With Option to Kill By Catherine Bruns: Review/Giveaway

Apr 8, 2023 | 2023 Articles, Kathleen Costa, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Kathleen Costa

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of the book and a link to purchase it from Amazon.

Family — can’t live with them, can’t bury them in the backyard.

For Cindy York, she only has one rotten branch on the family tree (her mother in-law Helen), and one branch barely hanging on (her sister-in-law Annette). It’s curious that Helen suddenly shows interest in her daughter whose been estranged from the family for twenty years, mainly because of a conflict with her mother, but it’s more of a concern when Annette unexpectedly shows up, announcing she’s here to stay, and asking for Cindy’s expertise to find her an apartment. Cindy’s husband Greg seems to have completely forgotten the pain his sister’s absence caused and is instead thrilled to have her back in his life, but Cindy is very skeptical since Annette is not being forthcoming about why she’s really returned home.

Cindy had taken a four-year leave of absence from Forte Realty, owned by her good friend and trusty sidekick Jacques Forte, when she had Grace, the little midlife surprise, but when she returned last year, the business, too, had its own surprise … its offices burned down. However, after nine months of remote working, the group is back together under the same roof with new offices, including a much larger one assigned to Cindy, and a new employee, who Cindy has been asked to mentor.

With Option to Kill Earns 5/5 Open Houses … Exciting, Engaging Cozy!
Greg’s fiftieth birthday is coming up and Cindy is planning a surprise party to mark the occasion. Of course, Helen’s interference and Annette’s appearance is problematic, but with her daughter Darcy home from college, she should be able to get everything ready with Greg none the wiser. But, to make sure Annette doesn’t wrangle an invitation to stay with them, Cindy’s got to find her an apartment. Mac Tremont, the owner of one great possibility, unfortunately, had hired as his realtor Cindy’s real estate nemesis. However, silver linings do exist: his realtor is out of town, Mac gave permission for a viewing anyway, Annette charmed the owner, an immediate deal was struck, and Annette moved right in. Whew! But, hold on … That night Cindy’s “red flag” anxiety intensifies with a phone call from Annette frantic, asking for help, and saying the police were on their way. Mac was dead, and “it’s all my fault!”

SOLD! Catherine Bruns fifth book in her Cindy York Mystery series was an exciting, well written journey navigating through frustrating family dynamics, dishonest relatives, death threats, disgruntled exes, and a past that may have led to murder. The victim, unfortunately, may have been collateral damage which means lives are still in danger causing a rift between Cindy and her husband. Whew! There’s plenty for Cindy to worry about with kids to manage, a job to do, and her daughter’s wedding to plan, but it’s worse when the danger comes through the front door. Although Cindy will do anything to protect her family, it was added tension that the threat is family. Cindy and Jacques make a delightful partnership in business as well as tracking down a possible suspect at a seedy motel or a strip club, but it gets closer to home with a trashed house, surprise connections, and a shocking final showdown. What hat a cozy ride!

Cindy York Mystery
Books were reissued by the author.

Killer Transaction (2021)
Priced to Kill (2021)
For Sale by Killer (2021)
Killer View (2022)
With Option to Kill (2023)

Audiobook Delight! Check out the Cindy York Mystery series in audiobook on Audible HERE with a set of books 1-3 and individually the first four books. Book five, With Option to Kill, is near completion with Amy Deuchler’s voice artistry once again adding to an already engaging and entertaining drama. Her narrative ability captures and keeps a listener’s attention with her change in tone to illustrate age and gender of the different characters as well as the varying emotions due to the level of peril. It’s definitely a continued treat!

Don’t Miss This Special FREEBIE!
Catherine Bruns joins several popular authors offering a book thru Prolific Work’s sixty-book Twisty Tales & Cozy Crimes giveaway. Catherine’s book, A Killer Market, from her Cindy York Mystery series, is available for download. The books are claimed thru Prolific Works as an ePub, mobi, or pdf file. Pick up one, two, or all sixty books! Be sure to “LIKE” Twisty Tales & Cozy Crime Facebook page, too.

A Killer Market Earns 5/5 For Sale Signs … Clever Prequel Gem!

Cindy York is a hard-working, honest real estate agent working for her good friend, and often sidekick, Jacques Forte. She’s married with a college-age daughter, two twin preteen boys, and a midlife surprise, now preschooler. Along with her feeling blessed with a loving family, she’s also cursed with an antagonist mother-in-law. She also finds herself, too often, and not of her own choosing, in the middle of murder investigations, and although she has so much on her plate with family and work, she always seems to find the time to catch a killer.

