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Nine Days (Julia Kalas #1)

3.28  ·  Rating Details ·  259 Ratings  ·  68 Reviews
She's short, round, and pushing forty, but Julia Kalas is a damned good criminal. For 17 years she renovated historic California buildings as a laundry front for her husband's illegal arms business. Then the Aryan Brotherhood made her a widow, and witness protection shipped her off to the tiny town of Azula, Texas. Also known as the Middle of Nowhere.

The Lone Star sticks a
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published September 9th 2014 by Minotaur Books
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Dorothy the ending was really a surprise, but some of the situations were a little unbelievable, but i really enjoyed the book......witness protection is a…morethe ending was really a surprise, but some of the situations were a little unbelievable, but i really enjoyed the book......witness protection is a very serious business, and is cause for extreme caution(less)
Dorothy not really, it was a little confusing at times, and some of the characters were under developed

Community Reviews

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Nov 24, 2014 Lynn rated it really liked it
Entertaining mystery thriller set in Texas with a great leading character. I love books focussed on less than ethical people with a strong sense of justice. Julia is sharp and I loved her every move....I hope there will be more from this author.
Aug 31, 2014 Angie rated it it was amazing
So contemporary mystery/crime procedural/thrillers aren't usually my bag. I prefer my mysteries historical, supernatural, or with some sappy romance thrown in. But I *devoured* this book in all of three days -- which is a pretty mean feat these days, given I work full-time and have a full plate of other things to occupy my time -- and I don't think there was more than maybe one spot where I wasn't wholly hooked and compelled to read on.

Julia is a compelling narrator who bucks a lot of stereotyp
Oct 29, 2014 Zora rated it really liked it
Recommended to Zora by: random grab off library "new" shelf
A real page-turner of a first novel with a fascinating main character and set-up for a series. I was in a rotten mood today, and I thought, "I don't want to do X, Y, or Z. (pout) I don't even want to read," but this pulled me in and took me away from my mood and the real world.

Unfortunately, it took me to a land where logic and common sense don't rule. You know what it reminded me of? A Hollywood movie, a big-budget thriller, that has a great score that manipulates you perfectly and great pacing
Nov 07, 2014 Larry rated it really liked it
Julia Karas is an interesting main character. Her dead husband and his father were professional gun smugglers and dealers. She provided a front by reconstructing houses and businesses while laundering money for her husband. When he was killed by the Aryan Brotherhood, a competitor in the gun running trade, Julia turned federal witness against the Brotherhood and became a part of the WITSEC (witness protection) program. Now she finds herself relocated to a fading Texas town, given a job in the lo ...more
Sep 24, 2014 Margee rated it it was amazing
Shelves: mystery
After consorting with a criminal (husband), suffering his murder (gangsters), and being assigned a new life (the Feds), middle-aged Julia finds herself in small-town Texas, working in a bar owned by local hottie Hector. As a former criminal with a house-rehabbing background (can't help but pick up some pointers from your money-laundering operation), Julia is also talented at stumbling into and then clawing out of trouble's path, and this new dusty road littered with unforgettable characters lead ...more
Julia Stavenhagen
Jul 14, 2014 Julia Stavenhagen rated it it was amazing
I would like to put this book in so many genres: mystery, thriller, anthropology... Nine Days has it all. A perfect summer read that will grab on instantly and take you for a wild ride through conspiracies and beautifully-wrought landscapes touched with the stark beauty of the typical Texas towns of old... a magnetic romantic plot complication, mysterious accidents, delicious clues and a narrative voice like nothing else in fiction today... Stunning debut
Apr 25, 2015 Beckiezra rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-club
I can't give this 5 stars because I didn't like the main character at first (and the other characters weren't peaches either) and really had to force myself to keep reading. If this wasn't a book club read I would have abandoned it before the murder even happened. It was an interesting set up for a story, I just didn't care for Julia as a person. I still don't know that I like her much better, but this was a REALLY well written mystery.

Usually there's a kind of formula to mysteries, you know th
Dec 01, 2014 Normalene rated it really liked it
This is Koenig's debut novel and her main character, Julia Kalas, is unique - she's short, round, pushing 40, a widow, an ex-criminal and in the Witness Protection Program in miniscule, Azula Texas. All these things made me read the entire book in one sitting. I couldn't put it down. Julia's snarky, quirky and PTSD-haunted by the violent murder of her husband right in front of her; yet on the other hand, the sight of an old house needing renovation (of which there are many in this dying small to ...more
Michele Weiner
Nov 30, 2014 Michele Weiner rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 21, 2014 Erin rated it liked it
Shelves: mystery
I loved Julia, the protagonist, who is "short, round, and pushing 40." What's not to love about a former money launderess and construction business owner who ends up in the witness protection program after her husband's gunned down before her, and she narrowly escapes the same fate? But she ends up in the middle of another murder mystery in the tiny town where she's been sent.

I admit I got lost among the secondary characters and had trouble keeping them all straight. That being said, my reading
Nov 11, 2014 Margaret marked it as to-read
Shelves: mystery
Excellent review by Joy Tipping at Dallas Morning News syndicated ocregister 2014/11/09.

". . . . In all my gazillion years of reading Kinsey Millhone stories, I’ve never come across a female character with half the gumption, guts and “I just don’t care” sass that Kinsey exudes. That is, until Julia Kalas, the whip-smart, witty, unconventionally attractive ex-money launderer at the heart of Nine Days.

