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Press for Books 1 & 2 of The Wynter Island Mysteries: The Raven's Cry and The Loon's Song from Level Best Books.

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Reviews of Book 1 - The Raven's Cry

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The milieu is fascinating and established with striking detail, like paying for local eggs with twoonie coins, or the powerfully evoked sense of loss—“Loss of resources, loss of culture, loss of identity”—Kate feels visiting the land of the T’sawout First Nation. A hint of romance is welcome, too, though readers should keep on their toes when it comes to the mystery: following the plot’s many twists and turns as Kate sets off on her journey for truth and justice demands attentive reading. Still, readers who enjoy skewed, twisty plots will appreciate the threads of quirky characters and doubt Shapiro has carefully woven together. Fans of small-town cozy mysteries will enjoy this action-packed yet character-driven story.

- BookLife/Publishers Weekly 

"Shapiro, a former print and broadcast journalist in Canada, creates a vivid world on Wynter Island, and it’s one that’s full of quirky characters—from bitter hotel manager Bob Corker, who’s certain that his daughter should have gotten Kate’s job, to kind Shea Porter, an animal rescuer and librarian, and elderly Vera Schmidt, whose reputation for the best eggs on the island starts events in motion that put Kate’s life in danger. Although the novel can’t accurately be called a cozy mystery—certain details are simply too graphic and frightening for that subgenre—the small-town environment is inherently comforting, with enough genuine goodwill that readers will be able to see Kate’s future as a happy one—provided she gets through the next few weeks alive.

 

A suspenseful blend of cozy and thrilling mystery elements."

- Kirkus Reviews

 

 

 

 

Kate, a journalist with a troubled past and a cheating ex, moves to enchanting Wynter Island seeking a fresh start. But when she becomes the prime suspect in her ex's murder, Kate must delve into the town's dark secrets in order to clear her name.

 

Kim Herdman Shapiro’s THE RAVEN’S CRY, which kicks off her Wynter Island series of cozy mystery novels, is a quintessential example of the genre, from its enchanting setting—Wynter Island, a picturesque little spot off the coast of British Columbia—to its redoubtable protagonist, Kate Zoë Thomas, a newcomer who becomes embroiled in the island’s hidden secrets. A journalist fleeing a traumatic past (as well as an unfaithful ex) covering the war in Afghanistan, Kate comes to Wynter Island seeking a fresh start in the small town’s tight-knit community. She meets with Gwen Wynter, a descendant of the town’s founder, who has launched a television station, and before long, Kate has a new job as Wynter Island Television’s station manager. Kate finds solace in the beauty of Wynter Island and the companionship of new friends. Kate’s past comes crashing back into her new life, however, when she discovers a body on a beach, which turns out to be her ex, Daniel. As the prime suspect in his death, Kate is desperate to prove her innocence, and her search for the actual killer leads her into the treacherous waters of the island’s dark history—and a confrontation with her own past demons.

 

As a small-town murder mystery, THE RAVEN’S CRY doesn’t stray far from the cozy formula, but the author brings Wynter Island to vivid life, tapping into the rich pleasures of the genre with a charming narrative voice and an imaginatively rendered milieu. Following Kate as she gets to know Wynter Island’s residents and history—including the T’sawout people, an indigenous community from whom she learns of a long-lost sacred artifact, the Raven’s Cry, believed to hold immense power—is as compelling as the mystery itself, which Shapiro unreels with brisk pacing and plenty of dramatic turns. And Kate’s inner conflict, as she walks a precarious line between loyalty to her new friends—the most delightful of which is Jupiter, a scruffy stray dog with whom Kate forms an intimate bond—and her desire to uncover the truth about her new home, gives her character complexity and depth that elevates her beyond the genre’s standard amateur sleuth protagonist.

 

With THE RAVEN’S CRY, Kim Herdman Shapiro tells a deeply immersive, evocative tale against an enticing backdrop of characters and plot threads that will leave cozy mystery fans eager to explore in future installments.

- IndieReader

 

 

 

The story was full of action, and there was never a dull moment. The chapters flowed into each other and it was a pleasure to read. The characters were excellently developed with unique attributes and personalities. Each person contributed their part to making Wynter Island flourish. It was easy to fall in love with the role players, but there were a few I did not like. The mystery surrounding Daniel's death deepened as the story progressed, and more people became suspects. This story was well-written and exceeded my expectations by far.

- Alma Boucher, Reader's Favorite

 

Overall, The Raven’s Cry was a quick, cozy small-town mystery with a diverse cast of characters and an intriguing murder case. It’s a great read for any fans of the genre! I would give this book 4/5 stars!

