Tag Archives: murder mystery

One more snippet from Deserted to Death

More than a snippet, actually… this follows the one that was posted yesterday. shutterstock_390420802

The next morning, at breakfast, I got a text from Jeff. Val doesn’t want us to come. I tend to agree, especially for Colin.

I understand. Did you tell Col why?

Yeah. He’s unhappy, but he gets it. 

Okay. Some other time.

For sure. You all be careful.

You bet.

Pete was watching me. I said, “Val and Jeff have decided that now is not the time for Colin to visit.”

Kevin, wisely, remained silent. Pete’s face was dark, but he was externally calm. “So your nephews will never visit?”

I said, “Now who’s overreacting?”

Kristen said, “Once you figure out who’s behind this and neutralize them, I’m sure it’ll be fine.”

Neutralize them?” The volume of Pete’s voice rose slightly. “Seriously? This is not a war.”

Kristen crossed her arms and narrowed her eyes. I thought, Uh oh. She said, “You’re being forced to fight to be accepted and respected in this town. What would you call it?”

Pete snorted. “This episode is an anomaly.”

“There are thirty-three churches here that are Baptist, Fundamentalist, Church of God, etcetera. Thirty-three. Not that anomalous, I bet.”

“You counted churches?

“I sure did. I wanted to know what you were up against.” 

I sidled over to stand by Kevin as we watched Pete and Kristen argue. I didn’t have to wonder who would prevail in a contest of wills between them. Pete’s volume increased by another notch. “Unbelievable. This is not even your business.”

“No? Being concerned for my family is not my business? Wanting my brothers-in-law to be safe is not my business?” 

There is nothing to worry about!

“And you are in complete fucking denial!

I held up my hands. “Whoa, whoa. Can we table the discussion?”

Kristen said, “Fine by me.”

Pete didn’t respond. He shoved past us and went out the back door.

Kristen said, “Sorry.”

I said, “Don’t apologize. I appreciate your concern. Pete will, too, as soon as he chills out.”

“I’m not wrong.”

I sighed. “No. I’m afraid you’re not.”

 

Kevin helped me clean the kitchen, then he and Kristen went to the front porch. I poured water from a jug into a bottle and went out back to find Pete. He was in the far southeast corner, opposite the greenhouse, chopping at a hardened section of ground with a mattock. I leaned against the wall and watched him. Finally he stopped, dripping with sweat, and glared at me. “What?”

“Nothing. What are you doing?”

“This is where the beehives will sit. I’m leveling this piece of ground.”

“Do bees need flat ground?”

“No idea. But our bees will have it.”

“Lucky bees.”

He blew out a breath and stared at the sky. “This is not how I wanted my summer to start.”

“Me either.” I handed him the water bottle.

He took a long drink. “Someone’s trying to frighten us. Or provoke a response.”

“I’m sure they are. But there’s a difference between us not responding, and us completely ignoring the threat.”

“What do you propose that we do?”

“Proceed with caution. Do everything we planned while watching our six.”

“We planned to have Jeff and Colin visit.”

I sighed. “Pete, you’re not a parent. Jeff and Val are protecting Colin. That’s what parents do.”

He kicked at a loose clump of dirt. “Not mine.”

“Let me rephrase. That’s what good parents do.”

“Steve will be disappointed.”

“Steve will understand.” Probably.

He looked around the property. “I love it here.”

“So do I. But aren’t you glad we have an eight-foot wall?”

He grimaced. “And it was your idea. I didn’t think we needed it.”

“My intent was to keep critters out of our vegetables, and allow us to walk into the back yard naked if we wanted to. I didn’t realize we’d need protection from anything but coyotes.”

“I refuse to build a moat.”

I laughed. “That would drain the well, for sure.”

“I’ve never argued with Kristen before.”

“I don’t recommend it.”

He snorted. “I can see why.”

 

I wielded a level to complete Pete’s bee preparation, then we went inside. Pete headed for the shower. I took a Coke to the front porch, where Kevin, Kristen, and Ammo were sprawled in various poses. Kristen craned her neck to look at me. “Everything okay?”

“Yeah. He broke up some hard-packed ground in the back. He’s in the shower now.”

Kevin said, “We didn’t mean to be the guests who came to argue.”

I waved that off. “All of it needed to be said.”

Kristen asked, “Why is Pete being so stubborn?”

I laughed. “Do you know him? He is stubborn. But I also suspect that he really wasn’t expecting to have to deal with in-our-faces homophobia.” 

Kevin said, “It’s not only stubbornness. This harassment is crashing into his vision of what living here would be like.”

