Murder by Fireworks By Susan Bernhardt: Review/Giveaway

Jul 1, 2017 | 2017 Articles, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win an e-book copy of Murder by Fireworks, and a link to purchase it from Amazon.

With two days to go until her oldest son gets married, the last thing Kay Driscoll needs is yet another burden stressing her out. That doesn’t stop her husband Phil from announcing that his cousin Loren is in the hospital, and by the way, Loren’s twelve year-old daughter is coming to stay with them in Sudbury Falls, Wisconsin. Apparently Janey’s mother is too busy on a vacation with her own boyfriend to rush over and pick up the rebellious girl, who acts out through dyed hair, vampire teeth, and kleptomania. Even more distracting for Kay is contending with her fellow bookclub member James Ferguson, who disrupts the wedding with his arrogant comments, insults, and flirtations with married women. After James is thrown out of the reception the celebration goes smoothly, but the same can’t be said for the following Fourth of July parade and fireworks show. Those explosions may have covered James being shot to death, which the police conclude to be an act of suicide. No one seems to be mourning the loss, but Kay refuses to believe that the egotistical James would have killed himself and is adamant that despite his flaws, no one deserves to be

Phil may be mostly off in his own world and focused on his struggling musical career and band, but the one thing he is adamant about is that Kay not investigate and place herself at risk. Already not happy with Phil’s lack of truthfulness regarding the Janey situation, Kay is not about to sit on the sidelines while justice is ignored. Enlisting her best friends Deidre and Elizabeth, they begin questioning the many people justifiably furious at the former high school guidance counselor. James slept his way into a new job he didn’t deserve and was having affairs with several married women, so the suspect list is full of those who also wouldn’t hesitate to stop Kay’s investigation in its tracks.

Kay has the patience of a saint, and it’s easy to become incensed on her behalf when her husband shies away from confrontation and hides behind his music. Similarly, Janey seems to employ the most irritating of pre-teen traits by plugging in, being impertinent, and stealing items she feels she deserves. What softens her character is the slow reveal of her neglected upbringing, not to mention having the worst role models possible. Janey proves to be as enthusiastic an investigator as Elizabeth, who is shying away from her own upcoming wedding to a nice, but boring, man in just a few days. Kay battles her frustrations through humor and a lot of stress-eating, and she has a single-minded focus when it comes to delivering justice. The complexities of the characters make them seem truly real, and their flaws are what make them both relatable and sympathetic. They are what will have readers returning to this series for future installments highlighting their relatable and likable heroine.

To enter to win an e-book copy of Murder by Fireworks, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “fireworks,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 8, 2017. U.S. residents only. If entering via email please include your mailing address, and if via comment please include your email address.

Check out other mystery articles, reviews, book giveaways & mystery short stories in our mystery section.


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

Cynthia Chow is the branch manager of Kaneohe Public Library on the island of Oahu. She balances a librarian lifestyle of cardigans and hair buns with a passion for motorcycle riding and regrettable tattoos (sorry, Mom).

Disclosure: This post contains links to an affiliate program, for which we receive a few cents if you make purchases using those links. 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 love fireworks!!!

  2. I would love to read this and love ebooks. Thank you..

  3. Sounds like it would be enjoyable to read!

  4. Sounds like Kay has her hands full!! I think this would be a great read!

  5. Sounds like an entertaining read! Who doesn’t have dysfunctional family members? Lol.

  6. I haven’t read any of Susan’s books yet and everyone has given great reviews. Thankyou for the opportunity! minishoes(at)msn (dot)com

  7. I love fireworks except when the neighbors are setting them off all of the time. Love the cover!! pgenest57 at aol dot com

  8. Thanks for the chance

  9. What an awesome read for the summer.. Would enjoy reading.

  10. I like the setting in Wisconsin where I live and the whole contents if the book sounds so interesting. From the girl to fireworks provides a lot of twists and turns to the book. Here’s hoping I win it. I want to find this book soon. Thank you

  11. We have a winner!

  12. I just saw Lorie’s comment that a winner has been chosen. I hope those of you who entered and didn’t win, will still consider reading this fun and exciting series. Last week I turned in the fourth Kay Driscoll book to my publisher, my fifth mystery! Thank you all for entering. 🙂


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