Mar 102020
 

 

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Santa Barbara Suspense

What She Gave Away

What She Never Said

by Catharine Riggs

March 10, 2020 Book Blast

What She Gave Away

Santa Barbara Suspense #1

What She Gave Away

Revenge is anything but sweet in this twisty thriller about two women with very different lives locked in the same deadly game.

Imagining the best way to destroy a person’s happiness is Crystal Love’s favorite game. Devious and unpolished, the plus-sized loan analyst couldn’t be more out of place in her new town of Santa Barbara, where the beautifully manicured women never age and the ocean views stretch farther than the million-dollar lawns. And yet her eye for the power dynamics at play in this tony community is dead accurate.

Kathi Wright, on the other hand, has made it her life’s work to fit in with the plastic people who surround her. But when her husband—a wealthy bank president—dies suddenly, she’s left with nothing. Then the FBI shows up, asking questions she can’t answer and freezing assets she once took for granted.

While Kathi struggles to outrun the mess caused by her husband’s mysterious death, Crystal seems focused on her game. But why? And who are her targets?

Spanning two years and told in Crystal’s and Kathi’s alternating voices, this tautly plotted novel reveals the power of choice and the price of revenge.

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Suspense
Published by: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date: September 4th 2018
Number of Pages: 348
ISBN: 1503901890 (ISBN13: 9781503901896)
Series: Santa Barbara Suspense #1
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

I’ve targeted the sperm donor. I blame him for the fat. Not the six-hundred-pound kind that shows up on TV. Or the curvy kind that’s trending in magazines. I’m talking about the basic kind that makes me invisible. Just fat enough that girls don’t hang with me and boys won’t take a second look. Just fat enough to get the glare when I climb onto an airplane or a crowded bus.

I try to avoid mirrors, but they’ve seated me in an office with a mirror directly behind the desk. It has a weird curve to it, warped on the sides and in the middle. It makes me look fatter than I am. I mean, why is the office designed this way? Do they want their clients to feel insecure? Will it make them deposit more money? Help them to choose a bigger loan? I paste on a smile. That usually lifts my fat pads so my cheekbones show through. But smiling in this mirror only makes me look crazy. The door squeals open, and I stand.

“Ms. Love?”

“Yes?”

“I’m George Taylor. The bank’s chief lending officer.”

I hold out my hand to an aging hipster dressed in a tight black suit and pink satin tie. Dirty-blond hair, nicely textured. Blow-dryer and curling iron at work. That and a little gel. Stinky gel, the kind that wrinkles my nose. Should I tell him about the bit of salad stuck between his teeth?
“Please take a seat.” He picks up my résumé and gets right to business. “You’ve had five years’ experience as a loan analyst?”

“Six if you count a year of training.” He’s disappointed, I know. I have the qualifications but not the look.

“Why move to Santa Barbara?”

“I’m tired of the Bakersfield heat.”

“You have family here?”

“A few friends.”

He glances at my belly with a question in his eyes. I know what he’s thinking. I carry a lot of weight in my gut. But he’s taken his HR classes. He knows the rules. That’s a lawsuit waiting to happen. I do my best to sound earnest.

“I’m one of those rare people who grew up wanting to be a banker. I love working with numbers. They mean everything to me.”

“So you’ve taken accounting?”

“I was an accounting major at Bakersfield College. Got my AA degree six years ago and went right to work at the local bank. I’ve never looked back.”

He nods, staring hard at my résumé. Time to nudge him in the right direction.

“I’m not looking for a job. I’m looking for a career. I’m a hard worker. I’m focused. I’m single. No children. I’m the most efficient person I know. I believe Pacific Ocean Bank is the right fit for me. Only five branches and ten years in business, but you’re the top-performing bank in the region. Impressive.”

He forces a smile. “Our president’s an industrious man.”

“So I’ve heard.”

George taps his pencil on the table. “We prefer four-year degrees.”
“My accounting major and years of experience should more than make up for that.”

“And we have a strict dress code . . .”

“Which I will follow.”

“No casual Fridays.”

“I’ve never been a fan.”

“The other analysts are men. Any problem with that?”

“None at all.” Fish on the hook. Now reel him in slow.

“Do you work well in high-pressure situations?”

“I prefer them.”

“Weekends?”

“No problem.”

“Team player?”

“Absolutely.”

“What about references?” He points to my résumé. “May we contact your most recent supervisor?”

“I wish.” I make a sad face. “My ex-boss passed away a few months ago from a horrific accident. A terrible situation. He was a mentor to me. The head of Human Resources said to call her with any questions. She understands my need to move on.”

He scribbles something before looking up. “When can you start?”

“Next week.” There’s something wrong with his left eye. I’m guessing it’s made of glass. I bet it’s a flaw that bugs him. I file away the thought.

***

Excerpt from What She Gave Away &
What She Never Said by Catharine Riggs. Copyright 2020 by Catharine Riggs. Reproduced with permission from Catharine Riggs. All rights reserved.

 

What She Never Said

Santa Barbara Suspense #2

What She Never Said

People are dying at a luxury retirement community . . . and not from natural causes.

Ruth Mosby is the VP of operations at Serenity Acres, where the privileged elite go to die. For a hefty fee, wealthy retirees can live the good life in this posh Santa Barbara community—even after they outlive their money. Ruth thinks this is a fine arrangement, but the savvy new boss has a new rule: if you can’t pay, you can’t stay.

