystery Book 2 Author: Lynn Cahoon Publisher: Kensington Books Published: 2-28-2017 Pages: 288 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense Sub-Genre: Amateur Sleuths; Cozy Mystery; Women Sleuths ISBN: 9781496704375 ASIN: B01GBAG6VO Reviewed For NetGalley and Kensington Books Reviewer: DelAnne Rating: 4.5 Starts Cat Latimer, owner of Warm Springs Writers Retreat, and her boyfriend Seth Howard have taken their latest guests off to the ski lodge in hopes of jump starting their creative juices especially Cat's, who can't seem to get to minutes to work on her own manuscript. Unfortunately they're more interested in bending their elbows in the bar than their knees on the slopes. Romance novelist meets ski bum when Christina Powers hooks up with Tommy Neil who just happens to be engaged. Cat's uncle the local sheriff shows up to let cat that Tommy was found dead just around the time Christina shows up covered in blood. Not to mention the theft of a very rare Hemmingway novel. Trouble abounds...b By mid way through the first chapter there is no turning back. You will not want to put Fatality by Firelight down. A wide variety of characters paired with a well thought plot and a vividly described scenes bring this story to life. so step into the story and help Cat find a murderer and yty to keep her guest safe. My rating of "Fatality by Firelight" is 4.5 out of 5 stars.
The second book in the series centers around Cat Latimer's second writer filled retreat at her home in Aspen Hills, Colorado. I liked the book overall, but hope there won't be too much of a love triangle messing up Cat's life for long. The body that wound up dead seemed a bit odd at first, but it leads the police to one of Cat's new retreat attendees, therefore enabling Cat to nosy around. The history of Aspen Hills and the college is fleshed out a bit more, entwining the present day mystery with some mystery from Cat's ex-husband's past. Quite a bit more of Michael's life is being slowly revealed via the stories, and I hope that Cat will be able to wrap up her conflicted feelings and continue with her life. The descriptions of the town are wonderfully vivid, and it's almost hard to believe these writers are going to accomplish much with all the skiing, dining and investigating that occurs. Framing the book with a retreat works really well, plus Cahoon will always have quirky new characters or suspects to write about.
Cat Latimer is hosting her second writing retreat. Unfortunately, one of her retreat guests is the last person seen with a young man before he is found murdered. This second book in the series is full of unique characters and suspense. I particularly like the way each new story continues to delve into the mystery behind Cat's ex-husbands death. I am looking forward to not only a new story but also finding out more about Cat's ex-husband's death in the next book in this series.
a well written novel that wraps you up in coziness FATALITY BY FIRELIGHT by Lynn Cahoon The Second Cat Latimer Mystery Cat Latimer is ready to put the unpleasantness of her last writing retreat behind her as she gears up for her second. She gets another odd group however, including a writer more interested in researching local history than writing, an intense poet, and a romance writer falling for a local bad boy. When the local bad boy turns up dead and Christina becomes a suspect, Cat knows she needs to step in. Cat gets more than she bargained for as she discovers her quiet Colorado town serves as the educational hub of mob families and her late ex-husband may not have been the louse she thought, instead he may have been working to protect her. As Cat sparks the interest of a connected visitor to the town, she also tries to evaluate her relationship with Seth...and find some closure with Michael. Will she be able to get through her second retreat and still get her word count in without any more dead bodies? Lynn Cahoon delivers another fine mystery in FATALITY BY FIRELIGHT. The characters are well developed with solid backstories. Even the more minor characters are able to give glimpses of their lives beyond the page. The author is able to manage the current murder mystery with puzzles of the past, both compelling, and neither overshadowing the other. FATALITY BY FIRELIGHT is a well written novel that wraps you up in coziness. The frigid Colorado temperatures are countered by the warmth of Cat and her friends, buffeted by the murder and puzzles that surround them. FTC Disclosure – The publisher sent me a digital ARC provided through NetGalley, in the hopes I would review it.
I liked the first book in this series and was happy to find that the second book was out. What could be more enjoyable for someone who loves reading cozy mysteries than one with a writer’s retreat? The author does a nice job of setting the stage for the story, and I feel as if I really get to know the characters she writes about. She takes the time to show the reader what they are made of. While there are some characters that are hard to like, I think that always makes for a better story than having the feeling that I would love everyone to be my friend. The little details about what it’s like to be a writer are a nice addition. I tend to glamorize the ability to stay at home and write bestsellers when actually keeping up with the necessary word counts for the day, and not always feeling like writing, doesn’t sound that exciting; however, I appreciate that she adds this honest look at the life of a writer. Once more, I tried to solve the mystery; however, things aren’t always what they appear. By the end of the book, the loose ends are neatly tied up. This Lynn Cahoon is definitely one of my favorite cozy mystery authors, and even though this works beautifully as a stand-alone book, I don’t think you should miss a bit of the action.
