Checking the Traps (The Isabel Long Mystery Series Book 3) by Joan Livingston @JoanLivingston @crookedcatbooks #LoveBooks

Checking the Traps (The Isabel Long Mystery Series Book 3) by Joan Livingston

A man’s death. His brother’s doubts. Could it be a case of poetic justice?

Isabel Long is banged up from her last case with a broken collarbone and her arm in a sling. But that doesn’t stop her from pouring beer at the Rooster Bar or taking her third case with Gary Beaumont, a local drug dealer, who once terrorized her. Gary is convinced his half-brother, Cary Moore, didn’t jump off a bridge known as a suicide spot. Somebody pushed him. 

Cary was a boozer who drove for a highway crew. But what interests Isabel and her ‘Watson’ — her 93-year-old mother who lives with her — is that the man wrote poetry.

The chief suspects are one of Gary’s business associates and a famous poet who plagiarized his half-brother’s poetry for an award-winning book. Yes, he was that good.

As a journalist, Isabel did regular meetups with her sources for stories. She called it ‘checking the traps.’ She does the same as a private investigator, and this time, she’ll make sure she doesn’t get caught in one.

Joan Livingston is the author of novels for adult and young readers. Chasing the Case and Redneck’s Revenge, published by Crooked Cat Books, are the first two books in her mystery series featuring Isabel Long, a longtime journalist who becomes an amateur sleuth.

Her other novels include The Sweet Spot; Peace, Love, and You Know What; and The Cousins and the Magic Fish/Los Primos y el Pez Mágico.

An award-winning journalist, she started as a reporter covering the hilltowns of Western Massachusetts. She was an editor, columnist, and most recently the managing editor of The Taos News, which won numerous state and national awards during her tenure.

After eleven years in Northern New Mexico, she returned to rural Western Massachusetts, which is the setting of much of her adult fiction, including the Isabel Long series. 

For more, visit her website: Follow her on Twitter @joanlivingston and Instagram @JoanLivingston_Author. Her author page on Facebook is:

INSPIRED ESSAY: A Teacher’s Gift

Let me tell you about Irma Darwin, my fourth-grade teacher, although in those days she was Mrs. Darwin to me. That was a great school year because she gave me the freedom to create.

With Mrs. Darwin I learned about European explorers like Vasco de Gama and Prince Henry the Navigator. I tried to make perfectly round letters in cursive and recite poems from memory. And I learned about Winnie-the-Pooh because she read A.A. Milne’s books aloud to us.

And that’s the year I started writing on my own, making up short stories and mini-plays, scenes really. I assigned parts to my classmates, and we practiced at recess. Later, we performed them when Mrs. Darwin let me take over the front of the classroom. She sat back and watched.

Did I keep any of the writing? No. I don’t recall what I wrote, but I do that feeling of using words to tell a story.

Mrs. Darwin got me started writing. I owe her so much for that. But I bet I’m not alone when I say the path to becoming an author is often not direct. Oh, I wrote poetry in college and afterwards, but then I had a writer’s block that lasted 25 years. I gave up on poetry but couldn’t sustain a thought in prose. But I put that time to good use. I raised six kids. And I read what others wrote. A lot. I still thought of myself as a writer, however. (How I broke that writer’s block is another story. But since that day, I’ve written and published several novels.)

As I discovered, writing is my form of expression. I sit at my computer, and the words come to me from somewhere else. Yeah, that sounds nuts, but writing is kind of a telepathic experience for me. Of course, there’s rewriting. I liken it to making a daydream better.

What advice can I offer? Write because you love doing it. When I hear someone say, “I hate writing, but I have to do it,” I say find something else. The love part is so important because, alas, there is writing and then there is the business of writing. Getting your books to readers and even making money from them can be challenging.

Finally, I will share a piece of advice a professor, Bob Rose, once told me: “Write like it’s never been written before.” That works for me.

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