Monthly Archives: August 2014

What does cozy mystery mean to you?

One of the groups I belong to on Facebook put the question out there recently – any recommendations for “cozy” gay mystery? The best suggestion was Charlie Cochrane’s Lessons series, which I enjoy very much – but I never thought of as cozy.

I’ve also had reviewers refer to the Jamie Brodie books as cozy – but I never thought of them as cozy either.

Here’s the Wikipedia definition: “Cozy mysteries, also referred to simply as “cozies”, are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence are downplayed or treated humorously, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community.”

Okay – I do downplay the sex in the Jamie books. But there is violence, especially at the end of Psyched to Death. And I’d hardly call Los Angeles or UCLA a small, socially intimate community.

“The detectives in such stories are nearly always amateurs” (yes) “and frequently women” (obviously not). 

They do list “librarian” as one of the often-held jobs of the amateur detective in the cozy mystery, and the protagonist has a contact on the police force. Jamie has Kevin, so that fits.

“The murderers in cozies are neither psychopaths nor serial killers.” Um – not to give too much away, but Stacked to Death does not meet that criterion.

“The supporting characters are broadly drawn and used as comic relief.” Not usually.

“Cat-lovers are well represented among the ranks of cozy-mystery detectives.” Jamie’s allergic. You will never see a cat in his books.

My cat Wesley. I love cats. Jamie doesn't.

My cat Wesley. I love cats. Jamie doesn’t.

“Avoidance of explicit sex and violence, emphasis on puzzle-solving over suspense, a small-town setting, and a focus on a hobby or occupation are all frequent elements of cozy mysteries.” 

Okay – I can see the reviewers’ points. And, no less an expert than Josh Lanyon himself says that the Jamie stories are cozies – so cozies they are!

I guess I had an instinctive objection to Jamie’s stories being referred to as “cozy” because, as a rule, I don’t like cozies. There are exceptions – but a little small-town eccentricity goes a very long way with me.

What do you think? 

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Stacked to Death preorder!

I’m going to try this pre-order thing and see how it works. 😀 Stacked to Death will be published on October 15, but you can pre-order it here:


Library work-study student Austin Sharp upset a lot of people. When Jamie Brodie finds Austin dead, strangled to death in the library stacks, the police have plenty of suspects. When another library work-study student is found strangled, the focus of the investigation shifts – both students were from the same hometown. Then a third student is found dead. A serial killer is on the loose, and the police send in detectives from the elite Homicide Special unit.
And their favorite suspect is Jamie. 

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The cover for Stacked to Death

The cover art is finished! Here it is:

Stacked cover 2

I intended it to convey a sense of menace – I think Stephanie (my graphic artist) achieved that!


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On location

Three weeks ago today, I left for two weeks of vacation. I spent most of it in northern England, walking the path that runs along Hadrian’s Wall. The Roman Emperor Hadrian, in 122 AD, decided to build a defensive wall at what was then the northern edge of the Roman Empire. The finished wall was about 80 miles long. Today the path that (mostly) runs along the course of the wall – or where the wall stood – is frequented by hikers. I went with a couple of friends from work, and we had a great time.

One of my intentions on the trip was to post here as I went, as the trip was also part of my research for the next book in the Jamie Brodie series, Stoned to Death. Alas, wi-fi connections in northern England are notoriously spotty, and I was lucky to be able to access email, much less to download pictures or write blog posts.

I didn’t get much writing done, either, as I took my ChromeBook – and it only works in the cloud. No wi-fi, no cloud. I learned my lesson! I actually bought a spiral notebook and wrote about ten pages by hand, I got so frustrated.

But now I’m back, and after a week of playing catch-up at work, I’m settling into my writing routine again.

Here is one of the pictures I would have posted:

Saddle quern

That is a saddle quern. It was used in Neolithic times to grind grain between the two stones.

It might – just might – have at one time or another made a pretty effective murder weapon.

Just sayin’. 😀

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