Exclusive Excerpt: The Cuban Who Paid Dearly (Daytona Beach Book 3) by Frank W. Butterfield

Blurb:

It’s Thursday morning, the 2nd of October in 1947, and Ronnie Grisham and his pal, Tom Jarrell, are now married… To women, of course…

And, for appearance’s sake and to get a much-needed break from work, Ronnie figures they really should go on a honeymoon.

So, the two couples board the southbound Champion for Miami. It’s all aboard for romance! But not in the way their fellow passengers would imagine, no doubt.

Once there, they get a chance to see Miss Doris Day, who is touring with Les Brown and his Band of Renown. And a good time is had by all!

But all good things must come to an end and, after dropping the gals off at the airport, the guys rent a car and hit the Overseas Highway to head down into the Florida Keys.

Just when it looks like Tom and Ronnie will finally get some time to themselves, a friend of theirs comes across a dead Cuban and is found holding the gun. He says he didn’t do it, but the State’s Attorney isn’t convinced…

Looks like it’s back to work for Daytona Beach’s most infamous lawyer and his private dick!

Excerpt:

The Blue Parrot was at the end of a little alley off Fleming Street. The only indication of the place was a blue electric light bulb over a white door with a blue parrot painted on the front. Ronnie was only able to find it because Tom had run into the jail and asked Claud where it was and then ran out with the address. Turned out that it was only a couple of blocks away.

Ronnie pulled open the door and was greeted with the sound of Perry Como singing, “When You Were Sweet Sixteen,” a song that Ronnie had mixed feelings about. He liked the man’s voice and liked to listen to his singing on The Chesterfield Supper Club program on the radio. His voice was smooth and could, at times, get him in the mood. But the song reminded Ronnie of his first meeting Tom because Tom was 16 at the time they met. That had always been a melancholy memory. But, as he moved into the dimly lit bar, he grinned as he realized it wasn’t melancholy anymore. There was no doubt the two were in love with each other and Ronnie was more in love with Tom than ever.

Grinning like a goddam fool, Ronnie walked up to the bar. Looking around, he realized he was only one of four people in the place. A couple, two gals, were sitting in the back at a booth, side by side, and seemed to be whispering sweet nothings to each other.

The other person was the man behind the bar. He was about 5’9″ or so and had a head full of thick graying blond hair that was slicked back with a heavy dose of pomade. He had a friendly expression and bright blue eyes. Wearing a starched white shirt with rolled-up sleeves, open at the neck, and under a bright blue apron, the man walked over. “Are you one of us?” asked the man as he looked up at Ronnie.

With a grin, Ronnie replied, “If you’re wonderin’ whether I prefer Joes over Janes, I do.”

“Welcome, then. What’ll you have?”

“Jax.”

“Comin’ right up.” The man’s voice had a slight Irish accent to it.

Ronnie parked himself at the bar and looked around. It was a small place but friendly, clean, and inviting. He’d been to a similar kind of spot a few weeks earlier in West Palm Beach, but it wasn’t nearly as clean or as welcoming. It had been more like a spot to be ashamed of.

The man placed a bottle of Jax in front of him along with a bowl of peanuts. “Where you in from?”

“Daytona Beach,” replied Ronnie as he took a drink of the cold brew.

“Nice place up there. Love that flat beach where you can have a nice stroll. Dodging the cars can be a little tricky, though,” he added with a smile.

“I drive up and down there all the time, but I try to keep my eyes out for any tourists who don’t realize the beach is a road.”

“Good man. What brings you to Key West?”

“Well,” said Ronnie as he picked up a couple of peanuts, “I’m down here with my guy.”

“Lucky man, he is.”

“I don’t know about that.” He popped the peanuts in his mouth and then asked, “Are you Johnny Donahue?”

“The one and the only.”

Ronnie extended his hand across the bar. “My name is Ronnie Grisham.”

“Call me Johnny,” said the man as he shook with a wink.

“And I’m Ronnie.” He leaned in. “Claud Wallace asked me to come over and talk to you about Benny Ibanez.”

Johnny’s smile faded. “I see.”

“What can you tell me about Benny?”

Screwing up his mouth, Johnny looked hard at Ronnie. “And what might your interest be in the matter?”

“I’m trying to find whoever it was who really killed Benny.”

Author Frank W. Butterfield:

Frank W Butterfield

Frank W. Butterfield is the Amazon best-selling author of over 20 books and counting in the Nick Williams Mystery series, stories about Nick & Carter, a private dick and a fireman who live and love in San Francisco.

To learn more about Frank W. Butterfield’s novels, Nick & Carter and their ongoing adventures, click here for his website.

Exclusive Excerpt: The Ornamental Hermit by Olivier Bosman

A D.S. Billings Victorian Mystery – Book 1

“Ah, Doctor Smith,” the shopkeeper said as Billings walked tentatively into the dimly lit shop. “How are you? So nice to see you again.”

“I am well, thank you.” Billings’ face was tense and his hands were trembling. He clenched his fist behind his back and gritted his teeth. He instantly regretted entering the shop. “I believe you have a new series in,” he asked.

“I do indeed, I do indeed. I have it right here.” The shopkeeper crouched down and took a large brown paper envelope from beneath the counter. He was a short corpulent man with dark, oily skin. Of Arab descent, perhaps. Or maybe Greek. He called himself Al Bull, but Billings knew that that wasn’t his real name. He smiled sleazily, almost mockingly, as he pulled a series of cabinet cards out of the envelope and displayed them one by one on the counter. They were albumen photographs of young, nude men, practising various sports in a forest meadow. There was one of a naked discus thrower looking like a Greek statue. There was one of two men wrestling by a river, and one of a naked man leaning against a tree holding a javelin. Billings could feel the blood rush to his face as he looked at the photographs.

“They’re from a German sports camp,” the shopkeeper said. “They have the young men exercise in the nude, in keeping with the custom of the original Greek Olympics.”

Billings looked away, desperate to conceal his blushing. “These will do. Thank you,” he said, swallowing.

“I thought they would.” The shopkeeper smiled as he collected the pictures and pushed them back into the envelope. “Are the anatomical classes going well, Doctor Smith?”

“Very well, thank you.”

“I’m sure these photographs will be of great benefit to your students.”

“I’m sure they will. How much are they, please?”

“Seven and sixpence, please.”

Billings ruffled in his pockets for the money.

“I also have a series of photographs from the South Seas,” the shopkeeper continued, “of very young boys in provocative poses. Would that perhaps be of interest to your anatomy students?”

