The Hard Way

The Hard Way

by Cathi Stoler Stoler

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PI Helen McCorkendale's childhood friend, Jimmy Scanlan, has just opened January, the most lavish casino and hotel resort in Vegas. After attending the grand opening, Helen returns to New York and encourages her magazine editor friend, Laurel Imperiole to create a get-away contest for readers offering a weekend at the hotel as the grand prize. The winner, Dawn Chapman, a jewelry store employee from Cincinnati, denies entering the contest and initially refuses the trip. Finally persuaded by Laurel to accept, she arrives at the hotel and nearly faints when she passes the hotel's elite meeting rooms where the International Diamond Dealers Consortium is holding its annual meeting. She insists on returning home immediately. Suspicious of her behavior, Jimmy visits her suite to encourage her to attend the Saturday afternoon pool party, saying she can leave on his private jet the next day. Later in the afternoon, he finds Chapman's dead body by the pool. She's been murdered--an unusual double poisoning by cyanide and diamond dust. Dawn Chapman was not who she appeared to be, and therein lies a mystery. But to Helen and Laurel, the main task is to take Jimmy Scanlon off the suspect list and clear his name. Will their luck hold? Or will it be a crap shoot, as they roll the dice and do it 'the hard way,' going for doubles when the odds are against them. Losing may mean losing their lives. Book 3 of the Laurel and Helen New York Mystery series.

Product Details

BN ID: 2940149257706
Publisher: Camel Press
Publication date: 04/08/2014
Series: A Laurel and Helen New York Mystery , #3
Sold by: Barnes & Noble
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 280
File size: 394 KB

About the Author

Cathi Stoler’s mysteries feature PI Helen McCorkendale and magazine editor, Laurel Imperiole. The Hard Way is the third book in the series. The first, Telling Lies, took on the subject of stolen Nazi art. Book 2, Keeping Secrets, delved into the subject of hidden identity. Stoler’s short stories include: “Magda,” in the Criminal Element Anthology Malfeasance Occasional: Girl Trouble, “Out of Luck,” in the Anthology, Murder New York Style: Fresh Slices, “Fatal Flaw,” a finalist for the Derringer for Best Short Story and “Money Never Sleeps” both published at Beat to A Pulp. Cathi is working on a novella, Nick of Time, which features International gambler, Nick Donahue. She is also starting a new series, Bar None, A Murder On The Rocks Mystery, with female bar owner, Jude Dillane. Cathi is a member of the New York/Tri State chapter of Sisters In Crime. She is also a member of Mystery Writers of America and blogs at Women of You can find Cathi on Facebook or at her website,

