"Johnson paints characters with a folksy charm that makes them feel like family. But beware! This richly-textured mystery has it all: family secrets, professional competition, and judgments cast for past mistakes. Color me a fan!" - Diane Vallere, Author of the Material Witness, Style & Error, and Mad for Mod Mystery Series
Sub-Genre Keywords: Cozy Mysteries, Amateur Sleuth, Women Sleuths, Craft Mysteries
A dead body in her garden and a homicide detective on her doorstep...
Computer programmer and tole-painting enthusiast Aurora (Rory) Anderson doesn't envision finding either when she steps outside to investigate the frenzied yipping coming from her own backyard. After all, she lives in Vista Beach, a quiet California beach community where violent crime is rare and murder even rarer.
Suspicion falls on Rory when the body buried in her flowerbed turns out to be someone she knows-her tole painting teacher, Hester Bouquet. Just two weekends before, Rory attended one of Hester's weekend painting seminars, an unpleasant experience she vowed never to repeat. As evidence piles up against Rory, she embarks on a quest to identify the killer and clear her name. Can Rory unearth the truth before she encounters her own brush with death?
Praise for FATAL BRUSHSTROKE:
"Rory is definitely a quirky character; she has the ability to draw the readers in so that they want to follow her through her adventures. Which is a good thing, because this is the first in a brand new series featuring Rory Anderson, so there's even more fun to come." - Suspense Magazine
"Fans of crafty cozies will love this delightful new series that features tole painting enthusiast, Aurora "Rory" Anderson...In Fatal Brushstroke, Johnson has penned a charming mystery filled with colorful characters, clever plot twists and unexpected surprises that will keep you guessing whodunit right until the end. A rewarding read and a refreshing debut." -Hannah Dennison, Author of The Vicky Hill Mysteries and The Honeychurch Hall Mysteries
"Traditional mystery readers will love this debut author, Sybil Johnson, and her amateur sleuth, Aurora "Rory" Anderson, a Southern California woman who has survived her share of tragedy in the fictitious seaside community of Vista Beach. Johnson has an assured, steady hand in creating complex plotlines in Fatal Brushstroke. Readers will definitely want to revisit Vista Beach in Aurora's next outing of investigating. Just watch out for those inline skaters on the beachside bike path!" - Naomi Hirahara, Edgar Award-Winning Author of Murder on Bamboo Lane
"When the body of Hester Bouquet, a famous decorative painting designer, shows up in her garden, Aurora "Rory" Anderson finds herself painted into a corner. Can she prove her innocence before the surly Chief of Police puts her in the clink and throws away the key? Can she trust the handsome new detective sending mixed messages? Set in a small beach town in Southern California, with Fatal Brushstroke Sybil Johnson has penned a fun and fast-paced romp with plenty of suspense and intrigue, colorful characters, infidelity and family secrets. Fatal Brushstroke is sure to please cozy readers, especially those who love crafts mixed with murder." - Sue Ann Jaffarian, Author of the Bestselling Ghost of Granny Apples and Odelia Grey Mystery Series
Books in the Aurora Anderson Mystery Series:
FATAL BRUSHSTROKE (#1)
PAINT THE TOWN DEAD (#2) Summer 2015
Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you'll probably like them all...
About the Author
Vanessa Daniels has worked as a professional actress in theater, film, TV, commercials, and voice-over for almost two decades. She holds a BFA in drama from New York University and is a member of SAG-AFTRA and Actors' Equity Association.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
What would you do if a dead body showed up in your yard? That's exactly what happens in this cozy mystery. Although it is told in third person, you get the feel that the story is being told by Rory, the main character. Rory does seem to lie a lot, which makes her seem suspicious. Sometimes this annoyed me, but I also think it's refreshing to see human flaws in the main character. It breathes life to the character. She is not perfect, and her life is not perfect either. Along with Rory, the author does a great job of leading you to believe that any one of four people could be the murderer. This book had me guessing, though I will say that one character stood out to me about three quarters of the way through the book as the main suspect in my own head. It turned out I was right. This was a fast moving read. I was compelled to continue turning pages until the end. I also enjoyed how this book was art-related. I was an art minor in college, so I enjoyed the references to the art work and craft projects. My only complaint is that it is told in fits and starts, meaning sometimes I'm happily reading along, then bam! The story abruptly stops at the end of each chapter and I feel like I'm left hanging, like the chapter wasn't quite finished and the next chapter moved on to a different subject. But, all in all, I enjoyed the book, and I'd give this one four stars. I'm definitely looking forward to the next book written by Sybil Johnson! Disclaimer: I was given this book in exchange for an honest interview in conjunction with the book tour for this book.