Ruth is deeply disturbed when destitute residents start dying at an alarming rate, as if on cue. Even more troubling, a macabre note accompanies each departed guest. Surviving guests whisper about an “Angel” who assists with suicides. Ruth has another word for it: murder.

Ruth enlists her neighbor, an ex-detective named Zach, to discover the Angel’s secret identity. However, the two have a painful history, and Ruth has dark secrets all her own. To solve the mystery, Ruth must descend from her golden tower—but can she bear the consequences of revealing her own sinister truths?

Check out my Review HERE


Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Suspense
Published by: Thomas & Mercer
Publication Date:September 10th 2019
Number of Pages: 362
ISBN: 1542042135 (ISBN13: 9781542042130)
Series: Santa Barbara Suspense #2
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

THE ANGEL

Some might call me a cold-blooded killer. I beg to disagree. I’m more like a kindly saint. A patron saint of crossings. One part Saint Christopher, two parts angel of mercy. Add a dash of Mother Teresa, and the recipe is getting close. I have a calling, and I’m good at it. I’ll keep it up until I’m stopped.

“Will it hurt?” The bedside candle casts a shivering shadow across Loretta’s sunken face. Tracing my fingers along the glass syringe, I gaze into her liquid eyes.

“Not for long.” I’ve administered a few insulin overdoses. It doesn’t seem like a bad way to go. But I never lie to my disciples. That would be morally wrong.

“It won’t be worse than the bone cancer?”

“It won’t be worse than that.”

“Then I’m ready.”

I tug her pink slip from my pocket and set it on the nightstand. “First, I need your secret.”

Tears slip along the folds of Loretta’s crumpled cheeks. “I don’t have one.”

I fight off a quiver of irritation. “You’re forgetting our agreement?”
“Of course not. But I can’t think of a single thing.”

“Oh, Loretta. I’m disappointed. I can see the secret in your eyes.”

She plucks at her satin bedcovers until a lavender scent blooms. “What kind of secret do you want?”

I shrug. “Your choice. It can be happy or sad. Scandalous or glorious. I’m not picky. It’s totally up to you. But it must be something you’ve never revealed. A defining moment in your life.”

Loretta is quiet for so long I wonder if she might back out of the crossing. But then she speaks with a trembling voice. “All right then. It’s something that happened on my fourteenth birthday. I’ve never told anyone—not even my husband. I’m still so terribly ashamed.”

“Go ahead,” I say, nearly drooling. This side of me isn’t quite so noble. Less like a saint and more like a tick.

“It was a hot summer day in Michigan.” Her voice cracks as she speaks. “My friends were busy with chores, so I walked to the lake on my own. When I entered the forest, I heard a rustling behind me, and . . .” Her words drone on from there.

Closing my eyes, I sip on her secret. Her words are like a melody—the mournful notes of a dove. When she finishes, I have tears in my eyes. “Thank you,” I say. “That was beautiful.”

“Beautiful? But it was such a terrible moment. So unspeakably dark.”

“There are times when dark can be beautiful.”

Loretta takes a choking breath. “Yes, I suppose you’re right. And I do feel better somehow. You promise you’ll never tell?”

“I promise.”

“Good.” She lifts an arthritic hand and swats vaguely at the air. “You’ll stay with me?”

“Until you cross.”

“Then let’s get moving. I’m ready to see my Charles.” Loretta folds her hands across her chest and takes a quivering breath.

“Peace be with you,” I whisper, and then I inject the fatal dose. A half hour later, I head to my office, where I retrieve my crossing journal and write the seventh entry in my book.

***

Excerpt from What She Gave Away & What She Never Said by Catharine Riggs. Copyright 2020 by Catharine Riggs. Reproduced with permission from Catharine Riggs. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Catharine Riggs

Catharine Riggs lives and writes on California’s central coast. She is the author of the twin thrillers What She Gave Away and What She Never Said, both set in Santa Barbara, California . Riggs has worked as a business banker, adjunct college instructor, and a nonprofit executive.

Get caught up on the progress of her Santa Barbara Suspense series by visiting the author online at:
www.CatharineRiggs.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, & Twitter!

 

 

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GIVEAWAY!!!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Catharine Riggs. There will be three (3) winners. One (1) winner will receive an Amazon.com Gift Card, One (1) US ONLY winner will receive the series (print) and one (1) Worldwide winner will receive the series (audio). The giveaway begins on March 10, 2020 and runs through March 18, 2020. Void where prohibited.

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Dec 172019
 

How Deep Is The Darkness by Mary Anne Edwards Banner

 

 

How Deep is the Darkness

A Charlie McClung Mystery

by Mary Anne Edwards

December 17, 2019 Book Blast

Synopsis:

How Deep is the Darkness by Mary Anne Edwards

Charlie McClung has always known about darkness, it’s part of being a police chief.

But now it’s spreading throughout the town and creeping into his life.

With each body found, the killer deepens the darkness and McClung must put an end to it.

Now.

Book Details:

Genre: Traditional Mystery
Published by: Sellem Books
Publication Date: December 2, 2019
Number of Pages: 247
ASIN:B081MYBYG8
Series: The Charlie McClung Mysteries Book 6
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

Read an excerpt:

This story begins on Monday, June 20, 1983, in Lyman County, Georgia

Chapter 1

Chief Charlie McClung stared at the pale, bloated body of Myron Wagstaff lying next to his own swimming pool. He’d seen enough bodies to know when dead is dead. And Myron was dead.