“No, thank you. Just these will do.” Billings lay the money on the counter and picked up the envelope. He tried sticking it into the inside pocket of his great coat, but it wouldn’t fit. He folded the envelope and tried again, but still it was too big.

The shopkeeper watched with an amused glint in his eye as a flustered and harried Billings continued to struggle with the envelope. “You’ll damage the pictures like that,” he said.

Billings didn’t reply and tried one more fold.

“Is it just muscle structures your students are interested in?” the shopkeeper asked after Billings finally succeeded in putting the envelope away. “Or do they like young, lithe physiques as well? Because if so, I have some pictures in the back room which might interest you.”

“No, thank you, Mr Bull. I’m in a hurry.”

“Oh, it won’t take long, Doctor Smith. My assistant Charlie will gladly show you. You haven’t met Charlie yet, have you? He is a very pleasant young man. I am sure you’ll like him – Charlie!”

A young man pulled open the black curtains which divided the shop from the storage room and moved to stand behind the counter next to the shopkeeper. He had a gleeful and cocksure expression in his hazel-green eyes. His thick, dark blond hair was ragged and uncombed (it was so thick, it was practically uncombable). His shirt was only half-tucked into his trousers and the top buttons were undone, revealing pale flesh and a few curly chest hairs. Billings, who had been desperate to turn his back on the shopkeeper and rush out of the shop, raised his head to look at him and was instantly infatuated. Everything about the young man displayed confidence and carelessness, the exact qualities Billings never possessed, and he was fascinated.

“Charlie, this is Doctor Smith,” the shopkeeper said. “Doctor Smith is an expert in anatomy. Doctor Smith, this is Charlie,” he now pointed to his assistant, “who, as you can see, has a very lovely anatomy.” He laughed. And Charlie laughed along with him. But Billings was not amused and looked away embarrassed. “Go on, Doctor Smith,” the shopkeeper continued. “Let Charlie show you what he’s got. It won’t take long, but I’m sure it’ll be to your satisfaction. Ain’t that right, Charlie?”

“That’s right, Mr Bull,” Charlie answered with that nasal Cockney twang which Billings always found so ugly, but which now sounded so lovely coming from Charlie’s lips.

There is an intricate link between delusion and depravity, Billings thought afterwards. The one always precedes the other. He’d had a deluded notion that it was better to love and lose than never to love at all; that a man needed to be touched and held regularly in order to function properly; that all men were entitled to some carnal satisfaction, regardless of their preference or inclination. These deluded notions had passed through his mind shortly before committing the act of depravity which was to follow.

He followed Charlie into the back room. The room was packed with crates and boxes. Billings stood in the middle of the room rigidly, pale and nervous, while Charlie closed the black curtain and turned around to face him.

“Well then, Doctor Smith,” he said, looking at Billings with that cheeky smile. “What do you want to do?”

“Do?” Billings was trembling and sweating. “I thought you were going to show me some more pictures?”

“Pictures?” he laughed. “What do you wanna see pictures for, if you can have the real thing? It’s a bob for a rub, a shilling and sixpence for a bagpipe, and a half crown if you want the full story. But we’d have to do that somewhere more discreet. Mr Bull has a room with a bed available upstairs which you can rent for a shilling. So what will it be, then?”

“I… um…”

“You’re in a hurry, ain’t ya? So I’ll give you a bagpipe. It won’t take long. You got the money on ya?”

Billings rummaged in his pocket and took out some coins to show Charlie.

“You can pay Mr Bull on your way out. Now, come and stand by the light.” Charlie walked towards the wall opposite the window and turned the key on the gas lamp. Billings remained standing on the spot, unsurely, putting the coins back in his pocket. Charlie looked back at him and frowned. “Well, come on then.”

“I… um… I think I’d rather look at the pictures,” Billings said.

Charlie laughed. “Will you stop going on about the pictures. Can’t you see I’m offering you the real thing? Now come here.”

Billings approached him reluctantly. Charlie grabbed the lapels of Billings’s greatcoat and pulled him towards him, then proceeded to cover his face and neck with kisses. Billings felt his heart pound as Charlie’s hands reached into his greatcoat and grabbed hold of his chest. He closed his eyes and clenched his fists as Charlie proceeded to slide his hand down towards his crotch. Goosebumps rose all over his body and shudders rushed through him like electric current when Charlie knelt down before him and started unbuttoning his trousers. He took a deep breath and flung his head back when suddenly, through his closed eyelids, he saw a flash of light which woke him from his erotic trance.

“What was that?” he said, pushing Charlie’s fumbling fingers away from his trouser buttons.

Charlie looked up and frowned. “What?”

“There was a flash of light.”

“I didn’t see nothing.”

Billings’s heart was still pounding, but this time with alarm, rather than titillation. “There was a light,” he said as he rushed towards the window and opened the shutter. “I clearly saw a light.”

“It was probably lightning.” Charlie was still on his knees by the gas lamp.

“It can’t have been lightning. It’s not raining.”

Billings stuck his head out of the window and looked up and down the narrow alleyway which led from the shop’s back entrance to Praed Street. There was nothing there other than a few empty crates which had been stacked against the wall.

“It must’ve been dry lightning, Doctor Smith. Nothing to worry about. Now, come over here and let me finish giving you your bagpipe. I ain’t even started yet.”

Billings turned to look back at Charlie, kneeling on the cold brick floor. The gaslight flooded his head and Billings could see the dirt on the back of his neck and his shirt collar. He also saw black specks crawling through his unruly hair. Was it lice? Charlie suddenly didn’t look so appealing anymore. That cheeky, cocksure smile was replaced by a bored and impatient frown and Billings felt dirty and sleazy. The thought of that dirty boy’s hands all over him suddenly made his whole body itch. How could he have allowed himself to sink to this?

“I had better go,” he said, buttoning up his trousers and tucking in his shirt.

“Ain’t you gonna let me finish giving you your bagpipe?”

“I’m sorry. I have to go.”

“You are still gonna pay me ain’t ya?”

Billings dug into his pocket and took out some coins. “I have two shillings,” he said and held out the coins to Charlie.

“You gotta pay Mr Bull at the counter.”

“Why don’t you take them off me?”

“I don’t know, Doctor Smith,” Charlie said hesitantly. “I ain’t supposed to. You gotta pay Mr Bull at the counter.”

Billings approached him, grabbed his hand and placed the two shillings in it. “Keep the money for yourself.” He closed Charlie’s fingers over the coins. “I’ll tell Mr Bull that I changed my mind and that nothing happened. Which is the truth.” He then turned his back on Charlie, cut through the black drapes and walked back into the shop.

