“Daley’s characters come to life on the page. Her novels are filled with a little mystery and a little romance which makes for a murderous adventure.” – Tonya Kappes, USA Today Bestselling Author of Fixin’ To Die
“I’m a huge fan of Kathi’s books. I think I’ve read every one. Without a doubt, she’s a gifted cozy mystery author and I eagerly await each new release!” – Dianne Harman, Author of the High Desert Cozy Mysteries
“Daley’s mysteries offer as much sizzle and pop as fireworks on a hot summer’s day.” – Mary Kennedy, Author of The Dream Club Mysteries
“Intriguing, likeable characters, keep-you-guessing mysteries, and settings that literally transport you to Paradise…Daley’s stories draw you in and keep you glued until the very last page.” – Tracy Weber, Agatha-Nominated Author of the Downward Dog Mysteries
“Daley really knows how to write a top-notch cozy.” – MJB Reviewers
“Kathi Daley writes a story with a puzzling cold-case mystery while highlighting…the love of home, family, and good friends.” – Chatting About Cozies
In the midst of the annual Halloween frenzy, Tj finds herself pulled into a series of events at the high school where she works. Not only must she help one of the girls on her team deal with a case of cyberbullying, but she must help a student who has recently suffered a personal tragedy. And as if Tj wasn't busy enough, in walks Samantha Colton, a reporter for Second Look, a television series that takes a look back at unsolved murders. This time the case is the death of a popular student after the homecoming dance ten years before.
To make matters even worse—or maybe more convenient—the graduating class of the victim is in town for their ten-year reunion and all the suspects just happen to have converged on Serenity for the weekend. When Samantha turns up dead, Tj must track down someone who seems willing to kill again to keep their secret.
Related subjects include: cozy mysteries, women sleuths, murder mystery series, whodunit mysteries (whodunnit), book club recommendations, amateur sleuth books, small town.
Books in the Tj Jensen Mystery Series:
- PUMPKINS IN PARADISE (#1)
- SNOWMEN IN PARADISE (#2)
- BIKINIS IN PARADISE (#3)
- CHRISTMAS IN PARADISE (#4)
- PUPPIES IN PARADISE (#5)
- HALLOWEEN IN PARADISE (#6)
- TREASURE IN PARADISE (#7) April 2017
Part of the Henery Press Mystery Series Collection, if you like one, you'll probably like them all…
Kathi Daley lives with her husband, kids, grandkids, and Bernese mountain dogs in beautiful Lake Tahoe. When she isn’t writing, she likes to read (preferably at the beach or by the fire), cook (preferably something with chocolate or cheese), and garden (planting and planning, not weeding). She also enjoys spending time in the water, hiking, biking, and snowshoeing. Kathi uses the mountain setting in which she lives, along with the animals (wild and domestic) that share her home, as inspiration for her five cozy mystery series: Zoe Donovan, Whales and Tails Island, Tj Jensen, Sand and Sea Hawaiian, and Seacliff High Teen.
Read an Excerpt
Monday, October 26
"Coach Jensen." Carly Rice, one of the juniors on Tj Jensen's soccer team, poked her head through her office door. "You wanted to see me?"
"I did. Please have a seat." Tj motioned to the only surface in her cluttered office that wasn't covered with file folders or athletic equipment. As chairperson for the department, it was her responsibility to apply for grants and file reports, two jobs she could never seem to find time to do, despite the extra prep period she was granted for just that purpose.
Carly sat down as instructed. "Am I being suspended from the team?" she asked sullenly.
"You know I have no other choice," Tj said with sympathy in her eyes. "If I could do things differently I would."
Carly was the best forward Tj had on her team. She really did feel bad that it had come to this. Not only would Carly's suspension hurt the junior herself, but it would hurt the team's chances of making it to the state finals.
Tj had worked with many talented kids during her tenure as a coach and physical education teacher, and few exhibited the drive to compete and win that Carly did. Or at least she had until her world crumbled around her and everything changed.
