Beck Valley Books: “Landscape For Murder” by Joyce T. Strand Book Review/Giveaway

By Ruth on December 14, 2015 in blog tour, giveaway, review


A friend’s murder. An unconnected cast of suspects, including the victim’s missing adult daughter. As if that wasn’t enough, Brynn Bancroft’s winery has been broken into. Can she deal with her co-owner ex and help the police find her friend’s murder so she can finally overcome her own troubled past and enjoy family life with her teenage ward?

Book available from….   Barnes & Noble   Paperback  Landscape for Murder: A Brynn Bancroft MysteryLandscape for Murder: A Brynn Bancroft Mystery by Joyce T Strand
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

For quite some time, I struggled with how many stars I would give this book. I am an avid mystery lover–especially cozy mysteries just like this one. This tale more than fits the bill (no sex, very minimal and practically nonexistent profanity), and from the first page, I was thrown into the story. I simply adored the interactions between Brynn and her ex (Liam). In fact, that is what kept me reading as sometimes I found my interest waning in the book. Now that is not the fault of the author. In fact, her writing style is descriptive and intriguing. For me, I would give this book a 4.5 star rating because I wasn’t overly interested in “who-done-it,” but I loved every other aspect of the story. In fact, I feel the strengths of this story are the characterization and the secondary stories (not the murder). The fact that this story is inspired by actual events is another detail I find fascinating. I would definitely read the next book in the series. The fact that I didn’t lose interest due to the dynamic characters featured in the book is certainly a nod to this author’s prowess. Furthermore, if you are searching for an easy-to-read, entertaining book that you can tackle easily in one evening, this is definitely it. I believe that the next book in the series will even be more intriguing because after all, if a mystery book can keep my attention even when I am not overly interested in the crime that is committed, I would say that the author has more than accomplished her purpose.

I was sent a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review. I was not financially compensated, and all opinions are 100 percent mine.

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About Brynn Bancroft

Brynn Bancroft evolved from the Jillian Hillcrest mysteries where she served as Jillian’s manager while Chief Financial Officer of Harmonia Therapeutics in Silicon Valley. A shapely blonde with a MENSA IQ, she had an affair with the CEO of the company.Unfortunately for Brynn, the CEO’s wife figured out that the two were involved and asked Brynn to leave the company, which she agreed to do.

In the meantime, her husband, Liam—not unfamiliar with extramarital affairs himself but also understanding that Brynn grew up in an abusive household- grew tired of waiting for Brynn to commit to their relationship and asked for a divorce. At the same time, he solicited her assistance in developing his new winery in Sonoma County, Calif.

Much like Jillian–who does appear in the Brynn Bancroft mysteries–Brynn, too, attracts mystery and murders as she grows to enjoy life at her ex-husband’s Hilltop Sunset Winery.

Also Available
Hilltop Sunset: A Brynn Bancroft Mystery

A mystery set in wine country pitting financial exec Brynn Bancroft against a
determined stalker, a troubled love interest, and career clashes.

Brynn Bancroft learns that a former employee who beat her nearly to death
has returned to stalk her and her friend, Jillian Hillcrest, also a former victim.

Recently divorced, Brynn turns to a new love interest only to encounter additional unwelcome issues. Meanwhile, short-timer Brynn, who has resigned from her Silicon Valley company, becomes bored fulfilling her remaining responsibilities there. She begins to prefer supporting the launch of her ex-husband’s new hilltop winery while waiting to move to her next position. Between her stalker and her new love interest, Brynn faces a series of life-changing events.

Book available from….


About the Author

Joyce T. Strand is the author of who-done-it mysteries set in the San Francisco Silicon Valley and Napa-Sonoma wine regions of California.Her most recent novel, Landscape for Murder, follows Hilltop Sunset which was the first of a new series featuring protagonist Brynn Bancroft, a financial guru in transition to winemaker from corporate executive. Brynn Bancroft is a minor character in Strand’s novels On Message, Open Meetings, and Fair Disclosure–three mysteries solved by Jillian Hillcrest, a publicist whose boss was Chief Financial Officer Brynn Bancroft.

Much like her protagonist Jillian Hillcrest, Joyce Strand headed corporate communications at several biotech and high-tech companies in California’s Silicon Valley for more than 25 years. Unlike Jillian, however, she did not encounter murder in her career. She focused on writing by-lined articles, press releases, white papers, and brochures to publicize her companies and their products.

Strand has been a mystery fan since she read her first Nancy Drew and Hardy Boy stories as a teenager. She admits that in between reading Agatha Christie, Ian Fleming, Erle Stanley Gardner, and John McDonald in her youth, she also checked out Tolstoy, Steinbeck, Faulkner, and Dostoyevsky, but her love of the “puzzle” always drew her back to the latest fictional detective. Today she favors John Grisham, Louise Penney, Linwood Barclay, Michael Connelly, and Stieg Larsson. She has always enjoyed the challenge of following clues to solve the puzzle of a mystery before it is revealed.

Joyce lives with her two cats and collection of cow statuary in Southern California, and seeks out and attends as many Broadway musicals and other stage plays as possible.

She received her Ph.D. from the George Washington University, Washington, D.C. and her B.A. from Dickinson College, Carlisle, PA.

Find the author on the following sites….
Website   Blog   Facebook   Twitter   Pinterest   Google+   Goodreads   Amazon Author Page
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I received this book to review through Beck Valley Books Book Tours, all the opinions above are 100% my own.
1st Prize – Win $50 GC / Paypal Cash (winners choice) 
2nd Prize – Win $25 GC / Paypal Cash (winners choice)
Open Worldwide
Ending on Tuesday 22nd December at 11.59pm EST

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About the Author

RuthView all posts by Ruth

43-year-old single mother of an active 14-year-old girl
Born in Tacoma, WA; lives in Yelm, WA
Entertainment Writer
Available For Interviews and Reviews
Substitute Teacher


  1. Rita Wray December 15, 2015 Reply

    I would spend it on gifts for my grandkids.

  2. sharon martin December 16, 2015 Reply

    It’s great when a reader connects so much to the characters in the story, the only problem is when the story ends!

  3. Joyce T Strand December 16, 2015 Reply

    Thank you so much for taking the time to read and review Landscape for Murder. I appreciate your hosting me on your blog, and I’m glad you enjoyed the “dynamic” characters. I know that when I’m writing I very much feel like I’m there with them and occasionally one of them will take over my book. Again, I cannot express how much I appreciate your review and posting. Thank you, thank you.

  4. Linda Kish December 19, 2015 Reply

    I would use it toward my son’s Christmas gift.

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