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About Alicia Beckman
Alicia Beckman, author of the forthcoming BLIND FAITH (Crooked Lane Books, October 2022), is the alter ego of Leslie Budewitz, three-time Agatha Award winner and bestselling author of the Spice Shop and Food Lovers’ Village mysteries.
Alicia writes standalone moody suspense. beginning with BITTERROOT LAKE (2021) and continuing with BLIND FAITH (October 2022). A photograph. A memory. A murdered priest. A passion for justice. A vow never to return.
Two women whose paths crossed in Montana years ago discover they share keys to a deadly secret that exposes a killer—and changes everything they thought they knew about themselves.
Leslie's latest cozy is PEPPERMINT BARKED (2022), the 6th Spice Shop mystery. Seattle Spice Shop owner Pepper Reece investigates when a young woman working the Christmas rush in her friend’s Vinny’s wine shop is brutally attacked, on the busiest shopping day of the year.
BLIND FAITH is a standalone, my first novel set largely in my hometown of Billings, Montana, and involves a contemporary cold-case investigation and a historical story that spans more than thirty years. It explores identity, as most of my books do, along with memory, revenge, justice, friendship, and family. It was challenging to write—at one point, my office closet doors were covered in sticky notes in three different colors—but I love how it turned out, and I hope you will, too.
And on a more playful note, it's been a delight to return to the Spice Shop, a fictional shop in Seattle’s very real Pike Place Market, a place I fell in love ages ago as a college freshman. I made it my mission to eat my way through the place, and since it’s constantly changing, I’ll never be done!
The Market is especially fun at Christmas, when every merchant, restaurateur, and daystaller pulls out all the stops to celebrate the season. I great fun recreating the joy of the place in my mind and on the page, and sharing it with you. Of course, it wouldn’t be a mystery without a murder, and without intrepid Pepper Reece to solve it.
I’ve often said that a recurrent theme in my books is a woman’s search for identity. In PEPPERMINT BARKED, I flipped that script, looking at identity from a male perspective. Several males, in fact. And of course, there are recipes for Christmas favorites. Just for you, readers, I tested home-brewed peppermint mochas on a 90+ degree day.
I’m also the author of the Food Lovers' Village Mysteries, set in fictional Jewel Bay, Montana. DEATH A DENTE, first in the series, won the 2013 Agatha Award for Best First novel. I’m the proud owner of two other Agatha teapots—2018 Best Short Story for “All God’s Sparrows,” set in Montana Territory in 1885, and 2011 Best Nonfiction (2011) for BOOKS, CROOKS & COUNSELORS: How to Write Accurately About Criminal Law & Courtroom Procedure, drawing on my thirty-plus years as a lawyer. My books and short stories have also won or been nominated for Derringer, Anthony and Macavity awards.
As a lawyer, I’ve represented individuals seeking damages for terrible wrongs, employers looking to do the right thing, and clients ranging from commercial fishermen to radio stations and even a major league baseball team. Currently, I handle mediations and help lawyers in over their heads. I’m a board member of Mystery Writers of America and past president of Sisters in Crime. I love to cook, eat, hike, travel, garden, and paint—not necessarily in that order. My husband Don Beans, a doctor of natural medicine, our gray tuxedo cat, an avid bird watcher, and I live in northwest Montana.
For regular updates, please visit my website, http://www.LeslieBudewitz.com, and click on the newsletter tab to sign up for emails about new releases, launch parties and other fun goings-on, and book giveaways. Subscribers get a free download of "The End of the Line,” a short story inspired by an odd sight on a trip to Greece.
Readers are my favorite people. Drop me a line at Alicia@AliciaBeckman.com or Leslie@LeslieBudewitz.com. Join me at my website, LeslieBudewitz.com, or on Facebook at Leslie Budewitz & Alicia Beckman.
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Titles By Alicia Beckman
Twenty-five years ago, during a celebratory weekend at historic Whitetail Lodge, Sarah McCaskill had a vision. A dream. A nightmare. When a young man was killed, Sarah's guilt over having ignored the warning in her dreams devastated her. Her friendships with her closest friends, and her sister, fell apart as she worked to build a new life in a new city. But she never stopped loving Whitetail Lodge on the shores of Bitterroot Lake.
Now that she's a young widow, her mother urges her to return to the lodge for healing. But when she arrives, she's greeted by an old friend--and by news of a murder that's clearly tied to that tragic day she'll never forget.
And the dreams are back, too. What dangers are they warning of this time? As Sarah and her friends dig into the history of the lodge and the McCaskill family, they uncover a legacy of secrets and make a discovery that gives a chilling new meaning to the dreams. Now, they can no longer ignore the ominous portents from the past that point to a danger more present than any of them could know.
For decades, the unsolved murder of Father Michael Leary has haunted Billings, Montana, the community he served. Who summoned the priest late one autumn night, then left his body in a sandstone gully for the ravens and other wild scavengers?
And it’s haunted no one more than Lindsay Keller, who admired and confided in him as a teenager. Compelled by his example to work for justice, she became a prosecutor. But after a devastating case left her shattered, she fled the rough-and-tumble for the safety of a desk, handling real estate deals and historic preservation projects. Good work, but not what she’d dreamed of.
Now Lindsay finds herself in possession of the priest’s wallet, the photo of a young girl tucked inside. She’s sure she knows the girl, and that it’s tied to his death. But how?
Detective Brian Donovan, a hot-shot Boston transplant, would like nothing more than to solve the county’s coldest case. Probing the life and death of Father Leary takes Lindsay and Donovan deep into long-simmering tensions in this seemingly-peaceful place.
Then another woman far away digs up unexpected clues about her own family’s past—a history rooted in a shocking truth—and her questions bring her to Lindsay and the detective. But the dangerous answers could rock the community to its very core.