“Finished already?” the shopkeeper asked, confused.

“I have to go, Mr Bull.”

 Billings rushed passed him and out of the shop. As he crossed the corner into Edgware Road, he bumped into a man carrying a heavy black leather case over his shoulder, knocking the man’s hat off his head.

“Oh, I do apologise,” Billings said while the man crouched down to pick up his hat.

The man lifted his head and looked at him. Then a broad smile appeared on his face. “You again!” It was Jeremiah Rook. “What a coincidence!”

Billings looked at him suspiciously. Was it really a coincidence that he should bump into the reporter twice on the same day, in two different towns?

“You should watch where you’re going, Mr Billings,” the reporter continued. “You nearly made me drop my equipment.”

Billings looked at the leather case hanging from the reporter’s shoulder and wondered what it contained.

“’Ere, you’re not shadowing me, are ya?” the reporter asked with a cheeky smile.

“I might ask you the same question?” Billings replied tersely.

“Why would I shadow you? Have you been doing something you shouldn’t have?” There was a mocking glint in the reporter’s eyes as he asked this, and Billings’s attention was again drawn to the suspicious case on the reporter’s shoulder.

“I expect it’s just a coincidence, then,” Billings concluded. “We must’ve taken the same train back from Oxford and we must both be on our way home.”

“I expect that must be the case.”

“Well, good day to you then, Mr Rook.” Billings  tipped his hat at him. “I’d best be on my way.”

“Good day to you, Mr Billings.”

When he got back home, Billings rushed straight to his room, took the envelope out of his pocket, grabbed a box of matches from the windowsill, crouched down before the fireplace and set fire to it and its contents. Watching the cindered remains disappearing down the roster, he decided he’d take a generous dose of morphine that night. He was determined to sleep soundly. He’d sleep so soundly that, when he’d wake up the following morning, it would be as if this whole day had never occurred. As if the day had just been a bad dream. Like one of those morphine-induced nightmares he sometimes had. He hadn’t given in to temptation. He hadn’t soiled his consciousness. He hadn’t plotted to maltreat another fellow human being. He hadn’t risked jeopardizing his career. It had all been a bad dream, that’s all. A bad, disturbing dream, the likes of which he’d had many times before.

Blurb:

‘The Ornamental Hermit’ is a thrilling mystery which leads the reader on a colourful journey into Victorian England.’

The year is 1890. Detective Sergeant John Billings is a Quaker. He sees God in everyone and takes other people’s suffering to heart. He is an honest and hard working man who has risen swiftly through the ranks to become one of Scotland Yard’s youngest detectives. But in his private life he struggles with the demons of loneliness, morphine addiction and homosexuality.

More about author Olivier Bosman:

Born to Dutch parents and raised in Colombia and England, I am a rootless wanderer with itchy feet. I’ve spent the last few years living and working in The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Sudan and Bulgaria, but I have now finally settled down among the olive groves of Andalucia. 

For updates on my latest projects and the occasional freebie, please join my mailing list.

www.olivierbosman.com

Excerpt & FREE Giveaway: Pretty Boy Dead by Jon Michaelsen

Excerpt: Pretty Boy Dead (a Kendall Parker Mystery)

The call came through Sergeant Kendall Parker’s cell during his regular morning coffee run to the Landmark diner on Cheshire Bridge Road. Moments later, the detective slapped a blue light on the roof of his silver-blue cruiser and sped through the Morningside neighborhood, an overpriced in-town section on the northern fringes of the city. He turned off Cheshire Bridge Road to Piedmont and punched the accelerator after maneuvering around a few startled drivers. The traffic proved thicker than he’d expected this morning, forcing him to jockey along Piedmont Avenue and zigzag through the southbound lanes. The call had directed him to Piedmont Park, a popular one hundred and sixty-eight-acre triangle of land in the heart of Midtown, originally named for its crop-producing milieu connecting downtown and the tony Buckhead community lying northeast of the city. A body found in a runoff ditch at the park’s southernmost corner revealed no identification or apparent cause of death. The male victim had likely washed downstream during last night’s heavy spring ran.

Turning east on Monroe, Parker spotted a pair of blue and whites angled on 10th Street across from Grady High School’s new football and track field. Early rising joggers sprinkled the gravel running track that circled the perimeter of the field, several gawking at the flashing lights invading their area.

The Criminal Investigation Division dispatched at least three investigators to the scene of every death in the city: two from Homicide and another from either Sex Crimes or the Robbery unit. CID personnel received their orders from the homicide detective on call even though the homicide sergeant ultimately ran the investigation. Sgt. Kendall Parker led the charge today. Most referred to him by last name only. Parker was a major-crimes investigator for the department, CID, his rank Master Sergeant, a ten-year veteran with APD, the last six with the Homicide Squad.

Parker ran two wheels of his car over the curb and killed the motor, extricating his linebacker frame from the vehicle and striding across the grassy plane toward the dark blue uniform standing at the perimeter of a paved walking trail. He flashed his shield to a beat cop standing guard at the scene, who pointed him in the direction of the body without introduction.

Head down to protect his face from the assault of thorns, he trudged through a thicket of overgrowth and underbrush, the branches snatching at his trousers and poking through the fabric, nicking his flesh. He emerged at the crest of a wide drainage ditch. Looking out, he noticed that the storm basin sliced through the southeastern edge of the park and vanished through a giant steel cylinder set beneath 10th Street. He came upon a second cop sitting on the angled concrete about thirty yards from the body, and revealed his badge again.

“Anyone touched the body?”

“No sir,” the man called, shielding his eyes from the bright sun with an upraised arm and stood to meet the sergeant. “Ain’t let nobody down there, sir,” he said, jutting his chin toward the corpse below. “Waitin’ for the MPO.” He followed along, but became alarmed when Parker did not stop. “Hey, you can’t go down there.”

The sergeant reached the precipice of the concrete gully. A body lay tangled in a web of branches and debris, face up in a flow of shallow water. The stiff wore a type of dark overcoat, raincoat, or canvas outerwear. A strong odor, often associated with a bloated cadaver, wafted in the breeze. Parker squatted, angled his six–foot four-inch frame to make the steep trek into the ditch, and walked the edge of water this side of the cadaver, careful not to contaminate the scene.

“Ignore me,” Parker called over his shoulder. “I won’t touch a thing,” he said, cursing the cop under his breath. Damn rookie.

The officer’s face glowed red. He perched himself in a spot above the basin, jotting the detective’s name and badge number in his spiral notepad while, no doubt, awaiting his supervisor.