Carly sighed. "I guess I'll kiss any chance at a scholarship goodbye, which means I won't be able to go to college or get a decent job. I may as well pick out a box to live in and get on with my life."
Tj suppressed a smile. Carly really did have a flare for the dramatic. "I don't think things are quite that dire. You're still a junior, so you have time to redeem yourself, especially if you take on a new attitude. But if you don't learn to control your temper, you won't be allowed to try out for the team next year. Soccer isn't football. You can't just tackle people in your way."
"I know. I just get so mad. Someone gets in front of me and the only thing I can think of is how much I want to flatten them."
And flatten them she did. Carly was a tiny thing, but she could take down her opponents as effectively as any linebacker. She'd let Carly's bad behavior in class and on the soccer field slide as long as she could, but after she'd intentionally tackled an opposing team member then elbowed her in the stomach, Tj realized she had no choice but to suspend her.
"I understand you've had it rough," Tj said. "I can't imagine how awful it must be to lose a brother. You're angry and need an outlet for your emotion, but the league has very strict rules regarding intentional roughhousing."
"Have you considered counseling?" Tj asked. This wasn't the first time that Tj had tried to persuade Carly to seek counseling after the death of her brother the prior summer.
Carly glared at her with dark brown eyes filled with pain. "My brother died. I'm angry about that," she emphasized as she tucked a lock of her long brown hair behind one ear. She was fighting back tears as she spoke. "I'm not a nutcase who needs to see a shrink."
"I never said you were a nutcase. I'm not an expert on the subject, but I've heard there are wonderful counselors who can help you work through the feelings you've been dealing with since Kenny was killed. I know I've suggested this before, but maybe you should speak to Mrs. Remington."
Sheila Remington was the school counselor.
Carly looked Tj directly in the eye. "You think she can help me? You think anyone can help me? You have no idea what it's like to be the child who didn't die. To be the child who knows deep in her heart that her mom — and everyone else, for that matter — wishes she was the twin who died and Kenny was the one who lived?"
"I'm sure your mom doesn't think that."
"You don't know. You don't know anything," Carly yelled. "My mom hates me. Every time she looks at me, I can see it in her eyes. If I hadn't forgotten to check in while I was out with my friends, Kenny wouldn't have come looking for me, and if Kenny hadn't been out looking for me, he wouldn't have been riding his bike on the street, and if he hadn't been riding on the street, he wouldn't have been hit by a car. Kenny is dead and it's my fault. I know it, my mom knows it, everyone knows it. Even my friends don't want to hang out with me anymore."
Tj suspected Carly's friends were avoiding her due to the chip on her shoulder causing world-class mood swings and violent outbursts, not because they blamed her for Kenny's death. Still, Kenny had been popular. Really popular. He was the star of both the football and baseball teams, and prior to his death, he'd been dating Portia Waldron, the most popular girl in the junior class. Portia could very well have blackballed Carly from their social circle. Tj hated to think the girl would do such a thing, but she'd been around long enough to know that kids could be cruel.
Tj struggled for the right thing to say. She hated to leave it like this, but as hard as she tried, her brain refused to formulate words that might prove helpful in this situation.
"If that's all, I need to go. I have class." Carly stood up. "Not that it will matter if I'm late because I'm flunking anyway, but I suppose I have to go somewhere. It might as well be class."
"Carly." Tj attempted to stop Carly from leaving, but the girl didn't look back as she slammed the door behind her.
Tj let out a groan. That certainly hadn't gone as she'd hoped. She wanted to help Carly, but she was in over her head with this one. Carly needed professional help she wasn't qualified to give. She'd talked to Carly's mother about it, but the mom had been unresponsive. Tj knew the woman had all but shut down since Kenny's death, but Carly needed someone to help her work through her grief and get on with her life.
"I take it your talk with Carly didn't go well?" Gina Roberts, the new math teacher, poked her head into Tj's office shortly after Carly stormed off.
"Not even close. If it was possible to make things worse I think I just did."
Gina left the door open as she walked into the office and took a seat on the other side of Tj's desk. "The girl needs professional help."
