Books & Book Reviews
Set in the Pacific Northwest, this series follows a homeless woman who calls herself Singer Brown. A musician who sings on the street for coins, Singer watches the ebb and flow of life around her. With a knack for being in the right place at the wrong time, Singer is one of society's invisible people. But being unseen is an incredible advantage when you're digging for secrets.
Fiction/Mystery October 2016
Trade Paperback ISBN 9780992053673 Electronic ISBN 9780992053666
After her life on the streets Singer Brown figures only a dance with an orangutan could still shock her. The music is playing and the waltz begins when the body of a teenage girl is discovered on Ghost Island. Singer identifies the remains, attacked first by man and then by nature, from a blue butterfly tattoo. Suspicion, toxic and dangerous, begins to poison the small community of Kilborn, corrupting relationships and leaving no one without fear or guilt.
"Beach Kill" is set on a Gulf Island of British Columbia and follows "Long Gone Man" although it is nice to read series in sequence it not necessary to do so here, the second book works pretty well on its own.
Ms. Smallman has once more penned down a nail biter. It all starts when the body of a teenage girl is found on a beach. As we follow Singer, not so much homeless in this drama, we gradually discover why she has the knack for being in the right place at the wrong time and why she goes digging for secrets. Singer is slowly becoming a crafty sleuth poking her nose where it does not belong, sometime opening a can of worms and leaving no stone unturned, placing herself in danger in order to get to the bottom and get justice. Exciting: yes quite a page turner also.
Of course to spice up the story, we have a budding romance between our protagonist and the handsome RCMP officer.... We simply need to stay tuned till the next saga to find out the outcome. (Can't wait).
I am partial to the author's style: a simple and light narrative, a fast paced storyline that includes many humorous twists and has plenty of suspenseful moments, one that is populated with colorful and eccentric characters and to top it all provides a captivating saga that grabs you from the start and never let's go.
This new series has the same beat as the "Sherri Travis Series", but with a new locale, a new protagonist and a fresh storyline... Well-done.
Tony Osborne ~ Amazon top 500 reviewer ~ Nov 19, 2016
Seduction turned fatal. Tension and passions build in a small town as neighbor suspects neighbor. Smallman scores again with realistic characters, twisting plot, and enough red herrings to fill a net. Be prepared to ride this one to the end ... then demand more.
Mount newton Scribe ~ Amazon Reviewer ~ Nov 21, 2016
Long Gone Man
Fiction/Mystery October 2013
Trade Paperback ISBN #9781771510313
Electronic ISBN #9780987803382
In a thick fog, a ferry docks on Glenphiddie Island and disgorges Singer Brown's decrepit van. The homeless singer is there to exact revenge on the man who destroyed her life but someone has already killed Johnny Vibes. And now the murderer is coming after Singer.
Each of the former members of the band, Vortex, are hiding sins both old and new, secrets worth killing for, but Singer has one ally. Or does she? Johnny Vibes' wife has as much to lose as Singer if she doesn't agree to give Singer an alibi but that doesn't mean Lauren didn't kill her husband.
Long Gone Man is the first in a new series featuring Singer Brown. And what a great character Singer is!.. The scene is set for a good old fashioned whodunnit, with Singer high on the list of suspects. ... we're kept guessing right to the end in a well-drawn plot designed to confuse... We even have a denouement worthy of Agatha Christie... The author deftly drip-feeds us Singer's back story as the novel progresses, and she is to be congratulated for creating such a fascinating and engaging character...
I can't wait to see where Singer's adventures will take us next!
See the full 5 Star review at Crime Fiction Lover or at Amazon.co.UK
Sandra Mangan ~ The Crime Fiction Lover ~ September 9, 2013
....and it takes real moxie to branch out with a new tale featuring an untested lead in a radically different setting. I needn't have worried, though; this savvy author has delivered an original, compelling and, it must be said, altogether darker tale to kick off her exciting new series.
Jim Napier ~ January Magazine ~ September 12, 2013
For the full review, go to Jim Napier In January Magazine
.....Long Gone Man is a beautifully written mystery that took me on a thrilling ride. Right from the beginning as Singer makes her way to Glenphiddie Island, amidst fog and danger, to the satisfying ending as the killer is revealed, I absolutely loved every second of it. Phyllis Smallman has a way of wrapping the reader up in a plot so tempting that you simply can't put the book down - and I didn't want to, not even for a second......
Bella McGuire ~ A Prairie Girl Reads Blog ~ Sept 19, 2013
To see the full review, go to A Prairie Girl Reads Blog
With Sherri Travis taking a well-deserved Florida respite, talented Phyllis Smallman starts a new exciting mystery series diagonally across the continent. Singer is terrific and the cops competent; but it is the angry band members and their families who make for a strong amateur sleuth as the audience. Wilmot and the heroine uncover their guilt, rage and greed. Fast-paced, readers will appreciate the first act while expecting encores.