Fatality by Firelight by Lynn Cahoon is the second book in A Cat Latimer Mystery series. Cat Latimer is welcoming a new group of writers to her second writer’s retreat in Aspen Hills, Colorado. After inheriting the beautiful Victorian from her ex-husband, Michael, Cat turned the home into the Warm Springs Writers Retreat. On the first full day of the retreat Cat and her boyfriend, Seth (he is also the handyman) take the writers up the mountain for a day of skiing. After enjoying the slopes, Cat and Seth enter the lodge to find the writers enjoying the bar. Christine, one of her guests, is in a clench on the sofa with local, Tommy Neil. It will not go well for Tommy when his fiancé, Brit finds out. Upon arriving back home, Cat tries to warn Christine, but she does not wish to listen (feels he is the one). The next day the group tours the local library. When they are finished, Christine takes off with Tommy. Cat is awoken in the middle of night by the arrival of her Uncle Pete, Chief of Police. Tommy was found murdered and the last person seen with him was Christine. Christine is not in her room, but she soon stumbles in cold, crying and with blood on her top. Christine insists that Tommy was alive when she left. Cat does not see Christine as a killer and starts asking questions around town. In addition to the murder, Uncle Pete is investigating the theft of a signed Hemingway book stolen from the library (and the librarian is pushing him to find the book). Cat thought that writer’s retreats would be quiet and leave her plenty of time to write! Cat is in for a surprising week in Fatality by Firelight. I thought that Fatality by Firelight was better than A Story to Kill. I found the story easy to read, nicely written, and it has a beautiful setting (I would like to visit). The book has far more going on in it than I summarized above. The romance between Seth and Cat is prominent in the book (just my personal opinion). Cat is not ready for a relationship with Seth. She has yet to resolve her feeling for her ex-husband, Michael. Cat needs to find out what really happened to Michael and why he pushed her away before she moves on with Seth. The storyline regarding Michael started in A Story to Kill and continues in Fatality by Firelight. The storyline of Michael shares the spotlight with the murder of Tommy Neil. I hope the author wraps up this particular storyline soon. I think it needs its own book (book three perhaps). I am curious, though, to see how the mob ties in with Michael's demise. I give Fatality by Firelight 3.5 out of 5 stars. I wish the mystery of Tommy Neil's death had been more challenging. I could identify the culprit early in the book (might as well have been a neon sign hanging over the killer's head). I am having a little trouble liking Cat. She is not happy with how much time she must spend interacting with her retreat guests. Cat did not realize how much time she would have to spend socializing and helping her guests. Cat seems to have formed the idea that guests would spend their time locked in their rooms writing or researching at the library. It seems that Cat did not fully think out the idea of her retreats. Fatality by Firelight is best read after A Story to Kill. I will be reading the next book in A Cat Latimer Mystery series. I am curious to see what happened with Michael and what role Dante Cornelio (a handsome mob guy) will play in the next book.
FATALITY BY FIRELIGHT was indeed almost fatal to me. I could have died from lack of sleep from not wanting to put this book down! Book one in the Cat Latimer Mysteries, A STORY TO KILL, was so good, I found it hard to believe that author Lynn Cahoon could improve upon it. Well, that shows you how much I know, because, FATALITY BY FIRELIGHT was superb! All of the character building, and wonderfully descriptive scenes from the first book, added such an rich essence to this tale, I felt like I was back at a favorite getaway instead of between the pages of a book. As superb as Ms. Cahoon is at plotting, planning, and writing a mystery, it’s amazing to know she has only been writing them a few short years (but she was a writer before she started mysteries). As with book one, she drew me deep into FATALITY BY FIRELIGHT, sending me on wild goose chases, and keeping my mind so busy looking for answers, she managed to fool me until the reveal. If you’re looking for a well written, entertaining, keep you up all night reading it mystery, you’ll find it for sure in FATALITY BY FIRELIGHT!
Fatality by Firelight by Lynn Cahoon is the second book in her Cat Latimer series and continues to reveal more about Aspen Falls, Cat's home town, and the writers retreats that she offers in her bed and breakfast. I enjoyed learning more about Cat, Shauna, Seth and Uncle Pete in this book. The plot is smoothly paced and there were several surprises as a new murder occurs involving one of her writer retreat guests and a local bad boy. Murder, stalking, attempted kidnapping and an eclectic group of writers created a cozy mystery that was difficult to put down. More of the secondary mystery involving Cat's ex-husband, Michael, is revealed. A new character is also introduced in this book, Dante Cornelio, who has sinister "family" connections. Cat also learns that Covington College also has those connections which is quite a shock to Cat. Ms. Cahoon does not disappoint with this second installment. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book from Kensington via NetGalley. I would like to thank Kensington Publishing for the opportunity to read this book.
When authors show up for a winter writing retreat in the Colorado mountains.. a mystery and a murder begins with enough characters and happenings, well, you could write a book!! I found myself telling Cat Latimer, nooo.. don't go there! Oh no, take someone with you!! I really enjoyed this cozy mystery and could picture myself at the Lodge in front of a blazing fire, sipping hot chocolate and discussing, who dunnit? Kept me guessing for quite awhile. I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of this book.
This is the first book I’ve read in the Cat Latimer Mystery series, and really enjoyed it. The premise of turning a giant house into a writing retreat is really great for a cozy series. It is a perfect way to have new characters for each book, while still having consistent main characters. Although this is the second book in the series, Lynn Cahoon gives enough backstory that you can easily catch up with the characters. And for being book two, the characters are already very well developed. Besides having a sweet romance with Seth, there is potential here for a romantic tension filled romance with a dark and dangerous character that we meet in this book. I’m looking forward to seeing how that progresses in upcoming books. I really enjoyed the descriptions of the town and of the house. If I were to ever go to a writer’s retreat, this one sounds fabulous. There are trips to the library, ski hills, presenters, a published writer on hand to chat with, and so much delicious food! As for the mystery itself, Cahoon gave us lots of red herrings, and I didn’t figure out the killer until close to the end, when Cahoon started dropping bigger hints. The mystery of Cat’s husband’s death plays a role in this book, and makes for a second mystery thread that began in the first one, and is still not solved. The dark and dangerous character we meet in this book may have something to do with it, and the fact that he was introduced added another layer to this series that could let the author take the story in a lot of different directions. I am looking forward to seeing how this series progresses, and if I find some time in my schedule I would like to read the first book, A Story to Kill.