Tj agreed. "The problem is, she's totally closed off to the idea, and her mother doesn't seem willing to pursue it. I wish I could force the issue, but I don't have any grounds to do so. Carly is self-destructive, but other than being overly aggressive on the soccer field, she hasn't hurt anyone, and I can't honestly say I think she'll seriously hurt herself. If I thought calling child services would help I might consider it, but to be honest, I think that would just make things worse. Carly is a good kid. I really believe she can work her way through this if she'll just forgive herself. At this point, I don't think she believes she deserves any of the good things in life that she's worked so hard to achieve. It's almost like she's punishing herself by creating situations where she knows she'll lose things that were previously important to her."
"Don't give up on her," Gina counseled. "I can see she wants to open up to you. Part of me thinks she acts the way she does to get your attention. I haven't spoken to her mother, but I've heard through the rumor mill in the teachers' lounge that there are staff members who have tried with zero success to get her mom to agree to counseling. I can't imagine why she's pushing away her only remaining child, but then again I have no children, so what do I know? Carly likes and respects you. In my opinion, you may very well be the only person who can help her."
"Maybe, but I had to suspend her from the soccer team for the rest of the season after the incident this weekend. It's going to hurt her shot at a scholarship, and her removal from the team means I'll be seeing much less of her."
"Make her an assistant," Gina suggested. "I'd be willing to bet a whole paycheck that if you asked her to help you out she would."
Tj considered the idea. "I'll think about it. I don't want it to seem like I'm rewarding her bad behavior, but I might be able to work it out so that her helping me appears to be punishment to the other girls. Thanks for the suggestion."
"Anytime. But I actually came by to talk about another student we have in common."
"Lexi Michaels," Tj guessed. "I was just checking my email and saw the video. Do we know who sent it?"
Lexi Michaels was another of Tj's soccer girls. The poor kid had recently become Serenity High School's latest cyberbullying victim when someone posted a video of her singing in the locker room while showering after practice the night before. According to Gina, Lexi thought she was alone in the locker room, but apparently there had been at least one other straggler who had taken it upon herself to record the revealing and unflattering karaoke session and then post it online for everyone to see.
"The video was posted from a burner cell, so there's no way to trace it back to a specific student," Gina said. "I spoke to Lexi, who is quite predictably horrified. She went home halfway through my class, and I'm not sure she'll be back tomorrow. We were able to have the video taken down but I'm afraid the damage has been done. The poor girl is devastated."
Tj shook her head. With the advent of social media and the tendency for teens to use it as a weapon, cyberbullying had become an increasingly serious issue at the school.
"I'll do some snooping to see if I can figure out who posted the video," Tj offered. "If it happened after soccer practice it was probably one of my girls. I'll figure out who did this and make sure they're punished accordingly." Tj looked at her watch. "I guess we should get to the staff meeting."
"Didn't you hear? This afternoon's meeting was canceled. I was in the admin office earlier and ran into Principal Remington. He's going to be tied up with Lexi's mom all afternoon. I bet there's a note on the message board by now."
"Actually that works out well for me. I have a ton of paperwork to weed through."
Gina looked around the office and laughed. "I'm not sure that an extra couple of hours is even going to make a dent but it's a start. Is there anything I can help you with?"
"Do you know anything about grant proposals?"
Gina shrugged. "I've written a few."
"I'm currently working on two. If you have some spare time and want to help me I would be very grateful."
"I have time this weekend."
"I have my ten-year reunion this weekend. Maybe next week?"
"Sure just let me know. One of the tricks I've learned over the years is to ..."
"Coach Jensen, you have a call on line one," the student aide announced over the intercom interrupting their conversation.
Tj glanced at the phone.
"Go ahead. It might be important."
"Coach Jensen," Tj greeted as she picked up the phone.
"Hey, Tj. It's Roy." Roy Fisher was the deputy sheriff who served the Serenity branch of the Paradise County Sheriff's Department.
"Hey, Roy. Why didn't you just call my cell?"
