Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Homicide in the House by Colleen J. Shogan | Blog Tour Excerpt, Review, Guest Post, Giveaway

The Blurb

During a government shutdown, Kit’s congresswoman boss is found standing over the dead body of a top staffer she tangled with in front of the press. The police are about to name her as the prime suspect. The weapon was the Speaker’s gavel, an item entrusted to the congresswoman the previous night. The killer knows Kit is on the case. Can she solve the mystery in time to save her job and her life?

Homicide in the House by Colleen J. Shogan
Series: A Washington Whodunit, #2
Genre: Cozy Mystery  
Publication Date: June 15, 2016
Publisher: Camel Press
Paperback: 258 pages
ISBN-10: 1603813330
ISBN-13: 978-1603813334
eBook File Size: 2550 KB

The Excerpt

Smartphones are great time wasters. I fiddled with various apps as I waited. The next level of “Angry Birds” was within my grasp when I heard footsteps and voices across the hallway. I got up and stood in the doorway to greet my boss.

From the look on her face, she was not pleased. She charged like a linebacker to the exit of the Speaker’s lair with Jack Drysdale on her heels.

“Stop, Congresswoman Dixon. You’re not listening to reason!” From behind, Drysdale placed his hand on Maeve’s left shoulder in an attempt to prevent her from leaving the suite.

Maeve had impressive reflexes. She turned her body toward him and grabbed his wrist with her right hand. “Don’t touch me! Is this how the Speaker’s staff treat members of the House?” Her voice was loud and filled with vitriol.

The gaggle of reporters who had been relaxing inside the anteroom trailed behind me. This was better than a boring pen and pad session. One of them murmured, “I think that’s Dixon from North Carolina.”

This was not a good development, but Maeve didn’t know that the press had a front row seat to her implosion.

Maeve clutched Drysdale’s wrist for several seconds until she let it go. Apparently her physical assault didn’t intimidate him. He ran ahead and stopped directly in front of her.

Stretching his arms out wide to slow her down, Jack made his last stand. “I apologize. I shouldn’t have done that. Please come back in the office so we can sort this out. You’re a valuable part of this caucus and the Speaker wants to work with you on this deal.”

Maeve shook her head. “You guys in House leadership are typical politicians. You can’t take no for an answer. I’m not ready to make a decision. Now get out of my way.”

Unmoving, Drysdale locked eyes with Maeve. She didn’t look away and squared her shoulders. I could almost feel the tension around me as the reporters anxiously waited for the outcome. What was Maeve going to do? Knee him in the groin if he didn’t back down?

After a moment that seemed like an eternity, Drysdale gave in and stepped aside. I breathed a deep sigh of relief and hurried into the hallway to catch up with her. As we exited the corridor, I glanced back to the doorway where I’d been standing. Every reporter was on his or her phone, ostensibly calling in the most salacious story of the shutdown thus far. A junior member of Congress and the Speaker’s top aide had nearly come to blows in the Capitol. A high school reporter could make that story fly.

The Review

I just read an amazing book, y'all — Homicide in the House by Colleen J. Shogan. Let me tell you a little about it.

Homicide in the House, a cozy mystery novel, is Book Two in the Washington Whodunit series. (The first book in the series, Stabbing in the Senate, is highly recommended also — four kitties!) It's possible to read Homicide in the House as a stand-alone. Author Colleen J. Shogan has included little snippets from Stabbing in the Senate so that new readers aren't lost. This means, however, that some of these snippets are somewhat spoiler-y, so if you plan to read both books, I urge you to start with Stabbing in the Senate 