Yes. He’s constructed this idealistic vision of our future in Alamogordo.”

“He thought he could leave the troubles of his past behind. That moving here would be a fresh start for him.”

“Christine pointed out to him in December that this town could be a sister city to Barstow. He didn’t like that. But now he’s seeing that she was right, and he doesn’t want to accept it.”

Kevin said softly, “You have to brace yourself for more homophobia.” 

“Oh, believe me. I’m expecting more.”

Kristen asked, “What will Pete do then?”

I shook my head, gazing into the distance. “I don’t know.”

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An excerpt from Deserted to Death

Is it hot where you are? It’s hot here, but then it’s summer in Florida. We expect that sort of thing. If you’re hot where it’s not supposed to be hot, you have my full sympathy.

So… let’s take a trip to the desert! It’s a dry heat, don’tcha know. 😀 This is a piece from Deserted to Death, Jamie Brodie Mystery #19, which takes place right about now in New Mexico, but won’t be published until October. Enjoy!

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David Jones [CC BY-SA 2.5 (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.5)%5D

When I woke up at 6:22, Pete was still asleep, face down, his right arm slung over me. I eased out from under it; he didn’t move. Ammo was dreaming, his nose and paws twitching. I quietly pulled on shorts and a t-shirt, slid my feet into sneakers, and tiptoed to the kitchen. The coffee maker was on, but there was no sign of Meredith. She was probably getting dressed.

I went through the laundry room into the garage, intending to retrieve the newspaper. I hit the button to raise the closest garage bay door and walked onto the driveway.

There was something lying in the street, against the curb across from the house.

There was someone lying in the street.

I ran to the person – a young man. Maybe a teenager. He was lying on his left side, his left arm stretched out underneath him as if he’d been reaching for something. He was terribly thin. Barefoot, wearing only a t-shirt and jeans. The soles of his feet were crusted with dried blood.

His eyes were half-open, clouded, unseeing. His lips were parted slightly. His hair was dark, cropped close to his head, and there was stubble on his chin and cheeks.

I bent down to feel for a pulse in his outstretched wrist, already sure of what I’d find.

He was cool.

He was dead.

I ran back to the house and into the bedroom for my phone, unintentionally rousing both Pete and Ammo, and called 911. Ammo scrambled to his feet and Pete sat up as the dispatcher answered.

“Otero County 911, where are you calling from?”

“Las Lomas Court. There’s a dead body in my street.” I left the bedroom, headed outside. “Ammo, stay.”

He stayed. Pete followed me into the garage. “What?

The dispatcher, a woman, sounded equally skeptical. “There’s a dead body in the street?”

“Yes, ma’am. A young adult male.”

“Does he have a pulse?”

“No pulse. He’s cool to the touch.”

“Do you know who it is?”

“No, ma’am.”

“When were you last in the street?”

“Um…about 9:30 last night.” We’d watched the sunset from the front porch.

I heard the first sirens approach. As the ambulance turned onto our street, Pete stopped beside me, staring at the corpse. He breathed, “Oh, my God.”

The dispatcher signed off. The EMTs scrambled from their truck with equipment, and we backed up into our driveway. One of them started to roll the kid over – and stopped. “He’s in partial rigor.”

Two police cruisers parked, and an Alamogordo PD patrol officer emerged from each. They conferred with the EMTs briefly. One cop went to the body, and one approached us, a burly guy with a blond brush cut. “Morning.”

Pete said, “Morning.”

“Officer Smallwood. What happened here?”

I told him. As he was taking notes, the other uniformed officer joined us, nodding hello. “I called the chief.”

“Okay.” Smallwood tipped his head toward our front porch. “You all hang out here for a while.”

I said, “Yes, sir.”

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Obsessed to Death is here!

It’s release day! Finally!! Obsessed to Death is now live at all of your favorite retailers and e-tailers. Here’s my favorite, in case you’re conflicted: https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/942036

Thank you all so much for reading! I hope you enjoy.

Obsessed cover

Jamie Brodie Mystery #18

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Cover reveal and pre-order: Obsessed to Death!

And the second very busy publishing week commences! First, if you want to win a coupon code at Smashwords for Obsessed to Death, go comment on my posts at the Footsteps in the Dark launch party at Josh Lanyon’s Fan Page. You have until Monday morning (Eastern Daylight Time US) to comment. I’ll pick the winners randomly at about noon on Monday.

Next, Obsessed to Death (Jamie Brodie Mystery #18) is now available for pre-order! Here are the links:

Print

Amazon

Smashwords

Annnnd the big reveal:

Obsessed cover

Jamie Brodie Mystery #18

I LOVE this cover. My cover artist, Stephanie, is just the best.

