Murder in Devil’s Cove By Melissa Bourbon: Review/Giveaway/Guest Post

Oct 17, 2020 | 2020 Articles, Animal Rescue Adventures, Cynthia Chow, Mysteryrat's Maze

by Cynthia Chow
& Melissa Bourbon

This week we have a review of Murder in Devil’s Cove by Melissa Bourbon and a guest post by Melissa about the dog who inspired the dog in the books–including a cute pic of him in his Halloween costume. Details at the end of the post on how to enter to win an ebook copy of Deadly Legends, a boxed set containing Melissa’s mystery suspense novels Silent Echoes and Silent Obsession, and a link to purchase Murder in Devil’s Cove.

Murder in Devil’s Cove: A Book Magic Mystery by Melissa Bourbon
Review by Cynthia Chow

All books tell stories, but some people are able to read more than just the words on the pages. As young Pippin Hawthorne will soon learn, her family has been both gifted and cursed to be bibliomancers, ancient practicers who foretell the future and truths through messages hidden within book passages. Pippin knows nothing of this when she and her twin brother return to Devil’s Cove, though, as they have only come to the island off of North Carolina’s Outer Banks to settle their inheritance of their late grandmother’s falling down beach house. Their plans change when Pippin envisions the possibilities of the once beautiful home, and soon renovations begin to transform it into the Sea Captain’s Inn.

For twenty years the twins Pippin and Grey – named after their father’s beloved J.R.R. Tolkien characters – avoided the island where their father abandoned them after their mother’s death. It’s not long before Pippin discovers that their father did not voluntarily leave them alone, stirring up an investigation that the police have little hope of solving. Not about to let the mystery of her parents’ deaths go unresolved, Pippin and her new neighboring friends begin questioning those around during the time of the tragedies. What Pippin quickly learns is that her mother’s distain for books was based in fear, with Homer’s Odyssey predicting their twenty-year absence spurred by tragedy.

This is a unique and compelling new series that introduces a character who initially seems so unrelatable and distant. A learning disorder, not to mention her mother’s banishment of all books, has led to Pippin feeling uncomfortable and embarrassed about her lack of literary knowledge. That may end as she meets Jamie McAdams, the owner of the Open Door Bookshop Purveyor of New, Used, and Antiquarian Books. Not only does the attractive bookseller accept Pippin’s unique and improbable gifts, his daughter is more than willing to help educate Pippin in the delights of reading the classics. Following Pippin as she slowly lowers her guard to trust and allow friends into her life is both charming and fascinating, especially as her early life had her constantly in fear of losing another loved one.

Even more intriguing is bibliomancy, where book citations are used to divine deeper meanings into current and future events. While Homer’s epic poem helped to predict the tragedy that plagued Pippin’s family for generations, it also guides Pippin to a solution much closer to home. Pippin’s declaration to end their tragic legacy leads into the next mystery helmed by her cousins, twins who may also be on their own paths towards death and loss. That doesn’t mean that future installments won’t have their share of comfort food, clever writing, adorable stray animals, or fun supportive islanders willing to aid their new friends. This debut series of bibliomancy, family curses, and genial characters is a perfect escape for the Halloween season.

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).

Character Inspiration

By Melissa Bourbon

Character inspiration for my books comes from various places. Often, I’ll notice a gesture from someone I’ve seen out and about, and that gesture will end up in a book. Sometimes I hear a turn of phrase that strikes me as memorable. Later, one of my characters will utter said phrase. Mostly, though, my characters are straight from my imagination. They have backstories and histories, desires and fears. They become real to me in every way.

You might think that an animal character would just be, well, an animal. A mindless dog or cat that helps round out a character.

Not so!

In Murder in Devil’s Cove, when we meet my protagonist, Pippin, she is pretty alone. She has her brother, but that’s really it for people in her life. She’s got some baggage, though she’s not broken. She has difficulty trusting people. Trust is something that evolves over time, but I wanted there to be a way to show her empathy right away, and for her to have someone trust her, rather than the other way around, without having to wait for those relationships to develop.

Enter a lost rescue pup. First, let me say that I’m a dog-lover. I have a pug and a chug, and they are my shadows. Love ‘em so much! I really like cats, too, but my love for my own dogs inspired the choice for the dog in Murder in Devil’s Cove. I can’t reveal the dog’s name (you have to read the book for that), but I will say that helping this dog becomes something Pippin is determined to do. She wants the dog to trust her, and she works at figuring out how to make that happen.


I could have just made up a dog, but I have a friend with a rescue dog named Finn who is just so adorable and funny that he became the inspiration for the dog in Murder in Devil’s Cove. Finn has such a vibrant personality that he has his own Facebook and Instagram pages, and he even has a YouTube channel!

Finn, in his role as Pippin’s rescue dog, even graces the cover of both Murder in Devil’s Cove and my next book in the Book Magic mystery series, Murder at Sea Captain’s Inn.

Being a cover model is going to his head!

Finn dressed up for Halloween

The dog in my book has a backstory and a personality, and Finn has helped me flesh out the expressions and feisty playfulness, making my dog as real as any human character, at least to me.

Meet Finn below in one of his cute Halloween costumes, because it is October, after all, and check out Murder in Devil’s Cove!

You can follow Finn at:


To enter to win an ebook copy of Deadly Legends, a boxed set containing Melissa’s mystery suspense novels Silent Echoes and Silent Obsession, simply email KRL at krlcontests@gmail[dot]com by replacing the [dot] with a period, and with the subject line “deadly,” or comment on this article. A winner will be chosen October 24, 2020. 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. Be sure to check out our new mystery podcast too with mystery short stories, and first chapters read by local actors. One of Larissa’s books is featured in a past episode. A new episode goes up next week.

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

Melissa Bourbon is the national bestselling author of twenty mystery books, including the brand new collaborative Book Magic mysteries, the Lola Cruz Mysteries, A Magical Dressmaking Mystery series, and the Bread Shop Mysteries, written as Winnie Archer. She lives in North Carolina with her educator husband, Carlos, and their youngest son, and their pug, Bean, and chug, Dobby.
My Website:
My Facebook Book Club Group, the Book Warriors:
My YouTube Channel (author chats and more!):

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’m a big fan of Melissa Bourbon’s in all her iterations. I’d love to add this book to my collection of her works.

  2. Read a lot of great reviews for this book. Would really like to read.

  3. Great giveaway! Count me in!

  4. This sounds very interesting. I love books involving books and pets. Stay safe and well.

  5. Wow! Sounds so interesting and fun to read! I’m glad I saw this post. Thank you for the chance to win this book ??

  6. Love Finn in his Viking costume.
    Great to get in on a new series.
    Hadn’t heard of a Bibliomancer
    before, will be interesting to
    learn more about it.

  7. I’m so excited for this series! aydiniak (at) gmail (dot) com.

  8. We have a winner!

  9. Finn is adorable. I have enjoyed her other books and look forward to reading this new venture. Thanks for the chance to win.


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