McClung glanced at his wife standing near the diving board at the far end of the pool. Marian’s white tee shirt clung to her body and her wet hair was plastered to her head and neck. Hugging herself, she managed a pitiful grin.

Not only was Myron Wagstaff a neighbor and the president of their Homeowners Association, but he was also Marian’s archnemesis.

McClung knelt beside Myron, grabbed his thick wrist, and checked for a pulse. His fingers sank into doughy flesh. Myron’s waterlogged polo shirt looked as if it had been spray painted on his belly, now bloated more than normal.

While McClung held his fingers in place waiting for a beat, he scanned the area. The patio furniture was jumbled together with the garden hose, snaking between the chairs, and stopping at the spot where Myron lay.

That, combined with the fact there weren’t any signs of bruising on Myron, perhaps meant this was an accidental drowning.

“Boss?” Sergeant Thayer asked as he stood behind McClung.

He shook his head as he moved aside for the paramedics to perform their magic. But McClung realized not even Doctor Frankenstein could reanimate poor Myron.

As the emergency team worked on Myron, Charlie hurried toward Marian.

“Are you okay?” He kissed her forehead and pulled her into his arms.

Marian’s body trembled against his chest.

“Thayer! Get Marian a blanket.”

The young sergeant ran full blast and quickly returned.

“I’m okay just, um, just, um.” Marian fought hard to keep her tears in check.

“Here.” Thayer’s breath pounded the back of Marian’s neck as he laid the blanket across her shoulders.

Charlie released Marian, secured the blanket then blotted a tissue under her eyes and nose. “Here’s a clean one.”

“Love the magical tissues.” A weak chuckle tumbled from Marian as she pulled the blanket tighter. “You’d think I’d be sweating in this June heat.”

“Well, it’s not even ten o’clock. It’s cloudy, and you’re soaking wet.” Charlie glanced at her feet. “Where are your shoes?”

“They were muddy, so I took them off before I went into Myron’s house to call 9-1-1 after I failed with CPR.” Marian sighed. “I was afraid that if Myron survived, he’d send me a bill to have the muddy floors cleaned.”

Pointing at the patio doors, she winced. “My shoes are over there.”

“What’s wrong?”

Marian massaged her lower back. “I guess I hurt my back getting Myron out of the water. I’ll be okay.”

Charlie squeezed her hand. Ever since Marian had the terrifying encounter with the Paper Heart Stalker and fell from a second-floor balcony last year, he worried about her health.

When McClung came face to face with the Paper Heart Stalker, Marian almost lost her life to save his but unknowingly sacrificed their unborn child.

He crossed over to the diving board and beckoned for her to follow. “Sit down. Here. Back toward me.”

She eased down on the hard plank.

Charlie’s strong hands ran across her shoulders and down her back.

“Does it hurt?”

“No, not really.”

“I guess nothing’s broken, dislocated, or cracked.”

He crossed over the board and sat down. “When I get home tonight, I’ll give you an intense massage once you’ve soaked in a tub of hot Epsom salt water.”

“Sounds good.” Marian watched the paramedics work on Myron.

The team’s jaws were tight as they knelt over Myron’s body. One paramedic rubbed the back of his neck as he stood in defeat while the other one closed Myron’s eyes and pulled a blanket over his face.

“I didn’t think they’d have much luck reviving him. I’d hoped, but…” Marian’s voice trailed, her head heavy as she leaned on Charlie’s shoulder.

“You did everything by the book. I still don’t see how you got Myron out of the pool.”

Marian sighed. “I did what I had to.” She studied Charlie’s face, then swallowed hard and grimaced. “I tried to revive him. CPR but maybe if—.”

“Don’t even go down that path.” Charlie scratched his eyebrow. “Dispatch said you saw a man run from the scene.”

She sat up. “Yeah. Do you think he had something to do with this?”

“Possibly, but we won’t know for sure until we’ve gathered the facts.” Charlie shrugged. “To me, every death is suspicious. Been fooled before but never again.”

A year ago, two weeks after Charlie McClung had moved to Lyman County, he was called to the scene of a fatal shooting, Dianne Pannell. Without an investigation, the then chief of police ruled Dianne’s death a suicide, but Charlie proved it was murder after Dianne’s irritating neighbor, his now-wife, Marian, pressed him to look further into the case.

“Yeah.” Marian murmured.

Charlie stood. “Could be the guy got spooked when he saw Myron in the pool and ran away.” He held out his hand. “Come with me. The paramedics need to give you a quick check.”

“Why? My back isn’t hurting that bad.”

His hand cupped her cheek. “Sweetie, please just humor me.”

Marian avoided looking at Myron and let her husband guide her to the ambulance.

They met officers Willard and Marsh at the gate. Photographer Sam Goldstein wasn’t far behind.

“Ma’am, are you okay?” Marsh’s voice quivered, and his eyebrows drew together.

Marian looked at him for a moment. “I’m fine. Just a bit damp.” She bit her bottom lip and blinked several times. “Maybe a little shaken.”

Both officers were like sons to Marian.

A tentative smile eased the furrow between Marsh’s eyes. “Thank goodness.”

Willard scratched his head. “Where are your shoes, ma’am?”

McClung answered. “They’re outside the patio door. One of you get them for Marian.”

