Thursday, October 22, 2015

Guaranteed to Bleed by Julie Mulhern | Blog Tour with Review, Guest Post, Giveaway

The author of The Deep End is back, with another Country Club Murders mystery!

The Blurb

With his dying breath, Bobby Lowell begs Ellison Russell, “Tell her I love her.”

Unable to refuse, Ellison struggles to find the girl the murdered boy loved. Too bad an epically bad blind date, a vindictive graffiti artist, and multiple trips to the emergency room keep getting in the way.

Worse, a killer has Ellison in his sights, her newly-rebellious daughter is missing, and there’s yet another body in her hostas. Mother won’t be pleased.

Now Ellison must track down not one but two runaway teenagers, keep her promise to Bobby and elude the killer — all before her next charity gala committee meeting.

Guaranteed to Bleed by Julie Mulhern
Series: The Country Club Murders, #2
Genre: Humorous Mystery
Publisher: Henery Press
Publication Date: October 13, 2015
Hardcover: 288 pages
ISBN-10: 1943390088
ISBN-13: 978-1943390083
Paperback268 pages
ISBN-10: 1943390053
ISBN-13: 978-1943390052
e-Book File Size: 790 KB

Amazon | B & N | Kobo | BAM! | Indigo Books | Powells | Henery PressGoodreads

Why wait? An excerpt is included in Author Julie Mulhern's Guest Post!

The Review

I just read an amazing book, y'all — Guaranteed to Bleed by Julie Mulhern. Let me tell you a little about this cozy mystery.

Guaranteed to Bleed is the second book in Author Julie Mulhern's The Country Club Murders mystery series, starring Ellison Russell. Book one in the series, The Deep End, takes place in June, 1974, in Kansas City, Missouri. Towards the end of The Deep End, Ellison, a widow, and Grace, her teenage daughter, are making plans to "spend the rest of the summer in Europe, far away from vicious chatter" and gossip about them, concerning the events in The Deep End. When Guaranteed to Bleed opens, school is back in session for Fall 1974. Ellison and Grace have been home for about two weeks, after their "summer of wandering through Europe."

Author Julie Mulhern has done her homework regarding 1974, and it shows. She's quite a name-dropper for early 1970s fads, fashions, politics, music, TV shows, TV commercials, fragrances, and decor. All the references are spot-on, making the Guaranteed to Bleed world-building first rate. 

The supporting cast of characters from The Deep End have returned, and are still depicted as realistic, distinctive, and likable. Ellison has continued her personal growth that started in The Deep End. In the words of Virginia Slims® cigarettes, "You've come a long way, baby." Ellison's mother, Frances Walford, is one of the pillars of Kansas City upper-class Society, and is notorious for getting things done, right away and, of course, properly. Ellison used to cringe inside when her mother threw her weight around. Now, Ellison has reluctantly begun to follow her mother's example, as in this excerpt when Ellison is trying to get some information from an uncooperative receptionist at the hospital.
"I'm Ellison Russell. My mother, Frances Walford, is the chairman of the board of this hospital. Mr. McCreary, whose status you've declined to share with his children, is also a board member." I smiled at her — a crocodile smile. "Shall I call my mother? I'm sure she'd like to know how John is doing. She'll probably even come down here and check on him in person." 
Throwing Mother's weight around wasn't exactly my favorite thing to do but it got Sue moving. She stood so suddenly the papers on her desk cascaded to the floor. She ignored them. "One moment Mrs. Walford... I mean Mrs. Russell." She disappeared through a swinging door.  
from @TheTannerHouse

The plot of Guaranteed to Bleed is well-crafted, interesting, and fast-paced. There are fewer murders this time, so Author Julie Mulhern includes other kinds of despicable crimes instead. Because this book addresses some serious social/personal issues, it's not-quite-cozy. Even with the serious subject matter, Julie still lets her sense of humor show, through the voice of Ellison.   