Harriet Klausner ~ Amazon #1 Reviewer ~ September 27, 2013
I received this book free as a Goodreads give-away. I really enjoyed this book. It was a fast-paced who-done-it story. It had you hanging on to the very end. Every one had a reason to kill Johnny,everyone had the means and opportunity, but who did it and why? I always pride myself on figuring it all out. This one kept me guessing until the very end.
Colleen ~ Good Reads Review ~ September 2, 2013
Phyllis Smallman, author of the Sheri Travis mystery series, begins a new series with Long GoneMan, featuring Singer Brown, a middle-aged woman who'd be comfortable at Travis's Florida bar.
Brown peddles her voice for coins on street corners, and lives in an old van full of aches, pain and memories. The memory of a past lover's suspicious death leads her to Glenphiddie Island in the Pacific Northwest, just in time to learn of the murder of the man she suspects is the source of her 20 years of pain.
Suspects include a widow, other band members and, for some, Singer herself. Add motive, revenge, a gloriously obscure setting and the RCMP, and Smallman delivers a fresh take on the old saying that revenge is a dish best served cold.
Don Graves ~ The Hamilton Spectator ~ November 2, 2013
Smallman writes strong women and she writes them really well. Sherri Travis, whom we've gotten to know and root for over five novels, is such a woman. And Singer Brown is someone to be reckoned with. She's determined and daring, not always a good thing, but she's also clever and that's what takes this past a gothic sensibility. Because many times I had the urge to call out to Singer, telling her to back off and lie low. Just shows that I was really drawn into the story. It's no wonder. Smallman is an award-winning writer and one worth reading.
Linda Wiken ~ Mystery Maven Reviews ~ December 6, 2013
To see the full review, go to Mystery Maven Review
Zoomer Magazine, in their July/August 2011 issue, chose Sherri Travis Mysteries as one of three Canadian
mystery series for their Best Cottage Reads feature, saying "... sure to join the ranks of our national talent,
finding acclaim on the International crime scene."
Good Morning America put the Sherri Travis Series in the top 6 Mystery series for 2010.
January Magazine included A Brewski for the Old Man in it's "Best books for 2010" list.
Highball Exit is the bronze medal award winner for the Mystery/Thriller catagory for eBooks in North America at the 2012 IPPY Awards in New York City.
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?
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
Trade Paperback ISBN #9781552789124
Mass Market ISBN #9781770871571
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
Trade Paperback #9781552788369
Mass market ISBN #9781552789100
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
Trade Paperback #9781552787731
Mass Market ISBN #9781552788313
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
Trade Paperback #9781552786994
Mass market ISBN #9781552787632
Electronic ISBN #9780987803306
2nd Edition MMPB #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
Sherri Travis Short Mysteries
An Accidental Death
Electronic ISBN# 9780987803375
Recipient of a Royal Palm Literary Award for flash fiction from the Florida Writers Association in 2012.
Jack Daniels And Tea
Electronic ISBN #9780987803344
Things are out of control in Dutch's bar. When the laughter and singing are followed by murder, Sherri Travis discovers reason in the chaos and justice for a friend.
Bitty And The Naked Ladies
Electronic ISBN #9780987803351
Some crimes are perfect. Greed leads Sherri into temptation and delivers her to evil.
Electronic ISBN #9780992053635
Caught between his parents, a young man tries to make things right.
Excerpts from Reviews of the Sherri Travis Series
... "Snappy Dialogue, intriguing plot makes Saltspring writer's third outing for sleuthing bar owner a charm"...
Moira Dann~The Victoria Times Colonist
..."Phyllis Smallman is a gifted writer, and has a strong and captivating protagonist in Sherri Travis..... Her works are attracting a growing legion of admiring fans"...
Jim Napier~ The Sherbrooke Record
Deadly Diversions - July 12, 2011- Jim Napier ~ Champagne for Buzzards
Globe & Mail April 2011 Margaret Cannon Champagne for Buzzards Review
My First Review from the United Kingdom UK Dana ~ Read It Swap It Forums
Connie's Reviews Blog Connie Gregory A Brewski for the Old Man Review
CBC News Cutting Edge Rosemary McCracken A Brewski for the Old Man Review
Victoria Times Colonist- Moira Dann A Brewski for the Old Man Review
Sherbrooke Record - Jim Napier A Brewski for the Old Man Review
Hamilton Spectator-Don Graves A Brewski for the Old Man Review