The main characters are Kit Marshall, who is Legislative Director for Rep. Maeve Dixon (freshman Democrat from NC), Kit's live-in boyfriend Doug Hollingsworth, Kit's and Doug's dog Clarence, Kit's BFF Meg Peters, and Detective O'Halloran. The story is told by Kit in first person. All of the characters are realistic and believable. The action takes place during a government shutdown.
The shutdown was no vacation for the office of Maeve Dixon. In fact, it was precisely the opposite. It gave Maeve the opportunity to show her constituents, and maybe the whole country , that she was a rising star in American politics. My job was to make sure she was front and center when every important decision and deal transpired.
Because of events in Stabbing in the Senate, Kit has acquired a reputation as a sleuth, and the necessary skills. She puts these skills to use as she solves the Homicide in the House, with the help of her friends.
Did Kay Scarpetta have to deal with such a lack of focus amongst her band of faithful crime-solving helpers? I doubted it. Since I was no Scarpetta, I waited patiently for my comrade to elaborate. 
Homicide in the House is a fast-paced fun read, with an original concept. Author Colleen J. Shogan's education and work experience ensure that the details are factual, and fascinating to readers without inside-the-Beltway knowledge. There are plot twists every so often to keep the readers on their toes. The suspense at the end of the book — WOW! What a climax! I love the part that Clarence plays in the climax, as well as some comic relief earlier.

I am really looking forward to the next book in the Washington Whodunit series. I am wondering what the title will be. Smackdown at the Smithsonian? Whupping at the White House? 

Homicide in the House is amazing. I was hooked from the first sentence, and read it in only two days. I recommend Homicide in the House to all fans of cozy mysteries. I think it will particularly appeal to anyone who prefers fictional political shenanigans over the real ones in the news lately.     

I loved Homicide in the House by Colleen J. Shogan, and award it our highest rating of Five Kitties! 
Five out of five kitties
Note:  I received a complimentary copy of Homicide in the House in exchange for my honest review. 
All opinions shared are 100% my own.

Follow the tour here, plus read interviews and other reviews and guest posts. 
The more you comment, the better your chances of winning. 

The Guest Post

Disclaimer: All Characters Appearing in This Work are Fictitious
(Except One)

One of the most frequent questions I get about my Washington Whodunit mystery series is whether the characters that appear in my novels are based upon real people. The answer is no — with one notable exception. One of the stars of my books is Clarence the beagle mutt, owned by my amateur sleuth protagonist Kit Marshall and her live-in boyfriend Doug. Clarence strongly resembles my own dog, Conan. In fact, Clarence is Conan. He’s featured on the cover of all my books, nestled as a small icon in the lower right-hand corner.

Conan is a special dog that I would argue warrants memorialization as a fictional character. We adopted him from the Lost Dog Lost Cat Rescue organization in northern Virginia almost five years ago. They called him a “beagle mix” but we think he’s probably a combination of so many breeds, his lineage is virtually unrecognizable. Even though Conan is almost six years old, he still behaves like a puppy. His favorite pastime is stealing shoes or other prized possessions. He doesn’t destroy his booty any more, but still delights in the thrill of the hunt.

Conan’s antics are so wily and entertaining, I decided to create an entire character in my series based directly on him. Clarence made his debut appearance in Stabbing in the Senate.  But he plays an even bigger role in Homicide in the House. In the sequel, Kit decides to enter Clarence in the “Top Dog” contest on Capitol Hill. This isn’t contrived; such a competition actually exists amongst the dogs owned by members of Congress and staff. The contest plays a big role in Kit’s sleuthing, leading her to interrogate suspects and investigate important leads. Clarence isn’t as well behaved as Kit and Doug would like, resulting in a hilarious scene in which Clarence clearly steals the show. I won’t blow the ending of the novel for interested readers, but it’s fair to say that Clarence isn’t about to let a killer get away on Capitol Hill without paying for his crimes.

All writers need muses. Mine just happens to be a forty-some pound mutt named Conan. He gives new meaning to the phrase “doggone politics!”

[The Blogger's Note: To see Conan in action as the star of a 
Promo Video for Stabbing in the Senate, click here.]

The Author

About Colleen J. Shogan

Colleen J. Shogan has been reading mysteries since the age of six. She writes the Washington Whodunit series published by Camel Press. 

A political scientist by training, Colleen has taught American politics at Yale, George Mason University, Georgetown, and Penn. She previously worked on Capitol Hill as a legislative staffer in the United States Senate and as the Deputy Director of the Congressional Research Service. She is currently a senior executive at the Library of Congress. 

Colleen lives in Arlington, Virginia with her husband Rob and their beagle mutt Conan.

Find Colleen on the web at

The Giveaway

Colleen J. Shogan will award a $50 Amazon/BN gift card 
to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.

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