Books are food for my soul! Pull up a beach chair and stick your toes in the sand as the Jersey surf rolls in and out, now open your book and let your imagination take you away.

Wednesday, November 11, 2020

Bird In Hand by Nikki Stern (VBT: Book Review / Contest Giveaway)

In association with Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours, Jersey Girl Book Reviews is pleased tp host the virtual book tour event for Bird In Hand by author Nikki Stern!

Book Review

Bird In Hand by Nikki Stern
Book 2: A Sam Tate Mystery Series
Publisher: Ruthenia Press
Publication Date: PB - September 2, 2020 / eBook - September 3, 2020
Format: Paperback - 295 pages
               Kindle - 2585 KB
               Nook - 3 MB
ISBN: 978-0999548745
BNID: 978-0999548752
Genre: Mystery

Buy The Book:

Buy The Series: A Sam Tate Mystery Series
Book 1: The Wedding Crasher
Book 2: Bird In Hand

Disclaimer: I received a copy of the book from the author / publisher in exchange for my honest review and participation in a virtual book tour event hosted by Partners In Crime Virtual Book Tours.

Book Description:

When the body of popular local guide Arley Fitchett washes up onto Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Lieutenant Sam Tate, just two months at her new job, is charged with investigating his death. She learns the dead man was searching for a carving he believed had been hidden in the area by pirates in 1718. He’s not the only one. Several others shared Fitchett’s obsession with the bird with the sapphire eye. But which one of them is the murderer—or the next victim? And how long does Sam have to catch a killer before her own past catches up with her?

“The book… allows Tate to more fully come into herown as a formidable character on whose shoulders future procedurals could confidentially be placed.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

Bird in Hand will have prior Sam fans and newcomers thoroughly engrossed, all the way to the unexpected end.” ~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“Even better than the first…leaving this reader eager for a third.” ~Teri Case, author of the award-winning TIGER DRIVE

Book Excerpt:

“Lieutenant,” he called out. “Sorry to bring you out on such a soggy night.” He suppressed an involuntary shiver.

“Duty calls, Deputy. You did the right thing.” She looked around. “Where’s the person who called it in?”

McCready cleared his throat. “I’m guessing he took off.”

She understood the young deputy’s discomfort. Poaching was a serious offense. On the other hand, the watermen who flouted the law were friends and neighbors to people with whom she worked.

“Never mind. Let’s see what he found. Grab your flashlight.”

Sam pulled a handheld marine searchlight out of the trunk of her cruiser.

“You got anything specific we can use as a starting point?” she asked.

“Dispatch said the caller mentioned sand. The shoreline is mostly rocky around here, but maybe there’s a sliver of open space right up at the point.”

Sam pulled out her phone and pulled up Google Maps. “I see it,” she said. “We’ve got to pass between these trees and the water to get to it.”

“Careful, then,” McCready said. “We’ll probably run into some pretty slippery going what with the mist and all.”

They headed towards a copse of trees adjacent to the manicured lawn. Dawn hadn’t shown itself. Absent any other illumination, they relied on their beams as they picked their way over the uneven surface.

“This is probably about the only piece of land left undeveloped around here,” McCready observed. “You wouldn’t believe how much building has gone on just in the last fifteen years.” He stumbled. “Shit! Sorry, Lieutenant.”

“Nothing I haven’t heard before, Deputy.”

They came upon a slip of sand about a hundred feet long and perhaps fifteen feet wide.

There it was, a body, face up, the left arm extended over the head as if to ward off a blow. The right arm rested on the chest as if in benediction. Both hands were blackened.

She set her searchlight down and crouched by the corpse. The beam coming from McCready’s flashlight wavered.

“You okay, Pat?” she asked.

She heard him swallow. The light steadied. “Yeah, it’s just that, damn, that's Arley Fitchett.”

"You know him?" Sam asked.

"Everybody knows Arley Fitchett."