Don’t forget, the Footsteps in the Dark anthology is now live at all of your favorite e-tailers. Print isn’t available yet but will be eventually. Audio is in the works, too!

 

 

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Get your copy now!

Yay! The day has finally come! Cloistered to Death is here! If you didn’t pre-order, you can now get the print and Kindle versions here, PDF/epub/mobi here through Smashwords, and at all of your other favorite ebook sellers.

Enjoy!!Cover 2500x1875.jpg

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A snippet from Published to Death

Published to Death, Jamie Brodie Mystery #15, is coming Wednesday! If you haven’t pre-ordered, you can do so here for Amazon and here for Smashwords. If you already have, thank you so much! The print version will be out a few days after the e-book; I’ll post here when it’s ready.

To whet your appetite, here’s a scene from the first chapter of Published to Death. Enjoy!

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Jamie Brodie Mystery #15

Dr. Loomis called the meeting to order just as our University Librarian, Dr. Laura Madorsky, entered the room. Dr. Madorsky didn’t typically attend our meetings. Something must be up.

Dr. Loomis said, “First order of business is to welcome Jamie back into the fold. Your sabbatical was productive, I take it?”

“Yes, ma’am. The second draft of the book is finished and the editor has it now. It should be published in about six months.”

Everyone applauded, and I responded with the royal wave, which produced laughter. Dr. Loomis smiled and said, “Wonderful. Our second order of business will be explained by Dr. Madorsky.”

Dr. Madorsky pushed away from the wall where she’d been leaning. “You’ve probably seen flyers around campus announcing this… Beginning tomorrow and running through the end of the week, UCLA is hosting a convention of self-published authors on campus. The primary meetings will be at Carnesale Commons, but there will be sessions scattered throughout different buildings and the exhibit hall is in the Wooden Center. When you’re out and about over the coming days and see a lost conventioneer, please guide them to their destination.”

We all murmured agreement. Dr. Madorsky said, “Thank you. This is a convention of writers, so naturally it involves books. The self-publishing field is expanding rapidly, and it’s an area in which academic libraries have had minimal impact. I’d like to change that. It’s critical that we’re aware of what’s happening in all areas of publishing. Gina Marsh from Powell and Karen Lewis from the biomedical library are attending the conference, but I’d like to send one or two of you from YRL as well.”

We all glanced at each other. Lola, the scholar of classical literature, looked horrified. Dr. Madorsky continued. “Much of self-publishing is in e-book format, and much of the marketing occurs through social media. Kristen, unless you have a compelling reason that you can’t, I’d like you to attend. See what’s trending in the world of book-related social media.”

Kristen Beach – fellow librarian and my brother Kevin’s girlfriend – was our communications and digital humanities specialist. Dr. Madorsky’s request made sense. Kristen said, “I’d enjoy that. Thank you.”

Dr. Madorsky smiled. “Thank you.”

Kristen said, “I think Jamie should go, too. Since he’s currently immersed in the publishing process.”

What?? I said, “Uh…”

Dr. Madorsky raised an eyebrow. “Excellent idea. Jamie?”

Liz was smirking. Frank Villareal and Katrina Johnson were hiding smiles. I said weakly, “Sure. That’d be great.”

“Wonderful.” Dr. Madorsky handed Dr. Loomis a folder, which she passed down the table to us. “The conference schedule is in that packet. I’ll look forward to your report. Madeline, thank you.”

Dr. Loomis saw Dr. Madorsky out, then turned to us. “Kristen? Jamie? Do you have everything prepared for the new quarter?”

Unfortunately, I did. I’d combed through all of my research guides last week. I should have waited. I said, “Yes, ma’am.”

Kristen said, “I do.”

“All right.” Dr. Loomis gave me an amused smile. “Looks like you’re going to a convention. Now, third order of business…”

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Trapped to Death is here today!

It’s release day! Trapped to Death is now available in whichever format you prefer. Here are the links:

Amazon Kindle

Amazon Print

Smashwords

Autumn brings a fresh start in academia, but there are signs that Jamie Brodie’s autumn quarter might bring trouble. First, his next door neighbors unexpectedly drop off the grid. Several days later Jamie discovers – with the help of his dog – that something very bad has happened in the neighbors’ house. When the victim is identified, Jamie briefly becomes a suspect – but something far more dangerous is lying in wait for Jamie. And he doesn’t recognize it until it’s too late.

I hope you enjoy it!

cover-trapped

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