The detective pushed mirrored shades over his head of thick, dark curls, his brown eyes sweeping the area. He withdrew a pocket notepad—as much a part of him as the shield he wore clipped on his belt—and noted the time, location, and weather conditions. Surveying the area, he sketched out the scene while completing a spiral search, working his way toward the remains. A crime scene crew would trudge the same route when they arrived to videotape the scene, but Parker needed his own notes for later recall.

“Call came in at 6:42 a.m.,” a voice said from behind the sergeant.

Parker scowled and glanced over his shoulder, recognizing Timothy Brooks, an overzealous rookie detective recently assigned to the squad.

Brooks clambered into the gully, slipping and sliding on his backside until the heels of his big wingtips caught hold at the bottom of the ditch but not before his right foot landed in the water.

“Watch it,” Parker pointed and snapped. “You’ll fuck up the scene.”

“Sorry.” Brooks stepped back shaking water from his shoe. “Homeless man spotted the body at first light.” He continued without missing a beat and brushed the seat of his pressed khakis. “Perelli’s taking his statement up near the toilet-house. Dispatch traced the call to the emergency phone up there.”

Brooks sported a wide, Cheshire cat grin as he approached his new boss and stopped several feet from the body, tucking both hands in the flat-front pockets of his trousers. The beat cop resting on the embankment ventured forward.

Path victim took to Piedmont Park in Atlanta

Parker shook his head and waved his arms at both of them. “Get the hell back.”

Brooks obliged, retracing his steps double-time and shuffling the objecting officer back up the embankment. The cop shouted expletives indecipherable to Parker as he turned his attention back to the cadaver. Brooks had to learn his preference for spending a few minutes alone at a fresh crime scene, so best start now. Parker viewed the precious time alone a ritual of sorts, a rite of passage earned by years of long hours spent investigating the deaths of others. He’d be chastised by his commanding officer later.

A body commanded the heart of any homicide. Parker’s badge required him to confront the remains, regardless of circumstance or condition. Years of experience had taught him emotional detachment was the key to any successful investigation and although that theory may work for some, deep down inside he knew better. Soon, he’d relinquish a piece of his soul to this abandoned corpse, as with every other that followed. Truth be told, he died a little death at the beginning of every homicide investigation.

A cool breeze drifted through the basin and eased the queasiness in his gut. He popped a handful of antacids in his mouth and slipped a pair of latex gloves on before kneeling over the sunbaked cadaver. Clicking on the handheld recorder that he carried in his pocket, he described the body in detail. “Male, Caucasian, late teens-early twenties, approximately 5’10, one-hundred seventy to eighty pounds. Dark hair trimmed close, and no obvious signs of trauma. Clothes appear expensive and not threadbare, not the mark of a vagrant or a street kid,” he said. He swallowed a build-up of phlegm at the back of his throat. The stale, decaying odor skimming the surface of trickling water in the gully was stifling. He continued moving his eyes in a grid pattern over the discovery.

Parker avoided looking at the blanched face, the cloudy blue eyes, and bloated skin of the body. He used a pen from his chest pocket to probe the collar of the victim’s overcoat, lifting the damp fabric of the shirt beneath. A thick, gold chain surrounded the puffy neck, herringbone links wedged into the skin sparkling in the bright sunlight. In the murkiness to his left, a large dial, chrome-banded watch clung to a swollen wrist. The awkward angle of the arm displayed the crystal of the timepiece, cracked and filled with water, time frozen at a quarter past one, perhaps a clue to time of death. The right hand of the victim held a dark leather glove.

Leaning over the body for closer inspection, Parker speculated how the kid might have ended up like this, a technique he often used to get inside the victim’s head, sifting through pieces of the scene and condition of the body to connect the dots. These days, nothing in his line of work appeared simple and straightforward. Days, perhaps weeks, would pass before he would ferret out the reason behind the young man’s death, if ever.

The smell of raw sewage tickled the hairs in his nostrils as he studied the body. Despite the scripts churned out of Hollywood like a carnival music machine, cops never became used to seeing such gore, the sickly-sweet scent of rotting flesh, vicious crimes against another human being. The carnage worked to further harden their hearts from life’s other assaults and question the existence of faith, forcing the soul into tolerance and acceptance. The detective displayed impenetrable tolerance, but acceptance? Never. It came with the territory.

Parker stared at the corpse, seeing not the man lying before him, but the haunting image of another. The obsession was never far from his mind, clouding his thoughts and perhaps his judgment. It was an effigy of a young man taller and wider-shouldered than the one lying flat in the stream of water, an imagined reflection sinking to the depths of much deeper water no amount of scotch could erase. The urge to reach out and grasp the phantasm in his mind’s eye passed as a prickly chill nipped the back of his neck and reminded him that he had a job to do.

He called out for Brooks to join him.

The rookie bounded down the slope on cue.

“Have you called the M.E.?”

Brooks nodded in bobble-head speed.

“So, where the fuck is she?”

Parker stood after finding no identification on the body. A reflection caught the corner of his eye as he turned to walk away. Shifting his feet to the outer perimeter of the corpse, careful not to disturb the zone, he reached over a mound of debris and lifted the edge of a waterlogged matchbook with the tip of his pen. He recognized the name embellished across the silvery cardboard. It belonged to a small neighborhood bar up the road and across from the park.

“Get some men to search the grounds for evidence,” Parker said, leaving the matchbook where he found it. “See if you can locate the missing glove…and a cell phone.”

“Cell phone, sir?” Brooks asked.

“The victim’s cell. Everyone has a cell phone these days, and it ain’t on the body.”

Parker glanced back at the dead man, a moment of antipathy passing through his core before turning away, the lasting image taking its place among countless others extolled in his memory. “Put in another call for the ME.”

The sergeant ripped off the latex gloves and stuffed them in the pocket of his coat.


Piedmont Park near where victim found

Blurb:

A murdered male stripper.

A missing go-go dancer.

When the mangled body of a young gay man is discovered in a popular Atlanta park, advocacy groups converge on City Hall demanding justice. Media are quick to pin the brutal homicide on a drug-addicted, homeless teen. Atlanta Detective Sgt. Kendall Parker isn’t so convinced, even after the suspect assaults his homicide partner with a deadly weapon. But the investigation takes a disastrous turn, and a suspect in custody ends up dead. 

It becomes a race against time for the veteran detective to solve the apparent gay-bashing, but when a tenacious reporter threatens to expose a police cover-up, Parker is forced to make an impossible choice: stand firm for justice, or betray the brotherhood in blue. 

