Monday, June 19, 2017

Dream A Little Death by Susan Kandel | Blog Tour with Excerpt, Review, and Giveaway

Dream A Little Death

by Susan Kandel

on Tour May 23 - June 23, 2017

The Blurb

From critically acclaimed author Susan Kandel comes a charming new mystery featuring Dreama Black and a cast of zany LA-based characters.

Dreama Black is almost famous. The daughter (and granddaughter) of groupies who captivated L.A.’s biggest rock stars, and muse to her own Grammy-winning ex-boyfriend Luke Cutt, Dreama seems doomed to remain on the periphery of stardom.

All that changes when Dreama is hired by record producer Miles McCoy to arrange an epic wedding celebration for his beautiful fiancée, Maya Duran.  The theme of the party? A noir-style tour through L.A.’s most infamous locations and hidden gems. It seems like Dreama’s big break, until Maya is rushed to the hospital with a self-inflicted bullet wound. The police and everyone involved assume it’s an attempted suicide, but Dreama isn’t convinced. For one thing, how did the weapon just vanish? Why has Maya been using two names? And then there’s the mysterious check for $40,000 that shows up on Dreama’s doorstep — the exact amount of money reportedly laundered by her beloved L.A. police detective uncle, and also the exact amount Miles promised as payment for Dreama’s party-planning services.

Now Dreama is at the center of a mystery worthy of a classic film noir, and must road-trip across L.A. to piece together the clues — before she becomes the next femme fatale.

Dream A Little Death by Susan Kandel
Series: A Dreama Black Mystery, #1
Genre: Mystery/Thriller  
Publication Date: May 23rd 2017
Publisher: Witness Impulse
Paperback: 320 pages
ISBN-10: 0062675001
ISBN-13: 978-0062675002
e-Book File Size: 1715 KB
Amazon | B & N | Kobo | Google Play | Goodreads

The Excerpt

Chapter 1

The first time I set eyes on Miles McCoy, I worried he might try to eat me. He was the size and girth of a North American grizzly bear, with long silver-tipped hair, a long silver-tipped beard, and small dark eyes that bore into me like I was a particularly fine specimen of Chinook salmon. It couldn’t have helped that I’d used a honey scrub the morning we met. I should’ve known better. Not just about the scrub, but about a lot of things.

Like braving the freeway during rush hour.

Like thinking you can’t get a ticket for parking at a broken meter.

Like racing up to his penthouse in Balenciaga gladiator sandals, and expecting not to twist an ankle.

Like watching his fiancée shoot herself, and assuming it was suicide, instead of murder.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, which is another thing I should know better about. Because if I’ve learned anything at all from my study of film noir (which got me into the whole sordid Miles McCoy mess to begin with), it is to tell the story in the precise order in which it happened.

The trouble started the day before, which was Valentine’s Day, a pagan holiday named after the Roman priest who defied Claudius II by marrying Christian couples. After being hauled off in shackles, the soft-hearted cleric was beaten with clubs, stoned, and when that didn’t finish him off, publicly beheaded. Makes you think.

It had poured rain for eight days running, which isn’t what you sign on for when you live in Los Angeles. But that morning, as I stepped outside for a run, the sun was blinding—so blinding, in fact, that I didn’t see the fragrant valentine my neighbor’s dog, Engelbart, had left on the stoop for me. Not that I minded spending the next twenty minutes cleaning the grooves of my running shoe with a chopstick. It was a beautiful day. The rollerbladers were cruising the Venice boardwalk. The scent of medical marijuana was wafting through the air. Engelbart’s gastrointestinal tract was sound.

An hour later, I hopped into my mint green 1975 Mercedes convertible, and made my way up Lincoln to the freeway. I was headed to Larchmont, an incongruous stretch of Main Street, USA, sandwiched between Hollywood and Koreatown. This was where studio executives’ wives and their private school daughters came for green juice, yoga pants, and the occasional wrench from the general store that had served Hancock Park since the 1930s. It was also where my mother and grandmother ran Cellar Door, known for its chia seed porridge and life-positive service. I helped out whenever my coffers were running low. Which was most of the time.

You are probably frowning right about now. Surely a young woman who owns a classic convertible — as well as Balenciaga gladiators — should not be perennially low on funds. But it’s true.

The car came from my grandmother, who received it as part of her third (fourth?) divorce settlement and gave it to me as a gift when I strong-armed my mother into rehab for the fourth (fifth?) time. The sandals I purchased online in a frenzy of self-loathing shortly after watching my ex-boyfriend the rock god serenading his current girlfriend the supermodel on an otherwise uneventful episode of Ellen. I’d tried to return the sandals, but one of the studs had fallen off, making them damaged goods. Like their owner. Not that I’m hard on myself. It’s just that my career — I take clients on custom-designed, private tours of my hometown of L.A. — wasn’t exactly thriving, which is why I was easy prey for the likes of Miles McCoy. But I’m getting ahead of myself again. Here comes the good part. The part where I’m driving like the wind and almost don’t notice the flashing lights in my mirror. I knew I should have fixed that taillight.

