Blood Family By Jacqueline Seewald: Review/Giveaway/Guest Post

May 23, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy
& Jacqueline Seewald

This week we have a review of Blood Family By Jacqueline Seewald. We also have an interesting guest post from Jacqueline about keeping a series fresh and interesting. Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of the book, and links to purchase it.

Blood Family by Jacqueline Seewald
Review by Sandra Murphy

Kim Reynolds searched for her biological father and finally found him. While some men would balk at the notion a stranger announcing she is his child, James Shaw not only listens to her but asks for a DNA test to prove his paternity and shares the background of his relationship with her mother. His wife has since passed away and his son, Dylan, has disappeared without a trace.

Before Kim and James can get to know more about each other, he dies of apparently natural causes. Kim is shocked to find out she’s included in his will for a substantial amount of money. After the will is read, a woman named Barbara claims a long-term relationship with James, hints he might be her daughter’s father and they intended to marry. She’s unhappy with the amount of money he left for her and wants to contest the will.

A fourth of the company, the house, and its furnishings are left to James’ daughter, Claire, with the stipulation that if Dylan doesn’t return, she inherits his share, too. Claire leads a sheltered life but reaches out to Kim, something the estate employees seem to discourage.

In her personal life, Kim must deal with an unpleasant employee at the library, her fiancé Mike, a new house under construction, and Mike’s teenage daughters. Mike’s a cop so that’s added worry.

Kim’s convinced James was murdered, especially after spending time with Claire. Kim is followed, threatening notes are left on her car, and she receives crank phone calls. Since James was rich and the CEO of a large company, he had enemies. Is the motive personal or business? There are suspects from every area of his life.

Kim is a likable character with more patience than most, waiting to get married until the new house is finished. Her relationship with Mike is a good one, each giving the other space and support. I thought sure I knew who the killer was but was wrong, just the kind of mystery I like.

Other Kim Reynolds titles include The Truth Sleuth, The Inferno Collection, The Drowning Pool, and The Bad Wife. A prolific writer, Seewald also writes western romance, historical romance, young adult fiction, Gothic romance, and short stories.

Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch in St. Louis Missouri. A Murder of Crows, edited by Sandra Murphy (a popular title so you need her name to search), has twenty-one cozy stories. Each features the collective name of an animal and a crime. The animals range from tarantulas, koalas, wolves, bears, jellyfish, toads, cats, dogs, alpaca, goats, penguins and more. No animals were harmed. The people weren’t so lucky. Available at the usual outlets, print or ebook.

How to Keep Series Novels Fresh and Interesting
By Jacqueline Seewald

Writers need to keep their series fiction unique in certain respects. However, readers generally enjoy a consistency of setting in a series. The setting should be one the author knows well whether it be a city he/she has lived in, a rural community, an exotic place visited, or an historic location that has been researched in detail. This lends authenticity to the novel. For instance, in the first mystery in my Kim Reynolds librarian sleuth series, The Inferno Collection, I chose a university setting because it was one I was very familiar with. I had not only received several graduate degrees, I both taught English and was an academic librarian (at different times) at Rutgers. However, intending to keep the series fresh, each of the five novels has a different locale in Central New Jersey where I lived for forty years. Yet whether it be the university or an apartment complex–the town itself is the same one.

Jacqueline Seewald

A series should have characters you will want to return to again and again. I enjoy reading Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series because I know the characters, and they make me laugh. I enjoy reading the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series because of the wonderfully charming characters Alexander McCall Smith has created. In my second Kim Reynolds mystery, The Drowning Pool, Kim Reynolds and homicide detective Mike Gardner return to solve another set of murders. They are joined by a new character, a woman of color, police detective Bert St. Croix. The three main characters are very different in personality and background but each lends something unique to the novel’s plot.

In mysteries, people are not as they would appear, and so there is an element of disillusionment. That can also be true of society in general and the legal system in particular. I believe that plot is crucial in the mystery novel or any series. In the Kim Reynolds series, there are connected murders that need to be solved. The main characters become personally involved as in The Truth Sleuth when Kim initially finds the body of a murdered boy and discovers another at the high school. In The Bad Wife, the woman Mike believed he’d been divorced from returns to wreak havoc in the lives of Mike and Kim. When Mike is accused of her murder, Kim and Bert work together to save him and find the real killer.

The protagonists should be like real people with their lives changing and their characters developing. Ideally, in a mystery series the main characters in the novels are not static but yet remain true to their essential natures. They should also not be perfect paragons of virtue but have flaws just like real human beings. This is true in my new Kim Reynolds mystery Blood Family, published this month by Encircle.

Do series novels have an advantage over standalone novels? As a reader or as a writer, which do you prefer?

To enter to win a copy of Blood Family, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “blood,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen May 30, 2020. U.S. residents only, and you must be 18 or older to enter. If you are entering via email please include you mailing address in case you win, it will be deleted after the contest. You can read our privacy statement here if you like. BE AWARE THAT IT WILL TAKE LONGER THAN USUAL FOR WINNERS TO GET THEIR BOOKS DUE TO THE CURRENT CRISIS.

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 goes up next week!

You can use this link to purchase this book from indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy, and KRL gets a portion of the sale:

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

You can also purchase the book directly from the publisher.

Multiple award-winning author, Jacqueline Seewald, has taught creative, expository, and technical writing at Rutgers University as well as high school English. She also worked as both an academic librarian and an educational media specialist. Twenty of her books of fiction have been published to critical praise including books for adults, teens, and children. Her most recent mystery novels are Death Promise and Blood Family. Her short stories, poems, essays, reviews and articles have appeared in hundreds of diverse publications and numerous anthologies such as: The Writer, L.A. Times, Reader’s Digest, Pedestal, Sherlock Holmes Mystery Magazine, Over my Dead Body!, Gumshoe Review, Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, and The Christian Science Monitor. She enjoys painting landscapes and singing along to all kinds of music. Her writer’s blog can be found at: Blood Family is Jacqueline Seewald’s fifth Kim Reynolds Mystery.

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. DNA testing might be more trouble than it’s worth. Count me in!

  2. Thank you for reading and reviewing BLOOD FAMILY. I appreciate the support, Sandra and Lorie. Thank you Kings River Life for featuring so many of us who write fiction!

  3. Sounds like a great book. Thanks for the chance.

  4. New author for me, sounds good! tWarner419(at)aol(dot)com

  5. Blood Family sounds like a fascinating read. And your advice, Jacqueline, is spot on, as always. Wishing you lots of sales!

  6. Jacquie, your posts are always instructive and interesting. Good luck with your new novel.

  7. Sounds like another wonderful book in your series, Jacqueline!
    Good luck and God’s blesings

  8. Lots of different plots in
    one big story. Love unraveling
    threads. thanks

  9. I’m unfamiliar with this series, but it sounds interesting! Thanks for the chance to win.

  10. We have a winner!


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