Death in the Abstract By Emily Barnes: Review/Giveaway

Jul 15, 2017 | 2017 Articles, Mysteryrat's Maze, Sandra Murphy

by Sandra Murphy

Details at the end of this post on how to enter to win a copy of Death in the Abstract. We also have a link to order it from Amazon, and from an indie bookstore where a portion goes to help support KRL.

Retired police Chief Katherine Sullivan, a widow, moved from Edina, Minnesota, to New Mexico to paint and soak up the sun. She’d first fallen in love with the area when her husband gave her a solo vacation as a birthday present. No schedule to follow, no tours to take, just time for herself. It was bliss. Now she lives there and returns to Minnesota to visit family.

Her husband was a police officer too, killed in the line of duty. His partner, Nathan, and his wife, Terry, were close friends. Terry died of cancer. It seems Katherine and Nathan might have more than a friendship, but with the distance and bad timing, it’s hard to tell. They have been tuned into each other enough to go beyond finishing each other’s sentences but not as far as telepathy or mind reading. Retired too, Nathan now runs a security firm. book

When Katherine gets a call from Nathan’s employees, they’re in a panic. They’re good people but lost without him—and without him, they are. He hasn’t shown up for work for two days, isn’t answering his cell phone, and they don’t know where to turn. Katherine hops the next plane back to Minnesota. On her arrival, nothing has changed. The police are notified, but the new Chief isn’t all that fond of Katherine. Besides, they have a woman’s murder to solve. The Chief and his wife were friends of the dead woman. On top of that, an unidentified male body was found alongside the road. It’s assumed he was a hit and run victim, but a murder takes priority over a hit and run or a missing person. That suits Katherine—now she can investigate without interference.

The place to start is by tracing Nathan’s steps on the last day he was seen. There were appointments with clients who were a little testy and rated a visit from the boss himself and one client who was a friend. Katherine also searches his house and his car, found in a secluded area of a park.

Katherine is staying with her lawyer daughter. The grandkids are with their dad but expect to see her. It’s hard to fight the urge to keep investigating but a break is sometimes good. Chloe is an exuberant child, Cam, her brother, very quiet because of Asperger’s.

To say much more would ruin the enjoyment of following Katherine’s investigation. She’s a professional when on the hunt, doesn’t put herself into jeopardy, and is thoughtful in planning what’s next. In her personal life, she has a good relationship with her daughter, Lizzie, and both grandkids. She wasn’t too sure how things would go with her ex-son-in-law, but they manage to work things out for the benefit of all.

Nathan’s employees are a mixed bunch, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. Readers will look forward to learning more about them as well.

For readers who enjoy a strong female character who can balance a personal life, family, passion for learning (her painting), and a potential romance, this is a book to enjoy and reread. It’s a pleasure to meet a character who is older than the usual thirty-something, who is a vibrant personality, and ready to meet life head-on.

It’s the second book in the Katherine Sullivan Mystery series, and it can be read out of order but be warned, you’ll want to find the first one to see what you’ve missed.

To enter to win a copy of Death in Abstract, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “abstract,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen July 22, 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 & short stories in our mystery section.

Use this link to purchase the book & a portion goes to help support KRL & indie bookstore Mysterious Galaxy:

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


Sandra Murphy lives in the shadow of the Arch, in the land of blues, booze and shoes—St Louis, Missouri. While writing magazine articles to support her mystery book habit, she secretly polishes mystery books of her own, hoping, someday, they will see the light of Barnes and Noble and a Kindle. You can find several of Sandra’s short stories at Untreed Reads including her newest, “Arthur,” included in the anthology titled, Flash and Bang, available now. Look for Denali, in the anthology Dogs and Dragons.

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. sounds like a great read. Added to my TBR.
    kckendler at gmail dot com

  2. The setting, the mystery will make this a great read!!

  3. This sounds like an intriguing mystery and an unusual sleuth. Thanks for the review! aut1063(at)gmail(dot)com

  4. Intriguing review. Thanks for the chance! Injennius (at) yahoo (dot) com

  5. This sounds wonderful and a fun read. I would love to read and review.
    Write on….

  6. Another book to be added to my TBR pile

  7. I’m definitely intrigued and would love to win and read Death in the Abstract. Thanks for the opportunity.

  8. I like the idea of mature women still being active and solving crimes. I would love to read this book. Look forward to more.

  9. This book sounds good I would love to read in print also this is a new author to me. After reading I would leave reviews on goodreads and amazon.

  10. This sounds like a really good mystery, I’d love to win a copy. Thanks for the chance. crs(at)codedivasites(dot)com

  11. Another new series & author to try. Thanks for the giveaway!

  12. Older than thirty something sounds interesting. Thank you.

  13. I love the cover!

  14. Sounds like a great read!

  15. I really enjoyed the description of the book. Sounds like an interesting read.

  16. I love stories taking place in MN and Edina is just a hop, skip and a jump from me! Will be fun reading about familiar places.

  17. We have a winner!


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