“Consider it done, Boss.” Willard took off.

“Marsh, I want you and Willard to help Thayer process the scene.”

“Yes, Boss.”

Willard returned a few minutes later, holding the less-muddy sneakers. His hands were filthy. “Here you go. I cleaned them up the best I could.”

“Thank you, Willard.” Marian took the shoes.

“No trouble.”

“You two. Go assist Thayer.” McClung barked.

“Wait.” Marian held up her hand. “I scratched the running guy’s tag number on the sidewalk.”

“Marsh go find it. Willard, you report to Thayer.” McClung directed his trusted men.

The two young men hurried off on opposite paths.

“Sam, how did you know I needed you?”

The silver-haired man tapped his temple. “Didn’t take me long to figure you out. You’re a cop that sees murder everywhere.”

“But Sam, how did you know to come here?” Marian blurted.

Charlie and Sam answered. “Police scanner.”

Marian frowned. “Just anybody can have one?”

“Yep!” Charlie sighed. “In this case, it’s a good thing but mostly it’s not.”

Sam coughed. “I’ll just take a picture or two of that tag number.”

“Yeah, do that. Plus, there’s a lot going on behind the house.” Charlie watched the older man trudge down the sidewalk. Camera bags banged against Sam’s body with each step he took.

One of the paramedics joined McClung and Marian at the ambulance.

“Ma’am don’t fret. There wasn’t a thing you could’ve done for that guy.” The bear of a man shook his head. “I ain’t no coroner, but I’ve been at this job for a long time. He’s been dead too long to be revived.”

The reassurance that she wasn’t a factor in Myron’s death didn’t make Marian feel any better.

“Mel, do you mind giving my wife a quick once-over to make sure she’s safe to go home?” Charlie stroked Marian’s back as he spoke.

“Sure.”

Mel removed his latex gloves and put on a fresh pair. He tilted his head toward the rear of the ambulance. “Just sit there.”

“Boss.” Thayer called to McClung from the open gate.

Charlie looked at Marian.

“Go on. Do your job.” Marian kissed her husband’s cheek.

He didn’t move from her side.

“I’m fine, just a tweaked back. Besides you’re making me nervous watching me like a hawk.”

“Boss.” Thayer repeated more urgently.

Charlie smiled and gave her a casual salute. “As you wish.”

McClung hurried toward Thayer. “Found something?”

“I think I figured out what happened.”

McClung disappeared behind the fence.

♦♦♦♦♦♦

“What is it, Thayer?” McClung followed him into Myron’s house as he pulled a pair of latex gloves from his pocket. “I was hoping I could go a whole year without having to use these.”

“Makes for a mundane job.” Sergeant Thayer said flatly. “Here sir, in the kitchen. There’s a half-empty bottle of whiskey and one glass.”

McClung arched an eyebrow as he leaned over to study the bottle of Four Roses Single Barrel Bourbon Whiskey. About three fingers of liquid was left inside the bottle, a few drops coated the bottom of the tumbler.

He walked to the sink and smelled the drain. No lingering odor of alcohol. Then he carefully picked up the tumbler. “Thayer, flip on the overhead light.”

The fluorescent tubes buzzed to life.

McClung held up the tumbler to the harsh light. On the rim, was a faint lip print. “Hmm, make sure you dust this for prints and bag it.” He set it back in its original position.

Marsh squinted as he entered the kitchen. “Boss, put me to work.”

“Where’s Sam?”

“Taking pictures of the deceased before they cart him away.”

McClung rubbed his earlobe. “Tell Mel to instruct the hospital not to release the body until I say so. I want Jack Jackson to do the autopsy, if he’s available.” He snapped his fingers. “And tell Sam I’ll need him in here when he’s finished.”

“Will do.” Marsh headed outside.

McClung studied every inch of the kitchen: the floor, inside the cabinets, oven, and refrigerator. He examined everything as he searched for possible clues. There was no hint to what may have led to Myron’s death.

“Boss, I don’t think it’s murder.”

McClung raised an eyebrow and replied sarcastically, “Yeah? Well then, enlighten me with your hypothesis of poor Wagstaff’s watery demise.” He strolled toward the open patio door and headed for the pool.

As Thayer spoke, McClung studied the jumbled furniture.

“Myron was drunk, got tangled up in the patio furniture, stumbled around, and then fell into the pool. He was too drunk to get himself out of the water.”

McClung pushed out his bottom lip and nodded. “Hm. He was in the shallow end. All he had to do was stand up.”

Thayer rubbed the top of his head. “Maybe he hit his head on the bottom. Knocked himself out.”

McClung wandered around the pool. He stopped where the garden hose lay beside the pool.

The concrete was soaked, and the grass drenched to the point that a small stream had flowed down the incline, out the gate and onto the street.

“What do you think Myron was doing with the hose?”

Thayer hunched his shoulders. “Topping off the pool?”

“Yeah, sounds right.” McClung pointed to the water-logged grass. “The hose had to be on for a long time to have created that miniature creek rolling down the hill and into the street.”

“That goes to show I’m right. He was drunk standing here. The hose got tangled in the furniture. He yanked it. Lost his balance. Dropped the hose. Hit his head on the concrete and fell into the pool. Accidental drowning.” Thayer crossed his arms and grinned.

McClung pulled on his bottom lip. “Plausible.” Something on the concrete caught his eye.

“What does this look like to you?” McClung knelt close to the spot.

