Bird in Hand

Bird in Hand

, Book # 2
Ruthenia Press
September 3, 2020
October 8, 2020 October 26, 2020

ISBN: 0999548743 , ISBN13: 978-0999548745
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

When the body of popular local guide Arley Fitchett washes up onto Maryland’s Eastern Shore, Lieutenant Sam Tate, just two months at her new job, is charged with investigating his death. She learns the dead man was searching for a carving he believed had been hidden in the area by pirates in 1718. He’s not the only one. Several others shared Fitchett’s obsession with the bird with the sapphire eye. But which one of them is the murderer—or the next victim? And how long does Sam have to catch a killer before her own past catches up with her?

“The book… allows Tate to more fully come into herown as a formidable character on whose shoulders future procedurals could confidentially be placed.” ~ Kirkus Reviews

“Bird in Hand will have prior Sam fans and newcomers thoroughly engrossed, all the way to the unexpected end.” ~ D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, Midwest Book Review

“Even better than the first…leaving this reader eager for a third.” ~Teri Case, author of the award-winning TIGER DRIVE

About the book

The author of this new chapter of the series takes us on a mysterious search of a treasure, mixed with death and disappearance.

We meet again the investigator Sam Tate, already met in the first book. She is also a bit mysterious, she has a particular past and due to this past she has changed her name. Sam has just moved from Tennessee where she concluded a case of a serial killer who for years had been called the Wedding Crasher, resolved together with her boyfriend, an FBI agent, met on that occasion.

We are around Chesepeake Shore, which honestly, not being American, I struggled to understand where it was. (Thanks Google). Here a hidden treasures hunter is brutally murdered and a series of other murders begins, murders that leave the investigators stunned. Is it because of the drug cartel or is there something else?

What I think

I liked the book, maybe because I haven’t read detective stories in a while, but I didn’t understand who the killer was until the end and even in the end it took me a while to connect everything. For this, I need to say “well done” to the author who was able to amaze me.

Also there are letters between the chapters because the story all starts with them and I must say that I liked them so much and I found them a delicate touch.

I adore Sam Tate, her history and her connection with Terry (the FBI agent) even if he isn’t that much present here. I would like for them to investigate together again even if I know it could be a conflict with them being together. The only thing that I wish were present is Tennessee, I mean I really liked the base city in the first book because it was different from the other books I read and Virginia is so common! But I do understand that Terry works at the FBI so I understand why this move (I think… maybe that’s not why Nikki moved Sam there, I mean the real reason is her mother of course but why Virginia? Sorry I can’t really explain this in English, too difficult for my Italian brain heehee).


I really like the style, short chapters, interspersed with these epistles that stop the narrative and give a stop to the main story which is fast. I was looking forward to one of these letters and even though I’m not a romantic, I enjoyed the story.


I will continue with the series. I am glad that Partners in Crime gave me the opportunity to read the second chapter of the series in advance and thanks to the author for her work. I can’t wait to understand the mystery behind Sam Tate even if at the end of the book you can already guess something :D

Bird In Hand by Nikki Stern
on Tour November 1 – November 14, 2020
Read an excerpt:

“Lieutenant,” he called out. “Sorry to bring you out on such a soggy night.” He suppressed an involuntary shiver.

“Duty calls, Deputy. You did the right thing.” She looked around. “Where’s the person who called it in?”

McCready cleared his throat. “I’m guessing he took off.”

She understood the young deputy’s discomfort. Poaching was a serious offense. On the other hand, the watermen who flouted the law were friends and neighbors to people with whom she worked.

“Never mind. Let’s see what he found. Grab your flashlight.”

Sam pulled a handheld marine searchlight out of the trunk of her cruiser.

“You got anything specific we can use as a starting point?” she asked.

“Dispatch said the caller mentioned sand. The shoreline is mostly rocky around here, but maybe there’s a sliver of open space right up at the point.”

Sam pulled out her phone and pulled up Google Maps. “I see it,” she said. “We’ve got to pass between these trees and the water to get to it.”

“Careful, then,” McCready said. “We’ll probably run into some pretty slippery going what with the mist and all.”

They headed towards a copse of trees adjacent to the manicured lawn. Dawn hadn’t shown itself. Absent any other illumination, they relied on their beams as they picked their way over the uneven surface.

“This is probably about the only piece of land left undeveloped around here,” McCready observed. “You wouldn’t believe how much building has gone on just in the last fifteen years.” He stumbled. “Shit! Sorry, Lieutenant.”

“Nothing I haven’t heard before, Deputy.”

They came upon a slip of sand about a hundred feet long and perhaps fifteen feet wide.

There it was, a body, face up, the left arm extended over the head as if to ward off a blow. The right arm rested on the chest as if in benediction. Both hands were blackened.

She set her searchlight down and crouched by the corpse. The beam coming from McCready’s flashlight wavered.

“You okay, Pat?” she asked.

She heard him swallow. The light steadied. “Yeah, it’s just that, damn, that’s Arley Fitchett.”

“You know him?” Sam asked.

“Everybody knows Arley Fitchett.”


Excerpt from Bird in Hand by Nikki Stern. Copyright 2020 by Nikki Stern. Reproduced with permission from Nikki Stern. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Nikki is the author of five books, all of which have earned critical praise. Her essays have been published in the New York Times, USA Today, Newsweek, and Humanist Magazine as well as in three anthologies. She collaborated on a series of interactive murder mystery musicals that make up the Café Noir series, published by Samuel French.

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