The odds against him, Parker will need to rely on his keen instinct and experience as a streetwise cop to catch a brutal killer. Yet success often comes at a price, and for Parker, it may mean having to reveal his most closely guarded secret.

WIN FREE e-book or audio copy of PRETTY BOY DEAD – winner’s choice

ENTER drawing by clicking on the Rafflecopter link below. The winner can chose format: Kindle (mobi), e-pub or .pdf. (**some countries/locations may not be able to receive e-mail delivery**).

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Author Jon Michaelsen

Jon Michaelsen is a writer of Gay fiction & Speculative fiction, most with elements of mystery and suspense/thriller.

Born near the banks of the Chattahoochee River in Southwest Georgia, at ten he moved with his family to Atlanta, where he has remained. With more time to focus on writing after retiring from a corporate career of twenty-five years, he began publishing short-fiction for a few years before debuting his first novel, Pretty Boy Dead, which earned a Lambda Literary Finalist gold seal for Best Gay Mystery.

He continues to publish both short fiction and long fiction, while drafting his second novel in the Kendall Parker Mystery series, The Deadwood Murders, which is scheduled for publication in Spring 2019.

He lives with his husband of 32 years, and two monstrous terriers.

Contact him at: Michaelsen.jon@gmail.com

On the Web:

http://www.jonmichaelsen.com
http://www.facebook/jonmichaelsen

Join him and get the best eBook deals on a daily basis, directly to your email:
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Exclusive Excerpt: The Same Page (Have Body, Will Guard Book 9) by Neil Plakcy

Excerpt:

The detective led Arseny to a part of the building where the cells looked like they were for longer-term holding, with two bunk beds and a pot in the corner. He unlocked a cell where another man sat on one of the bunks, his head in his hands.

His father had often said that Arseny made decisions based on his heart, not his brain, and he’d warned Arseny that the world did not look kindly on a man who did not consider the consequences of his actions.

What would his father say now? I told you so? Would he be able to contact Slava? Perhaps his father could use his contacts to get him released—or pay a ransom. How humiliating that would be, to go running to his papa like a small boy. No, there had to be something he could do himself.

The detective took Arseny’s arm and thrust him roughly into the cell, then clanged the door shut with a sound that reverberated through Arseny’s body. He collapsed on the cot across from the other man, who didn’t look up until the detective had left.

The Same Page

Arseny was immediately struck by how handsome his cell mate was. Black hair, a couple of days’ scruff of beard, piercing dark eyes. He got up and paced back and forth a few times, walking with the cocky, chest-forward attitude of a short man accustomed to making his presence known among men much taller than he was. The kind of man Arseny would have gravitated toward immediately in a gay bar in Moscow.

Watching him, Arseny was flooded with a desire to get down on his knees, eat out the man’s tight ass, and fuck him until he whimpered and cried out and ejaculated solely from the pressure of Arseny’s dick against his prostate.

But instead they were in a prison cell, in a country known for its opposition to homosexuality. Arseny repressed any urges and simply said, “You are Russian? Or Chechen?”

The man shrugged. “I speak only a few words of Russian,” he said, in that language. “Sono Italiano.”

Arseny spoke no Italian beyond hello and goodbye, so he tried, “English?”

The man smiled and nodded. “Yes, English. I am Giovanni. You are?”

“Arseny. How do you come here?”

“It is all big mistake,” Giovanni said. “I am archaeologist by trade. I come here to see ancient sites. I wish to buy some items for museum, and suddenly I am arrested and accused.” He cocked his head. “You?”

“I don’t know why I’m here.” Arseny had no intention of revealing his true reason for being in Chechnya, so he stuck to his cover story. “I want to start an import-export business and I came here to meet with a man who could supply me with merchandise. But for some reason the police think he is corrupt, and because of him, me.”

“This is messed-up country,” Giovanni said. “Both of us innocent and in jail for no reason.”

They talked for a few more minutes, then lapsed into silence. Arseny’s stomach grumbled, and he realized he hadn’t had anything to eat since breakfast. Did they feed prisoners? Would it be something edible?

“You live in Russia?” Giovanni asked.

“In Moscow. You?”

“In Rome. But my family, they are from Assisi. You know, from Saint Francis? The one with the animals?”

Arseny had heard of him. “A small town?”

Giovanni shrugged. “Not so small. But Rome? Rome is big city, much like Moscow, I think.”

“I have never been to Rome,” Arseny said. “Or anywhere in Italy. My father lives now in Monaco, so maybe I will visit him some time. Is not far from where he lives to Italy.”

“Ah, the Riviera ligure,” Giovanni said. “Very beautiful. I have been several times, with a person I once loved.”

Arseny wondered if the lack of gender to the “person” was deliberate, or simply because Giovanni’s English was not perfect.

He pushed a little. “I have loved like that,” he said. “But eventually it ended. The person and I wanted different things in life.”

Giovanni nodded, and Arseny thought he saw something in the Italian’s dark eyes. “You have a business in Moscow?”

“Not yet.” Arseny felt a bit ashamed at admitting that his father had transferred some of his business assets to him and to his sister before fleeing Moscow, and that he lived on that income rather than anything he did himself. “I am just out of university for one year.”

He looked at Giovanni. “You must have a doctorate degree for your job?”

Giovanni shook his head. “I am a low-level person. The kind they send out to dangerous places. I think the term from military in English is cannon fodder.”

Arseny didn’t know that term, and Giovanni explained it. “Do you ever watch the American Star Trek?” he asked.

“Oh, yes,” Arseny said with feeling. “Kirk and Spock!”

He was suddenly embarrassed, but Giovanni nodded. “Yes, Kirk and Spock. Very handsome men, good friends.”

Before Arseny could fully process that comment, Giovanni continued. “There is idea among fans of show. That on exploration of strange planet, characters wearing red shirts will be killed by aliens.”

They began to discuss favorite episodes of the show, and the similar Star Wars movies, and Arseny felt more and more drawn to the handsome Italian. Though it was foolish to assume anything, in a jail cell in a strange place where even the idea that a man could be sexually attracted to another man was grounds for imprisonment or death.

But Arseny couldn’t help wondering. Maybe that was why Giovanni had been arrested. Perhaps he had made an advance to another man, been revealed and taken into custody. Was that why the police had put them in this cell together?

Were they being watched for signs of romantic activity? Arseny gulped. All the more reason to watch himself.

Excerpt for Jon Michaelsen from The Same Page

The detective led Arseny to a part of the building where the cells looked like they were for longer-term holding, with two bunk beds and a pot in the corner. He unlocked a cell where another man sat on one of the bunks, his head in his hands.

