Guaranteed to Bleed by Julie Mulhern

Guaranteed-to-Bleed-Julie-MulhernGuaranteed to Bleed by Julie Mulhern
Series: The Country Club Murders #2
Genre: Historical Mystery (cozy)
Setting: Kansas City, 1974
Published by Henery Press, 2015
Format: e-Arc (Release Date: October 13, 2015)
–I received a review copy of this book from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. The opinions stated here are entirely my own.
268 pages
Grade: A-
Synopsis: With his dying breath, Bobby Lowell begs Ellison Russell, “Tell her I love her.”

Unable to refuse, Ellison struggles to find the girl the murdered boy loved. Too bad an epically bad blind date, a vindictive graffiti artist, and multiple trips to the emergency room keep getting in the way.

Worse, a killer has Ellison in his sights, her newly-rebellious daughter is missing, and there’s yet another body in her hostas. Mother won’t be pleased.

Now Ellison must track down not one but two runaway teenagers, keep her promise to Bobby and elude the killer—all before her next charity gala committee meeting.

Initial impressions

  • I enjoyed this book even more than the first book in the series!


  • I like the mystery and Ellison’s involvement–finding the body (she drops her expensive lipstick under the bleachers) and trying to find out who the girl was in Bobby’s life (Bobby asks Ellison to “Tell her I love her”)–is realistic.
  • I feel Ellison has grown as a person and character in this book. She’s more her own person even though her mother still tries to control her life.
  • I also feel Ellison and Grace’s relationship is more realistic. Grace is a teenager and she’s still hurting from her father’s death. Ellison is more relieved he’s out of their lives, but her daughter mourns him so they’re at odds about that until Ellison is able to acknowledge her daughter’s grief.
  • When Grace and one of her friends runaway, Ellison is scared for the two girls. Ellison’s friends rally around and help her with her fear for the girls.
  • Ellison is learning about who she is as she explores her life as a single mother. For the first time in her life she has more control over her life–she isn’t letting her mother control her and her philandering husband is dead.
  • I love the humor in these books. There’s a truly hilarious blind date!
  • I don’t really mind that two men are interested in Ellison. She isn’t ready to have another man in her life.
  • Ellison’s mother tries to control Ellison and her actions, but when Ellison needs her she is there to support Ellison. And Ellison continues to gain independence and strength.
  • I like that Ellison paints and that it’s more than a hobby.
  • Ellison tries to do what’s right for herself and for others.
  • I like the historical feel of life about 40 years ago when there were no cell phones, social media and Richard Nixon had resigned. And well-to-do women spent their days playing bridge and golf at the country club (maybe some still do!)
  • I love the covers they’ve done for this series.


  • Not really a jeer, but I wish Ms. Mulhern’s next book was the third book in the series (though I admit the new book sounds like it will be good, too!)

And a few thoughts . . .

  •  I really enjoyed this second book in the series and look forward to the next book. I want to know how Ellison grows and changes as well as read the next mystery.
  • However, Ms. Mulhern’s next book is A Haunting Desire which takes place in 1902 New Orleans and sounds like both a romance and a mystery. The publication date is July 28, 2016.

Have you read this book? How did you like it?

Author info

  • Julie Mulhern always wanted to be a writer. She spent her childhood creating pen names and dreaming of exotic, mysterious, romantic places. To that end, she went to Washington and Lee University in Lexington, Virginia (because, when you’re from the Midwest, the South is both exotic and romantic). There she earned degrees in politics and French. She even spent a year living in Paris. But the Midwest beckoned and she returned home. Now she lives with her husband, two daughters and a dastardly dog. It might not be exotic or mysterious but it is romantic.

Reading Challenges

  • 2015 Goodreads Challenge
  • Cloak & Dagger Mystery Challenge–hosted by Amy @ A Bookish Girl

Author: Jan

I love to read--especially mysteries, science fiction and fantasy. I also love blogging, photography, gardening, playing Mah Jonng, reading with a cat on my lap, throwing a ball for a dog, creating cards to send to family and friends, reading book blogs, using my computer.

6 thoughts on “Guaranteed to Bleed by Julie Mulhern”

  1. Yay! I can’t wait to read this one. I wanted to read the first one because it sounded so good but was worried the 2nd book would suffer from 2nd book syndrome and be not quite as good.


  2. I agree with all this. I loved the country club scenes, and yes must be nice to spend every day playing cards or golfing!And the 70’s vibe is there without being overdone, I thought. I like that Ellison grew in this one as well. And the blind date was hilarious- especially when the cops showed up. I laughed when the guy fainted LOL.

    I think I saw somewhere that she is working on a third Ellison book, I think it’s called Clouds in my Coffee but I’m not sure that’s a final title. Where did I see that? Wish I could remember- must have been Twitter or Facebook or something.


    1. The blind date was so funny wasn’t it, Greg? The author has a great way with humor without making the story silly. I hope another books comes soon. Very good review!


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