Fiction/Mystery September 2014
Trade Paperback ISBN #9781771510905
Electronic ISBN #9780992053642
Martini Regrets opens at night in the Florida Everglades, goes to the orchid ball in Sarasota, and culminates on a remote barrier island in the Gulf of Mexico. It's almost midnight and Sherri Travis is about to take Alligator Alley across the Everglades when she realizes she's low on gas. She turns off the main road and into the swamp to find a service station on Last Chance Road. Her pickup is carjacked and Sherri is left alone at night in the Glades. Hiding from dangerous men and in terror for her life, she stumbles across the body of a man. From alligators and snakes to the men called swamp rats, evil comes in many disguises and offers no second chances for Sherri.
If you have been following the Sherri Travis series, Martini Regrets, is a must read. Even if you haven't read the others this book is guaranteed to keep you up at night eagerly turning page after page. Sherri may well start to regret more than that last martini as her life takes a dramatic turn. I personally can't wait for the next book.
Allene Reynolds ~ Mystery & Me Blog ~ October 22, 2014
Much mystery and danger threatens Sherri in a plot that stays lively, sexy and not always Sherri-friendly to the end.
Jack Batten ~ The Toronto Star ~ October 4, 2014
"This is by and far the best [book by Phyllis Smallman] I've read to date. All her novels show professional control over the devices such as plotting, description and dialogue, but [Martini Regrets] simply took a good story line and rode it to a great ending.
"This [book] should be a break through work for her: from a pleasant diversion to an A position in mystery writing. Excellent dialogue, great use of description and pacing."
Don Graves ~ Canadian Mystery reviews ~ October 2, 2014
If you like your crime to be entertaining as well as tense then Phyllis Smallman's Sherri Travis series is for you. The central character is feisty, brave to the point of crazy and never one to keep her own counsel as well as being immensely likeable. The plot, involving murder and a missing orchid, is certainly original and a page turner to boot (although other types of footwear play a part in it).
If, like me, your knowledge of Florida is limited to Walt Disney World, then Smallman's depiction of the state she now calls home will likely come as something of a surprise. Forget Mickey Mouse, much more lethal creatures are to be found here - and some of them have two legs! The contrast between the opening setting at the edge of the Everglades and the fancy pants island retreat which Sherri visits late in the book is stark - although both have their downsides for our heroine.
This is an enjoyable read with a finale to leave you shaken and stirred.
Sandra Mangan ~ Crime Fiction Lover ~ September 30, 2014
Martini Regrets celebrates the return of this sassy yet vulnerable sleuth, and it's like an old friend coming home. It's impossible not to like Sherri, even while lamenting her devil-may-care attitude toward the many threats in her life, and marveling at her often-incredulous life decisions.
Beyond the pull of character, though, is Smallman's writing, which has gotten better and better. She is one of a handful of writers whose skill defies you to put down their books unfinished. The setting and atmosphere are, even at their darkest, utterly captivating, the diverse and colourful secondary characters reflect the rich (some would say bizarre) spectrum of Floridian society, and her plots unfailingly plausible. Smallman's tales leave the reader (unfairly) finishing her latest book only to immediately demand when the next one will be available.
Not to be missed.
Jim Napier ~ Deadly Diversions ~ September 30, 2014
(5 star) <
This was a " before you start this book, make sure you have time to finish it in one sitting" book. The suspense is over-whelming and you can hardly wait to see what disaster befalls poor Sherri next - just when you think that it can't get any worse, it does.
I won't spoil it by revealing the ending but I would highly recommend this book!!
Marilyn Stanley ~ Good Read reviews ~ September 27, 2015 (5 Stars)
The latest Sherri Travis Mystery (see Highball Exit, A Brewski For The Old Man and Margarita Nights) is a twisting thriller filled with people ready to kill to possess a rare orchard. The heroine's time in the Glades is incredible as we will feel lost too; while her efforts to stay out of the mess fails because obsessive collectors know where she has been. With an unexpected shocker and a reluctant amateur sleuth, Martini Regrets is a fantastic crime drama.
Harriett Klausner ~ Amazon #1 Hall Of Fame Reviewer ~ September 29, 2014
I love this whodunit series as it is so fun to read and great escapism.....
It is enjoyable when a series has a continuing storylines with the characters and manages to stay fresh with the next adventure. Ms. Smallman takes her ideas from real time events that made news headlines and whips an exciting plot with eccentric characters to entertain us. The plot is certainly original and centers mainly on the murder and a missing black orchid. This latest page turner sends our amateur sleuth into a mess where obsessive collectors have one agenda.