Ellison's sleuthing is done for the best of intentions. First of all, Ellison has to find out who the "she" is, in Bobby's dying declaration, so she can pass along his message. She has to do some digging before she gets to the truth. Secondly, she gets this request from the detective in charge:

"No one is talking," Anarchy said. "The kids cross their arms and slouch and roll their eyes and wait for their fathers' lawyers to show up. Their parents aren't talking either. I need your help, Ellison."

Speaking of Bobby's message, Ellison is asked at least seven times, by different people, some variation of "Did he say anything?". Author Julie Mulhern is serving up some red herrings — just to keep her readers on their toes. She also includes clues to the actual evil-doers. I really like the way Ellison's murder investigations are resolved. Can you figure out the mysteries?  

In summation, Guaranteed to Bleed is great 
— a fantastic book! I can't wait to read the next book in The Country Club Murders series, Clouds in my Coffee. Author Julie Mulhern is still writing it, though, so I'll have to be patient somehow, until Book #3 is released in May 2016. 

I recommend Guaranteed to Bleed to all fans of cozy mysteries. I think my fellow Baby Boomers, especially, will enjoy the setting. Younger readers who are into all things retro, and/or who enjoyed That '70s Show on TV, will also especially like it. 

I love Guaranteed to Bleed by Julie Mulhern, and grant it our highest rating of Five Kitties!

Five out of five kitties
 Note:  I received a complimentary copy of Guaranteed to Bleed in exchange for my honest review. 
All opinions shared are 100% my own.

Click here, to read other reviews and Author Guest Posts, plus Author Interviews! 

The Guest Post

You know those pregnant women with glowing skin and luxuriant hair? I wasn’t one of them. Eighteen years ago, I was put on bed-rest during my first pregnancy. I saw an Indian summer turn to fall and then winter from my bedroom window, weekly drives to the doctor, and all too frequent visits to the hospital.

That baby is now a senior in high school. She knows more than her mother (or at least she thinks she does) and she makes me very proud.

My second pregnancy, while still difficult, was somehow easier. I knew what to expect. I had managed to give birth to one healthy child. How hard could a second one be?

Which brings me to my second book…

I knew what to expect. I’d already birthed one mystery… how hard could a second one be?

I know my second child; I should have known that the second mystery wouldn’t do as it was told. It needed a firm hand. It needed lots of structure. And, it needed lots of love. 

An excerpt follows:

Mother and Daddy’s preferred table is the one farthest from the buffet. Anyone wishing to interrupt their meal must make an effort — no pretending to breeze by, then happen to stop for a brief chat. Nope, anyone who weaves their way through the tables to the Walford’s domain has a purpose. 

Young Jack McCreary had a purpose.

“Mrs. Russell,” he said, “good morning. It’s nice to see you.”

The waiter arrived with my drink and I sipped. Heaven. “Good morning, Jack.” 

He shifted his weight, jammed his hands in the pockets of his khakis, then pulled them out and adjusted his tie. “I… you… that is to say…” He lifted his horn-rimmed glasses off the patrician bridge of his patrician nose, peered through the lenses from a distance of a few inches then put them back where they belonged. Next he pulled at the bangs that covered his forehead. 

I arched an eyebrow. No way was I making things easy for the kid who’d tormented Grace when she got her first bra. At the time, Henry claimed it was because Jack liked Grace. It was a guy thing. Easy for Henry to say when he  wasn’t ever around to dry Grace’s embarrassed tears. Humiliate my daughter, make her cry, and I’ll hold it against you for all eternity. It’s an Ellison thing.

The Author

About Julie Mulhern

Julie Mulhern is a Kansas City native who grew up on a steady diet of Agatha Christie. She spends her spare time whipping up gourmet meals for her family, working out at the gym and finding new ways to keep her house spotlessly clean  and she’s got an active imagination. 

Truth is — she’s an expert at calling for take-out, she grumbles about walking the dog and the dust bunnies under the bed have grown into dust lions. She is a 2014 Golden Heart® Finalist. The Deep End is her first mystery and is the winner of The Sheila Award.

Find Julie on the web at

The Giveaway

Julie will award five e-copies and
one $10 Amazon Gift Card plus a print copy 
of Guaranteed to Bleed
to six randomly drawn winners
via rafflecopter during the tour.
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