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The Hard Way 4.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Murfy More than 1 year ago
Cathi Stoler delivers another winner in her Laural and Helen mystery series. Set amidst the glitz and glamour of Las Vegas, The Hard Way brings back feisty private detective, Helen McCorkendale. Childhood friend, Jimmy Scanlan, has just opened Vegas’s most lavish casino and resort. Months later, his dream is threatened when a guest is found murdered and police have their eyes set on Scanlan. McCorkendale hops on a plane and jumps into the middle of the murder investigation. She discovers the victim is really a jewel thief and the cause of death is cyanide and diamond dust poisoning. The trail leads to a rare blood-colored diamond. As she draws close to uncovering the truth behind the killing, she barely escapes with her life. Undaunted, the detective goes after the rich and powerful and in the end she’s as surprised by who’s behind the murderous quest for the diamond as the reader.  Hard Way is a fast paced novel of mystery and suspense packed with plenty of twists and turns. Readers are treated to a determined and sympathetic hero in McCorkendale and plenty of richly drawn suspects, greedy and determined to play the high stakes game of wealth and power in a town known for both.  Stoler is a master of character-driven mysteries and demonstrates her skill in The Hard Way.
Tribute_Books_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Gamblers are a fickle lot. If there's even a hint of a suggestion that a place is jinxed, they'll up and run like nobody's business, never to return. So when a contest winner from Women Now magazine is murdered at the newly opened January Resort and Casino, all of Las Vegas holds its collective breath. Will owner Jimmy Scanlan be charged with homicide or will he simply lose his shirt? Somebody's out to get him and his most trusted friend P.I. Helen McCorkendale is determined to get to the bottom of things and save him from the slammer, as well as impending bankruptcy. The clues start to add up, one by one. The International Diamond Dealers Consortium is holding a convention at Jimmy's casino. The victim, Dawn Chapman, was poisoned when someone laced her gin and tonic with diamond dust, a modus operandi akin to swallowing ground-up glass. Jimmy's main rival on the Strip is the owner of The Florentine, who tried to keep Jimmy from setting up shop, but failed. His security detail has ties to the consortium, but he begged off holding the convention, claiming that a movie was being shot at his casino and he couldn't accommodate their needs, making it more than suspicious that he was setting Jimmy up to take the fall. Helen has her work cut out for her, but she's ready and willing to take on some of the richest diamond dealers in the world. They don't want their dirty secrets coming to light, but she doesn't let anything dissuade her from investigating their back room dealings. She knows that she's walking on dangerous ground, looking into the de Groot family, one of the most prestigious in the diamond trade. They recently acquired a red diamond believed to be lost after Tsar Nicholas was executed during the Russian Revolution. With its sudden reappearance, more than a few jewel thieves are looking to steal it for themselves. Was Dawn Chapman one of those thieves? When her criminal background is revealed, Helen begins to question the motives of this supposed jewelry store worker from Cincinnati. Who was she really and how come she didn't want to visit Las Vegas? Did she cross paths with someone in Jimmy's hotel before she turned up dead? Was it someone from the consortium or another hustler who wanted her out of the picture when it came to stealing the diamond? Stoler poses a lot of questions as her narrative thread weaves its way toward a compelling conclusion. Sometimes the good guys win, and sometimes they don't. It takes a mystery writer worthy of her salt to shake things up a bit at the end, and not give readers exactly what they're looking for, but something decidedly more off center, something better. There's nothing worse than figuring a mystery out in the opening pages, and Stoler works in enough twists and turns to keep readers guessing all the way to the final chapter for an ending many won't see coming.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Helen's friend, Jimmy Scanlon, opens a casino in Las Vegas—"an ice bar" called January. To announce its opening, a contest is held as a promotion, which leads to the murder of the winning contestant. Helen uses her private investigating skills to come to Jimmy's aid as she tries to find out who was involved in committing such an ill-timed murder. THE HARD WAY is a very intriguing and fast paced mystery that takes you into the back rooms of the diamond trade. I found the Las Vegas setting to be an exciting one as Stoler created a world of shady characters and dangerous situations. Overall, I found this to be a very enjoyable read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