"Martini Regrets", is an easy and fast read, very hard to put down. It has the same beat as the previous installments so if you enjoyed them you will also enjoy this one.
~ Toni Osborne ~ Amazon top 100 reviewer ~ October 17, 2014 ~ 4 Stars ~
Fiction/Mystery October 2012
Trade Paperback ISBN #9781927129791
Electronic ISBN #9780987803368
Sherri Travis is three months behind on her mortgage and it will be last call for the Sunset Bar & Grill if she doesn't come up with some cash. When Aunt Kay offers to pay Sherri to ask a few questions about Holly Mitchell's death, it sounds like easy money. It quickly descends into a dangerous world of drugs,sex workers, and perversion. Did Holly really take the highball exit, or was she murdered? And what happened to Holly's baby?
By now, all you Canadian snowbirds will have winged your way home, and may be considering some light summer reading for the Canadian beach or cottage. For laugh-out-loud fun, an irreverent look at Florida culture and spine-tingling suspense, include Phyllis Smallman's Highball Exit in your holiday hamper or E-reader.
....Willa McLean ~ Canadian Snowbird Association CSA News ~ May 15, 2014
I absolutely love a book like this. The concept was about the disappearance of a child whose mother was murdered. Phyliss Smallman described her characters well and introduced them early, setting the tone for the rest of the book. She crammed it full of nefarious characters that made you shudder in your shoes and any crime solver has to have tons of family members and miscellaneous low-lifes to turn to in need.
Set in a Bar and Grill in the Florida Keys, Smallman stays true to her kick-ass heroine, Sherri Travis, and yet feels perfectly comfortable bringing out Sherri's vulnerabilities such as her up and down love affair with Clay. I learned to adore her Aunt Kay who was the banner-bearer for finding out what really happened to Holly and her child, Angel.
My two favorite bad guys were Ryan and Cal Vachess, who oddly enough ended up a real bad guy and a not-so-bad guy, in that order. Ryan is the one who made me do the shudder dance while Cal made the back of my neck crawl. What happens after this tale starts to really rock is pure fun to read.
....Carol Piner ~ The Kindle Book Review ~ April 28, 2013
"This was truly the most terrifying Sherri story to date. It held me spellbound all day until now at 3:01 am Brooklyn time.
I have finally read the last two words "THE END" and I can finally drag myself off to bed."
.....Nora-adrienne Deret at Good Reads Reviews ~October 12, 2012
Amazon #1 Hall of Fame reviewer Harriet Klausner comments on the 5th Sherri Travis mystery.
..."Fans will enjoy downing a fifth while touring the West Florida beaches with Travis as our guide...an engaging whodunit."
~ October 24, 2012 ~
"...the plot moves along at a consistently engaging clip."
.... Kirkus Reviews ~ October 10, 2012 ~
A taut thriller within an unpredictable odyssey.
There are several accomplished crime writers at work today who base their stories in Florida, exploring the moral and atmospheric contrast between a glamourous resort culture and the seamy underlife that it often conceals. But among these, the arrival of a new Phyllis Smallman novel is always an event to be savoured.
In Highball Exit she manages to weave yet another taut thriller into the unpredictable odyssey of her offbeat protagonist Sherri Travis, and her equally colourful father, Tully. Sherri's commitment to doing the right thing, juxtaposed against the amoral background of the Floridian landscape, is all the more engaging.
Smallman's novels are like a decadent dessert, with layers of chocolate and whipped cream on top, concealing an unexpected surprise inside.
Try one; you'll like them.
..... Jim Napier at Deadly Diversions ~October 30, 2012 ~
Reading a Sherri Travis novel, by Phyllis Smallman, is like sitting down at a bar for a drink with an old friend and knowing the beer is going to be cold, the peanuts fresh, and the stories spicy!
Sherri can stir up trouble with the skill of any good bartender and Highball Exit is no exception. Only this time, trouble almost gets the best of her. Sherri's pizzazz for fun and adventure fizzles when faced with insurmountable personal danger, financial ruin, and a tottering romance.
This book is a little darker, and more intense than others in this series. Scenes of Sherri, alone in the dark in a remote beach house, are not for late night reading unless you like looking over your shoulder. Highball Exit has a twisting, satisfying plot with an ending that finds Sherri naked on the beach.... her tormenter closing ground.... I'm not going to tell you the shocking finale but I think you'll find justice clearly served.
...Allene Reynolds at Mystery and me Blogspot ~ November 1, 2012 ~
Highball Exit is set in the seedier side of Florida, and it was a interesting, suspenseful read, as the reader is taken on a journey through bars, clubs and escort agencies.