“It looks like blood. Must be where he hit his head.”

“Yeah, and what about this?”

McClung touched a hard, yellowish, rectangular-shaped chip, like a half of a Chiclet. He looked around for Sam Goldstein.

The EMTs were talking to Sam as he photographed Myron’s body.

McClung yelled over his shoulder. “Sam, get over here.”

The paramedics began moving Myron’s body.

“What do we have there?” Sam held the camera to his eye, snapping pictures as McClung pointed toward the areas.

“That appears to be blood.” McClung pointed to the yellowish object. “And that, my friend, doesn’t belong here. Possibly a clue.”

Thayer knelt beside McClung. “Yep, could be. It looks like old ivory?”

McClung thought the odd chip looked familiar, but the vague memory faded away.

Sam zoomed to get a few tight shots of the chip and the blood spatters.

McClung glanced at the EMTs. “Thayer, bag it and look for more spatters and anything else in this area. I want a chat with Mel.”

“Mel, where’s Marian? Is she all right?” McClung moved out of the way of the paramedics while they loaded Myron onto the stretcher.

“She’s fine. Just hurt her back. Understandable.” Mel groaned as they lifted Myron’s body. “Even for me this guy is hefty. I’m surprised your wife got him out of the water. She’s a tiny lady. What 5’3’ and 125 pounds?”

McClung snorted as he nodded. “Yep, but she’s stubborn. If she’s got it in her mind to do something, consider it done.”

“Is Marian still sitting in the back of the ambulance?” McClung followed the gurney.

“No, sir. She’s sittin on the front stoop waitin on you.”

Officer Billy Crawford met them inside the gate.

McClung couldn’t help but smile at his oldest officer. Crawford was always in a jolly mood.

But not this morning.

“Boss, sorry it took me so long to get here.” Crawford wore a rare frown.

“What’s the matter?” McClung waved the paramedics to go on.

Crawford shifted the criminal investigation kit from one hand to the other. “Ah, the missus got news her favorite uncle isn’t doing so good and her dad’s not taking it none too well. If her uncle dies, my father-in-law will be the last one left in his family.”

McClung gripped Crawford’s firm shoulder. “I’m sorry to hear that. Are you sure you should be here? Your wife needs you.”

“Thanks, but I’m not much help. Best thing for me is to stay out of her way.”

“Okay, but don’t be shy about asking for time off. Understand?”

“I appreciate that, Boss.”

“If there’s anything we can do, don’t hesitate to ask.” He shook his index finger at his officer. “I mean it. Ask. Marian will make sure you’re fed, you got that?”

“Yes, Boss. But I saw her sitting out front, and she doesn’t look so good.”

McClung’s eyes widened. “What?”

“You didn’t know she’s here?” Crawford pulled back his head.

“Yeah, but she said she was fine.” McClung patted the officer’s back. “Let me go speak with her. I’ll catch up with you later.”

Charlie hurried to find his wife, but stopped a few yards away to observe her.

So many questions he needed to ask, but he was worried about her. Marian didn’t need this stress. Not now.

Marian looked like a triangular-shaped lump of coal. The dark gray blanket was wound tightly around her body and she was resting her forehead on her knees, which she’d pulled up to her chest.

Charlie wondered how she was able to breathe. He sat beside her and rubbed her back. “Sweetie?”

Marian’s head popped up. “Hey! I didn’t hear you come up. I must’ve dozed off as I was praying.”

“Yeah? Are you sure you’re okay? You don’t look so hot.” Charlie wrapped his arms around her.

Marian winced. “You’re such a sweet talker.”

Charlie released his embrace. “Sorry.” His fingers massaged her lower back.

“That’s okay.” Marian pulled off the blanket and neatly folded it. “I’m tired. I want to lie down. Is it okay for me to walk home, now?”

“Nope, it’s at least a mile and a half. I’m driving you home.”

She straightened her legs. “Might as well. These sneakers are ruined. Not good for anything but stomping around in the yard.”

Marian tucked the thin blanket under her arm. “What about the investigation? Aren’t you going to question me?”

“Your well-being is more important to me. Besides, Thayer’s opinion is this is an accidental drowning. My best team is on this. They don’t need me telling them how to do their job. And you can tell me what happened when you feel like it.”

“Now?”

“Do you honestly want to talk about it now?”

Marian whispered. “I need to, but—”

“But means later. Tonight?”

“Yeah, tonight.”

Charlie held her hand as they walked toward the gate. “Let me tell the guys I’m taking you home.”

McClung passed the EMTs as he disappeared behind the fence.

Marian shuddered as she watched the paramedics load Myron’s body inside the ambulance. “I’ve witnessed this scene too many times in the past year.”

***

Excerpt from How Deep is the Darkness: A Charlie McClung Mystery by Mary Anne Edwards. Copyright 2019 by Mary Anne Edwards. Reproduced with permission from Mary Anne Edwards. All rights reserved.

 

 

Author Bio:

Mary Anne Edwards

Born in Mercedes, Texas, Mary Anne has lived in Georgia for most of her life. A life-long fan of authors such as Agatha Christie, Anne Perry, Caroline Graham, and Elizabeth Peters, it wasn’t until a few years ago that Mary Anne listened to the voices in her head and began writing her own series of traditional mysteries featuring Detective Charlie McClung.

