Book Spotlight (and a Giveaway!): A Lethal Lake Effect by Lorraine Bartlett

Posted June 19, 2024 by meezcarrie in contemporary, cozy mystery, General Market, giveaway, Lorraine Bartlett, mystery/suspense / 3 Comments

A Lethal Lake Effect excerpt

A Lethal Lake Effect by Lorraine BartlettA LETHAL LAKE EFFECT by Lorraine Bartlett
SERIES: Victoria Square Mysteries #9
GENRE: Cozy Mystery (Moderate Cursing/Crude Language)
PUBLISHER: Polaris Press
RELEASE DATE: June 6, 2024
PAGES: 306

Things go awry for Katie Bonner when her former mother-in-law, Margo, throws a housewarming party at her lakeside rental and one of her guests ends up dead in the water. Maxwell Preston was a devoted husband–and a not-so-great dad. He was a beloved pharmacist who didn’t take care of his ramshackle property, which is destined to be a hot commodity on Victoria Square when his heir puts it up for sale. But most of all, Preston was a stranger to the others who attended the party.

Meanwhile, Nona Fiske takes charge of Victoria Square big summer extravaganza—a disaster in the making as what little power she’s seized has gone straight to her head. The Davenport sisters have their own agenda, and they’ve not only been poking around to find out more about the dead man, but what other mischief has been going on around the Square.

So, who killed Maxwell Preston and why? That’s what Katie wants to know—and she’s willing to risk everything to find out.


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Katie descended the five steps from the bank’s top to the dock. Despite the big sodium vapor lamp that came on at dusk, Katie felt a little nervous—probably because she was more familiar with the dock at the Marina at Thompson’s Landing where her lawyer and friend, Seth Landers, moored his sailboat, Temporary Relief. This dock was much narrower. Margo had been encouraged to lease a boat for the summer, but she balked at the idea. “Too much upkeep,” she decided. It would have been fun, but Katie understood her reluctance. Living on the water brought a sense of peace, but there were drawbacks, such as bugs. Lots of bugs. Icky spiders, in particular.

Katie walked the length of the dock, happy none of the guests had left glasses or plates. But something floated some five or so feet from the end of the wooden structure. Something rather…large.

Katie’s eyes widened in horror when she realized just what was floating.

Without another thought, Katie jumped into the icy water that took her breath away. Adrenalin gave her the impetus to move, and she hoped whoever it was was still alive.

The water was only about four feet deep, and Katie half-slogged/half-swam toward the dark jacket she’d seen earlier.

Snagging the collar, she pulled old man Preston’s head out of the water. When he didn’t take a breath, Katie feared the worst.

“Help!” she hollered, pulling the dead weight through the gently lapping waves. “Help!”

The others were still in the house. Katie could see their silhouettes through the wall-to-ceiling windows that faced the lake.

She’d never done CPR before. She wasn’t sure it could be done in the water—and she had no idea how long the old man had been there.

“Help! Help!” she screamed, and was unable to pull Preston’s dead weight out of the water and onto the dock.

“Help! Oh, please help!”

Katie dragged Preston as close to the breakwall as she could, thankful an aluminum ladder was attached to the wooden dock.

“Help!” she hollered yet again. Her limbs were already going numb and she could no longer see the house from her new vantage point. If Preston hadn’t drowned, he was probably suffering from hypothermia—something Katie was well acquainted with after she’d jumped overboard from a sinking boat some eighteen months before. She lost precious minutes trying to get Preston’s arm out of his left jacket sleeve, thinking she could somehow tie him to the ladder when she heard a voice call her name.


“Ray! I’m in the water. Help!”

She heard the ex-cop yell something, and then, seconds later, Ray and Brad hurried down the steps to the dock.

“What are you doing in the water?” Ray called, and then he saw that Katie was not alone and he, too, jumped off the dock.

Brad yanked his phone from his slacks pocket and punched in three numbers. Seconds later, he practically hollered, “A possible drowning.”

Ray helped Katie keep Preston’s form above the water, but at her panicked look, he shook his head.

Mr. Preston was dead.

Lorraine Bartlett

The immensely popular Booktown Mystery series is what first put Lorraine Bartlett’s pen name Lorna Barrett on the New York Times Bestseller list, but it’s her talent — whether writing as Lorna, or L.L. Bartlett, or Lorraine Bartlett—that keeps her in her readers’ hearts. This multi-published, Agatha-nominated author also pens the exciting Jeff Resnick Mysteries as well as the acclaimed Victoria Square and Lotus Bay Mystery series, and the Tales of Blythe Cove Manor, and has many short stories and novellas to her name(s).

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