Title: FATAL BRUSHSTROKE - An Aurora Anderson Mystery Book 1 Author: Sybil Johnson Published: 11-18-2014 Publisher: Henery Press Pages: 270 Genre: Mystery, Thrillers & Suspense Sub Genre: Women Sleuths, Cozy Mystery, Amateur Sleuths; Police Procedurals ISBN: 13: 9781940976495 ASIN: B00N265TVY Reviewer: DelAnne Reviewed For: NetGalley Rating: 4 Stars I received a copy of "FATAL BRUSHSTROKE" from NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for my honest review. Description From the Publisher: THE FIRST IN A NEW SERIES A dead body in her garden and a homicide detective on her doorstep… Computer programmer and tole-painting enthusiast Aurora (Rory) Anderson doesn’t envision finding either when she steps outside to investigate the frenzied yipping coming from her own backyard. After all, she lives in Vista Beach, a quiet California beach community where violent crime is rare and murder even rarer. Suspicion falls on Rory when the body buried in her flowerbed turns out to be someone she knows—her tole painting teacher, Hester Bouquet. Just two weekends before, Rory attended one of Hester’s weekend painting seminars, an unpleasant experience she vowed never to repeat. As evidence piles up against Rory, she embarks on a quest to identify the killer and clear her name. Can Rory unearth the truth before she encounters her own brush with death? My Review of "Fatal Brushstrokes": Aurora "Rory" Anderson is a character I would like to read more about. Her main problem seems to be the sheriff who acts that he wants any reason to have her pay for her birth parents sins. Refusing to see any other suspect in the deaths except Rory. Thus she is set on a path to find the real killer herself. There are a couple of slower spots but on the whole the plot is well done. For a first in a series this is an interesting read. My rating for "Fatal Brushstrokes" is 4 out of 5 Stars.
Paint This Debut a Winner This month, I seem to be finally getting to some of the books I bought at Bouchercon when it was in Long Beach. It’s only taken me, what, a year and a half to get to them? I wish I had gotten to Fatal Brushstroke sooner since it is a fantastic mystery debut. One morning, Aurora “Rory” Anderson hears her neighbor’s dog barking in Rory’s own backyard. Going outside to find out what is disturbing the dog, she discovers a hand buried back there. She quickly calls the police, but even before they dig up the body attached to the hand, Rory has made the connection. The body is that of Hester Bouquet. Hester is a well-respected tole painting instructor and pattern designer. Rory hadn’t seen Hester since she took an intensive weekend long class a couple of weeks before. However, with a chief of police who has a grudge against Rory, Rory knows she has to find the killer herself. However, it seems like the evidence that turns up points to her. Can Rory clear her name? Hester’s body is discovered on the very first page. You don’t get any faster of a start than that. The book keeps a steady pace from there until the end of the book with clues and complications sprinkled throughout to keep us guessing. I thought I knew what was happening a couple of times before we reached the logical end. We are introduced to an intriguing group of characters in this book. Rory and the other series regulars are fun characters, and I enjoyed spending time with them. The suspects were all intriguing and perfectly believable, which is important to keep us guessing. Like with most of the hobby/cozy series out there, tole painting (aka decorative painting, which features painting on wood, fabric, or some other medium like that) is a great hook, but for those of us who don’t have this hobby, you won’t find so many details that it bogs down the story. In fact, I found just enough information to make me want to pick up the hobby, which always happens in the best of series. (Now to quickly pick up another book so the desire passes.) The book is set in the fictional town of Vista Beach along the coast in Los Angeles County. I loved the setting. Okay, so it helps that I love the beach, but I want to move to the town and settle in myself. The consolation for waiting so long to read Fatal Brushstroke is that the sequel is already out, so I can revisit these new friends soon. Don’t put off picking up this artistically done debut.