When history teacher Bill Ripari offers his property for a Halloween school haunted house project, hairstylist Marla Vail volunteers to put the scare factor into the props’ hair. She joins her stepdaughter along with other students, parents, and teachers to transform the wooded estate into a creepy attraction.
Marla is busy creating decorations when she spies a splash of red on the estate grounds. Curiosity compels her to go outside for a closer look, but the dark stain isn’t fake blood meant to be part of fright night. Instead, the trail leads straight to the history teacher’s dead body. Worried about the kids, Marla puts on her sleuthing hat to investigate. She discovers every one of the volunteers present that night had a possible motive. Between slacker students, helicopter parents, unexpected heirs, and a stonewalling school administration, Marla has her hands full in solving this murder and keeping her stepdaughter safe.
Third Place Winner in the Suspense Short category of the 2017 IDA Contest
Finalist in The Independent Author Network 2018 Book of the Year Awards
Murder on the Beach Mystery Bookstore Bestseller List
“Haunted Hair Nights by Nancy J. Cohen is an enjoyable sleuth mystery. While the new family is trying to solve the murder, they are strengthening their family ties. Marla has very little problem asking people difficult questions. She jumps right in there and gets the information, but when it comes to being a stepmother, she is not as confident. As the story progresses, she finds that she understands her blossoming stepdaughter better than she thought. Dalton is a very understanding husband and hasn’t realized his little girl is growing up. It was gratifying to observe Marla, Dalton and Brianna’s family dynamic mature. This is a good cozy mystery and can be enjoyed by young adults on up. It was a pleasure to read this story.” 5 Stars; Susan Sewell, Readers’ Favorite
“I love this series so much. It’s especially nice to read how Marla is progressing with her new family. It’s realistic and fun combined with quite a bit of mystery. A haunted mansion is the perfect setting for a Halloween read. As a side note, this is a novella and not a full length book. It’s a quickie read, but it’s just the thing to tide readers over between books. I can’t get enough of Marla and her adventures. Even in a short book, the author does a great job of keeping the readers guessing.” 5 Kitties; Yvonne Hering, Socrates Book Reviews
“I enjoyed this Halloween cozy mystery set in South Florida. Between the scary “gifts” left for Marla’s family and the mysterious murder at the school’s haunted house; you are bound to get some chills. Grab some hot apple cider and read this Halloween tale!” Ms. Loves to Read
“I love a good holiday read and Haunted Hair Nights fits the bill, it will definitely get you into the Halloween mood! While Marla is helping her stepdaughter with a school project she comes across the murdered body of a teacher. Who could have killed him, was it a student, another teacher, a parent? Follow along as Marla tries to figure out whodunit with the help of her detective husband and his daughter. You’ll also take away the real relationships these characters deliver.” Taryn’s Reviews
“You have to keep reading to find out who the killer is. I thought I had figured it out till I got to the last chapter. Boy was I wrong. A must read. Nancy has done it again.” Sharon R., Amazon Customer.
“Loved this book and didn’t want to put it down. Perfect for the Halloween season. Excellent book!” Janice S., Amazon Customer
“In Haunted Hair Nights, Nancy J. Cohen again proves she knows how to construct a mystery. (Not surprising, since she wrote the book on how to do it!) Salon owner and hairdresser Marla, now married to a police detective, stumbled onto another dead body. Since this one involves Marla’s new stepdaughter, the motivation to solve the case is strong. Needless to say, there are suspects, red herrings, and all the elements of a cozy mystery.” Leigh C., Amazon Customer
“A fascinating short story involving murder & high school angst. Love Marla & Dalton, & it was great to have their daughter Brianna more involved this time.” Chloe, Amazon Customer
“It was fun imagining the kids all excited decorating for a fun house for Halloween then then Wham! A dead body!” Amazon Customer
“Marla is back at it again and this time it’s spooooooky. I had no idea who done it until the end. Be careful when you read it. Creepy things will jump out at you!” Amazon Customer
“I don’t know why I let you talk me into helping your class plan a haunted house for Halloween,” Marla said, her gaze focused on the road. Dense trees lined the pothole-riddled street as she drove down a narrow two-lane drive barely lit by sparse streetlamps. Twilight had descended, and she didn’t relish returning this way in the dark. Who would live in this remote location west of Fort Lauderdale and nearly at the Everglades?
Brianna glanced at her with an eager expression. “You’ll enjoy tonight, Marla. I’m counting on you to fix the mannequins’ hair so they look scary.”
The high schooler had forsaken her usual ponytail to wear her dark brown hair in soft curls. Marla wondered if she were trying to impress someone in particular. Brianna hadn’t mentioned any boys to her and Dalton, but Marla had overheard her in conversation with friends. The name Andy popped up often. Dalton hadn’t noticed, thank goodness. Her husband had enough trouble accepting his fifteen-year-old daughter nearing college age. Worrying about the young men she might be attracting would send him into the stratosphere.
“I’ll do my best,” Marla replied. “But as much as I like to experiment on the mannequin heads in my salon, I’m not sure how I can contribute to your class project.”
“Any help will be appreciated.”
Marla heard the petulant note in her stepdaughter’s voice. She’d been a reluctant volunteer. Parenting didn’t come naturally to her, and since marrying Dalton, she hadn’t rushed into school-related activities like other moms. Coming tonight was a big concession on her part, but she’d wanted to please her new family. And it was a good thing she had come, considering this place’s isolated location.
“Who picked this site? Do you really think the parents from your school would drive their kids all the way out here?”
“Mr. Ripari offered it to us. Although he’s never lived there, the house has been in his family since the 1940s.”
“He’s your history teacher, right?”
Brianna nodded. “This location is creepy. It’ll be perfect.”
Oh, yeah, maybe if you’re in a slasher movie. Marla didn’t have a good feeling about their adventure. She wondered why Dalton, a homicide detective, had given his approval.