There are cozy mysteries. There are grisly mysteries. But I'd dub this one a glam mystery. Why? Because of its setting. Stepping inside the January Resort and Casino is like watching an episode of Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. Tuxes, diamonds, caviar, you name it, all come together in one spectacular Las Vegas showcase that attempts to turn the unforgiving heat of the desert into a winter wonderland for the affluent, connected and good-looking. They'll have their cake and eat it too, even if it means fashioning a roaring fireplace out of ice. But the extravagance doesn't stop there. With the International Diamond Dealers Consortium in town, anything is possible. The de Groot family has long been associated with the luxury trade, and they're about to unveil the discovery of a precious red diamond once owned by the last Russian tsar. But before that can happen the reluctant winner of a magazine contest turns up dead at a Polar Cap Pool Party. Why was she reluctant to stay at such a fabulous and exclusive hotel? Maybe it was the cause of death—death by diamond dust, to be precise. It seems such a pretty way to die, but it's really not. Mixed with cyanide, the victim's organs were shredded internally as soon as she swallowed the lethal dosage in her comped drink. Her skin turned pink. She couldn't breath and eventually went into cardiac arrest. Dawn Chapman didn't want to go on this trip, and she shouldn't have. Because it turns out that Dawn Chapman is really Deirdre Thornhill, international jewel thief extraordinaire, not the salesperson for a family-run jewelry store in Ohio that she was passing herself off as. There are a lot of suspects in this whodunit. There's Jimmy Scanlan, January's owner, who may or may not be covering up a shady deal gone bad. There's Jimmy's main competitor, Clive Drummond, the owner of The Florentine, who could be setting Jimmy up to take the fall and destroy his business. There are many players surrounding the diamond dealers themselves, especially the nefarious members of their security teams some of whom look and act more like stone cold killers than the threats they're supposed to be protecting their illustrious bosses from. Stoler sets up her thriller brilliantly. It hooks the reader from the get go with its opulence and sophistication. Her distinctly imaginative setting is one that transports mystery fans right into the action, gripping them with fur-covered ice stools and poolside chalets. The January Resort and Casino is a place anyone would love to stay at, but being that it's confined to the page gives readers the added benefit of being able to leave this must-see destination alive. When it comes to faux snow, some things are better left to the imagination, especially when there's a killer on the loose.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Yes, this is first and foremost a mystery, but the multiple interwoven love stories are what kept me on the edge of my seat. Helen and Jimmy. I thought these two had sparks flying out the wazoo but they were either too afraid or too oblivious to act on them. Helen has known Jimmy forever, ever since the third grade. She comes to the opening of his new casino in Vegas with her boyfriend in tow. Mike's a nice guy, but he doesn't seem to have the stomach to keep up with Helen's P.I. work. He's more of a security blanket to Jimmy's overprotective alpha male. Jimmy doesn't want Helen to get hurt either, and when she does, he takes care of her himself, carrying her in his arms and tucking her into his bed. There's something so deliciously swoon-worthy about that kind of man. The strong, take no prisoners type is such a turn on compared to the sturdy, dependable variety, at least in fiction. From my perspective, I could see how much Jimmy wanted things between them to turn into more. His feelings for Helen were so apparent that his jealous personal assistant, Maddie, certainly picked up on them, no doubt wishing that Jimmy would look at her the way he looked at Helen. My heart went out to Jimmy because he can see Helen moving forward in her relationship with Mike, as she slowly starts to leave him behind and make room in her life for a man that's not him. Jimmy tries to come off as happy for her, but inside he's sad that he's probably going to end up alone.  For me, Jimmy and Helen just seemed to fit together so perfectly, and it's not by chance that they nicknamed each other, Mutt and Jeff. Helen's not used to sharing her life with someone else. She's afraid of having to be attentive to another person's wants and needs when she's so used to going it alone. When it comes to Mike, she doesn't know if she can do it. And to me, that's the red flag that she chooses to ignore. If Mike was the one, she wouldn't have to question her devotion or her ability to put him first. With Jimmy, it comes more easily, like second nature. She drops everything to defend him against a possible murder charge while she leaves Mike back home in New York, letting days go by between phone calls. Jimmy is clearly her first priority, I just wish she would realize that. Laurel and Aaron. These two I could really relate to. They had something once, but Laurel screwed up big time and Aaron broke things off. Laurel was only helping Helen on a case, but she effectively damaged Aaron's trust in her and now she doesn't know if she can get it back, especially when Aaron almost lost his job on the NYPD because of it. He still loves her, but she just hurt him too much with her betrayal. To thicken the plot, Laurel happens to be Mike's daughter, and Helen will stop at nothing until she gets them back together. The scene I enjoyed most in the book was the one where Aaron, against his better judgment, goes to Laurel's apartment on behalf of Helen's latest case. When he steps inside the door, Laurel can feel his presence and the way it used to fill her space. She misses him desperately, especially when he takes his usual place on her couch, just like he always did. When she agrees to accompany him to a black tie affair at the Museum of Natural History to help Helen nab her jewel thief, the chemistry between them is still there. He's speechless when he sees her in her black cocktail dress, and she can't take her eyes off him looking dashing in his dark suit. I couldn't resist cheering for them and hoping that they would give their romance another try. Deirdre and Pieter. She's the victim of this murder mystery and he's her lover. The only evidence of their relationship are a series of photos that Laurel receives after Deirdre's employer snoops through the belongings