Excerpt from Bird in Hand by Nikki Stern. Copyright 2020 by Nikki Stern. Reproduced with permission from Nikki Stern. All rights reserved.

My Book Review:

In Bird In Hand, the second book in the Sam Tate Mystery series, author Nikki Stern transports the reader to Maryland's Eastern Shore, to catch up with Samantha Tate's latest investigative adventure.

After 3 years as the Sheriff of Pickett County, Tennessee, Sam takes a new job as a Lieutenant and Commander of the Criminal Investigative Bureau in the Talbot County Sheriff's Department, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland, in order to be near her invalid mother who resides in a private institution. You'd think that it would be a slow pace on the picturesque small Chesapeake Bay town, but ten weeks into her new job, Sam finds herself investigating the suspicious murder of local tour guide and treasure hunter, Arley Fitchett. The murder has the characteristics of a hit by the Sinaloa Mexican Drug Cartel who has taken control of the East Coast drug trade, but Sam thinks Arley's murder may have something to do with his passion for treasure hunting. And just when you think Sam has enough on her plate, her traumatic past from twenty-six years ago keeps haunting her dreams, and suddenly she finds herself having to balance her own private demons, along with finding the killer before more murders are committed. 

Author Nikki Stern provides a multi-layered storyline that has enough mystery, suspense, drama, treachery, secrets, dark traumatic pasts, and intriguing twists and turns that keeps the reader guessing, while weaving an intricate and complicated web of what the motive of the treasure hunter murder could have been, along with finding the killer among a growing list of possible suspects. And if that isn't enough to captivate the reader, the author adds a wonderful touch of humor, wit, grit, and a complicated long-distance romance between Sam and FBI Special Agent Terry Sloan, into the mix to keep them entertained.

Bird In Hand is an exciting mystery story intertwined with enough police procedural aspects and realistic characters; witty dialogue and interactions; and a rich description of the setting that transports the reader to the Eastern Shore of Maryland. This fascinating multi-layered storyline draws the reader into the murder investigation that has Sam and the Sheriff Department with the assistance of the Maryland State Police CSI department engage in a frustrating cat-n-mouse game with the treasure hunter killer, until the pieces of the investigation puzzle comes together and is dramatically solved. But alas, just when you think Sam's investigative adventure is over, the author leaves the reader with a cliffhanger ending that will keep them in limbo when Sam comes face-to-face with her traumatic past, leaving a suggestion that perhaps there will be a third book in the Sam Tate Mystery Series.

Bird In Hand is the kind of mystery that easily keeps the reader captivated, guessing, on their toes, and wanting more!


About The Author

Nikki Stern is the author of five books, all of which have earned critical praise. Her essays have been published in the New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek, and Humanist Magazine as well as in three anthologies. She collaborated on a series of interactive murder mystery musicals that make up the Café Noir series, published by Samuel French.

Contest Giveaway

Win a $10 Amazon Gift Card

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Nikki Stern. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on November 1, 2020 and runs through November 16, 2020. Void where prohibited. 

Virtual Book Tour

Tour Participants:

11/01 Showcase @ CMash Reads

11/01 Showcase @ Tome Tender

11/02 Showcase @ BooksChatter

11/03 Review @ Books with Bircky

11/04 Review @ EienCafe

11/04 Showcase @ The Book Connection

11/05 Review @ Book Reviews From an Avid Reader

11/05 Showcase @ Reading A Page Turner

11/06 Review @ On the Page Pa services

11/06 Showcase @ Rozierreadsandwine

11/07 Showcase @ Quiet Fury Books

11/09 Showcase @ Novels Alive

11/10 Showcase @ Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!

11/11 Review @ Jersey Girl Book Reviews

11/12 Review @ A Room Without Books is Empty

11/13 Review @ Nesies Place


  1. So many books so little time. I am hoping to read this one in the near future.

  2. Replies
    1. Hi Nikki! Thank you for the opportunity to feature your book on my blog. Love the Sam Tate Mystery series, hope there is a 3rd book!