Sunday, January 14, 2024

Virtual Book Tour & Giveaway: Rivers and Creaks (Redwoods Country Mystery, #1) by Marc Jedel

Rivers and Creaks
A Redwoods Country Mystery
Marc Jedel

Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Setting - California
Publisher: BGM Press
Publication Date: November 30, 2023
Print length: 227 pages




A grumpy innkeeper. A dead guest. Can he solve the locked-room mystery before his business crumbles into chaos?

In the heart of Redwoods Country, where even the towering trees whisper secrets, there's an innkeeper who's anything but welcoming. Meet Andy Shirley—a man who's made grumpiness an art form, detesting both guests and life's little inconveniences. Now a dead guest and a killer on the loose threaten not only Andy's solitude but his livelihood.

His cherished wife’s memory keeps him tethered to the small-town bed and breakfast they dreamt of running together. When a guest is found dead in a locked room, can this retired copy editor use his meticulous attention to detail to uncover the truth and save his business?

Fearing this shocking event will deter future guests and buyers, Andy's frustration intensifies as the sheriff shifts his focus to a higher profile case. Yet, amidst this turmoil, Andy’s even more shocked when the most unexpected event happens as he hunts for clues . . . he strikes up an unlikely friendship.

Rivers and Creaks launches the humorous Redwoods Country cozy mystery series. If you like cranky but lovable characters, classic closed-door conundrums, and light-hearted fun, then you’ll love Marc Jedel’s laugh-out-loud tale. Imagine "Grumpy Old Men" merged with "Schitt's Creek."



From my vantage point standing behind the future bride and groom, I heard Xander when he suggested, “Maybe we should push the wedding out only by a day—to Saturday.”

“But we don’t have the venue. Remember, that’s why we had to take Friday night.” Misty’s head drooped.

“Oh, right,” said Xander. “But if we cut it down to just family and close friends, we could do it here, in the backyard. The food will keep for a day and the flowers should be fine.”

Misty’s eyes brightened as her head swung up to look at him. “Oh, you’re a genius. I never wanted a big wedding. That was all Mom.” She took a deep, settling breath and smiled through her tears. “I’m almost glad we can’t get to our rooms. It wouldn’t feel right to start the festivities today with . . .” She gestured toward the dead body upstairs. “With that.” Grabbing Xander’s hand, she said brightly, “Let’s hurry with those calls. After we get everything sorted, I’d love to go forest bathing.” She closed her eyes and sighed in anticipatory contentment. “I’ve heard that can really help you relax. I so need some tranquility right now.”

Opening her eyes, Misty tugged Xander toward the front door.

The police chief must have been standing on the other side of them since she became visible, shaking her head when the couple walked off, completely oblivious to the rest of us.

“Forest bathing.” I scoffed. “What a bunch of new age crap. Only millennials and Gen Zers would think taking a walk in the woods is some sort of cure-all mindfulness exercise.”

Despite the chaos, the chief’s eyes seemed to twinkle with amusement at my comment.

“What?” I grumbled.

“Mindfulness exercise?” Her eyebrows rose. “Now who’s using psychobabble?”

Deciding to ignore her, I cleared my throat. “Next on their agenda must be harvesting wild mushrooms or baking vegan edibles.” I snorted as I thought of another absurd behavior. “Or eating kale.”

She let me enjoy myself for a moment before her eyes turned serious. “Don’t leave town either.” 


5 stars!

Fun characters and an intriguing murder make this debut cozy mystery a winner! 

River and Creaks is the first book in veteran author Marc Jedel’s new cozy mystery series, the Redwood Country Mysteries, and with its fun characters and intriguing murder, it’s a definite winner. Great characterizations, snappy dialogue, the protagonist’s entertaining inner monologue, and a mysterious death in the first chapter immediately hooked me. 

Andy Shirley is a recent widower, novice innkeeper, and, of necessity, an amateur sleuth. He’s still well within the grip of grief over his wife’s sudden death the previous year, and the idea of purchasing and running a B&B was really her dream, not his. I felt he was torn by trying to make a go of her vision for their future, turning around and selling the inn without taking too much of a loss, and completely withdrawing from life. (He says his plan is to become a recluse.) The death of a young guest is discovered within minutes of him taking possession of the place, and as the day progresses, things get even more complicated. He’s completely unprepared to manage his new business, although not without some skills in minor maintenance. But even his planned maintenance activities hit snags at every turn, and I was reminded of the 1986 Tom Hanks film, The Money Pit, by the plethora of mishaps. His cantankerous attitude also hits a sour note with the local tradespeople, and he finds himself on the outs with a few of the locals. 

The plot features more than one mystery, and Andy’s amateur sleuthing trying to save his inn from a reputation as a place of death uncovers key pieces of information. The story has a couple of twists that kept things interesting and me reading well into the night. But, even with my dedication, I still didn’t catch on to whodunnit until the reveal. 

I recommend RIVERS AND CREAKS to cozy mystery readers looking for a great new series, especially those who enjoy humor and a clever plot.


Marc Jedel writes humorous murder mysteries. He credits his years of marketing leadership positions in Silicon Valley for honing his writing skills and sense of humor. While his high-tech marketing roles involved crafting plenty of fiction, these were just called emails, ads, and marketing collateral.

For most of Marc’s life, he’s been inventing stories. It’s a skill that’s served him well as both an author and marketer. The publication of Marc’s first novel, Uncle and Ants, gave him permission to claim “author” as his job. This leads to much more interesting conversations with people than answering, “marketing.”

Like his character, Andy, from the Redwoods Country Mystery series, Marc continues to grow older and would prefer not to run a bed-and-breakfast inn when he retires. Like his character, Marty from the Silicon Valley Mystery series, Marc now lives in Silicon Valley, works in high-tech, and enjoys bad puns. Like his characters Jonas and Elizabeth from the Ozarks Lake Mystery series, he grew up in the South and spent plenty of time in and around Arkansas. Like all his protagonists, Marc too has a dog, although his is neurotic, sweet, and small, with little appreciation for Marc’s humor. 


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