His father had often said that Arseny made decisions based on his heart, not his brain, and he’d warned Arseny that the world did not look kindly on a man who did not consider the consequences of his actions.

What would his father say now? I told you so? Would he be able to contact Slava? Perhaps his father could use his contacts to get him released—or pay a ransom. How humiliating that would be, to go running to his papa like a small boy. No, there had to be something he could do himself.

The detective took Arseny’s arm and thrust him roughly into the cell, then clanged the door shut with a sound that reverberated through Arseny’s body. He collapsed on the cot across from the other man, who didn’t look up until the detective had left.

Arseny was immediately struck by how handsome his cell mate was. Black hair, a couple of days’ scruff of beard, piercing dark eyes. He got up and paced back and forth a few times, walking with the cocky, chest-forward attitude of a short man accustomed to making his presence known among men much taller than he was. The kind of man Arseny would have gravitated toward immediately in a gay bar in Moscow.

Watching him, Arseny was flooded with a desire to get down on his knees, eat out the man’s tight ass, and fuck him until he whimpered and cried out and ejaculated solely from the pressure of Arseny’s dick against his prostate.

But instead they were in a prison cell, in a country known for its opposition to homosexuality. Arseny repressed any urges and simply said, “You are Russian? Or Chechen?”

The man shrugged. “I speak only a few words of Russian,” he said, in that language. “Sono Italiano.”

Arseny spoke no Italian beyond hello and goodbye, so he tried, “English?”

The man smiled and nodded. “Yes, English. I am Giovanni. You are?”

“Arseny. How do you come here?”

“It is all big mistake,” Giovanni said. “I am archaeologist by trade. I come here to see ancient sites. I wish to buy some items for museum, and suddenly I am arrested and accused.” He cocked his head. “You?”

“I don’t know why I’m here.” Arseny had no intention of revealing his true reason for being in Chechnya, so he stuck to his cover story. “I want to start an import-export business and I came here to meet with a man who could supply me with merchandise. But for some reason the police think he is corrupt, and because of him, me.”

“This is messed-up country,” Giovanni said. “Both of us innocent and in jail for no reason.”

They talked for a few more minutes, then lapsed into silence. Arseny’s stomach grumbled, and he realized he hadn’t had anything to eat since breakfast. Did they feed prisoners? Would it be something edible?

“You live in Russia?” Giovanni asked.

“In Moscow. You?”

“In Rome. But my family, they are from Assisi. You know, from Saint Francis? The one with the animals?”

Arseny had heard of him. “A small town?”

Giovanni shrugged. “Not so small. But Rome? Rome is big city, much like Moscow, I think.”

“I have never been to Rome,” Arseny said. “Or anywhere in Italy. My father lives now in Monaco, so maybe I will visit him some time. Is not far from where he lives to Italy.”

“Ah, the Riviera ligure,” Giovanni said. “Very beautiful. I have been several times, with a person I once loved.”

Arseny wondered if the lack of gender to the “person” was deliberate, or simply because Giovanni’s English was not perfect.

He pushed a little. “I have loved like that,” he said. “But eventually it ended. The person and I wanted different things in life.”

Giovanni nodded, and Arseny thought he saw something in the Italian’s dark eyes. “You have a business in Moscow?”

“Not yet.” Arseny felt a bit ashamed at admitting that his father had transferred some of his business assets to him and to his sister before fleeing Moscow, and that he lived on that income rather than anything he did himself. “I am just out of university for one year.”

He looked at Giovanni. “You must have a doctorate degree for your job?”

Giovanni shook his head. “I am a low-level person. The kind they send out to dangerous places. I think the term from military in English is cannon fodder.”

Arseny didn’t know that term, and Giovanni explained it. “Do you ever watch the American Star Trek?” he asked.

“Oh, yes,” Arseny said with feeling. “Kirk and Spock!”

He was suddenly embarrassed, but Giovanni nodded. “Yes, Kirk and Spock. Very handsome men, good friends.”

Before Arseny could fully process that comment, Giovanni continued. “There is idea among fans of show. That on exploration of strange planet, characters wearing red shirts will be killed by aliens.”

They began to discuss favorite episodes of the show, and the similar Star Wars movies, and Arseny felt more and more drawn to the handsome Italian. Though it was foolish to assume anything, in a jail cell in a strange place where even the idea that a man could be sexually attracted to another man was grounds for imprisonment or death.

But Arseny couldn’t help wondering. Maybe that was why Giovanni had been arrested. Perhaps he had made an advance to another man, been revealed and taken into custody. Was that why the police had put them in this cell together?

Were they being watched for signs of romantic activity? Arseny gulped. All the more reason to watch himself.

Purchase links for The Same Page (Have Body, Will Guard Book 9)

Amazon: https://amzn.to/2CLyr9u

Books2Read: https://www.books2read.com/u/3nY16P

More About author, Neil Plakcy

Neil Plakcy

Neil Plakcy has written or edited over three dozen novels and short stories in mystery, romance and erotica. To research the Angus Green series, he participated in the FBI’s sixteen-week citizen’s academy, practiced at a shooting range, and visited numerous gay bars in Fort Lauderdale. (Seriously, it was research.)

He is an assistant professor of English at Broward College in South Florida, and has been a construction manager, a computer game producer, and a web developer – all experiences he uses in his fiction. His website is www.mahubooks.com.

Atmosphere (The Blake Harte Mysteries Book 9) by Robert Innes

Excerpt

“Tell me about the woman.”

“What do you want to know?”

“Well, what does she look like?”

Blake Harte leaned back in his chair and stared up at the ceiling with a sigh.

“Old. She was an old woman. White hair, wrinkled face, shrivelled up old mouth.”

“And it’s the exact same woman from the events we spoke about when you were a child?”

Linda Forrest scribbled something onto her clipboard and then looked back up at Blake.

“Yes,” replied Blake. “It’s the same woman from when I was a kid because it’s the same nightmare I’ve had ever since I was a kid.”

Linda nodded as she continued writing. “And when these dreams started again, how long had it been since the last one?”

“When I was at university, quite a few years ago.”

“And since then?”

Blake clasped his hands together in his lap and wrung them together slightly. He absolutely hated discussing the nightmares in such detail as this.

“Since I had the first one a few months ago, I’ve been experiencing them at least once a week. Sometimes twice. I even had one last night and apparently I woke up my partner, because I was crying out, which is impressive as normally he can sleep through an earthquake.”

There was silence for a few moments as Linda finished writing her notes and then placed the clipboard on the table between them.

