The Bell Tolls (A Hollis Morgan Mystery)
by R. Franklin James

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The Bell Tolls (A Hollis Morgan Mystery)
Traditional Mystery
5th in Series
Camel Press (June 1, 2017)
Paperback: 256 pages
ISBN-13: 978-1603812177

Hollis Morgan has survived imprisonment, received a pardon and persevered to finally become a probate attorney. Tough as she is, her newest case will further test her mettle. She discovers her client, Matthias Bell, is a deceased blackmailer whose last wish was to return the damaging documents letting his victims off the hook. It falls to Hollis to give them the good news. But it becomes apparent that Bell was murdered, and the victims of “Bell’s tolls” are now suspects.

Hollis’ white-collar criminal past has left her with keen survival instincts. A gifted liar, she knows a liar when she sees one. A lot of people in this case are lying and one is a killer.

On top of that, she’s also representing a dying stripper, a wealthy widow whose estranged daughter spurns her attempts at reconciliation, but whose husband sees the potential inheritance as mending all wounds.

Clients aside, Hollis is defensive and wary. Her mother, who hasn’t spoken to her for years, needs a kidney, and Hollis is a match, but neither are ready to put away the past. With Hollis’ fiancé and emotional support off on an undercover mission for Homeland Security, she must count on her own survival instincts. She is swept along on an emotional roller coaster as her absent love and her family’s coldness take their own toll.

Work is her salvation. The specter of a killer keeps her focused. Hollis has always had to rely on her wits, but now she finds that others who don’t have her well-being in mind are relying on them as well.

Book 5 in the Hollis Morgan Mystery series, which began with The Fallen Angels Book Club.

Interview With The Author

  1. What initially got you interested in writing? Reading books that became an escape to far away places.  The stories captured my imagination and soon I wanted to write my own stories. I started at eight years and haven’t stopped.


  1. What genres do you write in? I write what I like to read: mysteries, thrillers and mainstream suspense.


  1. What drew you to writing these specific genres? I’m a rabid puzzle solver and I’m drawn to who-dun-its. Twists and turns keep me riveted to turning pages. I love the cliff hangers in thrillers and the unpredictability.


  1. How did you break into the field? When I realized I had a manuscript that had “legs”, I went through the process of looking for an agent. The rejections came in for many months. Finally, a friend introduced me to her agent who asked for fifty pages. She wrote back she was interested. Within months she found my publisher. Fortunately, I used the time while waiting to write book two in my series. My “break” took over four years.


  1. What do you want readers to take away from reading your works? I want them to be able to relate to my protagonist and become vested in her achievements and adventures.  I want them to keep turning pages because they can’t put the book down until they know how it ends, because they are unable to predict the ending.


  1. What do you find most rewarding about writing? Telling a compelling story with intriguing plots, subplots and characters —that I would want to read.


  1. What do you find most challenging about writing? Finding the “right” word and revealing the story through engaging scenes.


  1. What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field? Never ever never give up.  Your story is worth telling, do the work and learn the craft to make it the best you can.


  1. What type of books do you enjoy reading? Mysteries, Thrillers and Mainstream—mostly fiction, sometimes non-fiction. Basically anything recommended by a friend, or catches my attention , or ……. I just love books.


  1. Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you? My current project is co-chairing the International Bouchercon Mystery Convention in Sacramento in 2020.  It’s the largest annual convention in the world for mystery readers and writers. I love bringing writers and readers together. When I’m not writing (or planning conventions) I garden and do needlepoint.

About The Author

R. Franklin James grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and graduated from the University of California at Berkeley. From there she cultivated a different type of writing—legislation and public policy. After serving as Deputy Mayor for the City of Los Angeles, under millionaire Richard Riordan, she went back to her first love—writing, and in 2013 her debut novel, THE FALLEN ANGELS BOOK CLUB was published by Camel Press. Her second book in The Hollis Morgan Mystery Series, STICKS & STONES, was followed by THE RETURN OF THE FALLEN ANGELS BOOK CLUB, and THE TRADE LIST. THE BELL TOLLS, book five was released in June 2017.

R. Franklin James lives in Northern California with her husband.

Author Links



Twitter: @RFJBooks


Purchase Links

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Books in This Series

Tour Participants

September 20 – Varietats2010 – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

September 20 – Books,Dreams,Life – SPOTLIGHT

September 21 – Celticlady’s Reviews – SPOTLIGHT

September 21 – Cozy Up With Kathy – INTERVIEW

September 22 – Island Confidential – INTERVIEW

September 23 – 3 Partners in Shopping, Nana, Mommy, &, Sissy, Too! – REVIEW, GIVEAWAY

September 23 – A Holland Reads – GUEST POST

September 24 – The Editing Pen – GUEST POST

September 25 – A Blue Million Books – INTERVIEW

September 26 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – INTERVIEW

September 27 – Brooke Blogs – GUEST POST, GIVEAWAY

September 28 – Maureen’s Musings – REVIEW

September 29 – StoreyBook Reviews – GUEST POST

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1 Comment

  1. R. Franklin James

    Great interview questions, Shannon. Book six in the series, The Identity Thief, will be released in June 2018.

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