I pulled over, cut the motor, handed the cop my license and registration. He looked down, then did a double take. “Dreama Black?”

That would be me.

“The Dreama Black?” he continued. “As in ‘Dreama, Little Dreama’?”

Perhaps I should explain.

I am a twenty-eight-year-old, third-generation rock ’n’ roll groupie — or “muse,” as the women in my family like to put it.

My grandmother, a fine-boned blonde who never met a gossamer shawl or Victorian boot she didn’t like, spent the sixties sleeping her way through Laurel Canyon, winding up in a house on Rothdell Trail (a.k.a. “Love Street”) purchased for her by a certain lead singer of a certain iconic band whose name is the plural of the thing that hits you on the way out.

My mother, blessed with thick, dark tresses and a way with mousse, was consort to many of the pseudo-androgynous alpha males of American hair metal, her chief claim to fame an MTV video in which she writhed across the hood of a Porsche wearing a white leotard and black, thigh-high boots. She also bought Axl Rose his first kilt.

As for me, well, I was on my way to freshman orientation when this guy I’d been seeing, who’d played a couple of no-name clubs with some friends from summer camp, intercepted me at LAX, put his lips to my ear, and hummed the opening bars of a new song I’d apparently inspired. Instead of boarding the plane for Berkeley, I boarded the tour bus with Luke Cutt and the other skinny, pimply members of Rocket Science. Four world tours, three hit albums, two Grammys, and one breakup later, “Dreama, Little Dreama” — an emo pop anthem that went gold in seven days and has sold eleven million copies to date — had made me almost famous forever.

“Step out of the car, please.”

The cop removed his sunglasses. Peach fuzz. Straight out of the academy. “So.”

He wanted to get a picture with me.

“I’d love to get a picture with you,” he said.

I smoothed down my cut-offs and striped T-shirt, removed my red Ray-Bans, ran my fingers through my long, straight, freshly balayaged auburn hair. The cop put his arm around me, leaned in close, took a couple of snaps on his phone. Let me guess. He’d had a crush on me since tenth grade, when he saw me in a white tank and no bra on the cover of Rocket Science’s debut C.D., and now he was going to post the pictures on Instagram to show all his buddies.

“Awesome.” He gave me a brotherly punch on the arm. “No way is my wife going to believe this. She’s crazy about Luke Cutt. Hey, is he really dating that Victoria’s Secret Angel? She is smoking hot.”

At least I didn’t get the ticket.

Excerpt from Dream A Little Death by Susan Kandel.  Copyright © 2017 by Susan Kandel. Reproduced with permission from HarperCollins Publishers. All rights reserved.

The Review

I just read a really good book, y'all Dream A Little Death, by Susan Kandel. Let me tell you why. 

Dream A Little Death is the first book in the Dreama Black Mystery series. The main character Dreama, her mother, and her grandmother are fun and easy to like. I loved all the references to actors, rock musicians, and old movies.

I couldn't put it down, especially once the suspense ramped upThis clever mystery has a great setting and an intriguing premise. There's a lot going on in Dream a Little Death. I didn't have the complex story all figured out, and enjoyed being surprised by whodunit. I really like how everything comes together at the end.
I recommend Dream A Little Death to all mystery/thriller fans, especially those who are also fans of film noir, Raymond Chandler, and the Cece Caruso Mysteries by Susan Kandel. 
I really enjoyed Dream A Little Death by Susan Kandel, and hereby grant it Four Kitties!
Four out of five kitties
Note:  I voluntarily reviewed an Advance Reader Copy of Dream A Little Death.  
All opinions shared are 100% my own.

You can find Susan Kandel's Guest Post on my blog for June 16.

The Author

About Susan Kandel

An Agatha, Edgar, and SCIBA nominee, Susan Kandel is the author of the nationally best-selling and critically acclaimed Cece Caruso series, the most recent of which, Dial H for Hitchcock (Morrow), was named by NPR as one of the five best mysteries of the year. 

A Los Angeles native, she was trained as an art historian, taught at NYU and UCLA, and spent a decade as an art critic at the Los Angeles Times. When not writing, she volunteers as a court-appointed advocate for foster children, and loves to explore secret, forgotten, and kitschy L.A. She lives with her husband in West Hollywood.

Find Susan on the web at

The Giveaway

This is a rafflecopter giveaway
hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours
for Susan Kandel and Harper Collins. 
There will be 5 winners of one (1) eBook copy of
Dream A Little Death by Susan Kandel. 
The giveaway begins on May 23 and runs through June 27, 2017.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the tour, to read other reviews and Guest Posts, plus Author Interviews. 

Get More Great Reads at Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours

If you enjoyed this post, please show your appreciation by sharing it.