"I tried to, but you didn't pick up. This is kind of important, so I decided to call the school line. I figured if you weren't in your office I could at least be certain you'd get a message."
"What's wrong?" Tj asked with a tone of dread in her voice. Roy calling her at work was never a good sign.
"Who's Samantha Colton?" Tj asked.
"She's one of the investigators on Second Look."
"Second Look as in the show that investigates cold cases and then airs their findings on television?"
"That's the one. She'll be in town tomorrow, taking a 'second look' at Holly Riverton's murder. She wants to talk to everyone who was at the party the night Holly died, including you."
"I'm happy to talk to her, and you know I'm always happy to help you out, but I'm really swamped this week."
"I arranged for her to come to you," Roy informed her. "She's going to stop by the school tomorrow during your prep, so it shouldn't interrupt your day in the least."
"Oh, okay. I'd planned to grade midterms then, but I can take them home and tackle them tonight."
"I appreciate your meeting with her. There's one thing you should be aware of, though. She's known for being aggressive in her bid to find the truth. Anyone who might have a secret of any sort should be prepared to have it revealed."
Tj glanced at Gina and frowned. "What do you mean by aggressive?"
Roy sighed. Tj could tell he was feeling uncomfortable about asking her to meet with the woman, but apparently he had little choice but to cooperate.
"She does her homework and it seems like she sees a motive in almost every situation. She's good at what she does. I think you're her first appointment in this area, but she stopped off in Los Angeles yesterday and spoke to Mia Monroe and Jada Jenkins. Both women called me in a rage and indicated they no longer plan to attend the homecoming reunion this weekend."
"What could this woman possibly have said to convince them to change their plans at the last minute?"
"I think it's more how she said it and what her comments implied. Do you remember Mia as being passive-aggressive in high school?" Roy asked.
Tj sat back in her chair as she thought about it. Mia definitely tended to march to the beat of her own drum, but passive-aggressive? "Not really. She was always very self-confident. A drama geek who had no use for the popular kids, like she thought herself to be above their crowd. Though a lot of those kids still made fun of the way she dressed and her odd interests."
"She was really into supernatural stuff like astrology and past lives. And she liked to dress in loud colors. I'm talking bright green pants paired with a hot pink t-shirt topped with blue hair. She also tended to do things she knew would invite ridicule. I think she liked the negative attention."
"What kind of things?" Roy asked.
Tj smiled as she remembered some of Mia's theatrics. "Sometimes she would stand up on one of the tables in the lunch room and start reciting Shakespeare. Or other times, she'd sing at the top of her lungs while she walked through the hallways on her way to class. She certainly wasn't afraid to call attention to herself, which I guess partially explains why she's been so incredibly successful as an actress. What did Colton say that made Mia so mad?"
"Ms. Colton indicated that, given her profile, Mia made an excellent suspect in Holly's murder case."
"What?" Tj glanced at Gina who was hanging on every word of the one sided conversation she was witnessing. "Why would Mia kill Holly?"
"Ms. Colton seems to think Mia was jealous of Holly's popularity and killed her in some sort of psychotic rage. Or at least that's what Mia said. I suspect she might've embellished Ms. Colton's words just a bit."
"That's crazy. Mia never seemed like the type to be jealous of anyone. In fact, based on what I remember, I don't think she cared what people thought of her at all. And Jada, she was one of the most straight-laced girls in our class. I can't imagine what she dug up on her."
"Ms. Colton has reason to believe that Jada cheated on her mid-term exams."
"There's no way. Jada was one of the smartest kids in my class. She didn't need to cheat."
"Ms. Colton shared with me that she believes Holly somehow found out Jada cheated and threatened to tell the administration unless she used her tech know-how to break into the email accounts of some of her fellow students."
"Why would Holly want the email accounts of her fellow students?"
"Ms. Colton didn't say."
"This Samantha Colton sounds like a real piece of work. Are you sure I need to meet with her?"
"I can't force you to, but it will make it look like you have something to hide if you don't. The woman's on a witch hunt, and I don't think she's leaving without her killer."
