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Author Anthony Avina's Blog

Good books don't give up all their secrets at once. – Stephen King

Avina’s Review of Murder at the Willcotts Hotel

This was a fast-paced yet gripping read. The author does a remarkable job of capturing the suddenness and gripping nature of the mystery of this story while also delving into the heart of horse racing and life as a racehorse owner. The balance of these two worlds really speaks to a specific audience, while also leaving room for the general audience to get lost in this world and become enraptured with the narrative.

The heart of this story was the author’s incredible character development. The evolution of Janet as a character, who came from a life of domineering men in her life to gaining strength and resilience as a character showcases the powerful female protagonist she has become over time. The classic storytelling device of the protagonist becoming the main suspect in the case and the fight she takes on to not only prove her innocence but also stop two killers loose on the grounds of this hotel made this a compelling read.

The Verdict

Memorable, fast-paced, and engaging, author Sasscer Hill’s “Murder at the Willcotts Hotel” is a must-read novella and cozy mystery, as well as a great entry in the Janet Simpson Cozy Mysteries series. The twists and turns the narrative takes on and the gripping character twists that keep the action and suspense propelling forward made this a memorable read. If you haven’t yet, be sure to grab your copy on October 1st, 2023 or preorder today!

Rating: 10/10

Read More


Seven Five-Star Amazon ★★★★★ Reviews for Sasser Hill Novels!


FULL MORTALITY: A Nikki Latrelle Mystery. Joyce B.                                                         “Good horse racing mystery,” January 12, 2023  Verified Purchase                                                                     “I enjoyed this book a lot.”


RACING FROM EVIL: A Nikki Latrelle Mystery Novella.  By JBA.                                        “Excellent well-developed book.” January 7, 2023.Verified Purchase                                         “Characters are well developed with an interesting plot. I have read almost all of Sasser Hill’s books. All are well worth reading. An excellent understanding of the world of racing and of people.”


SHOOTING STAR: A Nikki Latrelle Mystery, Book 5. Danielle Urban                                 Horses, mystery, and danger -all in one epic read! December 31, 2022

Shooting Star by Sasscer Hill is the new Nancy Drew mystery but with equines involved. I love the how beautiful the story molds together with the themes. Animal treatment, truth, trust, and justice are the central themes in this engaging read. Nikki is amazing. She is smart and knows exactly when things are fishy. She and Will have one of those most juicy relationships ever. Past lovers and now he has hired her for a job only for another job to take place. A mystery investigation unravels, and I am so quickly drawn into the danger. Suspenseful and well-done, Shooting Star is a must read for all fans of mystery and whodunnits. This is also another fabulous women's fiction story to add to the shelves! Overall, I highly recommend this novel to all.
I received this copy from the publisher. This is my voluntary review.


TRAVELS OF QUINN (A Quinn O'Neill Mystery) George Cramer                                         Wonderful and Not So Wonderful Characters. December 18, 2022                                Verified Purchase. “I picked it up one day and finished it the next. The characters seemed believable, and the research Hill conducted was phenomenal.


TRAVELS OF QUINN (A Quinn O'Neill Mystery) Rosa Poole                                            “Fantastic read. Once I started reading, I couldn't stop!!!”                                                                       December 14, 2022                                                                                           “Great character descriptions. Sasscer puts you into each scene as though you were in the scene yourself. If you like murder mysteries, you won't be disappointed.”


RACING FROM DEATH: A Nikki Latrelle Mystery. House of Badger                                         “A run for your money.” December 2, 2022 Verified Purchase

As a long-time Dick Francis fan, I wasn't really interested in books by somebody named "Sasscer Hill." But one day I reluctantly picked up the first in this series.
BUY these books! Nikki Latrelle is as good or better than any Francis hero, and she knows her stuff about racetracks and horses. Her plots are well thought out and very well done. Her characters are three-dimensional, fully fleshed, and fascinating people--not just Nikki but Lorna, Mello, and Jim as well. I'm looking forward to reading more about them, so please, do yourself and the author a solid and buy these books!


RACING FROM EVIL: A Nikki Latrelle Mystery Novella.  Kristin C Heart Pounding Intrigue November 8, 2022 “Just wow! A young girl in danger of sexual abuse, then of being killed. Tense heart-throbbing action from page one! I can’t wait to see what happens in this series.” Amazon author page:

Trade Reviews for THE DARK SIDE OF TOWN are Red Hot!

“Filled with sense-laden descriptions and ever tightening suspense, this is gripping mystery fare and a terrific successor to the racecourse mystery world first carved out by Dick Francis.” —Booklist, (starred review)


“Fans of horse racing and everyone else will find this tale of love, lust, greed, and family ties an    enjoyable ride.”–Publishers Weekly

“Sound racing lore mixes with sex and murder to provide a blood-soaked edge-of-your-seat thriller”–Kirkus.


“The second book in the Fia McKee series delivers another high-octane trip into the professional world of horse racing. The sights, sounds and activity of the racetrack all come to life [with] a heroine who can hold her own in room full of bad guys.”—Romantic Times   


“. . . the nifty plot includes a murder at the track and other surprising narrative twists. Satisfying as all of this turns out to be, even better is the sense of fidelity that Sasscer Hill brings to the business of racing horses. Before Hill turned to writing crime novels, she bred, trained and rode horses, and she’s impressive in sharing with readers the magic she finds in the whole thoroughbred scene.”–The Toronto Star, An Editor’s Pick. 

          "To be honest, I was a bit reticent to pick up your book, because other than Dick Francis (who was cliched) I am always disappointed with authors that just don't get the racing details correct in novels.

           Not so with your book, The Dark Side of Town. I thought that the racing detail was excellent and the details of Saratoga very nicely done. As it happens, our house in Saratoga is on Fifth Avenue right around the corner from Brook Tavern and I very much enjoyed the detail of the scenes that were set there. Fia was a strong and very attractive character and her relationship with Calixto caused me to blush on a few occasions. There were two violent scenes that were pretty tough but realisitic. I also found Fia's relationship with her mother very conflicted and not surprisingly not resolved in the end. 

           I recently ordered Flaming Road and Racing From Evil from Amazon and look forward to reading them.”        ––Charlie Hayward, former head of the New York Racing Association, Editor, the Daily Racing Form, Publisher of Simon & Schuster’s General Book Division and President and CEO of Little, Brown and Company


                              FABULOUS 5★★★★★     GOODREADS REVIEW!


Theresa's Reviews > Shooting Star: A Nikki Latrelle Mystery, Book 5

Shooting Star: A Nikki Latrelle Mystery, Book 5 (The Nikki Latrelle Mystery Series)
by Sasscer Hill (Goodreads Author)

Theresa's review

Dec 26, 2022


Shooting star is a complex mystery set on the stages of movie production. Inviting the reader to see behind the scenes at movie magic and horse racing. The intrigue of mob money and political shine add to the depth of the setting. The author does a great job leading the reader through the key events and the resolution is believable and wellthought out.

I was impressed by this standalone story within the Nikki Latrelle series. As the first exposure to this author, I find that fortuitously the reader does not have to have invested in the prior books to find a connection to the story, and the characters. She has a way of showing the backstory of the characters throughout the story that makes them have consequence and depth. This adds to the mental cost of the central mystery, not only to Latrelle but her supporting cast. She has a realistic idea of the problems adherent ofmovie making, money making and the horse world.

I would recommend this book to mystery readers, horse lovers, and just the book for the reader looking for a hard luck case working through life to a better place.

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