Author Q&A, Book Reviews, Books

Murder on the Rocks- A Welsh Mystery from #OwnVoices Author, J.S. Strange (Blog Tour & Author Interview)

A murdered writer, a mysterious death, and a group with jealousy at its heart, this is Jenner’s toughest case yet

Murder on the Rocks Photoshop PDF

Murder on the Rocks (Jordan Jenner Mysteries #1) by J. S. Strange

Book Details

TitleMurder on the Rocks 

Author: J.S. Strange

Genre:  Mystery/ Cozy Mystery/ Own Voices

Length: 416 pages (Print length)

Publisher: Panther Publishing

Format: Digital

Available in print and for free on Kindle Unlimited! 

 

Synopsis from Goodreads Page:

Green words on a purple background read, "Synopsis"

When PI Jordan Jenner returns to work following the death of his mother, his first case involves a murdered writer…

James Fairview has been killed. As a member of a prestigious writing group hosted by bestselling author Joseph Gordon in the heart of Cardiff, Jordan not only has to cope with solving the mystery, but also deal with press attention.

As Jordan investigates, he discovers his mother’s death may not have been so simple. And when another writer is murdered, Jordan realizes the killer could strike again…

A murdered writer, a mysterious death, and a group with jealousy at its heart, this is Jenner’s toughest case yet

 

My Review

my review

murder on the rocks cover goodreads

 

Murder on the Rocks is a “cozy mystery” with some grit!

Murder on the Rocks by J.S. Strange was a delight to read and one of those books that I just can’t seem to get out of my head. First and foremost, let me say that I love a cozy mystery. I also love horror, suspense, and thrillers. Murder on the Rocks has all the fun of a classic Agatha Christie novel, but it also has the grit and realism I would expect from one of my favorite police procedural novels.

J.S. Strange manages to be raw and real without being overly graphic. He makes the reader really feel the  tension and the drama of the murder, but he won’t give you nightmares. The author manages to strike a perfect balance.

 

Murder most foul amongst a group of writers!

The moment I realized that this book was about a murder that had taken place in a writers’ group, I was hooked. I’ve been involved in my fair share of writers’ groups (online and in real life) in my time, and I can tell you, they can be surprisingly brutal.

None of the writers’ groups that I have been involved in ever ended in homicide, but I could easily imagine how the write mix of ambition and jealousy at a writers’ table could easily turn to blood shed.

I couldn’t stop turning the pages because I was dying (sorry- couldn’t resist the bad pun) to know which the characters would be willing to kill for their art.

 

As good as a trip to Wales (and way cheaper than a plane ticket!)

I wasn’t sure what to expect from this book when I first picked it up. I had never before read a book set in Wales by a Welsh author. I would love to travel to Wales some day,, but until I’m able to afford able a plane ticket, this book is the next best thing.

The Welsh setting and the Welsh way of speaking permeates every page. I really felt like I was in the rainy streets of Cairdiff, tracking down the killer. The setting becomes a character a character and the book is full of local flavor.

 

Hooray for Own Voices! 

I love to see  diversity in literature. I am always searching to find unique points of view represented on the printed page.  I love books by members of underrepresented communities because they help to expand my world view.

The great thing about reading is that it helps us to see the world through the eyes of others who are different for us. I believe that this helps to create empathy and understanding. Stories are what bring us together.

 

Jenner is a fully developed (and not always likable) protagonist, but Oscar the cat makes him human! 

The great thing about Jordan Jenner is that he is a diverse character; however, the fact that he is a member of an underrepresented group is not what defines him. Jordan Jenner is defined by the fact that he is talented detective and a natural sleuth.

However, this dark mystery might be too much for even the talented Jenner to handle. As Jenner works to unravel the mystery, he will find out that this one hits a little too close to home…

I particularly enjoyed the moments where we  got the opportunity to know Jordan as a person. For example, Jordan can be a bit of a jerk sometimes; however, his deep love for his Persian cat, Oscar, makes him much more relatable. 

Jenner isn’t always likable, but he is a fully developed character who is allowed to make mistakes. Sometimes, he even reads like an antihero

I look forward to reading more mysteries from this author and I especially look forward to unraveling the mystery of Jordan Jenner himself. the pages!

I highly recommend Murder on the Rocks for fans of mysteries, especially if you have a soft spot for books with a local flavor or a love of diversity in literature!

Note: A special thanks to Panther Publishing for a free copy of Murder on the Rocks! This review is an honest review that I gave in exchange for a free digital copy of this book. My opinions are my own.

 

My Interview with J.S. Strange

author interview

Author Photo
Welsh author, J.S. Strange

One of my favorite things about starting a website is that I have the opportunity to work with authors and publishers in order to learn more about the writing process. I had a wonderful time talking with J.S. Strange about his inspiration for Murder on the Rocks, his experience with the great new Welsh publisher, Panther Publishing, and even his love of cats!

Rev. Rebecca: I see that you are an television editor and have experience working in that medium. How does writing a novel differ from writing for television? What are the main differences in writing for print media versus visual media? 