But, this all had to start somewhere! In this delightful flashback, “A Killer Market,” Cindy’s family is on auto pilot with her preteen daughter and five-year old twins in school, so having recently earned her real estate license, she hopes to enter the job market by interviewing with Donna Cushman at Hospitable Homes. Cushman corrects her that it’s real estate broker, not agent, touts her company’s success is due to her “superior customer skills,” and disparages having children. Cindy, however, wants the job, and because of a last minute demand by a client, she gets her chance. But, all does not go as planned when she’s threatened by a man with a gun, makes a chilling discovery at a client’s home, and with a new friend, decides to investigate a cold case!

Catherine Bruns is a long-time favorite, and her Cindy York Mystery series is always well-written with a clever mystery, entertaining predicaments, and reasonable investigative methods (nosy, for sure) and hunches, and adding a bit of peril before a successful arrest, it’s a read I highly recommend. Catherine paints a healthy husband/wife relationship as well as realistic family dynamic with teenager angst, overactive youngsters, and a mother-in law’s hellish antics, and in this prequel, fans get a fun introduction to the beginnings of the Cindy/Jacques’ Sherlock/Watson buddyship. I so love prequels! It’s fun to get insights into how characters met or the first of many investigations, and despite being shorter than the rest of the books in the series, the tale was still complex and ‘couldn’t put down’ fun!

Be a Big Catherine Bruns Fan!
Along with this exciting Cindy York Mystery series showing the murderous side of real estate, USA Today bestselling author Catherine Bruns pens several popular cozies; the Cookies & Chance Mystery series, where seemingly innocent fortune cookies, free at Sally Muccio Donovan’s popular Sally’s Samples bakery, heralds “karma” looking for justice; the Italian Chef Mysteries featuring widow Tessa Esposito mixing up her mouthwatering sauce and dabbling as an amateur sleuth; the Maple Syrup Mystery series with Leila Khoury returning to Sugar Ridge, Vermont, to take over the family maple syrup business sweeten with a bit mayhem: and as part of Gemma Halliday Publishing Aloha Lagoon Mystery series with her own two books following Carrie Jorgensen at the Loco Moco Café.

Facebook – Catherine Bruns Books
Goodreads – Catherine Bruns
Website – Catherine Bruns

To enter to win an eBook copy of With Option to Kill by Catherine Bruns make a comment below about real estate: (1) your favorite home style, like ranch or Victorian, (2) dream neighborhood, like rural spaces or gated upscale, or (3) your favorite locale, like beach or mountains.
Or you can simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “option.” A winner will be chosen April 15, 2023. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter.You can read our privacy statement here if you like.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section. And join our mystery Facebook group to keep up with everything mystery we post, and have a chance at some extra giveaways. Also listen to our new mystery podcast where mystery short stories and first chapters are read by actors! They are also available on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, and Spotify. A new episode went up this week.

You can use this link to purchase the latest book. If you have ad blocker on you may not see the Amazon link. You can also click here to purchase the book.

Kathleen Costa is a long-time resident of the Central Valley, and although born in Idaho, she considers herself a “California Girl.” Graduating from CSU-Sacramento, she is 35+ year veteran teacher having taught in grades 1-8 in schools from Sacramento to Los Angeles to Stockton to Lodi. Currently Kathleen is enjoying year 2 of retirement revitalizing hobbies along with exploring writing, reading for pleasure, and spending 24/7 with her husband of 26+ years.

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases. KRL also receives free copies of most of the books that it reviews, that are provided in exchange for an honest review of the book.


  1. I don’t have a preference of what style house I would want for a dream house. I like the house I’m in but I don’t know what style it is. As far as where I would want to live, I’m living there right now, in the country, in the mountains. I guess you could say I’m living in my dream house. Thank you for the chance!

  2. I prefer living in semi-rural areas. Enough space people leave you alone, but near enough town for emergencies.

  3. Family dynamics – what would we do without them.
    Sounds like an interesting read. thanks

  4. I love Victorian and would love to have had one of those wonderful Painted Ladies in San Francisco back in the day. San Fran was a favorite place to visit but not anymore with all of the crime. Anyway, having lived in a ranch in Texas and now a two story in Georgia (which I always wanted growing up), I would prefer a ranch. It is too hard to go up and down the stairs as I get older, and I try to do it only a couple of times a day. I had a friend that had a ranch on the beach in Port Lavaca, Texas and ever room faced the ocean with a long hallway on the back side to be able to access the rooms. Now, I would love that house. It is probably gone as it was built back in the 1950s or so.

  5. We have a winner!


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