A Thousand Steps

A Thousand Steps
A Thousand Steps by T. Jefferson Parker

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Bad Medicine by Caroline Fardig - Guest blog, + Review + Giveaway

What do a smokin’ hot detective, an evil chiropractor, and a couple of blind dates from hell have in common?

Lizzie has to wrangle them all in the third book of THE LIZZIE HART MYSTERIES series!

Book Description:

Lizzie Hart is overjoyed that six whole months have passed without a single murder in the sleepy town of Liberty. It’s also been six months since Blake Morgan heartlessly dumped her, but she’s determined to get over him. She’s slimmed down, ready to party, and injury-free, except for a little nagging pain in her ankle. She’s also very single, but her friends are doing everything in their power to fix that—including setting her up on one disastrous blind date after another.

Lizzie’s reprieve is short-lived when an old friend of hers is found dead from an apparent drug overdose. She wants to write it off as bad behavior after having seen the guy cheating on his wife with the new chiropractor in town. However, when she sees that same chiropractor playing doctor with another man who ends up dead, she worries there could be murder afoot.

Doing her best to stay on the right side of the law this time, Lizzie decides to go straight to the police with her suspicions. Unfortunately, the only cop available to speak with her is the stern yet hot new detective who has already given her a traffic ticket and a reprimand for public intoxication. Not surprisingly, he brushes her off, leaving her no choice but to begin snooping on her own. Lizzie soon learns she’s going to need help to get to the bottom of this mystery, but her best partner in crime solving, Blake, has turned into her worst enemy.

Can Lizzie and Blake find a way to work together to catch the killer…or will they kill each other first?


Researching for your novel—how far will you go?

I love researching for my novels. It makes me feel like I get to be one of the characters for a while. When I’m starting a story, I like to immerse myself as much as possible in the culture and interests of my characters, especially my heroines.

With my Lizzie Hart Mysteries series, the “cultural” researching was easy. I based the fictional town of Liberty on my own hometown. For my first attempt at writing, I thought having a real, working model of the town would help me get into the feel of the story. And I admit, even though I’m finished working on the series for now (my upcoming series is taking center stage for a while), every time I pass the real buildings and areas I used as fictional places in the series, I fondly think about what adventures Lizzie has had there. Aside from that, I did a lot of Internet research on death and decomposition, Wicca, and drug interactions. I wouldn’t want to have to explain my browser history to the authorities!

I went even farther for my upcoming series with Random House, the Java Jive Mysteries. This series is set in the Midtown area of Nashville, the trendy area in and around the campuses of Vanderbilt and Belmont Universities. Nashville is one of my favorite vacation spots anyway, so of course I had to make several road trips there in the name of “research”! My main character is the manager of a coffeehouse, so I hit every coffeehouse in the area to get a feel for the vibe they embody. I even bought an espresso machine and taught myself how to make the perfect latte and pour latte art. My character is also a musician/songwriter, so I took it upon myself to perform one of the songs I wrote for the book at an open mic night at one of the coffeehouses. Dedication to the craft, right? Oh, and I also got some red lowlights put in my hair so I could experience life as a redhead, just like my character. That didn’t actually help, but it was fun anyway. Look for DEATH BEFORE DECAF, coming this fall!

For the win, my research for my newest project (a crime novel—think Patricia Cornwell) consisted of taking a Forensics class at my local college. Let me tell you, going back to school as a 40-year-old mom scared the pants off of me. However, the other students were very welcoming, and I wasn’t even the oldest person in class. I was, however, the geekiest person in the class. I couldn’t get enough of the topics we studied, and I’d go home and research further on my own. NERD ALERT! I studied like my life depended on it (even though my grade totally didn’t matter), and I think I only missed 2 questions the entire semester, even with a quiz to take each week. I learned so much, and there was a crazy amount of hands-on lab work. We got to splatter cow’s blood and study the patterns, package evidence in official law enforcement packaging, and even got to tour the local state police crime lab.

Do I go overboard? Yes. Does it make me confident in the “truth” to my fictional work? Absolutely. One of the keys to good fiction is believability, and if you’ve done your research, it shows.


Bad Medicine (Lizzie Hart Mysteries Book 3)Bad Medicine by Caroline Fardig
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Bad Medicine by Caroline Fardig is a 2015 publication. I was provided a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.

When we last touched base with Lizzie Hart, she managed to survive after being drawn into an investigation involving a Wicca coven, and made a few life long friends in the process, but sadly, she lost her boyfriend, Blake, when he discovers she kept vital information from him.

Now, Lizzie is trying to move on with her life as an investigative reporter, in the small town of Liberty, which is hard because she still has to work with Blake, who is kind of hostile towards her now, not to mention the other comical work place issues she has always had to deal with.

But, when she is out with the girls one night, she sees her chiropractor, Lydia, who is new in town, out with Jason, a married man whose wife just had a baby. Not long after that, Jason is found dead, allegedly overdosing on pills. But, Jason's death is only the beginning as it seems any man who rubs elbows with Lydia dies, which is bad enough, but it seems Blake could be the next guy on Lydia's radar. Can Lizzie keep Blake from becoming the next victim?

Caroline Fardig is really hitting her stride now, as each installment in this series has gotten better. She does an outstanding job on this one in particular. Lizzie once more finds herself in a love triangle, as Blake finally opens up about their break up, but a super sexy detective, Brody Callahan, expresses interest in becoming involved with Lizzie on a personal level, all while warning her off the investigation surrounding the mysterious deaths of several men recently, which of course she ignores.

“Wait. What am I doing? My brain finally decides to join the party, and it's not amused. I can't be kissing Brody Callahan! He's mean, and he arrested me. And he took my clothes off without my permission. Maybe if I'm lucky I can get him to do it again. No! I can't think that. Must. Quit. Kissing. Him.”

The mystery isn't exactly a mystery since it's plain from the get go who our culprit is, it's just a matter of proving it, and understanding the motive behind the killings, and preventing more deaths. However, that knowledge does nothing to dampen the suspense level in the story and there are a few stunning big reveals and plot twist before all is said and done, and of course there is plenty of action as well.

The dialogue is super sharp, crisp, witty, and laugh out loud funny at times. Lizzie's character grows and learns with each new installment, but never loses her edge. Blake's character growth really stands out in this one, and while I was super ticked off at him after the way he ended things with Lizzie, he does impress me in this story and I had to grudgingly admit he was a pretty good guy at the end of the day.

I'm not sure, it's just a vibe I picked up on, but this could be the last book in this series or trilogy. If so, I will truly miss Lizzie Hart, and I do hope she will be back to solve more mysteries and prevent more crime in Liberty, but if this is the last one, I can say it ended on solid footing with the knowledge that things may not always be perfect for Lizzie, but the important things in her life are in place and I feel confident her future will be bright.

If you love light romantic comedy, or cozy mysteries, or a combination of the two you really need to check out this series. While the mystery is always compelling, it's Lizzie's personal relationships that draws the reader in, and with that in mind I would strong recommend reading the books in order, so you can fully appreciate the character's growth and feel the satisfaction in seeing things turn out the way the way you hoped.




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About the Author:

CAROLINE FARDIG is the author of the LIZZIE HART MYSTERIES series and the forthcoming DEATH BEFORE DECAF, available November 2015 through Random House. Her eclectic working career included occupations of schoolteacher, church organist, insurance agent, funeral parlor associate, and stay-at-home mom before she realized that she wanted to be a writer when she grew up. Born and raised in a small town in Indiana, Fardig still lives in that same town with an understanding husband, two sweet kids, two energetic dogs, and one malevolent cat.

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