Yoga turns lethal in ‘A Pose Before Dying’ | Book Talk

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Zanesville author Alex Erickson already writes the Bookshop Café cozy mystery series. Now he’s branching out with “A Pose Before Dying,” inaugural installment in the Cat Yoga series. It’s about Ashley Branson, a yoga instructor in a small Ohio college town whose first week in business is interrupted by murder.

The idea of a cat yoga studio is taking classes in the presence of shelter cats, with the objective of adoption. On Ashley’s first day of business, the nasty Mr. Leslie complains that meowing can be heard in his dog grooming parlor next door, and he threatens to put her out of business. Next, a woman confronts Ashley and demands that she release the cats “to where they belong,” claiming the cats are being exploited.


When Ashley returns to A Purrfect Pose to check an alert from her security system, she finds the door ajar, the cats loose in the studio and one of her students in a yoga pose, stabbed in the back.

With her studio closed during the police investigation, Ashley has plenty of time to snoop around and maybe commit some obstruction of justice. There are many suspects, starting with all the other students. Surely it wasn’t her narcissistic mother or her shady brother, or the hunky new man in her life who seems to know just a little too much.

Actually, Ashley’s brother Hunter looks good for the crime. A self-described “screwup,” he disappears for days. Ashley finds a photo in her studio, and it might incriminate him.

“A Pose Before Dying” (272 pages, softcover) costs $17.95 from Kensington. Erickson also wrote the two-book Furever Pets series.

‘Hallowed Ground’

Lisa Castillo’s two Edgar awards this year for her Holmes County-set Kate Burkholder mystery series included one for Best Short Story for “Hallowed Ground.”

When an Amish farmer and his dog find a human bone in the pumpkin field, Kate’s wedding plans are suspended while she and her team comb the area.

More bones are found, including some in a farmer’s corn maze. Not only is Halloween approaching, bringing the possibility of pranks or even cult activity, but the ominous skies threaten to wash away critical evidence. The intricacies of the Amish practices of caring for their dead are part of the resolution.

“Hallowed Ground” costs $1.99 for Kindle and Nook.


Mark Dawidziak’s “A Mystery of Mysteries: The Death and Life of Edgar Allan Poe” has been nominated in the Best Critical/Non-Fiction category by Bouchercon World Mystery Convention. It also was nominated for Edgar and Agatha awards.


Advance notice of an event sure to sell out: On June 5 at Parma-Snow branch of Cuyahoga County Public Library, Kevin Kwan (“Crazy Rich Asians”) talks to Literary Cleveland board member Lisa Chiu about “Lies and Weddings.” Admission is $30 and includes a copy of the book. Register at

Fireside Books (29 N. Franklin St., Chagrin Falls): Christine Martuch signs “Betty Cope, WVIZ and the Greatest Show on Air,” about the Cleveland broadcasting pioneer, 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Bookhouse Brewing (1526 W. 25th St., Cleveland): Chandler Morrison launches his novel “American Narcissus,” 2 p.m. Sunday.

Willoughby-Eastlake Public Library (Willowick branch, 263 E. 305th St.): Former Scene Magazine writer Chris Lambert discusses “I’ve Scene It All,” about his experiences meeting an interviewing rock stars, 6:30 to 8 p.m. Monday. Register at

Cuyahoga County Public Library (Parma-Powers branch, 6996 Powers Blvd.): Carlo Wolff talks about “Invisible Soul: Uncovering Cleveland’s Underground Scene,” 7 to 8 p.m. Monday. Register at

Cuyahoga County Public Library (Parma-Snow branch, 2121 Snow Road): Harlan Coben, author of “Think Twice,” talks about his bestselling novels, 7 to 8 p.m. Monday. The $30 admission includes a copy of the book. In a Zoom event at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Caroline Leavitt (“Pictures of You”) talks about “Days of Wonder.” Also on Zoom from 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Kate White discusses her thriller “The Last Time She Saw Him.” From 7 to 8 p.m. Thursday, Daniel Handler, who wrote the Series of Unfortunate Events as Lemony Snicket, appears in person to talk about his memoir “And Then? And Then? What Else?” Register at

Public Library of Youngstown and Mahoning County (305 Wick Ave., Youngstown): J. Derek Penn, author of “Diary of a Black Man on Wall Street from Youngstown, Ohio to the Big Apple,” speaks after the library’s general membership meeting, 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Hudson Library & Historical Society (96 Library St.): Edward F. O’Keefe, CEO of the Theodore Roosevelt Presidential Library Foundation, discusses “The Loves of Theodore Roosevelt: The Women Who Created the President,” 6:30 p.m. Tuesday. In a virtual appearance at 7 p.m. Thursday, Eric Jay Dolin, author of “Left for Dead: Shipwreck, Treachery, and Survival at the Edge of the World.” Register at

Cuyahoga County Public Library (Parma Heights branch, 6206 Pearl Road): True crime writer James Renner signs “Little, Crazy Children: The Murder of Lisa Pruett,” 7 to 8 p.m. Tuesday. Register at

Stow-Munroe Falls Public Library: Rebecca F. Kuang, author of “Yellowface,” joins the Online Author Talk Series to talk about “Asian American Representation in Literature,” 7 p.m. Tuesday. Register at

Lakewood Public Library (15425 Detroit Ave.): David Higgs talks about his Lorain-set debut novel “Broad Street Tully: A Rust Belt Tragedy,” about his experiences as a casino dealer and manager, 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Loganberry Books (13015 Larchmere Blvd., Shaker Heights): Paul Bauer and Mark Dawidziak talk about their biography “Jim Tully: American Writer, Irish Rover, Hollywood Brawler,” 7 p.m. Thursday.

Learned Owl Book Shop (204 N. Main St., Hudson): Sarah Beth Morgan, writer and illustrator of her children’s book “The Color of Yummy,” 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday.

Email information about books of local interest, and event notices at least two weeks in advance to and Barbara McIntyre tweets at @BarbaraMcI.

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This article originally appeared on Akron Beacon Journal: ‘A Pose Before Dying’ by Alex Erickson is start of new series