The first book in the series, Brilliant Disguise, was released to critical acclaim in January 2014. The next three in the series, A Good Girl, Criminal Kind, and Sins of my Youth were released soon afterward. The fifth book in the series, Flirting with Time, was released on June 30, 2017. The sixth book, How Deep is the Darkness, will be released on December 2, 2019. She is working on the seventh book, Complex Kid, with at least three more to follow.

Mary Anne and her husband live in Smyrna, GA with an ill-tempered Tuxedo cat named Gertrude. Mary Anne is a member of Sisters in Crime and sits on the advisory board of Rockdale Cares, a non-profit advocacy group for the developmentally challenged.

Catch Up With Mary Anne Edwards:
MaryAnneEdwards.com, Goodreads, BookBub, Instagram, Twitter, & Facebook!

 

 

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GIVEAWAY!!!!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Mary Anne Edwards. There will be 2 winners of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card each. The giveaway begins on December 17, 2019 and runs through December 27, 2019. Void where prohibited.

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Nov 062018
 

Moon Games

by Shelly Frome

November 6, 2018 Book Blast

Synopsis:

The Secluded Village Murders by Shelly Frome

At the outset, Miranda Davis has nothing much going for her. The tourists are long gone by October in the quaint Carolina town of Black Mountain, her realty business is at a standstill, and her weekend stint managing the local tavern offers little to pull her out of the doldrums. When prominent church lady Cloris Raintree offers a stipend to look into the whereabouts of a missing girl hiker on the Q.T, Miranda, along with her partner Harry (an unemployed features writer) agree.

But then it all backfires. A burly figure shambles down a mountain slope with a semi-conscious girl draped over his shoulder. Miranda’s attempts to uncover Cloris Raintree’s true motives become near impossible as she puts up one smokescreen after another, including a slip of the tongue regarding an incident in Havana. The local police keep stonewalling and Harry is of little help.

Tarot cards left on Cloris’ doorstep and arcane prompts on her e-mail only exacerbate the situation. Growing more desperate over the captive girl’s fate, Miranda comes across a link to a cold case of arson and murder. With the advent of the dark of the moon, she is summoned to “Tower Time” as this twisty tale continues to run its course.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery, Amateur Detective
Published by: Milford House
Publication Date: August 2018
Number of Pages: 264
ISBN: 1620061848
Purchase Links: Amazon | Goodreads

 

Read an excerpt:

The wind picked up yet again, joined by spatters of cold rain and the rustle of leaves from the encircling shrub.

All at once, the lantern flicked off, a scream cut through the wind and spatters. The cries became muffled, replaced by the grunts of a hulking figure clambering up the knoll, coming directly toward him with something writhing and flailing over its back.

For one interminable moment, he caught sight of her eyes, frozen, terrified, beseeching him.

Reflexively, despite every decent intention deep in his bones, Harry dropped the Maglite, turned and ran down the slope, tripping and stumbling, falling to his knees, righting himself, smacking into a brush that scraped his cheek. Rushing headlong now, smacking into more brush and banging his elbow, he kept it up, twisted his ankle but hobbled forward fast as he could until he reached his station wagon. Squirming behind the wheel, he fumbled for his keys, dropped them on the mat, groped around, snatched them up, grinded the ignition, set both front and back wipers going and shot forward hitting the trunk of a tree. He backed up into the hedgerow, turned sharply, not daring to flip on the headlights, scraped another tree and slid onto the narrow lane.

He switched on the low beams so he could see where he was going in the drizzle and fog and began making his way down. Dull headlight beams flashed behind his rear window and faded.

With his mind racing and the wipers thwacking away as the rain lashed across the windshield, he careened down the zig-zagging lane and thought of the car that was wedged under the branches parked on a downward angle and the hulking figure carrying his prey over his shoulder shambling toward it. And her eyes, those beseeching eyes.

He might have a few seconds lead before the girl was tossed in the trunk . . . or deposited in the cottage while the driver lying in wait exchanged signals and went after him. So many what-ifs? while some cowardly part of him only wanted a place to hide.

Then the dull, low beams flicked on again, glinting on his rearview mirror.

Straining to see through the wipers and beads of rain, he turned off down Sunset, then onto a flat, darkened stretch, then gunned it through an amber light over the tracks across brightly lit Route 70.

He drove away from the tracks where the girl doubtless had been tailed, came upon a T and swerved left onto a sign that said Old Route 70. In no time, he spotted a Grove Stone Quarry, but the gates were closed and he could swear the low beams tailing him flicked on again. If only he could stop veering all over the place, if he could get behind those humongous mounds of sand and stone.

Ignoring the traffic light, he cut to his right and swerved up a road bordered by a high wire fence demarcating a prison facility, sped past until he was hemmed in by walls of white pine. The walls of pine were intersected by for-sale arrows and a bright red banner. He killed his headlights altogether, swerved again into a cluster of model homes that formed a cul-de-sac, and coasted to a stop as the car stalled.

He got out and followed an exposed drain pipe that angled down until it cut off at a rain-slick paved drive onto a neighborhood of two-story houses, porch lights and street lamps.

His ankle gave way again as he became fixated on circling back to that massive, enclosed hiding place where he could try to get his bearings.

The cold rain beat down harder. Though the Blue Ridge range hovered in the near distance, it was shrouded in mist and offered no comfort.

***

Excerpt from Moon Games by Shelly Frome. Copyright © 2018 by Shelly Frome. Reproduced with permission from Shelly Frome. All rights reserved.