"Why exactly was the killer never caught?" Tj asked.
"I'm not sure. After Ms. Colton called I took a look at the original file. It looks like there was an adequate if not inspired investigation into the girl's death, due mostly I suspect, to the fact that the Serenity branch of the Paradise County Sheriff's department was in disarray."
"There had been a turnover in personnel due to retirement and injury and the Serenity office was being staffed by temporary deputies from Indulgence." Indulgence, with its casinos and five-star dining and lodging, was much larger than Serenity and served as the Paradise County seat.(Continues…)
Excerpted from "Halloween In Paradise"
Copyright © 2016 Kathi Daley.
Excerpted by permission of Henery Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Kathi Daley has done it again. TJ and the gang from Serenity are getting ready for Halloween and a reunion when someone dies. Was it an accident or murder? TJ is back at it investigating to find out about this death and a cold case. I was hooked from the beginning. It was well written and it wasn't until the very end that everything fit together to reveal the answer. Great cozy mystery that included family, friends and a little romance. I enjoy the people and the town of Serenity, Nevada. Looking forward to the newest in the series.
I can never put any of Kathi Daley's books down until I finish them. Halloween in Paradise is the 6th book in the Paradise Lake Mystery series. There are many possibilities of who the killer was, and I was surprised by who it ended up being. I love her involvement with her family and I liked finally learning about some of T.J.'s students. This story is set at my favorite time of year Halloween and I loved the descriptions of decorating the resort. Needless to say I loved this one as I do all of her books and series.
Halloween in Paradise is the 6th book in the Paradise Lake Mystery series and I couldn’t put the book down. There were many interesting stories within the main mystery. TJ has a busy life, trying to balance her role as mother to her 2 half-sisters, helping organize her 10 year High School Reunion, helping to manage Maggie’s Hideaway where she lives with her family, and decorating the resort for Halloween and preparing for all the reunion guests who will be staying there for the weekend. Samantha Colton, an investigator for Second Look (a show that solves cold cases) comes to town to dig into the 10 year old murder of Holly, a girl from TJ’s senior class. She is very aggressive in her interviews, angering and worrying the former classmates. Samantha comes up with motives for everyone that attended the party where Holly was killed, even TJ is high on her list. Everyone seems to have secrets. Was Holly murdered by someone from TJ’s High School class who has returned for the reunion, or someone who decided not to come? The mystery gets more confusing, when Samantha is murdered and TJ finds out that Samantha had a secret, too. Now there are two mysteries to solve, and of course TJ and her friends get busy investigating. I really enjoyed TJ’s interactions with her family. She hadn’t expected to be thrust into instant motherhood, but now she can’t imagine life any differently. Ashley is now in 5th grade and thinks she is an adult, while Gracie is in 2nd grade and wants to be a princess for Halloween. The family is so supportive (in the right way) of Gracie in her spelling bee. We get to know some of the students that TJ coaches at school. A great side story, was about a girl on TJ’s soccer team who was being bullied. I loved the way TJ figured out who was doing it and how she solved the problem. There is another girl who has a tendency to get aggressive, but TJ realizes that she is having trouble dealing with a death in the family and comes up with a good solution. Kathi Daley has written another exciting mystery with so many suspects with motives for both crimes. In addition to trying to solve the mysteries, I was really caught up with everything going on with TJ’s family. It was a thoroughly enjoyable read, and I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Paradise Lake is my favorite series by Kathi...and I LOVED this latest edition. The characters are people you would love to have as neighbors! There are surprises and the plot keeps even the most in-tune mystery buffs guessing.....The characters are realistic and complex. I have read all of Kathi's books and am never disappointed. TJ, the lead character has evolved and I have enjoyed seeing her go from someone unsure of themselves and their role in the family and the community into a self-assured and confident young woman ready to tackle life head on. She understands the demands of trying to juggle work, being guardian to her two younger step sisters and falling in love again with her high school sweetheart while solving a murder mystery.......PLEASE give us more from Paradise Lake, Kathi!
