Today, he has short stories in several anthologies and a growing list of novels to his credit. As a prolific reader, the reads across several genres and takes that into his writing. He has written mysteries, thrillers, a historical, and two fantasy/mystery/thrillers featuring a Santa Elf. The count is now at fourteen and growing. He is a regular contributor to Happy Homicides, a twice-annual anthology of cozy short stories. He also has a series of short stories featuring a cattle-herding burro. Wherever his imagination will take him, he follows.
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About the Book
Beth Bowman is a PI in Coral Lakes, FL who works with a homeless group. When one of them turns up brutally beaten to death, Beth feels obligated to become involved. She learns there is a group in town to demonstrate, Friends Intent on The Environment (FITE) who could be involved. Another murder occurs and evidence points to Dabba, one of Beth's friends. Beth sets her sights on FITE as their demonstrations become more violent. Cloie Morales, the leader of FITE is a formidable adversary, causing Beth to reach deep inside herself.
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The first blow killed him. If the attacker had looked, he’d have seen the side of his victim’s head caved in, pieces of the shattered skull exposed. A section of one-inch diameter Number 8 rebar, swung through a full arc, tended to do that to a human head. But the assailant did not notice. His adrenalin flow was too high, his mood too joyous. He swung again—and again. After a few more cranium-crushing blows, his partner grabbed his arm. “That’s enough. Let’s get out of here.”
* * *
Beth’s cell phone went through its standard number of chimes, then fell silent. A few seconds later, it repeated itself. The third time, Beth fumbled on the nightstand, pulled the phone to her ear, and mumbled, “Hello.”
“Beth, I need you to come into the station,” she heard. “How long before you can get here?”
“Huh? Who . . . who is this?” Through sleepy eyes, she saw the call was from the Chief of Police of Coral Lakes. While she had worked with him before, his contact had always been during normal working hours, or better said, after the sun came up. She shook her head, trying to throw the sleep out of it, then rose and stumbled toward the bathroom. “Chief, what are you doing up at this ungodly hour? It’s only five in the morning. One of the things I like about being a PI is that if I do anything at this hour, other than snooze, I get my full hourly rate. Are you hiring me?”
Beth’s experience with Chief Elston began on a negative note when defense attorney John Hammonds all but ordered the chief to stand down from investigating the kidnapping of his five-year-old daughter. Instead, he named Beth to lead the investigation and recover her—at any cost. Since Hammonds had extensive political contacts in the state capitol in Tallahassee, the chief had no choice but to back off and assume a supporting role. Beth’s success raised her profile in his estimation from poor to competent Private Investigator. Didn’t put her on his A-List, but did give her a high B List position.
“Simply another early morning, Beth. It’s the job. And, no, I’m not offering you a position.” The chief chuckled. “I need you to come in though. We have a situation that might affect you.”
She turned on the cold water and put the phone on speaker. “Tell me about it.”
“Not until you’re here. It’s too complicated to tackle over the phone. You might misunderstand and do something rash.”
She doused her face with water, then grabbed a towel to dry it. “Chief, you’re not making any sense. Tell me what’s up.”
“When you get here. I’m putting together a team, and I want you involved. Soon, Beth, please.”
Beth frowned and stopped her drying action, wondering what the hidden message was. What could have happened that would cause the chief to act so strange? Since when was she important enough to be included on a team of his? But, he sounded sincere.
“Alright, give me an hour, and I’ll be there. Make sure the coffee is fresh and hot—and I don’t mean that sludge you serve in the break room. Also, have some donuts brought in. Breakfast is on you.”