- Book Nerdection

 

It was not the whodunit story I expected; The Raven’s Cry was far better than my expectations. Wynter Island was a mystery, and I knew something was fishy about the place before Kate realized it. Kim Herdman Shapiro does a great job of creating a small-town environment. From Fish Bingo to gossip, Shapiro nails it all perfectly. I love how smart Kate is; she quickly picks up on things. She is observant, that’s for sure, and it works perfectly for her in the end. The mystery behind Daniel’s murder is electric. All my guesses as to what happened were wrong, and I had to wait until the end, where Shapiro explains everything. I loved Jupiter, the dog, and his connection with Kate. He was her only source of comfort, and their bond was terrific. The narrative style is fantastic and flowed gorgeously. The pace is perfect, and the scenes were descriptive enough to transport me right next to Kate as she solved the murder. Highly recommended!

- Rabia Tanveer, Readers' Favorite.

The Raven’s Cry will have you on your toes after encountering cleverly imagined stakes, surprises, and tidbits by the experienced journalist and author, Kim Herdman Shapiro. It is a must-read mystery that brims with exciting cliffhangers which will adeptly build anticipation for the second part of this new series.

- The Feathered Quill

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                              

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Reviews of Book 2 - The Loon's Song

The murder of a starlet with a checkered past throws a small community into turmoil in Shapiro’s second mystery novel in the Wynter Island series.

As journalist Kate Thomas grabs her morning coffee, the first thing she hears is that TV star Rosalie Morgann is coming to town. Even more surprising to Kate is that Rosalie is actually Rose Morgan, a former Wynter Island, British Columbia, local who skipped town after having many affairs with married men. Rosalie wants to be interviewed on the local community television station CWYN, of which Kate is the manager. That request seems simple enough, but tragedy strikes when Rosalie suddenly dies on air, apparently poisoned by her own drink. Kate now turns sleuth, and every islander who had issues with Rose/Rosalie’s past behavior becomes a potential suspect. Shapiro does a great job of weaving together the many characters’ stories, and she gives them each distinct personalities; Kate describes the two town gossips at the story’s beginning thusly: “It would have been easy to place both of them in two white t-shirts with the words ‘Extrovert’ written on one and ‘Introvert’ written on the other.” She also pays careful attention to Indigenous characters living on the local Tsawout First Nation reserve, and she shows how such communities deal with entrenched racism, which adds an important dimension to the story. Occasionally, Kate is a frustrating protagonist; her investigation leads her to ask many questions and knock on many doors, but doing so makes her come across as an unlikable busybody at times. Some of her meditations are insightful, however, such as her reading of Rosalie’s character: “Forgiveness wasn’t necessarily her destination. Understanding her own failings and accepting responsibility for any harm she’d done was the point.” It’s this compassion that will compel readers to delve into the mystery alongside her.

 

An often compelling whodunit with strong characterization.

Shapiro’s followup to The Raven’s Cry finds Kate Zoe Thomas now managing the local community television station on Canada's tiny Wynter Island when now-famous actress Rosalie Morgan requests an interview to let the island know she's come back home, with entourage in tow. Islanders are not rolling out the welcome mat as Rosalie left after dalliances with many eligible—and not eligible—men, leaving a trail of angry wives with axes to grind. This puts Kate in a tough spot: take advantage of the boost this interview will bring the station, or support friends who are none too pleased to see Rosalie again? But just as Rosalie begins to discuss, on air, why she has come back, the unthinkable happens: Rosalie collapses and dies. Now, Kate must help find Rosalie's killer to save the station and the reputation of her friends.
 

The stakes are high in finding the killer before innocent people are accused and Kate's livelihood is destroyed. The story embraces a classic mystery format, offering a host of potential suspects: women who feel Rosalie ruined marriages and lives, members of Rosalie's entourage, old lovers from Rosalie's past. Seasoned sleuth fans may not find the ending too surprising, but Kate’s journey to it is fun and often surprising, powered by crisp dialogue, a strong sense of local dish, and a fascinating isolated milieu. The Kate readers meet in this second book in the series is recovering from the trauma of all that came before, including being accused of killing her fiancé, a charge some people still find credible, complicating her life. Keeping backstory and relationships straight will prove daunting to new readers, who are advised to start with the earlier entry.

 

Kate stands again as a strong protagonist, one with a passion project that rewards checking in with her over the course of a series. She’s highly dedicated to her television station and a loyal staff of volunteers. Once the news of Rosalie's murder on live TV hits the outside media, suddenly the press is everywhere, and the station's rich and anonymous benefactor is threatening to pull their financial support, a dilemma that adds real urgency to the case. The Loon's Song is a fine mystery and quick read, given welcome depth by the woman at its heart.

 

 

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