This is the sixth book in the Tj Jensen Paradise Lake Mysteries series and is an excellent read. The characters are likeable and realistic. The storyline and characters are well developed and the story flows along at a steady pace. I was captivated from the first page until the end and had no idea who was behind everything. Even though this book is part of a series, Ms. Daley provides sufficient character background so that it can be read as a standalone. The issues of bullying and cyberbullying are addressed and Tj’s youngest half-sister provides a lesson in friendship and sacrifice that should be followed by everyone. As Halloween approaches, there’s a lot going on in Tj’s life. She’s raising her half-sisters, getting ready for Halloween, Homecoming, her ten-year high school reunion, a dance, and trying to find time to spend with her boyfriend. She’s also busy with her students and soccer kids, one who is going through a rough time due to the loss of her twin brother and another student being a victim of cyberbullying. The last thing Tj needs is an investigative reporter for an unsolved mystery TV show disrupting the lives of her friends and herself. The cold case concerns a murder of a high school student ten years ago. An accident, or possibly another murder, occurs and Tj can’t help herself and gets involved in both investigations. I highly recommend this book and look forward to reading the next adventure of Tj and her friends. I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Halloween in Paradise is the 6th book in the Paradise Lake Mystery series by Kathi Daley is the perfect book for those who appreciate a well written, Halloween themed cozy mystery. This book is unique for a cozy mystery as Ms. Daley deftly integrates a discussion of bullying (current today cyberbullying on social media and historical bullying by print media, cell phone communications and multimedia avenues). The approach was skillful, yet gentle, as the issue was woven into the main storyline and subplots. Definitely an attention grabber as some of the psychological profiling is included as well as options for dealing with similar situations should the reader be confronted with a bullying experience. Can bullying it lead to murder, both past and present? The story is set the week of Halloween on Paradise Lake at Maggie’s Hideaway, Tj’s family resort which includes a lodge, cabins, a campground and much more. Tj is busy getting ready for Halloween, trick or treating with her sisters Ashley and Gracie, coaching soccer, chairing the athletic department, the homecoming game and dance, preparing for her 10 year high school reunion and she is hoping to have some adult time with long time love, Hunter. The alumni begin arriving for the reunion and are staying at Maggie's Hideaway. Sheriff Roy informed Tj that an investigator from a television show, Samantha Colton, would be around digging into a "cold case" from Tj's senior year. A classmate had been murdered. Everyone had been excited about the reunion and homecoming activities, but now some alumni are refusing to attend. Samantha Colton has been delving into everyone's background, implying that everyone had a motive to kill Holly Riverton. Accusations included: jealousy, cheating, blackmail, various obsessions and more. When Tj meets with Samantha she is surprised with all the information and secrets Ms. Colton has uncovered which makes Tj wonder if someone at the party ten years ago was responsible for Holly’s murder. Tj wants to enjoy the Halloween activities, but she can't stop thinking about Holly’s murder. The investigation goes awry when an accident takes the life of a key player. Was it an accident or murder? With two mysteries to solve, TJ and her friends get busy investigating. Ms. Daley introduces the reader to some of the students that TJ coaches at school. One is a girl on TJ’s soccer team who was being bullied. TJ figured out who was doing it and how she solved the problem. Another is an aggressive girl who is having trouble dealing with a death in her family. Lexi Michaels, a soccer team member, is the victim of cyberbullying. Lexi comes from a long line of women who were the bullies, but now that the tables are turned, and Tj must manage that situation as well. Along with meeting some of Tj’s students, there is marked character development in Tj, her half-sisters and Tj’s role as both sister and mother. Who could resist the cute puppy named Pumpkin found trembling under the bushes? There is something for all animal and mystery lovers to enjoy including Halloween/Fall recipes!!! I thoroughly enjoyed this book, which was filled with surprises, and I can’t wait to see what happens next. Great read, lots of surprises. I highly recommend this well written, excellent cozy mystery. A definite Halloween treat! Full Disclosure - A copy of this book was sent to me by the authors in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review.