J.S. Strange: My job role is video editing, so I ensure the footage you see in news reports is all edited together to create the finished story. However, I have contributed to magazines in the past, and find that writing articles is quite different. I find I research more when writing an article, and most of my articles are written as a feature, or a think piece. Writing a novel takes a lot more time, naturally, and I find this the most fun, because I get to create new characters and new situations and have more freedom in what I write.

Rebecca: According to your author’s note in Murder on the Rocks, you’ve done some work with Penguin. Could you share a little bit about this experience? Do you have any advice you would like to share that you learned? 

Strange: In 2018, I was shortlisted from applications of 1,700 to the top 150 in Penguin Random House’s Write Now Live scheme. Their scheme seeks to publish under represented voices. I got to travel to Liverpool and spend the day in talks from Penguin authors, and learn the publishing trade. I also had a twenty minute one to one with an editor from Penguin, who gave feedback on a sample I had sent in before going to Liverpool. It was invaluable to meet that editor and chat about my writing, and feel confident about my writing. It made me feel like there was validation. Murder on the Rocks was the novel I submitted and they shortlisted me for, so it gave me confidence in my manuscript. My advice would be to seek out any opportunity and apply for it. I applied for Write Now Live expecting yet another rejection, but was so pleased when it was good news. Penguin didn’t shortlist me again, so I missed out on their mentoring scheme and possible publication with them, but that’s okay!

Rebecca: Would you please share a little bit about the two other books that you have written? Of the books which you have written, which is your favorite? 

Strange: In 2016, I published my first novel, ‘Winter Smith: London’s Burning’. The following year, the sequel was published, titled ‘Winter Smith: The Secrets of France’. They were zombie apocalypse novels, Winter Smith being the central character. Winter and a group of survivors fled London for promised safety in Paris, only to find that promised safety had all been a lie. It intertwines human relationships, such as trust, with government conspiracy and zombies. There were supposed to be three of four, but after the second I hit a wall, and I’ve struggled to write any more. Because of the block, I turned to a different genre, which was supposed to be crime thriller, and instead ended up with a murder mystery novel. I’m pleased with Murder on the Rocks and pleased with the characters and settings. It also got me a deal with Panther Publishing, so I’m really happy about that. I don’t think I have a favourite, though. I’m quite critical of my work.

Rebecca: One of my favorite aspects of Murder on the Rocks was the setting. This was he first book that I have ever read which was set in Wales. How did you make the setting come alive so vividly? 

Strange: Thank you! I’m so glad you liked the setting and thought it came alive. I chose Wales for exactly the reason you said – that you had never read a book set in Wales. It seems in crime there are many settings, such as London and Edinburgh, and I wanted to do my own in an area I work in and one I knew relatively well. I’m Welsh and live in Wales, so it was really important to me to bring Wales into books. Panther Publishing are a Welsh publishing house, too, and Murder on the Rocks publishes on St Davids Day, a Welsh day. It helped that I was writing from memory or experience. I also read that it is important to treat the setting as another character, so it’s something I’m focussing on going forward.

Rebecca: What was the most challenging aspect of writing Murder on the Rocks? What was your favorite part of writing this book? 

Strange: What I found challenging was writing the right police procedure, understanding the job roles, understanding who would do what and when. I’ve tried to make it as accurate as possible, but I’m sure somewhere something isn’t quite right. I’m more concerned about telling a good story and developing characters, which I hope I’ve done, and if I haven’t I will in the next books. My favourite part was coming up with some twists.

Rebecca: Oscar the cat was one of my favorite characters. Do you have any pets? 

Strange: Aw, I’m glad you liked Oscar. He’s actually based off a Persian cat I had, who sadly passed away last year. His name was Oscar, and he was the same colour of grey and white, and a Persian. I wanted him to live on in my books. I’ve always grown up with cats. I live with my boyfriend now and we have two black cats. They’re called Miley and Dolly.

Rebecca: I really enjoyed reading Jordan’s story and I would love to see more of his adventures. What are you plans for Jordan? Is there a sequel in the future? Are you working on any other projects as well? 

Strange: Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I have a lot planned for Jordan, and there will definitely be more to the series. It will come under the ‘Jordan Jenner Mysteries’ series. They’ll be stand alone novels, but with the same central characters. When Murder on the Rocks went to beta readers, some of the feedback was that he wasn’t a likeable character, which I can see and understand. But I want to explore that more in the next novels, and prove that even though he’s cutting people off, it’s because he is insecure and that he is actually quite a sweet guy. He’s a guy that is shy, complex and insecure, but his heart is in the right place. I also want to explore more of his relationships. And of course, a lot more murder!

Follow J.S. Strange! 


 

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This is my Review of the Month for the review collection on LovelyAudiobooks.info

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11 thoughts on “Murder on the Rocks- A Welsh Mystery from #OwnVoices Author, J.S. Strange (Blog Tour & Author Interview)”

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