in her apartment after her tragic demise. What's heart wrenching about the photos is that Deirdre appears head over heels in love with Pieter, but he looks at best disinterested in her. The one-sidedness of their relationship strikes all three of the women who view the images - her employer, Laurel and Helen. They feel the deceased's pain even if they never saw Deirdre and Pieter together in real life. For me that speaks volumes about the kind of author that Stoler is. She's able to elicit sympathy for a character introduced briefly at the beginning and portrayed as haughty and posh, the typical reserve characteristic of all Brits, even if she was anything but. As Helen later uncovers, her father was a con man who taught her to always strive to act above her station in life in order to get ahead. She was scraping and clawing to get by, even if she looked elegant and poised on the outside. Stoler spins an entertaining yarn full of suspense and thrills, but her asides into the realm of romance are what give the book its oomph factor. It's what allows the humanity to bleed through. There's no better way to connect with characters than through matters of the heart, and Stoler does that and then some.
Faith4 More than 1 year ago
Every detective series has some endearing quality to hook the reader, or the series would have been a one shot deal.   The detective story, The Hard Way, has many endearing facets, which is why the Laurel and Helen mysteries are so successful.    Why she’s that lady you see around town.  She is always dressed fashionably, and is busy doing something interesting.  You’d love to be friends with her. Guess what.  You can.  The book is The Hard Way, by Cathi Stoler, and you and Helen can have a cup of coffee and share one dessert with two spoons.  That’s how Helen is.  Helen will also tell you about her boyfriend Mike.  They recently moved in together.   Laurel is Helen friend, accomplice, and Mike’s daughter. The Hard Way is about Helen helping out another friend, Jimmy.  Jimmy Scanlon just opened up a casino in Las Vegas.  He named it January because the theme is “cold.”  That’s cold colors, a frozen bar, and all around “cool”.  As a promotional gimmick, a contest offered a free weekend at January.  What’s weird is that the winner didn’t want to come.  She eventually changed her mind and came, only to be murdered.  The Hard Way is a who done it. The suspects are: Jimmy’s competitor—Drummond, someone in the mob, maybe even one of the diamond exhibitors staying at the January.  I’ll help you out.  The killer isn’t one of them, but that’s the closest to a spoiler, you’ll get.  There’s a traitor in Jimmy’s circle of confidants and friends.  Then there’s an international jewel theft ring.  And oh, the murdered victim wasn’t an innocent casualty. An interesting aside is Laurel’s love life.  Laurel is Helen’s partner in crime, so to speak.  Laurel was interested in a New York cop.  Evidently, due to circumstances,  Aaron Gerrard (the cop) can never understand, Laurel betrayed him.  He has turned his back on her; he won’t listen; he is finished with her.  This case has them working together, again.  This interplay is very interesting.   Interpol becomes involved.  Diamonds are stolen.  People are killed.  Helen is in danger.   The pace is so fast that you can’t read fast enough.   You’ll enjoy every minute of The Hard Way.  In fact, you’ll soon be reading the other two Laurel and Helen New York Mystery series, because The Hard Way will make you a fan.
MasonCanyon More than 1 year ago
Author Cathi Stoler takes you by the hand, leads you into a winter wonderland Vegas-style atmosphere and then down the path to a fascinating murder mystery. New York P.I. Helen McCorkendale and her boyfriend, Mike, are VIP guest at the elaborate new Vegas casino and hotel, January, owned by Helen’s childhood friend, Jimmy Scanlan. They spend the weekend rubbing elbows with the rich and famous. Back in New York, Helen has her friend, Laurel Imperiole, Senior Editor at Women Now Magazine, host a contest for her readers. The grand prize is a weekend trip to Jimmy’s hotel. Things begin to get strange when the winner, Dawn Chapman, a Cincinnati jewelry store employee, denies entering the contest and doesn’t want to go. Finally convinced to go, Dawn has a shocking reaction when she arrived at the hotel and sees the International Diamond Dealers Consortium is meeting there. A short time later, Jimmy discovers Dawn dead by the pool. She’s been poisoned with cyanide and diamond dust. It turns out there may have been more to Dawn than everyone knew. However, with Jimmy as a suspect and his hotel on the line, Helen and Laurel are determined to find the truth and the killer no matter what. The author has created a story that is loaded with suspense, action and adventure. It moves quickly and is an easy read. The characters are likable and realistic. Even though THE HARD DAY is the third installment in the Laurel and Helen New York Mystery series, it can be read on its own. There is enough backstory that new readers are left in the dark and returning fans get to catch up with favorite characters. A murder mystery with eloquent Vegas-style twists and turns, Stoler’s latest release will have you guessing until the end. FTC Full Disclosure – A copy of this book was sent to me as part of the author’s virtual book tour in hopes I would review it. However, receiving the complimentary copy did not influence my review. The thoughts are completely my own and given honestly and freely.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is the second in the series of detective stories and the characters are becoming vastly more interesting and appealing.  The story grabs you and moves along briskly.  The background facts seem to be well researched and add to the realism of the situation.  Recommend.