Blake studied her. She was a dumpy woman with kind looking blue eyes. He could not help but wonder if she was a grandmother, because Blake could imagine that she would be incredibly good at it. She had just the right level of calm serenity about her but at the same time appeared ever so slightly stern. Overall, he conceded, she seemed to be the right sort of person to be a therapist.

“Okay,” Linda said. “Let’s talk about the actual dream itself. What happens?”

Blake shuffled in his seat but said nothing. The room they were in was hot, and he could feel sweat trickling down his back, similar to how he felt whenever the nightmare woke him up.

“Come on, Blake,” Linda pressed gently. “I know it’s difficult, but I need you to tell me what happens.”

Blake took a deep breath. “It’s like I said. When I was ten, I broke into an old house on my street. It had been abandoned for years, but me being a young tearaway, I had to explore it. I had a mate that I used to have dares with, Tommy, and he dared me to go and find out what was going on inside the house.”

“And nobody had been in or out of this house for years?” Linda asked him, leaning forward.

“Not that I saw,” Blake replied, shuffling slightly in his seat. “Though, I was only ten. My parents always said that it may as well have been knocked down as they had lived there for years before I was even born, and they had never seen anybody.”

“So, you get inside the house?”

“Yes,” Blake continued. “The whole place was locked up and the only way inside was through a tiny window around the back of the house. I was a skinny child; I mean I wouldn’t call myself exactly large now, but as a kid, I was like a rake. Even I struggled squeezing through it, but I eventually found myself inside the house. I wish I’d taken the difficulty in getting in as a sign to stop being so stupid, but what can I say? I was ten.”

“Okay,” Linda said. “And what did you find once you had managed to get inside?”

Blake sighed again as his eyes landed on the large fish tank in the corner. There was a small fish fluttering weakly around the surface of the water, looking as if it was in its last moments of its life.

“Blake?”

“The room was dark,” Blake said quietly. “Pitch black, actually. I had to scramble around to find the light switch. Then, when I finally turned it on, there she was.”

“And what was she doing?”

“Not a lot,” Blake replied dryly. “She was dead. She was sitting in a rocking chair with a knife sticking in her back. There was a pool of blood beneath the chair. And I couldn’t move. I was so terrified staring at her face. It was like someone had frozen her in the middle of the most horrified scream imaginable. I mean, she had just been stabbed in the back, so I guess it’s understandable, but it was the most horrific thing I’d ever seen.”

“So, you were frozen, in your mind trapped, unable to escape with this traumatic sight in front of you?” Linda clarified.

“Basically, yes. After what must have only been about a minute or so, but it felt like hours, I finally managed to get back the use of my legs and got out of there. Then I ran home and my mum called the police.”

“You’re a policeman now, aren’t you?” Linda asked. “Do you think this event had anything to do with that?”

Blake had wondered that himself over the years. “No, I don’t think so. Though, being a police detective did mean that I was able to find out details about the case a few years later.”

“And what did you discover?”

“Not a great deal,” Blake replied. “I know they found out her name was Julia Watkins. She was, according to her pension book, eighty-seven, and they also discovered that she had been squatting in the house for months. I suppose it’s unavoidable with old abandoned buildings. But as for her death, it was never solved. The only way in and out was through that tiny window that even I had difficulty climbing through. Other than that, the house was completely sealed.”

Linda scratched the back of her head as she consulted her notes. “It’s the sort of thing you’ve become quite used to, haven’t you? These sorts of impossible events.”

Blake shrugged. “I suppose so. I have been kept busy since moving to Harmschapel, that’s certainly true.”

“A lot of murders?”

“I’ve had my fair share,” Blake conceded. “Not that I didn’t get them when I worked in Sale.”

“That’s Sale in the Manchester area, where you used to live before moving to Harmschapel?”

“That’s right.”

“I’ve seen a lot in the papers about some of the cases you’ve had to deal with since moving to the area,” Linda said thoughtfully. “ And of course, you helped bring a serial killer to justice in the earlier days of your career.”

Blake shuddered at the memory. “Yeah. Thomas Frost.”

“I read about him,” Linda said, nodding. “He strangled a number of women in the Manchester area and you were the officer that helped put him behind bars?”

“Probably the closest I’ve come to experiencing evil,” Blake replied quietly. “The man is a psychopath. I had the unpleasant experience of meeting him again not so long ago. He hadn’t changed.”

“All in all, that must be incredibly stressful, especially when you’re dealing with bodies. Murdered bodies at that.”

Blake’s mouth was starting to feel dry. He leant forwards and took a sip of water from the plastic cup next to him.

“It can be,” he replied. “That’s the job. Sadly, being a police officer isn’t all about catching people who have stolen the church collection money or handing out parking tickets for vehicles parked on the village green. Sometimes life happens, and life can be pretty brutal sometimes.”

“Do you think that could have had an effect? Stabbings, shootings, strangulations, you’re only human after all.” She smiled kindly at him, then glanced at the clock on the wall. “Have a think about it. We’re coming to a close now for the first session, but I think we’ve covered some really helpful details today.”

Blake was doubtful. As he thanked Linda and left the office, he could not help wondering exactly what she could possibly do to prevent him having bad dreams, especially as they stemmed from an event that had actually happened to him. There was no way to try and make sense of it, it was a traumatic experience that had clearly stuck with him and no amount of therapy was going to change that.

As he climbed into his car, he lit a cigarette and inhaled deeply, briefly chastising himself for his lack of self-control when it came to smoking. He had been trying to quit for a long time, but recently, even Blake had to admit that he had basically become a full-time smoker again.

With a heavy sigh, he turned the key in the ignition and began driving back towards Harmschapel, the image of the screaming old woman flashing into his mind’s eye briefly as he pulled out of the car park.

Blurb:

There’s no such thing as magic. Everything has a logical explanation, even when you can’t immediately see it. Nothing is impossible when looked at from the right angle.

Blake Harte has always lived by this mantra. It’s an attitude that has fared him well in Harmschapel after being faced with numerous bizarre murders and situations. But Blake’s beliefs are soon to be tested to breaking point when touring magician, Sebastian Klein, arrives in the village with his daughter, and glamorous assistant, Amelia, to perform their touring magic show.

Although reluctant to even watch the show, Blake and the rest of Harmschapel Police are soon called into action when Sebastian Klein performs the most baffling trick of his career. Just how many ways are there for a woman to completely vanish in front of an audience, especially when even the great Sebastian Klein has no explanation for what happened?