I enjoyed Highball Exit and I'm looking forward to reading the rest of the books in the Sherri Travis Mystery series.
Bella McGwire at Cozy Mystery Book Reviews ~ November 2, 2012 ~
I have always been partial to the style of writing in this series: it is sharp, funny and the plot keeps a steady pace with plenty of suspenseful moments throughout. "Highball Exit" is a bit more violent than the previous novels however the gruesome details have not been sensationalised. I love the new addition to the cast. Aunt Kay is a bubbly old lady with a colourful side (shocking pink outfit and all) but don't let that fool you. In my view she really was the star in this novel and I hope to see her back someday.
Tony Osborn at Toni Osborn Reviews ~ November 10, 2012 ~
Here's a beach with a true-blue Floridian who complains about the humidity and is too lazy to move into the air conditioning. Bartender-cum-(accidental) private eye Sherri Travis takes on her most personal case yet, hired by her aunt to look into a death, a case that lands in her lap on one of those "I'm broke again" mornings.
Travis is an ordinary lady who seeks comfort, good booze and an air-conditioned man. What she gets are extraordinary circumstances that lead her down the unpretty side of Florida life.
Highball Exit is solid entertainment with a shot of tequila: murder, mayhem and sandy beaches.
...Don Graves ~The Hamilton Spectator ~ November 24, 2012 ~
"Florida has never seemed so appealing and appalling as it does in the Sherri Travis novels."
....Jack Batten ~ Toronto Star Review January 13, 2013 ~
"Highball Exit offers plenty of hours of mysterious entertainment in the company of an appealing heroine"
....Sarah Weinman~ National Post Review Feb 18, 2013 ~
Champagne For Buzzards
Fiction/Mystery 2nd Edition August 2013
Electronic ISBN #9780987803337
Mass Market Edition #2 ISBN #9780987803399
With its seven-foot snakes and nasty horses, Florida ranch country can be as dangerous as the mean streets of any big city. Sherri Travis does not do country. She likes it even less when she meets Clay Adams psychotic neighbors and finds a dead man in the back of her pickup. With fairy lights dancing through the Spanish moss and violent men closing in, the surprise birthday party Sherri plans for Clay turns deadly. And while it isn't the party Sherri hoped for, it's a good one just the same.
"High tension, wonderful descriptions of the Florida countryside, and a very real, heartbreaking theme of man's inhumanity toward man makes this book a must read."
.....Allene Reynolds at Mystery & Me Blog ~July 12, 2011
"The Sherri Travis mysteries started out well and have gotten better in many respects... the writing keeps getting tighter, and Smallman knows how to crank up the reader's tension. The dialogue is often sharp and funny, and her portrayal of Florida and its residents seems spot on. Champagne for Buzzards and its predecessors are certainly read-in-one-sitting books (in a good way). One can't help wanting more and anticipating the next book in this entertaining and fast-paced series."
......Sandra Kasturi at ~ The National Post ~ May 21, 2011
Champagne For Buzzards is the fourth in a series that gives the reader a casual style and storytelling with staying power. The pacing is that of a southern drawl, with a core of beer, bars and bad behaviour. There's a dark side to this tale, one of sexual stalking and slave labour but it's Smallman's "down-home" story telling that paints the scene and welcomes you into the action. This novel is just the ticket for a summer escape of lounging with a beer, a barbecue and a mystery.
THE HAMILTON SPECTATOR-July 2011- Don Graves Champagne For Buzzards review
"Champagne for Buzzards is a very entertaining mystery, filled with humorous dialog and situations. The small town Florida setting is perfect for the eclectic mix of characters presented here, both recurring through the series and introduced just for this story. Just as important, the plot isn't overlooked amid all the mayhem, with the mystery of who killed Lucan Percell and why, plus the identity of the mystery man on the ranch, maintained right up to the end."
A Brewski for the Old Man
Fiction/Mystery April 2010; 2nd Edition printed August 2013
Trade Paperback 2nd Edition #9780992053628
Electronic ISBN #9780987803320
The third book in the series A Brewski for the Old Man tells the story of the return to Jacaranda of Ray John Leenders, the man who abused Sherri when she was a child. Back in town he's living with a woman who has a young daughter. Sherri doesn't want to get involved; it's none of her business - except, except - she knows the woman and her daughter and it's impossible to stay uninvolved.
"..Smallman, winner of the Unhanged Arthur Ellis for her first Travis novel, is at the top of her game in this fast-paced tale."...
