Tuesday, January 24, 2017


Debuts February 1st, 2017 ~  already an Amazon best-seller! 

From the New York Times bestselling author of Whistling in the Dark comes an unforgettable novel that illuminates the sweet and brittle bonds of family, the tenderness of growing up, the heartbreak of longing for what we’ve lost, and the poignancy of finding love.

FACT: Unbeknownst to eleven-year-old Theresa “Tessie” Finley, she’s in over her head.

PROOF: After hearing a scream and catching a glimpse of a mysterious man carrying a body beneath the flickering streetlights in the cemetery behind her house, Tessie adds solving a murder case to her already quite full to-do list.

Tessie has elected herself president of the crime-stopping Mutual Admiration Society—as if dealing with her “sad madness” over the tragic drowning of her beloved father; showering tender loving care on her “sweet but weird” younger sister, Birdie; and staying on the good side of their hard-edged mother weren’t enough. With partner in crime Charlie “Cue Ball” Garfield, Tessie and Birdie will need to dodge the gossips in their 1950s blue-collar neighborhood—particularly their evil next-door neighbor, Gert Klement, who’d like nothing better than to send the sisters to “homes.” And, of course, there’s the problem of steering clear of the kidnapping murderer if they have any hope of solving the mystery of all mysteries: the mystery of life.

A rich and charming tour de force, The Mutual Admiration Societyshowcases Lesley Kagen’s marvelous storytelling talents. Laced with heartwarming humor and heartbreaking grief, this novel is nothing short of magical.

“Readers are in for a unique treat with Kagen’s latest novel! Part Ramona Quimby, part Harriet the Spy, the Finley sisters have a unique flair all their own. This flair translates into one of the most delightfully quirky investigative teams in recent literature. Eleven-year-old Tessie’s witty narrative voice lilts with both the innocence of a child and the precociousness of a mind older than her years. While the mystery takes center stage at first glance, the heart of this novel is its poignant portrayal of sisterly love.” RT Book Reviews

“Lesley Kagen’s latest gem takes readers on a fabulous adventure to discover whether or not a murder has been committed in the local cemetery. With the hilarious Finley sisters at the helm, nothing can go wrong—or can it? Spunky, fun, and entirely charming. Both a mystery and a coming-of-age story that’s sure to delight!” —Mary Kubica, New York Times bestselling author of Don't You Cry

“A captivating tale that is woven together with sharp wit and heartbreaking honesty.” —Heather Gudenkauf, New York Times bestselling author of Missing Pieces

“With its gloriously quirky kid’s eye view of grief, mental illness, and strange happenings in a nineteen fifties neighborhood, this heart-warming story is sure to delight fans of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time.” —Barbara Claypole White, bestselling author of The Perfect Son

“Fact: You will fall in love with eleven-year-old Tessie Finley and her sister Birdie. Proof: Lesley Kagen’s novel The Mutual Admiration Society, where Tessie Finley sets out to solve a mystery in true Nancy Drew fashion. Except Nancy Drew was never this funny, and never pulled at your heartstrings like Lesley Kagen’s characters do. This is a novel you will not want to put down, and Kagen is a master storyteller who will keep you hovering between laughing and crying the whole way.” —Cassie Selleck, bestselling author of The Pecan Man

Some Q & A with Lesley:

Q. Tell us a little bit about yourself and how you started writing.

A. I think my mother's womb came equipped with a pencil and a pad of paper, because from as far back as I can remember, I was always dreaming up little stories and vignettes. But it wasn't until the fourth grade when I Am The Sun won St. Sebastian's all-school poetry contest that I began to seriously wonder if there might be a future in writing when I snagged the shiny first prize--a silver dollar. (Confession: I was a cagey kid who knew the more I mentioned God in the poem the better my changes would be to impress the nuns.) I wrote plays and elaborate essays in high school, and when I dropped out of college to take a job as a morning deejay at a local radio station, I created all the interviews and features. 

After I moved to LA, I started crafting ad copy and some comedy sketches. But it never crossed my mind to write a novel until I reached my fifties, when my teenage son refused to say anything to me other than "Make mine pepperoni, thin crust," and my daughter flew off to college in Virginia. My first-born's departure left me absolutely bereft, and, of course, concerned that I'd done all I could to prepare her for today's complex world. Which then led me to consider how much easier it was for my mother to raise my sisters and me in the "good old days" than it is to raise kids now--self-esteem hadn't been invented yet back then---and voila, a year and a half later, through much trial and error, I'd completed Whistling in the Dark, a story about three girls trying to figure out life in a close-knit 1950s neighborhood on Milwaukee's west side.

Q. Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?

A. I love to tell this story, because I hope it inspire other writers seeking a book deal to believe in their story and not be too easily dissuaded by naysayers.Whistling in the Dark was rejected for literary representation by over 150 agents. When I finally found one who was willing to take a chance on it, countless publishers passed as well, until New American Library, an imprint of Penguin at the time, expressed interest. Much to everyone's surprise, the novel went on to win numerous awards, and is a New York Times bestseller now in it's 17th printing. 

Q. Is all your work based on real life experience?

A. Yes. I'm not the kind of writer who can dream up wonderful fantasy worlds or set a story in 18th century France. All eight of my novels are grounded in some part on my life experiences.

Q. Do you have a favorite chapter or scene in The Mutual Admiration Society?

A. I love the scenes between the eleven-year-old narrator, Tessie, and Charlie, the boy she describes as her fiance. They're two children who have lost one of their parents, the same way I did as a kid. Their dedication to each other, and Tessie's younger "weird" sister, Birdie, touches me deeply. I also love the scenes when Tessie, in her desire to protect those she loves, is such a wildly imaginative and determined little bad ass. 

About the Author:
Lesley Kagen is an actress, voice-over talent, speaker, and award-winning New York Times bestselling author of eight novels.

A mother of two and grandmother of two, she lives in a hundred-year-old farmhouse in a small town in Wisconsin. Visit with her on Facebook and at her website, www.lesleykagen.com.

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