 

Shelly Frome

Author Bio:

Shelly Frome is a member of Mystery Writers of America, a professor of dramatic arts emeritus at the University of Connecticut, a former professional actor, a writer of crime novels and books on theater and film. He is also a features writer for Gannett Media. His fiction includes Sun Dance for Andy Horn, Lilac Moon, Twilight of the Drifter, Tinseltown Riff, and Murder Run. Among his works of non-fiction are The Actors Studio and texts on the art and craft of screenwriting and writing for the stage. Moon Games is his latest foray into the world of crime and the amateur sleuth. He lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.

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Giveaway!:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Shelly Frome. There will be 1 winner of one (1) Amazon.com Gift Card. The giveaway begins on November 6, 2018 and runs through November 14, 2018. Void where prohibited.

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Oct 302018
 

broken-windows-by-paul-d.-marks-banner

Broken Windows

by Paul D. Marks

October 30, 2018 Book Blast

Synopsis:

Broken Windows by Paul D. Marks

While the storm rages over California’s notorious 1994 anti-illegal alien Proposition 187, a young woman climbs to the top of the famous Hollywood sign—and jumps to her death. An undocumented day laborer is murdered. And a disbarred and desperate lawyer in Venice Beach places an ad in a local paper that says: “Will Do Anything For Money.” Private Detective Duke Rogers, and his very unPC partner, Jack Riggs, must figure out what ties together these seemingly unrelated incidents. Their mission catapults them through a labyrinth of murder, intrigue and corruption of church, state and business that hovers around the immigration debate. Along the way we explore the fiery immigration issue from all sides and no one escapes unscathed.

Book Details:

Genre: Mystery/Crime/Thriller
Published by: Down & Out Books
Publication Date: September 10th 2018
Number of Pages: 360
ISBN: 1948235072 (ISBN13: 9781948235075)
Series: Duke Rogers PI, #2
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

 

Read an excerpt:

PROLOGUE

The Hollywood Sign beckoned her like a magnet—or like a moth to a flame. The sign glowed golden in the magic hour sun—that time of day around sunrise and sunset when the light falls soft and warm and cinematographers love to shoot. Like so many others, Susan Karubian had come here seeking fame and fortune, hoping to make her mark on the world. Oh hell, she had come to be a star like all the others. And she would do it, just not quite in the heady way she’d anticipated.

She had spent hours deciding what to wear. After all, this wasn’t exactly in the etiquette books. Probably not the kind of thing you’d find in Ask Amy column. She finally decided on a tasteful dress with high-heeled sandals.

The young woman drove her Passat down Hollywood Boulevard, turning up Franklin, passing the Magic Castle. She turned slowly up Beachwood Canyon, past the low-rent area north of Franklin, up through the towering stone gates with their “Welcome to Beachwood Canyon” signs. Past the movie star homes in the hills—past where she thought she’d be living by now. She drove in circles, past piles of rubble from the earthquake several months ago, figuring that sooner or later she’d hit the right combination of roads and end up where she wanted to be.

The Passat crested the top of the mountain—mountain or hill? What was the difference anyway? A small concrete building with an antenna sat just below the road. No cars. No one around. As quiet as the Sherman Oaks Galleria on a Monday morning. She parked on Mt. Lee Drive.

She rolled up the windows, locked the car, set her purse on the floor by the gas pedal. The note she’d written in a steady hand tucked into her pocket. She hoped someone would find it quickly. Standing beside the car, she realized she’d have to hike down to get to the sign. She had thought it would be at the top of the mountain. She was buggin’, as she treaded toward the edge of the road.

The nonstop rain of the last couple weeks had broken. The view from up here was incredible. You could almost see Mexico to the south and the Pacific glittering in the west. The city below, shiny and bright. Pretty and clean from up here. A million doll houses that reminded her of childhood, playing with dolls and making everything come out the way she wanted it to. Little toy cars down below, scooting back and forth. Swarms of ants scurrying this way and that on important business. Oh yeah, everyone here had important business all day and all night. Everyone but her. She gazed down at Los Angeles on the cusp of the millennium. The place to be. Center of the universe. Totally.

She hesitated at the edge of the road, her toe kicking some gravel down the hill. It clattered down, somehow reminding her of the industrial music in the clubs where she liked to hang.

Should she try to talk to him? What would be the point now? She was talked out. And he wouldn’t forgive her. Why should he? She had hurt him. No, it was beyond hurt. There was no way to rationalize it.

***

Excerpt from Broken Windows by Paul D. Marks. Copyright © 2018 by Paul D. Marks. Reproduced with permission from Paul D. Marks. All rights reserved.

 

Author Bio:

Paul D. Marks

Broken Windows, the sequel to Paul D. Marks’ Shamus Award-winning mystery-thriller White Heat hit the shelves 9/10/18. Publishers Weekly called White Heat a “taut crime yarn” and said of Broken Windows: “Fans of downbeat PI fiction will be satisfied…with Shamus Award winner Marks’s solid sequel to… White Heat.” Though thrillers and set in the 1990s, both novels deal with issues that are hot and relevant today: racism and immigration, respectively. Marks says “Broken Windows holds up a prism from which we can view the events burning up today’s headlines, like the passionate immigration debate, through the lens of the recent past. It all comes down to the saying we know so well, ‘the more things change, the more they stay the same’.” His short stories appear in Ellery Queen and Alfred Hitchcock Mystery Magazines, among others, and have won or been nominated for many awards, including the Anthony, Derringer and Macavity. His story Windward, has been selected for the Best American Mystery Stories of 2018, edited by Louise Penny & Otto Penzler, and won the 2018 Macavity Award for Best Short Story and was also short-listed for a 2018 Shamus Award. Ghosts of Bunker Hill was voted #1 in the 2016 Ellery Queen Readers Poll. He is co-editor of the multi-award nominated anthology Coast to Coast: Private Eyes from Sea to Shining Sea.