Margaret Cannon reviews "A Brewski for the Old Man" ~Globe& Mail~ March 7, 2010
"A murder-mystery crossed with chick-lit, this book is a lot of fun. It's worth a read if you are into similar types of books like the Stephanie Plum and Bubbles Lablonski novels."
.....Shannon at ~ http://HerFreeReads.wordpress.com
The latest Travis amateur sleuth (see Margarita Nights and Sex in a Sidecar) is a terrific thriller as the lead protagonist's horrific childhood comes back to haunt her with two males who she knows still belong in the swamp, preferably dead. The story line is fast-paced from the moment Sherri realizes Lacey's RJ nightmare is her RJ nightmare and never slows down as the bartender fails to heed the advice of the late Miss Emma not to stoke the fire. Readers will appreciate this caring Floridian as she sets out to prove her innocence though caught in the nightmarish returns of two violent males.
Amazon.com #1 Reviewer-Harriet Klausner
Sex in a Sidecar
Fiction/Mystery April 2009; 2nd edition printed August 2013
Trade Paperback 2nd edition #9780992053611
Electronic ISBN #9780987803313
Florida has two seasons. The rainy season brings hurricanes, the dry season delivers tourists - both can be nasty.
Sherri Travis is tending bar at the Bath and Tennis Club where two women have been murdered. A rich socialite, who comes in daily for her quota of side-cars, decides to commit suicide by being the next victim,but first she has to decide who the murderer is.
Sherri pours the drinks and listens to the stories, trying to make sense of it all.
Phyllis Smallman is a gifted writer, and has a strong and captivating protagonist in Sherri Travis. Sassy yet vulnerable, full of self-doubts about her relatively new relationship with wealthy boyfriend Clay Adams, Sherri is an engaging figure whose combination of single-minded determination, absolute candor, and underlying sense of values utterly beguiles the reader. Add to that the strong sense of place unique to the Florida Keys, together with the menace of a major storm reminiscent of the film classic Key Largo, and you have the perfect recipe for a fascinating read. I'm already looking forward to the next installment in the Sherri Travis saga.
Sherbrooke Record Jim Napier Sex in a Sidecar Review
The second Sherri Travis thriller is an exhilarating tale refreshed by the hurricane that assaults Florida. The story line is fast-paced even when Sherri and company prepare for Myrna and never slows down as the plot twists once the clean-up begins. Fans will appreciate Sherri's amateur sleuthing and especially enjoy Phyllis Smallman's humor in the midst of danger as the heroine and her former mother-in-law cannot share a continent let alone a state even with their lives on the line. The two Travis' tales are wonderful mysteries.
Amazon.com #1 Reviewer-Harriet Klausner Review of Sex in a Sidecar
Fiction/Mystery April 2008 - 2nd edition September 2013
Electronic ISBN #9780987803306
2nd Edition Trade PB #9780992053604
Margarita Nights is a cozy with grit -- serving Jack Daniels instead of tea.
In a small Florida beach town, Sherri Travis is a bartender with attitude and a woman with an inconveniently murdered husband who turns out to be as much trouble to her dead as he was alive.
Sifting through the debris of Jimmy's life, Sherri finds more than a few people who wanted her lying, scheming, scam artist husband gone -- but which one actually did the deed?
"This is a terrific Book, with snappy dialog, rapid pacing and characters you'd love to meet in a beach bar. Back when Janet Evanovich was still writing fresh, original material she was this good."
......Lindor Reynolds~ Winnipeg Free Press~
... "characters you'd love to have a drink with and a sense of place that captures the essence of the Sunshine State."
.... Don Graves-~ Hamilton Spectator~
This terrific cozy serves Long Island tea as Sherri goes from sarcastic doubter to griever (for both Jimmy and Andy) to lover to killer pursuer. She makes the tale fun with her sass, spunk and spitfire sleuthing. The support cast is super also as the island community in the mind of Jimmy's mom is divided into three groups: the rich, the servant class from the other side of the causeway and the trailer trash. Phyllis Smallman provides an entertaining Florida west coast amateur sleuth with a touch of romance.
Harriet Klausner ~ Amazon #1 Reviewer
'Sherri is a likable protagonist, a strong woman with an interesting circle of loyal friends, and one or two who aren't what they seem to be. The plot keeps the reader guessing, with plenty of twists and turns, and the setting is well-drawn, taking us from the most sordid depths of Jacaranda to the heights of the well-heeled with equal ease. This is a very impressive, well-written, tightly constructed first novel.'
Shirley Wetzel ~ Amazon Reviewer