What initially looks like a big theatrical stunt soon leads Blake and the team to one of the darkest and most sinister cases they have ever come across. The disappearance of Amelia Klein threatens to explode in the ugliest way possible, and there is no way of telling just how many secrets she could expose if found…

Buy links:
UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B07L43NR4N/ref=series_rw_dp_sw
US: https://www.amazon.com/Atmosphere-Blake-Harte-Mysteries-Book-ebook/dp/B07L43NR4N/ref=cm_cr_arp_d_product_top?ie=UTF8
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/43126026-atmosphere?from_search=true

Want to know more about the author? Click the image of Robert Innes to reach his website!

Robert Innes is the author of The Blake Harte Mysteries – a series of head scratching and impossible crimes. When he’s not trying to work out how to commit seemingly perfect murders and building up a worrying Google search history, Robert can be found at his local slimming group, wondering why eating three pizzas in the space of a week hasn’t resulted in a weight loss. Since the creation of the Blake Harte mystery series in November 2016, each book has become a best seller in LGBT mystery both in the USA and the UK.

Exclusive Excerpt: The Shifting Scion (A Nick Williams Mystery Book 27) by Frank W Butterfield

Excerpt:

“May I help you, gentlemen?” That was a rotund fellow of about 60. He was bald and had a pair of glasses perched on his head and another pair dangling over his chest on a silver chain. We were in a store by the name of The Old Book Shop. I held the lease on the place as I owned the apartment building above it. It was on the north side of Sutter, just a few feet west of Larkin.

Carter asked, “Do you have a copy of The Strength of the Strong by Jack London?”

“Of course.” He sized both of us up for a moment and then looked at me and asked, “Mr. Williams?”

I smiled. “Yes.”

He held out his pudgy hand. It was dry and soft as I shook it. “My name is Irwin Smith and I’m the proprietor. May I say how happy I am to finally meet my landlord?” He sounded sincere but I wasn’t sure.

I nodded. “Nice to meet you.” I gestured towards Carter. “This is—”

“Oh, Mr. Jones needs no introduction.” He offered his hand and reddened slightly when Carter shook with his right and then clasped the man’s hand with his left.

“Nice to meet you, Mr. Smith.”  

Taking a deep breath as if to steady his nerves, the older man said, “The pleasure is all mine.” He looked from Carter to me and then back to Carter. “You both look much more handsome than the newspapers could ever show.” Putting his left hand over his chest, just above the glasses dangling on the silver chain, he said, “I hope you don’t think I’m trying to take advantage of your presence, but I have something you might very well be interested in seeing.” He turned without waiting for either of us to reply and made his way into the back, motioning over his shoulder for us to follow him.

Behind a dark green curtain, we found a young man sitting on a stool, eating an egg salad sandwich while reading a thick book with yellowed pages and bound in dark-brown leather. The sandwich was wrapped in wax paper and he was carefully taking small bites from it. The book was laid out flat on the counter in front of him.

“Arthur!” said Mr. Smith, sounding a little irritated.

“Sorry, Mr. Smith,” said the kid as he quickly wrapped up his sandwich and stuffed it into a knapsack that was resting on the wood floor at the bottom of his stool. Having done that, he stood and realized we were standing there. His mouth suddenly dropped open as he appeared to recognize us.

“Arthur! Please attend to the front.”

The kid closed his mouth, nodded, and then slipped around Carter and was gone.

“I apologize,” said Mr. Smith as he removed the lid from one of a series of wood crates stacked one on another. “Arthur is very good with the books but rather lacks the kind of social skills one would desire in an antique book store. Now, here it is.” He stepped back so we could see what was in the top crate. “Have a look.”

Carter walked over and gasped. “Nick! Look!”

Scooting around him, I peered in. Several volumes of Jack London’s novels were lined up perfectly, held in place by tightly-packed straw and newspapers. The blue leather binding looked brand new. The book titles were printed on the spines in bright gold. I looked over at Mr. Smith. “Are these new?”

He beamed. “Quite to the contrary. When Mr. London was building his magnificent house up in Glen Ellen, a publisher in London approached him and requested permission to print all of his novels and short stories in a calf-leather binding. There were to be one hundred sets. However, the house burned to the ground, Mr. London died not long after, and only one set was ever produced. This is that set.”

Carter gently ran his finger over the spines and asked, “Where did you get them?”

“It’s quite unusual that they even exist. They sat in the publisher’s storage, in these very crates, for the longest time. The publisher went into receivership in 1935 and this was one of their assets, although no one in England thought much of an American author like Jack London.” He sniffed. “They didn’t sell at auction and the firm who was handling the disposition of assets just held onto them. Strangely, during the Blitz, one half of their building was destroyed, but since these were in the half that wasn’t touched, they were perfectly fine.” He smiled. “About six months ago, I received a letter from a gentleman at that firm, asking if I would be willing to take them on consignment, being an antique bookseller in Jack London’s hometown. I agreed, thinking of several good customers who might be interested. The set arrived on Monday. I haven’t made any calls so far. Something told me to wait. So, then, you both walk in, asking for one of the very books that the set contains. And, here we are…” He sighed and rested both of his hands on his belly, under the dangling glasses.

“How much?” I asked.

He leaned in towards the stack of crates and put on the pair of glasses that had been on his head. “Well, that is rather a difficult question to answer. You see—”

“Ten grand,” said Carter.

The man gasped. “Well… I don’t…” He took out his handkerchief and began to wipe his face.

Carter pulled out his wallet, asking, “Will you take a check?”

“Oh, my…” The man’s eyes rolled into the back of his head as he slid down to the floor faster than Carter could catch him. 

Blurb:

Thursday, October 18, 1962

Nick is in trouble. He’s obstructing justice and might possibly be an accessory to murder, after the fact. The cops are on to him and his lawyer is very concerned.

How did this happen?

It’s all because Sam Halverson, a close friend and an operative for WilliamsJones Security, has murdered a man and is on his way to Mexico to hide out from the law.

At Nick’s instruction… Oh, boy!

Meanwhile, Nick’s latest attempt at matchmaking appears to be falling apart. It seemed like such a perfect pairing but, apparently, the prospective couple won’t be living happily ever after.

Will justice (and love) prevail?

Find out in this, the second book in a three-part story arc (beginning with The Derelict Dad), that’s all about what happens when a father, who has abandoned his family to find his fortune, finally has to come to terms with his past.

More about author Frank W. Butterfield:

Frank W. Butterfield is the Amazon best-selling author of over 20 books and counting in the Nick Williams Mystery series, stories about Nick & Carter, a private dick and a fireman who live and love in San Francisco.

To learn more about Frank W. Butterfield’s novels, Nick & Carter and their ongoing adventures, click on the link for his website. https://www.frankwbutterfield.com/