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Oct 022018
 

A Mother’s Lie

by Jo Crow

Audiobook Blast on October 2, 2018

Synopsis:

A Mother's Lie by Jo Crow

When her child’s life is at stake, a mother will do anything to save him.

Clara McNair is running out of time to save her son, James. When the two-year-old is diagnosed with a rare form of brain cancer, only an experimental treatment can save his life. She desperately needs money to pay for the surgery, but she’ll have to travel back to the site of her darkest memories to get it.

Clara has escaped the demons of her youth—or so she thinks. It’s been ten years since the mysterious disappearance of her parents. Widely suspected of murdering her mother and father, Clara fled west to start a new life. Now, a documentary film crew is offering cold, hard cash—enough to pay for James’s treatment—in exchange for the sordid secrets of her past.

With no other choice but to delve into a long-ago tragedy, Clara must unravel the lies surrounding that terrible night. Facing hostile gossip, Clara is fighting to clear her name and learn the truth about what really happened. But how far will she go into the dark to save her son—and herself?

Click Here to get your Audiobook copy of A Mother’s Lie, today!

Read my review HERE

Book Details:

Genre: Psychological Thriller
Published by: Relay Publishing
AudioBook Release Date: April 23, 2018
AudioBook Length: 9 hrs and 59 mins
ISBN: 978-1979295420
Purchase Links: Amazon | Audible | Goodreads

 

Read an excerpt:

Chapter One

Dense red clay was pushing between the teeth. Pond mist drifted across the manicured lawns, wisping through the dark eye sockets. Parts of the cranium were shaded a vile yellow-brown where decomposing leaves clung to its surface like bile expressed from a liver. The jawbone was separated from the skull, its curved row of teeth pointing skyward to greet the rising sun.

Two feet away, closer to the oak tree, other bones were piled haphazardly: a pelvis, high iliac crests and subpubic angle. A femur, caked with dirt, jammed into his empty skull. Sunlight decorated the brittle bones in long, lazy strips and darkened hairline fractures till they blended with the shed behind them.

It was peaceful here, mostly. The pond no longer bubbled, its aerator decayed by time; weed-clogged flowerbeds no longer bloomed—hands that once worked the land long ago dismissed. Fog blanketed the area, as if drawn by silence. Once, a startled shriek woke the morning doves and set them all into flight.

It was the first time in ten years the mammoth magnificence of the Blue Ridge Mountains had scrutinized these bones; the first song in a decade the morning doves chorused to them from their high perch.

A clatter split apart the dawn; the skull toppled over as it was struck with another bone.

In a clearing, tucked safely behind the McNair estate, someone was whistling as they worked at the earth. The notes were disjointed and haphazard, like they were an afterthought. They pierced the stillness and, overhead, one of the morning doves spooked and took flight, rustling leaves as it rose through the mist.

A shovel struck the wet ground, digging up clay and mulch, tossing it onto the growing mound to their left. The whistling stopped, mid note, and a contemplative hum took its place.

Light glinted on the silvery band in the exposed clay—the digger pocketed it—the shovel struck the ground again; this time, it clinked as it hit something solid.

Bone.

A hand dusted off decayed vegetative matter and wrested the bone from its tomb. Launching it into the air, it flew in a smooth arc, and crashed into the skull like a bowling pin, scattering the remains across the grass. With a grunt of satisfaction, the digger rose and started to refill the hole from the clay mound.

When it was filled and smoothed, and the sod was replaced over the disrupted ground, the digger lifted the shovel and strolled into the woods, one hand tucked in a pocket as they whistled a cheery tune lost to the morning fog.

***

Excerpt from A Mother’s Lie by Jo Crow. Copyright © 2017 by Jo Crow. Reproduced with permission from Jo Crow. All rights reserved.

Author Bio:

Jo Crow

Jo Crow gave ten years of her life to the corporate world of finance, rising to be one of the youngest VPs around. She carved writing time into her commute to the city, but never shared her stories, assuming they were too dark for any publishing house. But when a nosy publishing exec read the initial pages of her latest story over her shoulder, his albeit unsolicited advice made her think twice.

A month later, she took the leap, quit her job, and sat down for weeks with pen to paper. The words for her first manuscript just flew from her. Now she spends her days reading and writing, dreaming up new ideas for domestic noir fans, and drawing from her own experiences in the cut-throat commercial sector.

Not one to look back, Jo is all in, and can’t wait for her next book to begin.

Catch Up With Our Author On: Facebook & Goodreads!

 

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Giveaway:

This is a rafflecopter giveaway hosted by Partners in Crime Virtual Book Tours for Jo Crow. There will be 5 winners of one (1) A MOTHER’S LIE by Jo Crow audiobook. The giveaway begins on October 2, 2018 and runs through October 8, 2018. Void where prohibited.

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