With a debut author, comparisons are natural, and yes, I’ve succumbed. But I’ll stop now, becaus
Nov 06, 2014 BookBrowse rated it it was amazing
"Wow. That's what I thought as I finished the last page of Ms Koenig's terrific mystery. My next thought: How the heck did I get here? Not because it's an implausible ending. No, sirree. Not only is it a very plausible ending to a delightfully twisty, turny, blind-alley-filled story, but it hints at the beginning of a beautiful friendship between an unlikely but literarily scintillating duo." - Donna Chavez, More at
Nov 04, 2015 Ruth rated it really liked it
Shelves: mystery
I like to try first time authors. Every once in a while I find one that consumes my life until I finish the story. It had a lot of characters (I sometimes had trouble remembering who they were) and a ton of twists and turns. It made it more interesting as the sleuth was criminal and the fact she wasn't a size 2 and ate 10 donuts every day. She had flaws along with most of the characters. Plus there were several layers to unravel so characters changed day by day. Highly recommended for a first ti ...more
John Kues
Oct 10, 2014 John Kues rated it really liked it
A different lead character, and interesting circumstances. Her husband killed in California she testified and was provided with witness protection and sent to a little town in Texas. Some of the plot was a bit difficult to follow, and I am still not sure how it ended. It kept me turning the pages. It seemed in the end that the character was not totally in character, and her brain workings made me think it was going to be a total imaginary happening, but it seemed to work out ok.
Stacy Bearse
Oct 25, 2014 Stacy Bearse rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction
A small town in south Texas is a crucible for crime. Stir in a pair of severed hands, a corrupt sheriff, drug dealers, real-estate scammers and a woman on the run from the Aryan Brotherhood, and you have a dandy debut mystery from author Minerva Koenig. I enjoyed the meandering plot until the very end. However, I confess that I read the last two pages of the story several times, and still wonder how the revelation contained therein contributes to the story.
Oct 17, 2014 Cynthia rated it really liked it
Shelves: hawarden
Might this be a good opener to a new series?! Koenig has created an original, likable, tough, honest, sly, earthy, real 'heroine'.....well, the whole thing was pretty original & likable, actually! I will definitely look for more from this author. I really liked the way she used slang in her writing
Feb 09, 2016 Benjamin rated it really liked it
Solid debut mystery novel with a strong, kick-@$$ female protagonist. However, her repetitive references to her intuitive "radar" and problem-solving "brain" eventually became annoying as they were continually referenced throughout the story. Looking forward to continuing the series and seeing what happens in the next book.
Oct 15, 2014 Carol rated it liked it
Nine days was a quick paced mystery set in a Texas hill country town. I enjoyed the people in the town, including Julie Kalas, the woman in a witness protection relocation. Enchanted Rock park and antique Texas homes gave the story a strong foundation for me because I had just visited the area this spring. I look forward to reading more mysteries from Minerva Koenig!
Sep 11, 2014 Mlshukers rated it it was amazing
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters are engaging and well developed. I loved all the architectural detail. Sense of place, dead on. More twists than a Texas rattler.
Looking forward to more adventures with Julia. Loved it!
Joe L Sanders,MD
totally engaging, sometimes disorienting,and quiet plausible in today's and past years CIA activities

Would read other novels written by Her. Would like to know more about her writings and activities in Texas and where is Azula located.
Joanie Driemeyer
Jul 26, 2015 Joanie Driemeyer rated it it was ok
I liked the fact that Julia was not your typical main character. Although she's athletic, she's overweight and pushy and an ex-criminal. The story had potential but was just too slow moving. It took me a long time to finish because I needed breaks from the tedium.
Jane Gardner
Dec 24, 2014 Jane Gardner rated it it was ok
It was a good book. I thought it was going to be a typical mystery but it had many twists and turns. I think the more she writes this series, Ms. Koenig will be a great writer. She definitely has a great plot line.
Dec 09, 2014 Tulara rated it it was amazing
I really enjoyed this book and this leading woman - let's see: Witness Protection lands a woman into a conflict in a small town - people start showing up dead - and hands are being found - and sought - good detective work and I'd like to see more!
Dec 15, 2014 Gigi rated it it was amazing
hooked in from the very beginning, this book has all the makings of a good, contemporary mystery. thanks, Minerva, for completely flooring me by the end!
May 02, 2015 Karen rated it liked it
Kind of an un-cozy-like cozy. Liked the characters, setting and setup. Satisfying read that was excellent for commuting time. Even though, there were times I was like... Wait. What!?!? Huh!? Who??
Nancy Cook  Lauer
May 31, 2015 Nancy Cook Lauer rated it liked it
I love books featuring strong women characters. A little convoluted, but a solid mystery nonetheless.
Jan 03, 2015 Donna rated it it was amazing
Loved the book and loved the fact the hero is fat, 40, & female! Can't wait to read about her next adventure & look forward to many future books.
May 14, 2015 Mantelli rated it liked it
This isn't my usual kind of read--too violent, but the characters are compelling, and she kept me reading. I'm not likely to hunt down the rest of theseries, but it was an interesting change for me.
Minerva Koenig
Jul 13, 2014 Minerva Koenig rated it it was amazing
Well I wrote it, so of course I think it's good. Today. Ask me again tomorrow.
Mary Jo
Oct 20, 2014 Mary Jo rated it liked it
Good reviews on this book and author in Post Bulletin today so had to get it!
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Madison Mega-Mara...: #10 Nine Days (Julie Kalas #1) 1 4 Jan 27, 2015 11:53AM  
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Minerva Koenig is a licensed architect running her own one-woman practice. She lives in Austin, Texas.
More about Minerva Koenig...

Other Books in the Series

Julia Kalas (2 books)
  • South of Nowhere (Julia Kalas, #2)

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