Hit and Run In Anthony Award finalist Balzo’s spirited third Main Street Murder mystery (after 2012’s Dead Ends), Wisconsin journalist AnnaLise Griggs is still visiting her hometown, Sutherton, N.C., where she’s acknowledged as the love-child of the wealthiest man in town, Dickens Hart. The proprietor of a “North Carolina High Country rip-off of the Playboy Club concept,” Hart wants to locate any other children he may have fathered, and an elaborate Thanksgiving weekend is planned for past loves and their appropriate-aged off-spring. Before the turkey is served, Hart is found lying naked in bed with his head bashed in—and AnnaLise is the prime suspect. The supporting cast includes several colorful Sutherton citizens and a motley group of potential heirs accompanied by their hopeful mothers. AnnaLise will remind Southern cozy fans of Kathleen Haines’s Sarah Booth Delaney, Carolyn Hart’s Annie Darling, and Margaret Maron’s Deborah Knott.
Murder on the Orient Espresso VERDICT: A nicely hewn homage to Agatha Christie’s iconic mystery gives Balzo’s seventh caffeinated series entry (after Triple Shot) a light and breezy boost. The Florida setting jazzes up the plot, and attentive readers will delight in Balzo’s plentiful book and movie references.
"Readers will be happy to jump on board.
. . . a hit with series fans, but readers of similarly themed novels from writers such as Mary Daheim (the Bed-and-Breakfast mysteries) or Kerry Greenwood (the Corinna Chapman series) should also be steered in Maggy’s direction.
Triple Shot "In Balzo's stimulating seventh Maggie Thorsen mystery, over-the-hill TV star Ward Chitown plans to do a show about a shootout in Brookhills, Wis., in 1974 between the FBI and the Mafia that left six dead and a fortune missing. This amusing, well-written entry should win Balzo more fans.
"How the hell did I get myself involved with this broad? It’s like I’m Lassie, she’s Timmy, and every day is a new well."
--Jake Pavlik in Triple Shot
Dead Ends “Near the start of Balzo’s well-crafted second mystery featuring Wisconsin reporter AnnaLise Griggs (after 2011’s Running on Empty), AnnaLise is in Sutherton, N.C., where she’s been looking after her ailing mother. She’s surprised and embarrassed by the arrival of her former lover, Benjamin Rosewood, the DA of Urban County, Wis., and his wife, Tanja, and their teenage daughter, Suzanne. Ashamed of her dangerous liaison, AnnaLise tries to avoid Rosewood, but is drawn to him after Tanja dies in a terrible car accident on Sutherton Mountain. When one tragedy follows another, AnnaLise finds herself in the middle of a tightening web of deadly intrigue—and at the top of police chief Chuck Greystone’s suspect list. The well-drawn North Carolina setting is integral not only to the plot but also perhaps to AnnaLise’s most endearing quality—her abject terror of the area’s narrow mountain roads, full of crazy switchbacks and heart-stopping overhangs.” - Publishers Weekly
Heaven's Fire “Equal parts thriller, romance and family saga . . . a compelling and deeply human read.” - Joan Johnston, New York Times bestselling author of Texas Bride
“Rooted in the dangerously exotic world of a multi-generational fireworks company . . . spell-binding.” - Jeremiah Healy, award-winning author of the John Cuddy P.I. novels
A Cup of Jo "In Balzo's delightful sixth Maggy Thorsen mystery, Maggy is planning to celebrate the opening of her rebuilt shop [until] the giant inflatable coffee cup she hired for the occasion accidentally deflates and reveals the body of missing Brookhills event manager JoLynne Penn-Williams sprawled at the bottom. When amateur sleuth Maggy begins to investigate, she's dismayed that clues point to her boyfriend, county sheriff Jake Pavlik, as the killer. Devastating innuendos that Jake has been unfaithful shatter Maggy, but don't prevent her from seeking the truth. As ever, Maggy's wit and wisdom help keep the pages turning through this lighthearted cozy." -Publishers Weekly
Running on Empty 'Balzo has created a lively southern town full of quirky characters and matched them with a lively plot. Readers who enjoy Margaret Maron’s Deborah Knott mysteries will have fun with this one.” - Booklist
”Balzo (A Cup of Jo) introduces a beguiling heroine in this wryly amusing first in a new series. . . . readers will cheer the resolute and feisty AnnaLise every step of the way.” - Publishers Weekly
”A Wisconsin reporter comes home to murder and mayhem in a High Country resort town. Balzo’s Maggy Thorsen series (A Cup of Jo, 2010, etc.) was a mild jolt, but her new franchise is a full-throttle joyride.” - Kirkus Reviews
”The author of the Maggie Thorsen mysteries (From the Grounds Up) introduces an appealing new amateur sleuth who is calm, good-natured, and nosey for someone else’s own good. For readers of G.A. McKevett and Joan Hess.” - Library Journal
The Grass is Always Greener and other stories Four short stories, all compact little gems. Two are winners of various awards, and have that sort of polished, Ellery Queen's Mystery Mag feel to them. It's nice that writers can make such stories available these days, even if you missed the original publication…Based on this book, I'm interested in reading more by this author. -on Amazon.com
From the Grounds Up “Maggy Thorsen, the proprietor of Uncommon Grounds, finds that rebuilding her coffee shop in the “Old Brookhills” section of Brookhills, Wis., can be murder in Balzo’s witty, smoothly plotted fifth caffeine cozy…sassy, lighthearted whodunit…” - Publishers Weekly
“A witty cozy with eccentric characters and a fast-moving plot.” - Booklist
Brewed, Crude and Tattooed “Near the start of Balzo’s lively fourth Maggy Thorsen mystery, a sudden spring “thundersnow” traps Maggy and friends in Benson Plaza, the Brookhills, Wis, strip mall where Maggy rents space for her coffee shop, Uncommon Grounds.. . . Credible characters and a well-constructed plot.” - Publishers Weekly
“A freak May snowstorm provides the perfect cover for murder in a suburban strip mall [and,] armed with flashlights from Goddard’s Pharmacy, Maggy leads her mighty band of retailers on a quest to capture the killer.” - Kirkus Reviews
Bean There, Done That “Balzo gives an old formula new life with crisp dialogue, complex characters and a puzzle that can’t be beat.” - Kirkus (starred review)
“An engaging sleuth, Maggy puts her own humorous, breezy spin on everything, from coffee lore to the colorful locals, in a cozy that will leave readers guessing until the end.” - Publishers Weekly
Grounds for Murder “All the right ingredients…Balzo’s keep-em-guessing plot and fresh, breezy prose are more than enough to ensure that this series will continue to delight.” - Booklist (starred review)
“Bright and breezy Maggy makes a charmingly down-to-earth sleuth. A bit of romance and coffee lore provide the froth on top.” - Kirkus Reviews
Uncommon Grounds “In her delightful debut, Balzo puts a 21st-century spin on the traditional cozy, replacing tea with coffee as the comfort beverage of choice. Readers will want to curl up with this winner with a cappuccino or maybe even a Viennese cinnamon latte.” - Publishers Weekly
“…as wonderfully rich and sharply written as anything going. What moves Balzo’s book high above other writers who try to cover the same territory is a sharp and often amusing skill that convinces us that this is real life, and that it matters.” - Chicago Tribune